The people of Hausaland shared a lot of relationships and interactions with the Kanem-Borno in the Lake Chad region of the north eastern Nigeria. Kanem-Borno is made up of the Kanuri speaking people.
The Hausa states included the seven states founded by the descendants of Bayajjida. The states were Kano, Katsina, Daura, Zaria, Biram, Gobir and Rano which existed independently. Kanem-Borno and the Hausa states engaged in inter group relations especially in the areas of trade, Islam, language, culture and warfare. The people of Kanem-Borno and Hausaland interacted in the following ways:
- Relationship enhanced by the religion of Islam: The religion of Islam spread to Kanem-Borno through the trans-Saharan trade routes around the 11th century. The people of Kanem-Borno, in turn, succeeded in extending the religion to Hausaland especially through inter group relations and diplomatic contacts between them. Trade and commerce were very important medium for the spread of Islam into Hausaland. Many Kanem-Borno kings called Mais had accepted Islam and they shared contacts with Hausaland. Islamic scholars from Kanem-Borno also settled in Hausaland.
- Relations enhanced by trade and commercial activities: Trade and commercial activities usually organized via trade routes were other factors that brought Kanem-Borno and Hausaland closer. Traders from Kanem-Borno settled at Zango Barebari in Kano State.
- Relations enhanced by warfare: There were accounts of wars between Kano, a leading Hausa state, and Kanem-Borno. Kanem-Borno collected tributes from Kano. Traditional political titles such as Galadima, Zanna and Shettima were introduced to Kano from Kanem- borno.