Culture Trip | Queen Amina Of Zaria

Woman As Capable As A Man

Born into a wealthy family and known as the warrior queen, Amina of Zaria was the first woman to  become the sarauniya (queen) in a male dominated society.

Born around 1533, her reigned preceded the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate by over 100 years.

The eldest of her 3 siblings, she was born into a family that traded in imported metals, kola nuts, horses and much more.

With her father being ruler at the time, Amina already had royalty already in her blood. However, she spent most of her time training to become a warrior in the Zazzau military as that interested her more.

After her dad died, her brother Karama despite being younger than her, took over the reigns of ruling Zaria. By then Amina had became so fierce and was ruthless thereby earning the respect of her male counterparts who made up most of the unit.

10 years later, Karama died and Amina took over making her the first female ruler of Zazzau.  Immediately she took over, she led her first military campaign and claimed victory. Thus began Amina’s successful battles. Battle after battle she claimed victory and at some point commanded 20,000 men into wars.

She was so successful that she expanded the territory of the Hausas to the largest it’s ever been in history.

Rumor has it that after each battle, she would take a man hostage, spend the night with him and have him executed the next morning so that stories of their exploits wouldn’t get out.  She refused to get married as she feared she would lose power.

During her 34 year reign, she boosted her kingdom’s wealth and power with gold, slaves and crops. Since her people were talented in metal work, Amina introduced metal armory to her army which included including helmets and chain mail.

Amina is also said to be the architect of the strong earthen walls around the city, which became the prototype for the fortifications used in all Hausa states. She built many of these fortifications, later known as ganuwar Amina or ‘Amina’s walls’, around various conquered cities. Many of these walls remain in existence to this day.

She represents the strength and spirit of womanhood and is commonly listed as an African woman who changed the world.

She is said to be the inspiration behind various female warrior movies and in today’s world where it is said that is tradition for women to stay at home while men go to war, one has to wonder from where this was gotten since women in Amina existed years ago.

 Isn’t Queen Amina just awesome? Which other female in history do you think had as much impact as she did.

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