Queen Amina of Zaria was Actually a Nupe King called Etsu Zagi! - by Ndagi Abdullahi - Loadedgists
Sat. Jul 4th, 2020

Loadedgists

Home of unlimited entertainment

Queen Amina of Zaria was Actually a Nupe King called Etsu Zagi! – by Ndagi Abdullahi

10 min read

[Below is a Chapter from the book ‘Nupe the Origin’ by Ndagi Abdullahi. To get the full book and the latest edition of the book please contact us at www.ndagiabdullahi.com]

Ambassador Solomon Adama Yisa wrote that Queen Amina of Zaria was a Nupe woman. Muhammed Abdulrafiu said that Queen Amina of Zaria was born, lived, flourished and died here in KinNupe. Abubakar Sanusi said that Queen Amina of Zaria was a Nupe woman and a queen of the AtaGara Nupe kingdom.

Isah Abdurrahman said that Hausa traditions categorically refer to Queen Amina as ‘Amina the Daughter of Nikatau’ in reference to the fact that she was the daughter of the AtaGara emperor of the Nupe empire. Isah Abdulrahman said that Nikatau is the Hausa variant of Nakanta, Kanta or Kuta which is an Old Nupe word for a king or the Ata. Hassan Atiku said that the Ata or King of the ancient Nupe kingdom of AtaGara was known as the Kuta or Kanta which is what the Hausa chroniclers pronounced as Nakanta or Nikatau.

Juliana Gana said that many traditions and authorities reported that Queen Amina of Zaria died at her AtaGara kingdom which was located in the vicinity of the very place where we have the city of Bida today. She said that this means that Queen Amina of Zaria was a Nupe woman who died at a Nupe kingdom here in KinNupe.

Sultan Bello wrote that Queen Amina of Zaria died in KinNupe at the ancient Nupe kingdom of AtaGara. Sir C.R. Niven declared that the AtaGara at which Queen Amina of Zaria died was not today’s Igalaland in general or at Idah in particular.

Sultan Bello wrote that Queen Amina of Zaria used to travel round or patrol the expansive territories of her Zaria or AtaGara Nupe kingdom. The Kano Chronicle narrated that Kano, Katsina, Kororofa, Nupe, and many other ancient Nigerian kingdoms were conquered into the fold of the expansive Zaria Empire in the days of Queen Amina.

Saidu Ibrahim Nda’aba said that so powerful was Queen Amina of Zaria the Nupe woman that several walled towns she built can be seen as ‘Ganwar Amina’ all over Hausaland.

The Wrong Queen Amina
Lady Flora Shaw wrote that Queen Amina of Zaria is more of a legendary than a real historical figure. Interestingly enough Queen Amina of Zaria was mentioned only by Sultan Bello and the Kano Chronicles. No any other source mentioned her, not even the earliest of the Zaria traditions themselves. Umaru Muhammed said that the fact that ‘Queen Amina of Zaria’ was not mentioned by the earliest Zaria traditions themselves but only by external sources from Sokoto and Kano cast serious doubt on the historical existence of a real Queen Amina of Zaria.

Even Sultan Bello was not sure of the historical existence of Queen Amina. Sultan Bello only mentioned in passing that Queen Amina was said to be the first of the rulers of Old Zaria. Alhaji Aliyu Umaru said that Queen Amina of Zaria lived in the legendary and not in the historical era.

Abu Hamza said that Sultan Bello was actually referring to the legendary era of the Zaria annals when Zaria was still a gargantuan Nupe Empire known as the Kangoma or Gunguma Confederacy with its headquarters at Gbara located on the banks of the River Niger here in Central KinNupe.

Professor Leo Frobenius wrote that Gbara, Gunguma in this context, was founded by Etsu Nupeta through the efforts of his servant now known as Kisra. Abubakar Musa said that Gunguma, known as Gbara to Nupe historians and as Gobir to pre-Fulani historians, was eventually ruled by two dynasties of the Yisa or Kisra Nupe people and the Gwagba or Ibara Nupe people. He said that the Yisa were the descendants of Kisra while the Gwagba were the descendants of Etsu Nupeta.

READ  The Bassange Nupe People - by Ndagi Abdullahi

Mallam Abdulkadir Suleman Ndafogi said that Kisra was known to Nupe historians as Etsu Tsara, Tsaragi, Sagi, Zagi, Nyizagi or Etsu Nyizagi.

Alhaji Abdul Shafiyi Baba said that the mirror-image of the name Kisra or Kisara is Saraki or Saragi or Tsaragi which was the name with which Kisra was commonly known to Nupe historians. Tauheed Aliyu said that Saragi or Saraki was also shortened to Sagi or Saki which is in turn also pronounced as Zaki. He said that it is this Zaki that was pronounced in its repetitive form as Zakizaki or Zakzak or Zazzau which is the name with which the Hausa city chronicles came to identify Zaria.

Yahaya Abdulrashid said that Kisra or Saraki was known to Nupe historians as Tsaragi, Saragi, or Sagi. He said that this Sagi was also pronounced as Yisagi, Nyisagi or Nyizagi.

Mallam Zubairu Abubakar said that Kisra was known to former Nupe historians as Nyizagi or Etsu Nyizagi. He said so was it that ‘Nyizagi’ became the royal title of the Kisra dynasts and rulers of Old Zaria or the Gunguma Confederacy for a long time.

Mallam Zubairu Abubakar said that interestingly enough ‘Nyizagi’ has changed from being a royal title of the ancient Nupe kings to meaning ‘woman’ in the Nupe language.

Mallam Zubairu Abubakar said the fact that Nyizagi has changed from meaning ‘king’ in the Old Nupe language to meaning ‘woman’ in the Modern Nupe language may be the cause of the confusion for latter historians to assume that the earliest of the Kisra or Saraki or Sagi rulers of Zaria or Gunguma were women or queens.

Mallam Zubairu Abubakar said that this also means that Kisra or the Nupe king Etsu Nyizagi was the one that have been wrongly referred to as Queen Amina by some Hausa historians from whose works Sultan Bello and the Kano Chroniclers got their wrong assumption that Nyizagi the first emperor of Old Zaria or Gunguma or Gbara was Queen Amina of Zaria.

Mallam Mukhtar Sani said that the fact that the Kano Chronicle said that Queen Amina of Zaria belonged to the twenty-second dynasty of Zaria while Sultan Bello said she was the first ruler of Zaria means that there is an identity mix-up somewhere between the two narratives.

The Name Amina
Bashiru Dalhatu Nakordi said that even the name ‘Queen Amina’ is a misnomer and is wrong. Sultan Bello said that Queen Amina was the first of the rulers of Old Zaria or the Gunguma Confederacy. Bashiru Dalhatu Nakordi pointed out that in those far off days that Old Zaria or the Gunguma Confederacy came into existence, Professor Leo Frobenius said in the first half of the 7th century, there was no Islam in ancient Nigeria and nobody was bearing Islamic name.

Mallam Mukhtar Sani said that in the days that the Gunguma Confederacy was formed it was not possible for a Nigerian queen to be bearing Amina the name of the mother of Prophet Muhammed. He also said that the Old Zaria or the Gunguma Confederacy was formed latest by the first decades of the 7th century when Islam has not yet been introduced to ancient Nigeria and it was impossible for the name of an ancient Nigerian queen to be Amina, the name of the mother of Prophet Muhammed.

Mallam Mukhtar Sani said that since Sultan Bello wrote that Queen Amina was among the first, if not the first, ruler of Gunguma then she must have either lived around the same time with Prophet Muhammed or may have even lived and died before him thereby making it absolutely impossible for her to have been bearing the name of his mother.

READ  Superpower Nigeria: Why Nigeria Will Rule the World - by Ndagi Abdullahi

Lady Flora Shaw wrote that the name ‘Amina’ resulted from the wrong transcription of an ancient Nupe national name. Lady Flora Shaw actually wrote that there was once upon a time a gigantic rock, like today’s Zuma Rock, to the south of today’s Zaria. Lady Flora Shaw wrote that the statue of an ancient goddess, the ancient Nupe goddess of Nnakun, was carved on the gigantic rock and that the rock was known as Al-Mina by the ancient Arab geographers. Awwal Bashir said that the Arabians referred to the gigantic rock as Al-Mina because it was located in a part of KinNupe that was known as Mina in those far off days. Lady Flora Shaw wrote that it was this ancient name Al-Mina that Sultan Bello wrongly transcribed as Amina. Dalhatu Ibrahim also said that it was the Arabian national name for KinNupe, Al-Mina from the Old Nupe Mina, that Sultan Bello wrongly transcribed as Amina.

Lady Flora Shaw wrote that Sultan Bello wrongly wrote Al-Mina as Amina because of his strong Islamic bias with Amina as the name of the mother of Prophet Muhammad. Lady Flora Shaw also wrote that Sultan Bello was also influenced by the fact that he was told that that the statue on the Al-Mina rock was that of a prehistoric queen.

Footnotes and References
Yisa, S.A. (2013). Nupe Heritage Dictionary. Minna: Kochita Resources Limited, Minna, p. 20.
MA (K) Abdulrafiu, Muhammed, Kaduna, culture researcher and historian, interviewed 17th February 1996.
AS (M) Sanusi, Abubakar, Minna, oral historian, interviewed 2nd June 1998.
IA (K) Abdulrahman, Isah, Kaduna, newspaper reporter, interviewed 5th April 1997.
IA (K) Abdulrahman, Isah, Kaduna, newspaper reporter, interviewed 5th April 1997.
Atiku, H. (2010). Nok Culture and Nupe Culture, Ngba Edu Magazine, September, 2010. Bida.
JG (I) Gana, Juliana, Ilorin, culture researcher and writer, interviewed 26th March 1994.
JG (I) Gana, Juliana, Ilorin, culture researcher and writer, interviewed 26th March 1994.
Bello, M. (1826). Historical Account of the Kingdom of Tekroor, Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the Years 1822, 1823, and 1824. Clapperton, H. and Denham, D. London: John Murray, Appendix, Section IV, p. 162.
Niven, C.R. (1963). A Short History of Nigeria. Longmans of Nigeria, p. 53.
Bello, M. (1826). Historical Account of the Kingdom of Tekroor, Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the Years 1822, 1823, and 1824. Clapperton, H. and Denham, D. London: John Murray, Appendix, Section IV, p. 162.
Palmer, H.R. (1908). The Kano Chronicle, JRAI, 38(1908), pp. 59-98.
SIN (B) Nda’aba, Saidu Ibrahim, Bida, historian and researcher, interviewed 25th June 1996.
Shaw, F. (1905). A Tropical Dependency: An Outline of the Ancient History of the Western Soudan with an Account of the Modern Settlement of Northern Nigeria. London: James Nisbet & Co. Limited, pp. 246-7.
Bello, M. (1826). Historical Account of the Kingdom of Tekroor, Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the Years 1822, 1823, and 1824. Clapperton, H. and Denham, D. London: John Murray, Appendix, Section IV, p. 162.
Palmer, Memoirs, III, 126.
UM (Z) Muhammed, Umaru, Zaria, researcher, interviewed 27th September 1994.
Bello, M. (1826). Historical Account of the Kingdom of Tekroor, Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the Years 1822, 1823, and 1824. Clapperton, H. and Denham, D. London: John Murray, Appendix, Section IV, p. 162.
Bello, M. (1826). Historical Account of the Kingdom of Tekroor, Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the Years 1822, 1823, and 1824. Clapperton, H. and Denham, D. London: John Murray, Appendix, Section IV, p. 162.
AAU (M) Umaru, Alhaji Aliyu, Mokwa, politician and history researcher, interviewed 24th October 1997.
AH (M) Hamza, Abu, Minna, historian and writer, interviewed 3rd May 1993.
Frobenius, L. (1913). The Voice of Africa: Being an Account of the Travels of the German Inner African Exploration Expedition in the Years, 1910-1912, vol. II. Translated by Rudolf Blind. London: Hutchinson & Co., pp. 619-20.
AM (M) Musa, Abubakar, Minna, researcher, interviewed 14th May 1996.
AM (M) Musa, Abubakar, Minna, researcher, interviewed 14th May 1996.
MASN (K) Ndafogi, Mallam Abdulkadir Suleman, Kaduna, historian and ethnographer, interviewed 16th March 1994.
Baba, A.A.S. (2004). The Nupe Foundation of Lagos, Nupe Eye Magazine, January, 2004. Minna.
TA (K) Aliyu, Tauheed, Kontagora, local historian, interviewed 24th March 1994.
TA (K) Aliyu, Tauheed, Kontagora, local historian, interviewed 24th March 1994.
YA (I) Abdulrashid, Yahaya, Ibadan, sociologist, interviewed 29th January 1996.
YA (I) Abdulrashid, Yahaya, Ibadan, sociologist, interviewed 29th January 1996.
MZA (Z) Abubakar, Mallam Zubairu, Zaria, historian and researcher, interviewed 14th February 1995.
MZA (Z) Abubakar, Mallam Zubairu, Zaria, historian and researcher, interviewed 14th February 1995.
MZA (Z) Abubakar, Mallam Zubairu, Zaria, historian and researcher, interviewed 14th February 1995.
MZA (Z) Abubakar, Mallam Zubairu, Zaria, historian and researcher, interviewed 14th February 1995.
MZA (Z) Abubakar, Mallam Zubairu, Zaria, historian and researcher, interviewed 14th February 1995.
SMS (K) Sani, Mallam Mukhtar, Kaduna, ethnographer, interviewed 23rd June 1994.
BDN (L) Nakordi, Bashiru Dalhatu, Lokoja, journalist and historian, interviewed 22nd March 1993.
Bello, M. (1826). Historical Account of the Kingdom of Tekroor, Narrative of Travels and Discoveries in Northern and Central Africa in the Years 1822, 1823, and 1824. Clapperton, H. and Denham, D. London: John Murray, Appendix, Section IV, p. 162.
Frobenius, L. (1913). The Voice of Africa: Being an Account of the Travels of the German Inner African Exploration Expedition in the Years, 1910-1912, vol. II. Translated by Rudolf Blind. London: Hutchinson & Co., pp. 619-20.
BDN (L) Nakordi, Bashiru Dalhatu, Lokoja, journalist and historian, interviewed 22nd March 1993.
SMS (K) Sani, Mallam Mukhtar, Kaduna, ethnographer, interviewed 23rd June 1994.
SMS (K) Sani, Mallam Mukhtar, Kaduna, ethnographer, interviewed 23rd June 1994.
SMS (K) Sani, Mallam Mukhtar, Kaduna, ethnographer, interviewed 23rd June 1994.
Shaw, F. (1905). A Tropical Dependency: An Outline of the Ancient History of the Western Soudan with an Account of the Modern Settlement of Northern Nigeria. London: James Nisbet & Co. Limited, pp. 246-7.
Shaw, F. (1905). A Tropical Dependency: An Outline of the Ancient History of the Western Soudan with an Account of the Modern Settlement of Northern Nigeria. London: James Nisbet & Co. Limited, pp. 246-7.
Shaw, F. (1905). A Tropical Dependency: An Outline of the Ancient History of the Western Soudan with an Account of the Modern Settlement of Northern Nigeria. London: James Nisbet & Co. Limited, pp. 246-7.
AB (K) Bashir, Awwal, Kano, ethnographer and historian, interviewed 7th May 1998.
Shaw, F. (1905). A Tropical Dependency: An Outline of the Ancient History of the Western Soudan with an Account of the Modern Settlement of Northern Nigeria. London: James Nisbet & Co. Limited, pp. 246-7.
DI (M) Ibrahim, Dalhatu, Minna, historian, interviewed 24th June 1993.
Shaw, F. (1905). A Tropical Dependency: An Outline of the Ancient History of the Western Soudan with an Account of the Modern Settlement of Northern Nigeria. London: James Nisbet & Co. Limited, pp. 246-7.
Shaw, F. (1905). A Tropical Dependency: An Outline of the Ancient History of the Western Soudan with an Account of the Modern Settlement of Northern Nigeria. London: James Nisbet & Co. Limited, pp. 246-7.

1 thought on “Queen Amina of Zaria was Actually a Nupe King called Etsu Zagi! – by Ndagi Abdullahi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © All rights reserved. | FlexNews by Segun Flexible.
Open chat
Powered by