Amina lived in the 16th Century and became the first woman to become queen in a male dominated society. She was known as a great military strategist and expanded the territory of the Hausa people of North Africa to its largest borders in history.
Born around 1533 in Zazzau, renamed Zaria, (one of the original states of Hausaland). This is now a province in modern day Nigeria. She was born to the ruler of Bakwa and after the death of her father, her brother became the ruler. Her brother passed away after a 10-year rule and it was then that she became Queen.
While her brother had ruled, she had become an incredible military leader, honing her military skills and eventually becoming the leader of Zazzau cavalry. She accumulated great wealth and military awards which earned her the respect of the military and established her authority as the leader of the Zazzau cavalry even before she ruled the city-state. So, she was able to become Queen after the death of her brother.
She ruled for 34 years and during this time she continued to lead and expand her kingdom and lead an army of 20,000 men. She opened up many trade routes and it is believed that she was the first person to form a government of the Hausa people.
She brought incredible wealth from gold to crops to the land. She also introduced metal armour including chain mail and iron helmets to her army. She built and fortified the walls around her lands, known as Amina’s walls, and these were used as the prototype for all the walls built in the Hausa states. Many of these walls still exist to this day and have become an incredible testament to her reign as Queen and military leader.
She refused to marry, instead focusing on her reign and was given the name Amina, daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man. She is still remembered as a brave, fierce and intelligent leader.