Katsina @31: All you need to know about the historical kingdom and emirate
Katsina, state, north-western Nigeria. It was formed from the northern half of Kaduna state 23rd September, 1987. Katsina is bordered by the Republic of Niger to the north and by the Nigerian states of Jigawa and Kano to the east, Kaduna to the south, and Zamfara to the west.
The state consists largely of scrub vegetation with some wooded savanna in the south. It is mainly inhabited by Muslim Hausa (the Katsena [Katsenawa], Kano [Kanawa], and Bugaje branches) and Fulani peoples and by a few Maguzawas (animistic Hausas). Farming is the chief occupation; peanuts (groundnuts) are the main cash crop, but cotton is important in the south. Millet and sorghum are grown as staple foods, and there is vegetable gardening in riverine floodplains. Most of its peoples own cattle, sheep, or goats, and hides and skins are sold for profit. Katsina town is the state capital and largest settlement; it has a steel-rolling mill and a polytechnic college. The state is served by the main highway between Kano and Maradi (Niger). Area 9,341 square miles (24,192 square km).
Katsina is a historic kingdom and emirate in northern Nigeria. According to tradition, the kingdom, one of the Hausa Bakwai (“Seven True Hausa States”), was founded in the 10th or 11th century.
Islām was introduced in the 1450s, and Muhammad Korau (reigned late 15th century) was Katsina’s first Muslim king. During his reign camel caravans crossed the Sahara from Ghudāmis (Ghadames), Tripoli, and Tunis southward to Katsina and brought such prosperity to the state that it became caught in the rivalry between the great West African empires of Songhai (Gao) and Bornu.
In 1513 Katsina was conquered by the Songhai.
The original walls around Katsina town, the kingdom’s capital, were built in the mid-16th century. In 1554 Katsina defeated the forces of Songhai and, in 1570, those of Kano, its principal rival in the trans-Saharan trade. After Moroccan armies had vanquished Songhai in 1591, Katsina was (until the end of the 18th century) a tributary state of Bornu. Katsina entered its greatest period of prosperity in the early 18th century.
Besides being the leading Hausa commercial state, it replaced Timbuktu (Tombouctou) as the chief West African center of Islāmic studies. Later in the century, wars with Gobir, a Hausa state to the northwest, marked the beginning of Katsina’s decline.
Fulani herdsmen settled in Katsina by the 15th century, and in 1804 the Fulani jihad (holy war) leader, Usman dan Fodio, led a revolt (beginning in Gobir) against the Hausa overlords. The Fulani leader Umaru Dallaji captured Katsina town in 1806 and was named the first Katsina emir with Katsina as his seat.
The emirate was governed by the representative of the Sultan of Sokoto (a town 160 miles [258 km] west) as well as the local emir. Many of the Hausa nobility and people fled to Dankama (25 miles [40 km] northeast) and to Tassawa (Tessaoua) and Maradi in Niger, where they proclaimed a Hausa Katsina chiefdom. Their raids throughout the 19th century weakened the Fulani emir and Katsina town (which was surpassed by Kano).
In 1903 Katsina’s emir pledged allegiance to the British rulers of Northern Nigeria. When the British and French set the present Niger-Nigeria boundary in 1904, Katsina emirate was reduced in size and made a part of Kano province. Much of its former territory is now in Katsina state.
Katsina, town, capital of Katsina state, northern Nigeria, near the Niger border. Probably founded about 1100 near Ambuttai, which was the residence of Katsina’s Hausa kings and the annual meeting place for the rulers of nearby Durbi, the town was named for Kacinna (Katsena, Katsina), the wife of Janzama (a Durbawa king of the time) and a princess of Daura (the legendary home of the Hausa people, 49 miles [79 km] east). After a period (c. 1513–54) under the Songhai askias (“emperors”), Katsina became the chief trans-Saharan caravan centre of the Hausa states from the late 16th century and remained so until about 1815, when it was surpassed by Kano and bypassed by new trade routes running south to the Gulf of Guinea coast.
Katsina’s Fulani emirs retain traditional and advisory roles and reside in the palace of the Kangiwa (“Elephant’s Head”); among the royal treasures of the palace is Gajere, a sword with a 13th-century Arabic inscription that was used in the overthrow of the Kumayo-Durbawa dynasty in the early 14th century.
Associated with the town’s large central mosque is the Gobarau Minaret, a 50-foot (15-meter) tower made of mud and palm branches and probably dating from the 18th century. Most of the town’s old 13.5-mile- (22-kilometre-) long wall is in ruins. There is a small government residential area outside the wall.
Modern Katsina is a major collecting point for peanuts (groundnuts) and for hides and skins that are sent to Kano (92 miles [148 km] southeast) for export by road and rail. In Katsina’s central market, sorghum, millet, onions, and other vegetables, peanuts, indigo, goats, poultry, sheep, cattle, and cotton are traded. Traditional crafts of the town’s predominantly Hausa population include weaving and dyeing of cotton, working in leather and metal, and the design of pottery, embroidery, and calabashes. Modern industries were introduced in the 1970s and include vegetable-oil mills and a steel-rolling plant.
In the 1970s Katsina was also developed as a regional education center. It is the site of the Katsina Polytechnic college (1983) and federal and Islāmic teacher-training colleges. The town is located on the highway between Kano and Maradi (Niger), and it is a junction for local roads.