Senate building of the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria
Photo by: Wikimedia, Creative Commons

Zaria is a big city in the state of Kaduna in Northern Nigeria. Formerly called Zazzau, it was among the seven original Hausa city-states.

History of Zaria
Zaria was the capital city of the Zazzau’s Hasau Kingdom as well. In the later years of 1490s, Islam religion entered Zaria through its Habe sister cities, Katsina and Kano. Together with Islam religion, trade also prospered between cities as dealers brought with them camel caravans full of salt in trade for grain and slaves. The kingdom developed to be a tributary state of Songhai Empire between the 15th and 16th century. During the Fulani Jihad in the year 1805, it was seized by the Fulani. The city was taken by British armies headed by Frederick Lugard in the year 1901.

Originally, the older area of Zaria was enclosed by walls, though these have currently largely subsided. In the Tudun Wadan neighborhood and the old part of the city, nearby inhabitants generally live in the usual mud-brick compounds.

Economy and Transport
The economy of Zaria is chiefly agricultural. Staples include millet and guinea corn, and cash crops are tobacco, groundnuts and cotton. Zaria is believed by several to be the main hub of Hausa agriculture.

Since Zaria is located north of Kaduna’s rail junction, it has equal rail admission to the seaports at the Port Harcourt and Lagos.

The Zaria city is home to the Nigeria’s biggest university and the 2nd biggest in Africa, the Ahmuadu Bello University. This university is outstanding in Science, Agriculture, Finance, Law and Medicine.

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