/zahr"ee euh/, n.
a city in N central Nigeria. 224,000.

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formerly Zazzau

Historic kingdom and traditional emirate, northern Nigeria.

It was founded in the 11th century and was the southernmost of the original seven Hausa Bakwai states. Islam was introduced с 1456, and there were Muslim Hausa rulers in the early 16th century. A Songhai warrior conquered Zazzau с 1512. By the end of the century it was renamed Zaria and was in decline. It became a tributary state (с 1734–1804) of the Bornu kingdom. In 1804 it came under the Fulani Muslims. The Zaria emirate was created in 1835. It remains one of Nigeria's largest traditional emirates, and it is one of the nation's leading producers of cotton for export.

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 city, Kaduna state, north-central Nigeria, on the Kubanni River (a tributary of the Kaduna). Headquarters of the Zaria Local Government Council and the traditional Zaria emirate, it is served by road and rail and by an airport just to the northwest.

      Zaria is an old walled town. Probably founded in about 1536, later in the century it became the capital of the Hausa state of Zazzau. Both town and state were named for Queen Zaria (late 16th century), younger sister and successor of Zazzau's ruler Queen Amina.

      Present-day Zaria has four main areas: the old walled town, inhabited by Hausa and Fulani peoples, which has numerous Islamic schools; the residential areas of Tudun Wada (which handles the old section's overflow) and Sabon Gari (the “African strangers' settlement”), which were established early in the colonial period; and the township for the non-African community. The old walls, the combined length of which is 15 miles (24 km), have eight gates, and a large market is still held on an ancient site.

      Zaria is a major collecting point for cotton, tobacco, peanuts (groundnuts), shea nuts, and hides and skins. Cotton, peanuts, and shea nuts are processed locally and sent by rail to Lagos (430 miles [690 km] southwest) for export. There is an important market for sorghum, millet, soybeans, brown sugar, onions, locust beans, baobab leaves and fruit, cowpeas, kola nuts, cloth, cattle, sheep, and goats. Cotton ginning became Zaria's chief economic activity after the opening of the railway in 1910, but leather tanning and cotton weaving and dyeing are traditional crafts of its Hausa and Gbari inhabitants. Other significant industries include railway repairing, furniture making, cloth printing, cigarette and cosmetics manufacturing, and basket making. The first northern Nigerian newspaper, written in Hausa, Gaskiya Ta F: Kwabo (“Truth Is Worth More than a Penny”), was launched in Zaria in 1939.

      Zaria is the educational centre of the northern states. Located at Samaru, 7 miles (11 km) west-northwest, is Ahmadu Bello University (1962), with its associated institutes of education, economic and social studies, administration, and health. Samaru is also the site of the Institute for Agricultural Research and Special Services (1924) and the Leather Research Institute of Nigeria. At Zaria are the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre and a branch of the Katsina College of Arts, Science, and Technology. Zaria also has a commercial institute, a fine-arts school, and a school of pharmacy. There are several hospitals and a nursing school. Pop. (2005 est.) 847,000.

▪ historical kingdom and province, Nigeria
formerly  Zazzau , or  Zegzeg 

      historic kingdom, traditional emirate, and local government council in Kaduna State, northern Nigeria, with its headquarters at Zaria (q.v.) city. The kingdom is traditionally said to date from the 11th century, when King Gunguma founded it as one of the original Hausa Bakwai (Seven True Hausa States). As the southernmost state of the seven, it had the function of capturing slaves for all Hausa Bakwai, especially for the northern markets of Kano and Katsina. Camel caravans from the Sahara travelled south to Zazzau to exchange salt for slaves, cloth, leather, and grain. Islām was introduced about 1456, and there were Muslim Hausa rulers in the early 16th century. Muḥammad I Askia, a warrior leader of the Songhai Empire, conquered Zazzau c. 1512; the results of that conquest were recorded by the traveller Leo Africanus.

      Later in the century, Zazzau's ruler Queen Amina enlarged her domain by numerous conquests, including those of the Nupe and the Jukun kingdoms; even the powerful states of Kano and Katsina were required to pay tribute. By the end of the century, however, Zazzau—renamed Zaria—came under the control of Kororofa (Kwararafa), the Jukun kingdom centred near Ibi to the southeast. Shortly after the decline of Kororofa, Zaria was forced to become a tributary state (c. 1734–1804) of the Bornu kingdom to the northeast.

      In 1804 the Muslim Hausa ruler of Zaria pledged allegiance to Usman dan Fodio, the Fulani Muslim leader who was conducting the great jihād (“holy war”) in northern Nigeria. This resulted in a Fulani becoming ruler of Zaria in 1808. Zaria emirate was created in 1835, retaining some of its old vassal states (including Keffi, Nasarawa, Jemaa, and Lapai to the south); it was governed by a representative of the sultan at Sokoto (216 mi northwest of Zaria city), as well as the local emir.

      Zaria's fortunes declined in the late 19th century; the critical blow was the loss in 1899 of Birnin Gwari (a town and Hausa chiefdom 63 mi west of Zaria city) to Kontagora (an emirate to the southwest). In 1901 Zaria sought British protection against slave raids by Kontagora. After the murder in 1902 of Captain Moloney, the British resident at Keffi (154 mi south), by the Zaria magaji (“representative”), the British stripped the emirate of most of its vassal states.

      Zaria remains, however, one of Nigeria's largest (about 12,750 sq mi [33,000 sq km]) traditional emirates. A savanna area, it is one of the nation's leading producers of cotton for export. Other significant cash crops include tobacco, peanuts (groundnuts), shea nuts, soybeans, sugarcane (which is processed locally into brown sugar), and ginger. Sorghum, millet, and cowpeas are the staple foods; cattle, chickens, goats, guinea fowl, and sheep are raised for meat. Tin mining has long been important in the south, at the western edge of the Jos Plateau. The population is an ethnic mix in which Muslim Hausa and Fulani people predominate.

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Universalium. 2010.

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