The Fula people or Fulani or Fulɓe (Fula: Fulɓe; French: Peul; Hausa: Fulani or Hilani; Portuguese: Fula; Wolof: Pël; Bambara: Fulaw), numbering between 38 and 40 million people in total, are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa, widely dispersed across the region. As an ethnic group, they are bound together by the Fula language and their Islamic religious affiliation, their history and their culture.
A significant proportion of the Fula – a third, or an estimated 12 to 13 million – are pastoralists, making them the ethnic group with the largest nomadic pastoral community in the world. The majority of the Fula ethnic group consisted of semi-sedentary people as well as sedentary settled farmers, artisans, merchants and nobility. Inhabiting many countries, they live mainly in West Africa and northern parts of Central Africa but also in, South Sudan, Sudan and regions near the Red Sea coast.
There are many names (and spellings of the names) used in other languages to refer to the Fulɓe. Fulani in English is borrowed from the Hausa term.Fula, from Manding languages, is also used in English, and sometimes spelled Fulah or Fullah. Fula and Fulani are commonly used in English, including within Africa. The French borrowed the Wolof term Pël, which is variously spelled: Peul, Peulh, and even Peuhl. More recently the Fulfulde / Pulaar term Fulɓe, which is a plural noun (singular, Pullo) has been Anglicised as Fulbe, which is gaining popularity in use. In Portuguese, the terms Fula or Futafula are used. The terms FallataFallatah or Fellata are of Kanuri origins, and are often the ethnonyms by which Fulani people are identified by in parts of Chad and in Sudan.