Anima was a great queen of Zazzua, which today is a province of modern-day Nigeria known as Zaira. She was born during the reign of King Zazzau Nohir, and it is widely accepted by scholars that she was the granddaughter of him. After the Songhai empire collapsed to the west, the Zazzua dominated the trans-Saharan trade. It’s wealth came from the trade of leather, cloth, kola, salt horses and imported metals. At age sixteen, Amina became the heir apparent to her mother Queen Bakwa, who was the ruling Queen of Zazzura by that time. Her mother’s reign was known as a peaceful era and one of trade, commerce and prosperity. However, Amina had a natural fascination with military skills, and chose to learn them alongside the responsibilities that came with running councils and diplomacy. Queen Bakwa died in 1566, and the crown passed to Bakwa’s younger brother Karama. At this point, Amina had emerged as the leading warrior of Zazzua cavalry. Her military achievements brought her great wealth, power and a rise in status. Karama eventually died after a 10 year reign, and then Amina finally became queen of Zazzua. Only 3 months later she set off on her first military expedition and she would continue to be at war right up until her death, making her a true warrior-queen. She reigned for an impressive 34 years, and expanded the Zazzua into a small empire. She did not always opt for annexation of neighbouring territories, however, and often would more often try and convince rulers to become vassal-states of Zazzua instead, avoiding prolonged warfare and unnecessary deaths. Amongst her over achievements include pioneering the use of earthen city wall fortifications, which became a defining feature of Hausa city-states ever since. Every military camp she set up, she ordered a defensive wall to built around each. Later, towns would grow within these walls, making conquering territory fast and efficient. Even today, some of these walls are still standing, and are known as “ganuwar Amina”, meaning “Amina’s walls”. She is fondly remembered as “Amina, Yar Bakwa ta san rana”, which means “Amina, daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man”. Amina itself means “Trustworthy” or “Safe One”, from Arabic. It is the number 1 ranked name in Bosnia and Herzegovina (with the variation being “Emina”), and is also popular in various different forms in Indonesia (“Aminah”) and Turkey (“Emine”).