African Queens: Amina

African Queens: Amina

Queen Amina (also known as Aminatu) was the queen of Zazzau (Zaria) kingdom in present day Northern Nigeria. She was the eldest daughter of Queen Bakwa Turunku, the founder of the Zazzau kingdom. Amina became queen after the death of her mother which is said to be around mid 16th century AD. Scholars say she was about 36 years old when she started ruling. Zaria is located in modern day Kaduna state and is named after Amina’s younger sister Zariya.Her family was very wealthy and dealt with the trading of metals, horses and salt.

She was a fierce military strategist who fought many wars and expanded her kingdom to North Africa. This is the largest expansion in Hausa history. She refused to get married because she did not want to loose power. Zazzau became the centre of trade under her rule. She introducing the cultivation and trading of kolanuts to the area. She boosted her kingdoms wealth and power and she is also credited with the building of the strong earthen walls that fortified the city. She was the first to establish government amongst the people of the region.

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