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SKU: INV-COEC-0003 Category: Tag:

Circa 1533 – 1610. Hausa Kingdom, in modern-day Nigeria. Ruled for 34 years.

As the daughter of Queen Bakwa Turunku, Amina grew up with the opportunity to observe her kingdom’s leaders during political meetings. She chose to learn the skills of archery and sword-fighting, cavalry and strategy from the warriors of the Zazzau military. She became a greatly skilled warrior who later emerged as leader of the Zazzau army.

Following the death of peace-loving Bakwa, in 1566, Amina’s brother, Karama, ruled for ten years until he, too, died. Amina swiftly assumed the reign of the kingdom and commenced the expansion of her kingdom to the greatest in history. Her battles aimed to create allies of neighbouring states and an enormous network of trade routes. This facilitated the safe trade of goods including gold, crops and slaves, boosting the wealth and power of her kingdom.

Her people being talented metal workers, Amina introduced metal armor for both her men and their horses. She fortified her military camps with earthen walls, affording protection to numerous villages that sprung up within them. Many of these structures still stand today and are fondly called “Amina’s Walls”.

It is believed that Amina refused to marry and never bore children.

Legend has it that after each victory on the battlefield, she would choose a lover from among her vanquished foes and bring him to her tent for the night. The following morning, the man would be executed to prevent him from divulging details of his sexual encounter with the queen.

Queen Amina, came to power circa 1588, ruling her kingdom for 34 years. A brilliant military strategist and fearless fighter, known for her prowess with the sword, she is still remembered today as “Amina, Tar Bakwa ta san rana”, meaning “Amina, daughter of Bakwa, a woman as capable as a man”.

There are multiple, contradictory versions of how Amina perished. The most cited one is that she died during a military campaign at Atagara, near Bida, in Nigeria.

An anonymous book was written shortly after Amina’s death, titled Amina, Sarauniya Zazzau (Amina, Queen of Zazzau), to which we owe much of what we know of Amina’s life … a testimony to the spirit, strength and accomplishments of a singular woman, and an example of what is possible for all women.

Dimensions 127,0 × 127,0 cm