Queen – Amina – Queen of Zaria

Queen Amina of Zaria

Queen Amina of Zaria

This queen of Zazzua, a province of Nigeria now known as Zaria, was born around 1533 during the reign of Sarkin (king) Zazzau Nohir. She was probably his granddaughter. Zazzua was one of a number of Hausa city-states which dominated the trans-Saharan trade after the collapse of the Songhai empire to the west. Zaria’s wealth was due to trade of leather, cloth, kola, salt, horses and imported metals.

At sixteen, Amina became the heir apparent (Magajiya) to her mother, Bakwa of Turunku, the ruling queen of Zazzua. Along with the title came the responsibility for a ward in the city and daily councils with other officials. Although her mother’s reign was known for peace and prosperity, Amina also chose to learn military skills from the warriors. Queen Bakwa died around 1566 and the reign of Zazzua passed to her brother Karama. During this time Amina emerged as the leading warrior of Zazzua cavalry. Her military achievements brought her great wealth and power. Ten years later, Karama died , Amina became queen of Zazzua.

She set off on her first military expedition three months after coming to power and continued fighting until her death. In her thirty-four year reign, she expanded the domain of Zazzua to its largest size ever. Her main focus, however, was not on annexation of neighboring lands, but on forcing local rulers to accept vassal status and permit Hausa traders safe passage. She is credited with popularizing the earthen city wall fortifications, which became characteristic of Hausa city-states since then. She ordered building of a defensive wall around each military camp that she established. Later, towns grew within these protective walls, many of which are still in existence. They’re known as “ganuwar Amina”, or Amina’s walls. She is mostly remembered as “Amina, Yar Bakwa ta san rana,” meaning “Amina, daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man.

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Article by: Phil Gregory

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  1. I am so humbled and honor the Great Black Queens and Kings of Africa. We don't know the greatness where with we come. Black history is so important it increases self esteem and impowers our soul and spirit. Our greatness should never be foregotten, lets continue to pass on our heritage to our children. Thank you for your service. k. tiye

  2. I am so honored to carry this name.I believe as an African American woman it is so important to know and respect where you come from.I thank my grandma for that.

  3. And there is also so much more to know about Her!

  4. There is a great, rich cultural heritage to discover, maintain and cherish. I urge the Nigerian Government to explore this traditions and help safeguard them and make provisions laws to help realise this dreams. Much knowledge and revenue can well be of gains to both the public and the government through Torist and other trades. Lets not loose what we have and never foget where we come from.

  5. Quite inspirational, the great amazon, indeed, Africa is very rich in culture. Blackpresence keep it up!