Kano Kingdom which is today the Kano Emirate is located in Kano State, Northern Nigeria. Kano Kingdom has existed remained a period in the history of Hausa or Kano in particular in which a powerful Kingdom was established since around 999 AD and remained in existence until it was replaced by Emirate during the Fulani Jihad of 1804.
During the period of Kano Kingdom Before the Jihad, there were many Kings who ruled the Kingdom. During the period Islam penetrated the Kingdom around the 13th century and as a result Kano served as one of the powerful trade and learning centers of the western Sudan. At the time, the influence and greatness of Kano was even compared to that of the Timbuktu or Gao.
During the period of Kano Kingdom, three different dynasties ruled the Kingdom. The dynasties were Bagauda, Rumfa, and Kutumbi Dynasties.
The Early Settlers of Kano
Historically, according to Kano Chronicle and other histories of Kano the first settlers of Kano land were said to be hunters who migrated from as far as Habasha (modern day Ethiopia) around 3th to 5th centuries. The hunters found the Kano land rich of iron and bronze deposits. Also, Kano land was also suitable for farming and rearing of animal. Therefore, different settlements were founded and developed around hills of Dala, Gwauron Dutse, Dutsen Magwan, Fanisau, Tanagar and others.
Later, the early settlers of Kano were brought under one minor political leadership based on the worship of the Shrine of Tsumburbura located on the Dala hill.
THE LEADERSHIP OF BARBUSHE
After about 4 consecutive centuries, towards the end of the 8th to 9th century, the Tsumburbura Shrine Worshipping developed and reached peak as a political institution that brought different aforementioned settlers of Kano under one powerful ruler called Barbushe who was living under the Dala hill. Barbushe was said to be a giant who was as powerful as to kill an elephant and walked with it on his shoulder for a long distance.
At the end of every year, different settlers of Kano gathered under the Dala hill to worship and listened to the annual speech. The speech was offered by Barbushe in which he tells the people what happened in the outgoing year and also tells them what would happen in the incoming year.
However, after the death of Barbushe different weak leaders succeeded and that led to disorder in Kano land.
The Coming of Bagauda and his Dynasty 999 AD – 1463
According to Kano Chronicle, around 999 AD a powerful warrior called Bagauda was said to have been sent by his father Bawo the King of Daura to come and conquer Kano. After facing a minor resistance, Bagauda conquered the less organized settlers of Kano under his control. Eventually, he emerged as the first ‘Sarki’ (a name of king in Hausa language) of Kano.
When Bagauda crowned himself as the Sarki of Kano, he began to create and establish a political institution through which he could rule. He appointed assistants and advisers with royal title which we today knows in Hausa as ‘Hakimai’. These advisers were like Akasan, Kududdufi, Darman, Buram, Goriba, and others. Bagauda died in 1065 after he ruled for almost 66 years, and other kings succeeded the throne after him.
Another significant Sarki of Kano was Gajimasu who ruled Kano from1098 to 1138. Gajimasu initiated the building of Kano Wall called in Hausa as ‘Ganuwar Kano’ for security purpose against external attacks. The building of the Wall started from the gate of Kofar Dan Agundi to the gate Kofar Na’isa.
THE COMING OF ISLAM
According to the Kano Chronicle and other histories of Kano, Islam has reached and accepted in Kano during the rule of Sarki Yaji Dan Tsamiya who ruled from 1349 to 1385. The religion was brought by the Wangarawa Islamic preachers from the Kingdom of Mali under the leadership of Sheikh Abdurrahman Al-Zaiti. Fortunately to the preachers, King Yaji accepted Islam and declared it as the official religion of the Kano Kingdom. Since then, Kano has continued to be an Islamic State.
Rumfa Dynasty has remained one of the dynasties in the history of Kano Kingdom. The Dynasty was named after the name of the famous Kano King Sarki Muhammadu Rumfa. After Sarki Rumfa, the Dynasty produced eight other kings who ruled Kano Kingdom.
SARKI MUHAMMADU RUMFA (1499 – 1509)
According to Kano Chronicle and other books written about Kano Kingdom, Sarki Muhammadu Rumfa was described as the most famous of all the Sarkis or Kings of Kano. He succeeded the throne of Kano Kingdom in 1499. Sarki Rumfa gave Kano Kingdom a new face by modifying a the Kano royal institution into a modern one at the time. He initiated different systems and styles that up to date are part of the unique Kano Royalty or Emirate in general as follows :
- At first instance, he built the Kano Palace which is up to accommodate the Kano monarchs. This is why the place is still traditionally refered to as the ‘Gidan Rumfa’
- He consolidate Islam and invited Islamic scholars from all over to Kano for Islamic scholarship
- He initiated the Kano Trumpet known as the ‘Kakakin Kano’
- He began the tradition of wearing the ostrich feathers shoe known in Hausa as ‘Takalmin Gashin Jimina’
- He initiated the tradition of marrying concubines known in Hausa as ‘Kwarakwarai’
- He initiated the tradition of durbar known as ‘Hawan Sallah’ during the Eid El Adha and Kabir festivals
- He established the famous Kurmi Market.
The aforementioned modifications and initiations by Sarki Muhammadu Rumfa gave Kano Kingdom a unique prestige and power that attracted many people to Kano Kingdom. Kano city on the other hand also became the most powerful city in Hausaland in terms of trade and learning.
KINGS AFTER SARKI RUMFA
Another influential King of Kano after Sarki Rumfa was Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Kisoke who ruled from 1509 to 1565. Sarki Kisoke consolidated the commercial activities in Kano. During his time Arabs from Tunis (modern day Tunisia) began to come to Kano for trading via the Trans-Saharan Trade route.
During reign of Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Zaki (1618 – 1623) Kano faced a huge challenge of attacks from the Kororofa tribes. The constant attacks forced some people living in the Kano Kingdom out of the city to began migrating to Katsina or Zazzau (Zaria)
Kano city was expanded and another gates were added that included Kofar Dogo (Kofar Na’isa), Kofar Gadon Kaya up to Kofar Kansakali during the reign Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Nazaki (1618 – 1623) who was the last King in the Rumfa Dynasty.
The Kutumbi Dynasty was the third and last dynasties in the history of the Kano Kingdom before the Jihad. The Dynasty was named after the famous King of Kano Sarkin Kano Alwali Kutumbi who reigned from 1623 to 1648. Sarki Kutumbi was described as an expansionist who fought many wars and expanded Kano Kingdom. He led Kano into different wars with kingdoms such as Bauchi, Gombe, and Katsina where he annexed many lands and brought them under Kano.
Sarkin Kano Alwali Kutumbi led a war with Katsina. He was said to have even reached the wall of Katsina city and camped his army near the gate of Kofar Yandaka in the night, hoping to brake and enter the city of Katsina. But, unfortunately, in the night the army of Sarkin Katsina Tsaga Rana attacked the Kano armies unexpectedly and succeeded in killing Sarkin Kano Alwali Kutumbi.
During the reign of Sarkin Kano Shekarau a peace treaty was signed between Kano and Katsina which brought an end to the Kano-Katsina Wars.
After the death of Sarkin Kano Shekarau his brother Muhammadu Kukuna succeeded the throne. However, Shekarau’s son called Soyaki refused to paid homage to Sarkin Kano Kukuna. Disagreement arose and eventually Soyaki toppled the Sarkin Kano Kukuna from power in 1651. However, Kukuna gathered his supporters and prepared for a war. At last, a war was fought and Kukuna won which led to the restoration of Kukuna as the Sarkin Kano for the second term.
Decline and Collapsed of the Kingdom
During the reign of Sarkin Kano Dadi dan Bawa (1670 – 1703) the Kororofa tribes returned their attacks on Kano. It was even recorded that they killed many armies of Sarkin Kano Dadi.
During the reign of Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Sharefa (1703 – 1731) the armies of Zamfara Kingdom defeated Kano which led to the loss of many armies.
During the reign of Sarkin Kano Mumbai (1731-1743) Kano Kingdom faced a huge economic deterioration. Gradually, the traders who were coming from North Africa began to reduced.
CONSTANT ATTACKS AND POOR LEADERSHIP
Kano also began to faced a constant attacks from the other states easpeacially Gobir. It was recorded that during the reign of Sarkin Kano Alhaji Kabe (1743 – 1753) Kano Kingdom faced constant attacks by Sarkin Gobir Barbari who was said to have been a cruel leader.
Later, the Kano Kingdom experience weak leadership and the increase of unnecessary tax. Gradually, the poor began to be dissented and pray for change.
THE FULANI JIHAD
Towards the end of the 18th century, a Muslim and a Fulani Scholar called Usman Dan Fodio emerged in Gobir Kingdom one of the powerful kingdoms in Hausaland. Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio began preaching Islam and sought to reform the society. Gradually, he accumulated followers from every Kingdom in Hausaland. The development led to disagreement between him and the king of Gobir Sarki Yunfa. The Sarkin Gobir began persecuting the followers of Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio. The situation worsened which forced Sheikh Usman and his followers to migrated from their hometown of Degel to Gudu. From Gud, Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio ordered his followers all over Hausaland to prepare and undertook a religious war (Jihad) which we historically known as the Fulani Jihad.
In Kano, the Fulani and followers of Sheikh Usman adhered to his order of carrying out a Jihad. The leaders of Jihad in Kano prepared and began a war with Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Alwali. In 1807, the Kano Jihadists succeeded in toppling the Sarkin Kano Alwali from power. On the other hand, the success led to the collapsed of Kano Kingdom and the establishment of Kano Emirate
List of Kano Kings (999 AD – 1807 AD)
- SARKI BAGAUDA 999 – 1065
- SARKI DAWACACA 1065 – 1098
- SARKI GAJIMASU 1098 – 1138
- SARAKUNA NUTA DA MAGAWATA (they are twins and ruled together) 1138 – 1139
- SARKI TSARAKI 1139-1199
- SARKI NAGUJI 1199 – 1254
- SARKI GUGUWA 1254 – 1298
- SARKI SHEKARAU 1298 – 1315
- SARKI TSAMIYA 1315 – 1352
- SARKI ZAMNA GAWA 1352 – 1359
- SARKI YAJI DAN TSAMIYA 1359 – 1396
- SARKI BUGAJI 1396 – 1401
- SARKI KANAJEJI 1401 – 1421
- SARKI UMARU 1421 – 1433
- SARKI DAUDA BAKIN DAMISA 1433 – 1450
- SARKI ABDULLAHI BURJA 1450 – 1460
- SARKI DAGOTA (bebe ne) 1460 – 1460
- SARKI ATUMA (he ruled for only seven days) 1460 – 1460
- SARKI YAKUBU 1460 – 1463
20. SARKI MUHAMMADU RUMFA 1463 – 1499
21. SARKI ABDULLAHI DAN MUHAMMADU RUMFA 1499 – 1509
22. SARKI MUHAMMADU KISOKI DAN ABDULLAHI 1509 – 1565
22. SARKI YAKUBU DAN KISOKI 1565 – 1565
23. SARKI DAUDA ABASAMA DAN YAKUBU 1565 – 1565
24. ABUBAKAR KADO DAN MUHAMMADU RUMFA 1565 – 1573
25. MUHAMMADU SHESHERE DAN YAKUBU 1573 – 1582
26. MUHAMMADU ZAKI DAN KISOKI 1582 – 1618
27. MUHAMMADU NA ZAKI DAN MUHAMMADU ZAKI 1618 – 1623
28. SARKI KUTUMBI 1623 – 1648
29. SARKI ALHAJI DAN KUTUMBI 1648 – 1649
30. SARKI SHEKARAU DAN ALHAJI 1649 – 1651
31. SARKI KUKUNA DAN ALHAJI 1651 – 1652
32. SARKI SOYAKI (yan kwanaki yayi) 1652 – 1652
33. SARKI MUHAMMAN KUKUNA 1652 – 1660
34. SARKI BAWA DAN DADI 1660 – 1670
35. SARKI DADI DAN BAWA 1670 – 1703
36. SARKI MUHAMMADU SHAREFA DAN DADI 1703 – 1731
37. SARKI KUMBARI DAN SHAREFA 1731 – 1743
38. SARKI ALHAJI KABE DAN KUMBARI 1743 – 1753
39. SARKI YAJI DAN DADI 1753 – 1768
40. SARKI BABBA ZAKI DAN YAJI 1768 – 1776
41. SARKI DAUDA ABASAMA DAN YAJI 1776 – 1781
42. SARKI MUHAMMADU ALWALI DAN YAJI 1781 – 1807