All Hail the Warrior Queen: Queen Amina of Zaria
Undeniably one of Nigeria’s most powerful women. Queen Amina, from Northern Nigeria is the very definition of a strong woman.
Born to a wealthy Northern ruler, Bakwa of Turunku, Amina wasn’t your regular “princess”, during her father’s reign she braved up and underwent rigorous training with boys – soldiers of the Zazzau cavalry, later emerging leader of the army.
After Bakwa of Turunku passed on in 1566, the crown was conferred on his son, Karama but fate had other plans and he also passed on after a 10 year reign. Meanwhile, Amina who had gained trust and respect, becoming a well-known warrior soon emerging ruler in his stead after his death.
The brave heart, had her first military conquest just few months after becoming ruler. Queen Amina was noted to have commanded an army of about 20,000 men.
A powerful Northern ruler, the warrior queen achieved remarkable feats; leading the army and thereby conquering countless territories, increased the wealth and power of her kingdom and introduced metal armour, iron helmets and chain mail to her army.
Born in 1533, she died 1610.
Queen Amina of Zaria’s 34 year reign remains not only a legend to the Hausa people of Northern Nigeria, but an inspiration throughout the African continent and beyond – she is the model for fictional television warrior princess Xena.