Queen Amina also known as Queen Aminatu was a Hausa Warrior Queen Of Zazzau ( now Zaria), in what is now the north- west region of Nigeria. Amina was born around 1533 in Zaria. She was born to the ruler, Bakwa of Turunku, who lived in the city state of Zazzau. As a child, her grandmother Marka, the favorite the wife of Sarkia Nohir, once caught her holding a dagger. The dagger did not shock Marka, rather was that Amina held it just like a warrior.
The family was wealthy as a result of trading in imported metals, cloth, salt, cola, and horses. The crown was conferred upon Amina’s younger brother, Katama. Although her father’s reign was one characterized by prosperity and peace, Amina nonetheless chose to spend her time honing her military skills. She is the subject of many legends, but is believed by historians to have been a real ruler.
Known as a great military strategist, the cavalry trained Queen Amina fought wars that expanded this southern-most Hausa kingdom. She was the first woman to become the Sarauniya (queen) in a male dominated society. She expanded the territory of the Hausa people of North Africa to its largest borders in history. This led her to eventually merging as a leader of the Zazzau cavalry, during which time accumulated wealth and numerous military accolades.
As an adult, she refused to marry for fear of losing power. She helped Zazzau become the center of trade and to gain more land. The introduction of Kola nuts into cultivating in the area is attributed to her. She introduced metal armour, including helmets and chain mail because her people were talented metal workers. The modern state of Nigeria has immortalized Amina by erecting statue of her on a horse, spear in hand, in the center of Lagos.
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