Queen Amina of Zazzau: A West African Warrior Queen 

Queen Amina of Zazzau: A West African Warrior Queen 

Queen Bakwa Turunku, who created the Zazzau Kingdom in 1536, had an elder daughter named Queen Amina. Also known as Queen Aminatu. Some academics place the start of Queen Amina’s rule as 1549 or thereabouts when she succeeded her mother as the heir apparent.

The current city of Zaria served as the capital of this medieval African kingdom situated in what is now the Kaduna State in north-central Nigeria. The Royal Palace of Zaria was located in Zaria (also known as Birnin Zaria) and was named for Queen Amina’s younger sister Zariya. 

Also Read: Story of Queen Lúwo Gbàgìdá, First And Only Female Ooni of Ife

Queen Amina 

Queen Amina is a legend among the Hausa people for her military exploits. She controlled the trade routes in the region. Erecting a network of commerce within the great earthen walls that surrounded Hausa cities within her dominion. According to the Kano Chronicle, she conquered as far as Nupe and Kwarafa, ruling for 34 years. 

By 1805, the region was captured by the Fulani during the Fulani jihad. By 1901, Frederick Lugard led British forces and captured Zaria as a protectorate state. This is the same year Zaria sought British protection against slave raids from the Kontagora region. After a Zaria magaji (representative) murdered the British Captain Moloney in 1902 at Keffi, the British stripped the emirate of most of its vassal states. Since Nigeria’s independence from the British in 1960, Zaria is one of its largest traditional emirates. 

Zaria City  

Zaria city originally surrounded by walls built by Queen Amina, but those walls have since been removed. The emir counsels over a region larger than the city of Zaria. Despite the rise of the nation-states in Africa, the emirs exert significant power within the region and represents the continuation of the traditional leadership of the historical kingdom-states. 

Zaria is home to Ahmadu Bello University, the largest university in Nigeria and the second largest university on the African continent. The university is very prominent in the fields of Agriculture, Science, Finance, Medicine and Law. 


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