Prior to the establishment of Sokoto as a ribat (military camp or frontier) in 1809, the area that is modern-day Sokoto State was home to Hausa states with large populations. These states eventually fell under the control of Usman dan Fodio and the Fulani jihadists and became part of the Sokoto Caliphate. In 1817 when Usman died, his son Muhammed Bello succeeded him as the Sultan of Sokoto. Usman's brother Abdullahi was given the western divisions of the caliphate to run; however, supreme authority rested with Bello. At the height of its power, the Sokoto Caliphate extended as far as Ilorin (in modern-day Kwara State).
Sokoto State traces its origin to the Sokoto Caliphate founded in 1809 By Shehu Usman dan Fodio, the leader of the jihadists who overthrew the Hausa states of Gobir, Kano, Katsina and Kanem-Bornu. The empire fell after the British conquest of 1903 and the death of Attahiru, the Sultan of Sokoto, and became part of the Northern Region in the three-region structure of 1954. In 1967, Nigeria, the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon merged Sokoto and Niger provinces to form the North Western state. In 1976, North Western State was split into Sokoto and Niger states by the military administration of General Murtala Muhammed.
The Hausa are the largest ethnic group in Sokoto State while the Fulani are its second largest. Minority groups include the Zabarmawa, Tuareg and the Dakarkari. The majority of the population is Sunni Muslim. There is a small Shia minority.
Sir Ahmadu Bello was the first premier of Northern Nigeria and the Sardauna of Sokoto