Queen Amina (also known as Queen Aminatu), was the elder daughter of Queen Bakwa Turunku, the founder of the Zazzau Kingdom in 1536. Some scholars date Queen Amina’s reign to about 1549, as heir apparent after the death of her mother. This medieval African kingdom was located in the region now known as the Kaduna State in the north-central region of Nigeria, capital at the modern city of Zaria. Zaria (aka Birnin Zaria) was named after Queen Amina’s younger sister Zariya, and is where the Royal Palace of Zaria resided.
The earliest commentator to mention Queen Amina is Muhammed Bello’s history Ifaq al-Maysur, composed around 1836. Queen Amina is also mentioned in the Kano Chronicle, a well-regarded and detailed history of the city of Kano and the surrounding Hausa people. It was composed in the late 19th century and incorporated earlier oral histories before the Fulani jihad of 1804-1810. It included king-lists of the various Hausa kingdoms.
Known as a great military strategist, the cavalry-trained Queen Amina fought many wars that expanded this southern-most Hausa kingdom.