AMINA (ZARIA, NIGERIA)
Queen Amina of Zazzau in the present day Kaduna state of northern Nigeria, was born around 1533 to Queen Bakwa Turunku. Zazzau is one of the seven original states of Hausaland. In 1536, Queen Bakwa Turunku built the capital of Zazzau at Turunku in honor of her younger daughter. However, it was Amina, her elder daughter who inherited her mother’s warrior skills.
Amina became the heir apparent (Magajiya) to her mother in 1549 at the age of 16. She received military training and honed her skills with the Calvary, becoming famous for her bravery and military exploits which were celebrated in song: "Amina daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man."
In 1576, she became ruler of Zazzau, building it into a trade centre for slaves in transit to Kano and Katsina where they were traded for salt and carried farther north of the Sahara. In time, Zazzau controlled the trade route from Gwanja and became a formidable trade centre in the cadre of Kano and Katsina.
Amina is credited as the architect who created the strong earthen walls around the city, which was the prototype for the fortifications used in all Hausa states. She built many of these fortifications, which became known as ganuwar Amina or Amina's walls, around various conquered cities.
The objectives of her conquests were twofold: extension of Zazzau beyond its primary borders and reducing the conquered cities to vassal status. Sultan Muhammad Bello of Sokoto stated that, "She made war upon these countries and overcame them entirely so that the people of Katsina paid tribute to her and the men of Kano [and]... also made war on cities of Bauchi till her kingdom reached to the sea in the south and the west." Likewise, she led her armies as far as Nupe and, according to the Kano Chronicle, "The Sarkin Nupe sent her [the princess] 40 eunuchs and 10,000 kola nuts. She was the first in Hausaland to own eunuchs and kola nuts."
Known as the first ruler to establish a kingdom among the Hausa, Amina distinguished herself as a soldier and an empire builder, leading military campaigns and building walled cities around conquered domains. It is believed that she was the Architect of the earthen city wall, which characterised Hausa city-states in that period.
Many towns paid her tributes, having conquered beyond the Zazzau territories to Nupe and the entire region between Zazzau and the River Niger.
Over a 34-year period, her many conquests and subsequent annexation of the territories extended the borders of Zaria, which also grew in importance and became the center of the North-South Saharan trade and the East-West Sudan trade.
Source: Blackhistorypages.net; Wikipedia
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2017 19:31
Written by Tongues