Queen Amina of Zauzzau

The story of Queen Amina is a controversial one. However, some facts are clear: from her childhood, she took an interest in governance and the military and would be seen attending meetings while sitting on her grandfather’s lap. Her grandmother also caught her wielding a dagger when she was a child, indicating her natural inclination for warfare. She grew into a fierce warrior as she trained vigorously with the royal guard, and at 16, when her mother became Queen, she became Magajiya, the Heir Apparent to the throne.
Amina was the warrior queen of Zauzzau, now modern-day Zaria, in Kaduna State, Nigeria. She was born in 1533 and reigned for 34 Years. She was a skillful warrior who commanded a vast army that conquered many territories and expanded her kingdom. She established trade routes and is believed to have initiated the cultivation of Kolanuts in her territory. She was a great leader and was the first to introduce administration in the North.
Amina embarked on military campaigns and commanded an army of 20,000 men, leading them from one conquest to another. She expanded her kingdom and controlled regional trade routes. She was also known as an exceptional architect.
After her parents’ deaths, her brother, Karama, ascended the throne. During this time, Amina became the kingdom’s army’s lead warrior. She held this position for ten years, gaining a fierce reputation and increasing her wealth.
In 1576, following her brother’s death, Amina became the Queen of Zaria and expanded the kingdom’s borders within three months of ascending the throne. Her military innovations included introducing protective armor to the Zazzau Army. During her reign, Zaria dominated trade routes connecting western Sudan with Egypt to the northeast and Mali to the North.

Queen Amina reigned for 34 years. She died in battle in Altagara, near Bida, at the age of 77. In contemporary Nigeria, she is known as ‘Amina, rana de Yar Bakwa ta San,’ meaning Amina, the daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man. A government secondary school in Kaduna was named after her, and female housing dormitories called Queen Amina Hall exist at prominent universities in the country. A statue is also dedicated to her legacy at the National Arts Theatre in Lagos State.
Queen Amina was a fierce warrior who thrived in a male-dominated field. Her achievements are atypical of the African woman’s strength, courage, and intelligence. This exquisite, handcrafted stoned African Woman head gown, available in teal green, wine, and navy blue, is an insignia to the beauty and resilience of African women. These African-themed gifts are available at the African Gift Shop (www.myafricangiftshop.com), the home of handcrafted and unique gift items.
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