Queen Amina Of Zaria: The History Of An Uncommon African Warrioress

Queen Amina was a warrior queen of the popular city-state Zazzau (Zaria) in the present-day Kaduna. Amina was the celebrated queen of Bakwa Turunku and the 22nd ruler of Zazzau, She was a known voice in the mid-sixteen century, Many folk tales and legends have suppressed her real biography.

She had a younger, beautiful sister Zaria, and whose honor the modern city of Zaria (Kaduna State) was renamed by the British imperial colonial government in the early 20th century.

According to available oral traditions, Queen Amina grew up under the tutelage of her grandfather, who carefully taught her basic tenets of political and military affairs.

At the age of 16, she was named Magajiaya (heir apparent) and was given 40 female slaves. She started to receive myriads of suitors right from her tender age. Suitors devised several strategies to win her heart, such as ‘fifty male slaves, fifty female slaves, the daily offer of 10 slaves from Makama, and fifty bags of white and blue cloth from the Emir of Kano.

At the demise of her parents around 1566, her brother was named king of Zazzau. During this time, she had gained notoriety for her military might and became a leading warrior in her brother’s cabinet.

To date, she is still celebrated in traditional Hausa praise song as ‘Amina, daughter of Nikatau’ a woman who was equaled to a man.

At the death of her brother, Karama in 1576, she was elevated to the position of queen. She became the leader of the Hausa Bakwai (original seven Hausa states).

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