|Image of Queen Amina of the Zazzau Kingdom of West Africa|
The earliest commentator to mention Queen Amina is Muhammed Bello's history Ifaq al-Maysur, composed around 1836. Queen Amina is also mentioned in the Kano Chronicle, a well-regarded and detailed history of the city of Kano and the surrounding Hausa people. It was composed in the late 19th century and incorporated earlier oral histories before the Fulani jihad of 1804-1810. It included king-lists of the various Hausa kingdoms.
Known as a great military strategist, the cavalry-trained Queen Amina fought many wars that expanded this southern-most Hausa kingdom. According to the Sankore Institute of Islamic - African Studies International, a non-profit, non-political educational institution, reporting on this region of the Hausa:
These seven regions witnessed many unusual and strange events. The first to establish government among them, as it has been claimed, was Amina, the daughter of the Amir of Zakzak. She made military assaults upon these lands until she proclaimed herself over them by force. The lands of Katsina and Kano were forced to hand over levy to her. She also made incursions into the lands of Bauchi until she reached the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west. She died in a place called Attaagar. It was for this reason that the kingdom of Zakzak was the most extensive among the kingdoms of Hausa, since Bauchi included many regions.Here, it appears that Zakzak is Zazzau, and the reference is to Queen Amina.
|Public sculpture of the warrior Queen Amina in Nigeria|
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.
|Commemorative stamp of Queen of Amina of Zaria.|
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 that it is reported that 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.
|Photo: Gate to the palace of the emir of Zazzau|
|Photo: community in city of Zaria, representing traditional Hausa architecture in Africa.|