Sokoto (sōkō´tō, sō´kətō), city (1987 est. pop. 164,000), NW Nigeria, on the Sokoto River. It is the commercial center for a wide region and a collection place for hides, skins, and peanuts. Rice and tobacco are grown for local consumption. The city has cement, pottery, and leather tanning and dyeing industries. Sokoto was founded in 1809 by Usuman dan Fodio, the Fulani leader who established a large Muslim empire including most of N Nigeria. It became the capital of the empire and was built up in the 1820s by Muhammad Bello, dan Fodio's son. In 1903, Sokoto fell to British forces under Frederick Lugard. The tomb of dan Fodio and other shrines in the city have made it a place of pilgrimage for Muslims.