Emirate of Katsina

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Katsina is one of the seven traditional house states ( Hausa bakwai ) of northern Nigeria. In the pre-colonial period, the city-state was characterized by its intensive regional and trans-Saharan trade relations. The eponymous city ​​of Katsina is located in northern Nigeria today .

History before jihad: from its inception to 1807

Founding history

The origin of the city-state of Katsina is largely unclear. According to a recently published theory, it was linked to immigration after the collapse of the Assyrian Empire in 612 BC. Both the Bayajidda legend of the house states and the Israelite patriarchal names on the city's royal list suggest this conclusion. However, it remains unclear whether today's city of Katsina was one of these early foundations or whether it was first established as a secondary foundation in post-Christian times.

Katsina in the 14th century

The Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta heard about Katsina in 1353 when he was staying in Takedda , 600 km north of the city. In his travel report he mentions the city in connection with a trade route for copper : from Takedda the copper was transported to Gobir , then to Zaghay and finally to Bornu . Judging from the routing, the name Zaghay refers to Katsina.

Islamization in the 15th century

The introduction of Islam in the middle of the 15th century led to the rise of the Korawa rulers and the overthrow of the Durbawa rulers. The leader of the Korawa was Muhammad Korau (from hausa kora - "expel"). Legend has it that Korau challenged the local ruler Sanau to a wrestling match. Apparently he only won the duel because he convinced his opponent's wife to wrestle his medicine. The treacherous conquest and killing of Sanau are still remembered today as a stroke of luck during the great Muslim festivals. The sword with which Sanau was killed is considered the most important state insignia.

The transition from the Durbawa to the Korawa is of great importance for the entire history of Hausa, as it is to be seen as a change from an Azna to a Hausa rule. Only after this upheaval did Katsina become a state of the "seven Hausa" ( Hausa bakwai ). This is not a change of dynasty, because the highest representative of the Durbawa, the Durbi, still belonged to the inner circle of power. Even today, the Durbi is the leader of the Azna people of Katsina and one of the most important electors for the new king. He belongs to the group of the seven most influential public officials.

Wars with neighboring states

The local king list mentions victorious war campaigns in different times against the following areas and cities: Asben ( Aïr ), Gobir , Bussa ( Borgu ), Karechin (Achifawa), Anka ( Zamfara ), Kwiambana ( Gwari ), Nupe and Yauri . The Kano Chronicle According occurred several times to wars between Katsina and the nearby Kano .

Katsina under the Fulani rule: 1807 until today

Victory of the Sullebawa-Fulani in Katsina

In 1804, the open confrontation between the Muslim reformer Usman dan Fodio and the king of Gobir Yunfa and other house kings began. For the first time in a long time, the common threat posed by the Fulani resulted in solidarity among the house kings. But the military superiority of the Fulani led to jihad victory everywhere . In Katsina, Umaru Dallaji, the head of the local Sullebawa-Fulani, was appointed leader of the jihad movement. In 1807 he succeeded in defeating the Hausa of Katsina and taking the city.

Fulani rule in Katsina (Nigeria)

Following the Fulani victory in the 19th century, only Umaru Dallaji and his descendants ruled Katsina. However, the British resident HR Palmer appointed the Fulani-Durbi Muhammadu Dikko, also from the Sullebawa clan, to the emir of Katsina because he had rendered particularly valuable service to the British. The subsequent emirs of Katsina are his descendants. Overall, the emirs of Katsina turned out to be great supporters of Islam .

Continuity of the Hausa rule in Maradi (Niger)

Sultan's Palace in Maradi (2013)

Members of the Korawa dynasty of Katsina and their followers fled under their leader Dan Kasawa after the defeat of 1807 with their followers to Damagaram , where they found refuge in the capital Zinder . They later settled in Gafai, 70 km west of Zinder near the border of Katsina land. At that time, the northern province of Katsinas, Maradi , was under the sovereignty of the Fulani governor Mani. However, this made himself so unpopular with the local population that the leader of the Azna organized an uprising with his people in 1815, overpowered Mani and his people and called Dan Kasawa and his followers into the country. Since then, the descendants of the Korawa dynasty of Katsina have ruled Maradi.

Situation in and after the colonial era

The colonial border between Nigeria and Niger agreed between the British and the French in the Katsina-Maradi area corresponds exactly to the pre-colonial border between the successors of Umaru Dallaji in Nigeria and Dan Kasawas in Niger. Despite the division of a linguistically homogeneous area into two parts, it does reflect a pre-colonial political, religious and ethnic reality. Like the other traditional rulers of Nigeria, the Emir of Katsina played an important role under the British Protectorate . The King of Maradi, on the other hand, was only considered "Chef de canton" by the French. These status differences persisted between the two successor states of the historical Katsina. In 2010, the Niger government elevated the ruler of Katsina-Maradi to sultan .


  • A. Hogben and Anthony Kirk-Greene: The Emirates of Northern Nigeria , London 1966.
  • Dierk Lange: Ancient Kingdoms of West Africa , Dettelbach 2004 (here pp. 250-252).
  • - "The Bayajidda legend and Hausa history" (PDF; 748 kB), in: E. Bruder and T. Parfitt (eds.), Studies in Black Judaism , Cambridge 2012, 138–174 (here pp. 161–2) .
  • Herbert R. Palmer: Sudanese Memoirs , 3rd vol., Lagos 1928 (here pp. 74-91).
  • Guy Nicolas: Dynamique sociale et appréhension du monde au sein d'une société hausa , Paris 1975.
  • Yusuf Bala Usman: The Transformation of Katsina , Zaria 1981

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Abdourahmane Idrissa, Samuel Decalo: Historical Dictionary of Niger . 4th edition. Scarecrow, Plymouth 2012, ISBN 978-0-8108-6094-0 , pp. 118 .