Queen Amina, the fearless worrior queen of Zazzau

Queen Amina was born around 1533, she was was the eldest daughter of Bakwa Turunku, a high-ranking government official of the king of Kufena. She (her mother) seized political power in 1536 and made herself ruler of Zazzau later to be known as Zaria( in present day Kaduna state in Nigeria). A book named Amina, Sarauniya Zazzau (Amina, Queen of Zazzau), reveals much about Amina as it was written shortly after her death. She was a great military and political leader.

Amina acquired political skills from her mother and her grandfather who was also Hausa ruler from an early age. Amina was named Magajiya (heir apparent) of Zazzau ,by her mother at age 16, thus making her a member of the ruler’s cabinet.

After her mother’s death around 1566, Amina’s brother Karama, ascended to the throne. Unlike his mother, Karama liked warfare of kingdom expansions. He had organised four major warfare of kingdom expansions within two years of becoming a king. Amina fought all of them. Her bravely and skills quickly established her as the leading worrior of Zazzau.

When Karama died in 1576, Amina was best suited to succeed, kingmakers quickly appointed her as queen. Queen Amina started the campaigns of kingdom expansions after only 3 months of being queen, when she returned to the battlefield. The conquered territories were either incorporated into Zazzau or became it’s semi-autonomous states.

Why is Queen Amina is regarded as the real Heroine?

Her ability to rule Zazzau better than any man has been able to do. She expanded the kingdom and amassed great wealth for the kingdom, and got powerful by the day and respected by other rulers.

According to oral tradition, Amina took a new husband from the legions of vanquished foes after every battle. After spending one night with the Zazzau queen, each man was slain. Additionally, it is common belief that Amina died during a military campaign at Atagara near Bida in Nigeria.

After reading this, read about Queen Nandi the mother of Shaka Zulu and the Kandake or Candace queens of Kush.


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