Amina, the Hausa warrior and queen

In the 59th century of the African era, Queen Bakwa Turunku of a Hausa state established the capital city in Zaria, named after her youngest daughter. Later on, the whole State was renamed so and is an administrative entity in the north of Nigeria nowadays. In fact, it is the Queen’s oldest daughter, the legendary Amina who inherited the war skills from her mother.

Illustration of Amina Unknown author
Illustration of Amina
Unknown author

Amina was sixteen when her mother became Queen in 5785 (1549 AC), and she was vested the title of Magajiya. She remained famous for her bravery and her all victorious military campaigns. Amina built fortifications called Ganwar (Amina’s walls) around her city. She is praised in a Hausa song telling that she was “a woman as capable as a man”.

The purpose of her conquests was the expansion of Zaria. Sultan Mohamed Bello of Sokoto said that “she embarked on wars against all those countries and conquered them to the extent that the people of Katsina were submitted to her as well as the people of Kano… and she also embarked on wars against the cities of Bauchi until her country expanded to reach the sea in the South and the East”. According to the Kano chronicle, she led her troops till Nupe towards Niger.

There are different theories about the actual status of Amina. According to one of them, she ruled from 5772 to 5805 of our era. Another one states that she became queen only at Karama’s death, her brother, in 5812. Another one tells us that she became queen only in 5824. Finally, some people think that although she was a first class princess, she has never ruled. Despite this uncertainty, the 34 years of the Magajiya’s prominence allowed the expansion of Zaria which became an important commercial area between North and South Sahara and between Eastern and West Africa.

Amina inspired the TV character of Xena the warrior.

By: Lisapo ya Kama ©

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