HISTORY OF KANO CITY

A view of Kano city. Top left : Kano city center, Top right : Dangi flyover at Zaria Road, Bottom left : Nassarawa GRA, Bottom right : Kano Central Mosque.

History of Kano City was an ancient story that attracted the attention of many historians all over the world. The history of the city has dated back to more than thousand years ago. Even the foundation of the Kano Kingdom was around the year 999 A.D. when Bagauda established the Kano authority as a city-state.

The City of Kano is one of the early seven Hausa speaking cities. It is the capital city of Kano State located in the northern part of Nigeria with an estimated population of about 4,103,000 as of 2021. The City is also the second largest Nigerian city after Lagos.

Historical Background

EARLY SETTLERS

The history of Kano City has studied by many historians. Many among the historians held different views regarding the History of Kano. But, whatever the view, all these historians dated the Kano history to as far back as beyond the 10th A.D. Because, even the foundation of the Kano Kingdom was on the year 999 A.D. The history of the foundation of Kano City was based on migration from the east. That was why all the histories of the origin of Kano City was centered on the migration of hunters from the east.

The first story or legend of origin says that Kano City was founded by people who migrated from the east, specifically Ethiopia under their leader called Dala. These group of people were hunters and blacksmiths who were wandering in search of animals and iron. Gradually, they reached an area blessed with iron around Dutsen Dala and Gwauron Dutse hill. Therefore, these people founded their settlement around these two hills especially around Dutsen Dala which was named after the name of the their leader.

By 7th century the grandchildren of the early settlers were politically, culturally, and religiously united under the deity of Tsumburbura. The Tsumburbura was centered on top of the Dala hill under the leadership of Barbushe. According to Kano Chronicle, Barbushe was said to be the political and religious leader of the people living within Kano and its environs. He also have deputies who ruled on his behalf in settlements around Kano such as the Gwauron Dutse, Magwan, Jigirys, Fanisau, and Tangar hills.

From 10th to 16th Century

FOUNDATION OF THE KANO AS A CITY-STATE

In the year 999 AD, people living in Kano and its environs were conquered by a warrior called Bagauda. Bagauda was said to be one of the seven sons of Bawo the King of Daura who were sent to establish kingdoms in the seven Hausa cities. He established himself as the first Sarki which means King of Kano.

Since the conquest of Kano by Bagauda, the Kano city developed into a large city-state with political hegemony over some its environs.

WALL OF THE CITY

During the reign of King or Sarkin Kano Gijimasu (1098-1134) the building of the famous Kano Wall known as the Ganuwar Kano started. The main purpose of the wall was a defensive against the hostilities from the neighboring states.

Ganuwar Kano (Ancient Kano Wall) near the Sabuwar Kofa

The building of the Ganuwar Kano started from the area around Kofar Dan Agundi and Kofar Na’isa Gates. Since then, the subsequent Kings of Kano continued expanding the Wall up to the late 17th century specifically during the reign of Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Nazaki. By the early 19th century, the Ganuwar Kano has 15 gates that includes Kofar Dan Agundi, Kofar Na’isa, Kofar Gadon Kaya, Kofar Dukawuya, Kofar Kabuga, Kofar Kansakali, Kofar Waika, Kofar Dawanau, Kofar Lunkui (Ruwa), Kofar Mazugal, Kofar Wambai, Kofar Mata, and Kofar Nassarawa. While, during the Colonial period two gates were added that include Kofar Famfo in 1926, and Sabuwar Kofa in 1933.

THE COMING OF ISLAM TO KANO

Since the establishment of the Kano Kingdom or Kano City-State, there was a flow migrants to Kano. These migrants includes people from the other west African areas such as Fulani. Also, around the middle of the 14th century Arabs from north Africa began coming to Kano.

During the reign of Sarkin Kano Yaji Dan Tsamiya (1349-1385) a group of people known as Wangarawa from Mali under the leadership of Abdulrahman Zaiti brought Islam to Kano. They succeeded in persuading the Sarkin Kano Yaji in accepting the Islamic religion. After accepting Islam Sarki Yaji also declared Islam as the official religion of Kano.

During the reign of Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Rumfa (1463-1499), Kano City in particular and Kano Kingdom in general became an important Islamic center in the Hausaland or Central Sudan. During the reign of Rumfa, important and renown Islamic Scholars such as Sheikh Abdulkarim Al-Maghili and Sheikh Abdurrahman al-Suyudi from Misra (Egypt) visited Kano. They were warmly accepted in the Kano Palace by Sarki Rumfa. Sheikh Al-Maghili had even wrote a treatise book titled in Arabic as “Tajulmulk fi ma ya jibbu alal muluki“. The book was written on how the King should administered his Kingdom properly.

TRADE

During reign of Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Rumfa Kano began trading with its neighbors and also the north African cities such as Tripoli, Fez, Ghadamus, Ghat, and others. The trade was known as the Trans-Saharan Trade that linked north African cities with the Sudanic cities of West Africa such as Kano itself, Katsina, Gao, Timbuktu, Djenne, and others. Due to the flow of traders and the development of the Trans-Saharan Trade, Sarki Rumfa established Kurmi Market (Kasuwar Kurmi) in order host trade activities.

Kano became important during the Trans-Saharan Trade in which it became a major trade center. Different goods from north Africa or Mediterranean world such cloth, turban, spices, and were brought to Kano on camels. While Kano traders sold their goods such as hide and Skin and other local items.

From 16th to 19th Century

From 20th up to 21st Century

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