Hijri ~940-1008 (AH); Common Era ~1533-1600 (CE)
The daughter of Queen Bakwa Turunku, Queen Amina of Zaria is renowned for her shrewd military strategies and exploits. At 16, Amina’s mother became Queen of Zazzau and named its capital after her youngest daughter Zaria, sister of Amina. The status of Amina’s mother allowed Amina to employ her military intelligence at a young age. While it is contested as to whether Amina was ever truly Queen or simply an extremely powerful Princess, her military tactics were largely responsible for the expansion of the Zazzau beyond its initial borders and reducing the position from full fledged cities to vassal cities. She was also responsible for the development of well-fortified walls around the city of Zazzau, which served to protect it from predatory enemies. These walls would go on to be called ganuwar Amina, or Amina’s walls, in the city of Zazzau and other cities in Northern Nigeria. Amina’s success as a conqueror led to her widespread celebration; she was often noted for being “as capable as a man.” The city of Zaria would go on to become a prominent center of Northern Nigeria and serve as a trading post for Eastern and Western Africa and Northern and Southern Africa.