The ethnic roots of the Tunjur people are unknown. According to their oral traditions and some scholars, they are Arabs who migrated from the Arabian peninsula to Central Sudan either by way of North Africa and Tunis or by way of Nubia. In fact, as Nachtigal observed they resemble in features and behaviour the Arabs. Other scholars suggest that they have non-Muslim Nilotic roots, that is from the River Nile region.
They were a minority, but became the ruling class of Darfur and Wadai in the 13th century by peacefully taking over power from the Daju. In 16th century, they were overthrown by an Arab group that founded the Keira dynasty, and later merged with the Fur people. According to the local legends of the Fur people, Shau Dorshid, the last ruler of the Tunjur, was “driven out by his own people because he compelled his subjects to dig wells in the high rocky regions and to undertake the ardeous and useless task of levelling the Mail mountain peak, on the summit of which he wanted to establish his residence"  His capital is said to have been the site of Ain Farah.
About the middle of the 17th century, the Tunjur people were expelled from the Islamic Wadai empire by Abd-el-Kerim of the Maba people, and the Mabas controlled the slave supply caravans to the north. The Tunjur people then migrated west into their current location. Thereafter, they converted to Maliki fiqh of Sunni Islam.
Like the Fur and the Zaghawa, since the start of the Darfur conflict in February 2003, many Tunjur have been affected. A number of Tunjur have taken part in the fight against the Sudanese government, under the banners of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM). They are estimated around 176,000 people.
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