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Nigerian Flag under the British colonial rule from 1914-1960. Source :

British Conquest of Kano was a time when the British army used force and brought the Kano Emirate under the British rule in 1903. Before the conquest, Kano Emirate under the Emir Alu Mai Sango resisted any British attempt of conquest.

Background to the British Conquest of Kano

By 1903, almost all of the northern Nigeria has been conquered and brought under the British colonial rule. Kano and Sokoto were the only major powers that resisted the British rule. However, in the year 1903, there was an incident in Keffi in a person called Ibrahim Danyamusa who was the Magajin Gari of Keffi killed the British Resident of Keffi called Captain Maloney. After the incident, Ibrahim Danyamusa fled northward and finally accepted in Kano by the Emir of Kano Alu Maisango. Emir Alu praised Magajin Gari of Keffi over the killing of the British Resident.

On the other hand, the killing of the British soldier and a colonial administrator have frustrated the British government. Also, what the Emir of Kano did of hailing the Magajin Gari of Keffi has also been a frustrating. Therefore, the British government ordered the unconditional capture of Magajin Gari and most importantly the conquest of Kano.

The Conquest

On 29 January, 1903, the British army numbering about 1000 under the command of Colonel Thomas Morland left Zaria and approached Kano. By February, the armies reached territory of the Kano Emirate. But, not so long on their way the British armies faced resistance at a town called Bebeji in which Sarkin Fulanin Bebeji refused to allowed them to proceed. However, the Sarkin Fulani was killed and the British army proceeded to Kano.

On the other hand, before the British army set out, the Emir of Kano Alu Maisango left Kano to Sokoto for a visit. The Emir left with almost all of his top commanders such as the Waziri, Wambai, Madaki, Makama, and others. Therefore, Kano was left under the care of some top royal slaves.

On 2 February 1903, the British army arrived at Kano near the Kano Wall around the Kofar Dukawuya Gate. They tried to enter the city but the gate was so strong to be removed. Later, they used one of their machine guns and broke the gate. With the success, all of the battalion enter the city and headed to the Emir’s Palace. When the Kano people saw the number of the soldiers they began to ran for their lives and shouted “Nasara sun ci Kano” which in English means “The Europeans have conquered Kano”. At the Palace, the Kano Royal Slaves led by Sallama Jatau came out and fought the British. However, the British soldiers used their superior weapons and cleared the resistance. Eventually, the commander Colonel Morland entered in the interior of the Kano Palace and claimed the entire Kano Emirate for the British Colonial Government by erecting the British flag.

On his part, the Emir of Kano Alu heard the news of the conquest of Kano by the British. Therefore, after receiving the news, Emir Alu left Sokoto with some of warriors to Sudan where he hoped to meet the Mahdi for help. Unfortunately, on his way the British army captured and exiled him in Lokojo.


After the British have successfully captured Kano a new Emir and Resident were appointed by the British Colonial Governor of the Northern Nigeria Lord Lugard. Lord Lugard appointed Captain Abadie as the Resident of Kano. While, in April 1903 Wamban Kano Abbas who was the brother of the deposed Emir was appointed the new Emir of Kano.


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