Kano Emirate

For Kano Emirate Council, see Kano Emirate Council. For Kano Emirate - Native Authority, see Kano Emirate Council.
Massarautar Kano
Al Amir Al Kano
Fula Emirate


Busar Bagauda
Drum of Bagauda
Capital Kano
(1807- 1880)
Languages Arabic (official), Fula, Hausa
Religion Sunni Islam (Official), Hausa Animism, Fula Animism
Government Fula Oligarchy
Absolute monarchy
List of Emirs of Kano
   1807 Suleman Abu Hama (first)
  1889-1903 Aliyu Babba (last)
Grand Vizier
  1807–???? Muhammadu Bakatsine (First)
  1889-1903 Ahmadu Mai Shahada (last)
Legislature Shura/ Taran Kano
   Upper house House of Nine
   Founded ???? 1807
   Battle of Kwatarkwashi 15 Feb 1903
Currency Dirham, Salt, Gold
Preceded by
Sultanate of Kano
Sultanate of Maradi
Sultanate of Ningi
Today part of
Part of a series on the
History of Northern Nigeria

The Kano Emirate was a religious state in Northern Nigeria, the Emirate was formed in 1805 during the Fulani jihad, when the old Hausa Sultanate of Kano became subject to the Sokoto Caliphate. During and after the colonial period the powers of the emirate were steadily reduced.[1]


Hausa kingdom and Sultanate

Main article: Kingdom of Kano
Main article: Sultanate of Kano

The Hausa Kingdom of Kano was based on an ancient settlement of Dala Hill. While small chiefdoms were previously present in the area, according to the Kano Chronicle, Bagauda, a grandson of the mythical hero Bayajidda,[2] became the first king of Kano in 999, reigning until 1063.[3][4] Muhammad Rumfa ascended to the throne in 1463 and reigned until 1499. During his reign he reformed the city, expanded the Sahelian Gidan Rumfa (Emir's Palace), and played a role in the further Islamization of the city as he urged prominent residents to convert.[5][6] The Hausa state remained independent until the Fulani conquest of 1805.

Fulani conquest and rule

1850 steel engraving of Kano

At the beginning of the 19th century, Fulani Islamic leader Usman dan Fodio led a jihad affecting much of northern Nigeria, leading to the emergence of the Sokoto Caliphate. Kano became the largest and most prosperous province of the empire.[7] This was one of the last major slave societies, with high percentages of enslaved population long after the Atlantic slave trade had been cut off. Heinrich Barth, a classical scholar who spent several years in northern Nigeria in the 1850s, estimated the percentage of slaves in Kano to be at least 50%, most of whom lived in slave villages.[7]

From 1893 until 1895, two rival claimants for the throne fought a civil war. With the help of royal slaves, Yusufu was victorious over Tukur, and claimed the title of emir.[8]


The British pacification campaign termed Kano-Sokoto Expedition set off from Zaria at the end of January 1903 under the command of Colonel Morland. British officers and N.C.O.s and 800 African rank and file. Apart from a company of mounted infantry and a few gunners, the whole force consisted of infantry. They were supported, however, by four 75-mm. mountain guns, which could if necessary be dismantled and transported by porters, and by six machine guns.

After sporadic fighting outside the walls of the fort, the British managed to penetrate the defensive parameters of the capital. Kano was mostly left defenseless at the time, the Emir, Aliyu Babba was away with its large contingent Cavalry for the Autumn Campaign at Sokoto. News of the British capture of Kano in February 1903 sent the Cavarlry in a long march to retake the city.

After successfully defeating the British in three encounters, on the 27 of February 1903, the Grand Vizier of Kano; Ahmadu Mai Shahada and much of the Kano Cavalry was ambushed at Katarkwashi. The death of the Vizier and subsequent capture and exile to Lokoja of the 7th emir of Kano; Aliyu Babba spelled the formative end of the Kano Emirate.[1] The British made Kano an important administrative centre and kept most of the Emirates institutions in the form of the Kano Emirate Council subject to the British crown in a newly formed state called Northern Nigeria.


Emirs of Kano under Sokoto vassalage

Emirs under Sokoto vassalage were:[9]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Kano". Kano Online. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
  2. Okehie-Offoha, Marcellina; Matthew N. O. Sadiku (December 1995). Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Nigeria. Africa World Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-86543-283-3.
  3. "Kano". Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
  4. Ki-Zerbo, Joseph (1998). UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. IV, Abridged Edition: Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century. University of California Press. p. 107. ISBN 0-520-06699-5.
  5. "Caravans Across the Desert: Marketplace". AFRICA: One Continent. Many Worlds. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Foundation. Archived from the original on 2 January 2005. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  6. "50 Greatest Africans – Sarki Muhammad Rumfa & Emperor Semamun". When We Ruled. Every Generation Media. Retrieved 5 May 2007.
  7. 1 2 Lovejoy, Paul (1983). Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 195. ISBN 0-521-24369-6.
  8. Stilwell, Sean (2000). "Power, Honour and Shame: The Ideology of Royal Slavery in the Sokoto Caliphate". Africa: Journal of the International African Institute. Edinburgh University Press. 70 (3): 394–421. doi:10.2307/1161067. ISSN 0001-9720. JSTOR 1161067.
  9. "Traditional States of Nigeria". WorldStatesmen.org. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
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