History Of Zamfara State From Pre Colonial Times To Present Day

History of Zamfara State: From Pre-Colonial Times to Present Day

Zamfara State is a state in northwestern Nigeria, and it is one of the 36 states in the country. The state was created on 1 October 1996, and it was carved out of the old Sokoto State. The capital of the state is Gusau, and it is made up of 14 local government areas.

The history of Zamfara State dates back to the 11th century when the Zamfara Kingdom was established. The kingdom flourished up to the 16th century as a city-state, and its capital shifted with the fortunes of the kingdom. The kingdom later became part of the Sokoto Caliphate after the Fulani Jihad of 1804.

The inhabitants of Zamfara State are mainly Hausa and Fulani, with a population of over 5,833,494. The state has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its traditional art and craft, including weaving, pottery, and leatherwork. The state is also endowed with natural resources such as gold, lead, and zinc, which have contributed to the economic growth of the state.


Geographical Setting

Location and Borders

Zamfara State is located in the northwestern part of Nigeria and it is bordered by Sokoto State to the north, Niger State to the east, Kebbi State to the west, and Kaduna State to the south. The state has a total land area of about 38,418 square kilometers and it is situated between latitude 11°00’N and longitude 6°00’E.

Topography and Climate

Zamfara State is characterized by a rugged terrain with an average elevation of about 450 meters above sea level. The state is part of the Guinea Savannah region of Nigeria and it is dominated by savannah vegetation. The climate of the state is tropical with two distinct seasons – the rainy season which lasts from May to October and the dry season which lasts from November to April. The average annual rainfall in the state is about 900mm.

The state is also home to several rivers and streams which include the Rima River, the Kaura River, and the Bakalori Dam. These water bodies provide a source of water for irrigation and fishing activities in the state. The state is also endowed with mineral resources such as gold, copper, and iron ore which are mined in various parts of the state.

Overall, the geographical setting of Zamfara State has played a significant role in shaping the history and development of the state.


Historical Timeline

Pre-Colonial Era

Zamfara State, located in the northwestern region of Nigeria, has a rich history that dates back to the pre-colonial era. The area that is now known as Zamfara State was part of the Hausa Kingdoms, which were a collection of states that were ruled by Hausa leaders. These kingdoms were known for their sophisticated political systems, advanced trade, and cultural achievements.

Colonial Period

In the late 19th century, the British arrived in the region and began to exert their influence. They established a protectorate over the area in 1903, which was eventually incorporated into the Northern Nigeria Protectorate. During the colonial period, the region underwent significant changes, including the establishment of new administrative structures, the introduction of Christianity and Islam, and the development of new economic systems.

Post-Independence Developments

After Nigeria gained independence in 1960, Zamfara State became part of the Northern Region. In 1996, the state was created from part of the former Sokoto State. Since then, the state has undergone significant political, social, and economic changes. In recent years, the state has been plagued by insecurity, including banditry, kidnappings, and other forms of criminal activity. However, the state government has taken steps to address these issues and improve the lives of its citizens.


Cultural Heritage

Ethnic Groups and Languages

Zamfara State is home to several ethnic groups, with the Hausa being the most dominant. Other ethnic groups include the Fulani, Gwari, Kamuku, and Zabarma. The Hausa language is the most widely spoken language in the state, followed by Fulfulde and Gwari.

Traditions and Festivals

The people of Zamfara State have a rich cultural heritage that is reflected in their various traditions and festivals. One of the most significant festivals in the state is the Karamin Goro festival, which is celebrated annually in August. The festival is a celebration of the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the harvest season. During the festival, people from different communities come together to showcase their cultural dances, music, and traditional attire.

Another important festival in Zamfara State is the Argungu Fishing Festival, which is held annually in the town of Argungu. The festival is a celebration of the end of the fishing season and the beginning of the farming season. During the festival, fishermen compete to catch the largest fish in the river, and the winner is awarded a prize. The festival also features cultural dances, music, and traditional wrestling competitions.

In addition to these festivals, the people of Zamfara State also celebrate other traditional festivals such as the Gani and Ganiya festivals, which are celebrated by the Hausa and Fulani communities respectively. These festivals are a celebration of the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan and are marked by prayers, feasting, and giving of gifts to the less privileged in the society.


Modern Zamfara

Political Structure

Zamfara State has a democratic system of government, with the Governor as the head of the executive arm of government. The state has a unicameral legislature, known as the Zamfara State House of Assembly. The judiciary arm is headed by the Chief Judge of the state. The state is divided into 14 local government areas, each with its own elected chairman and councilors.

Economy and Resources

Zamfara State is rich in mineral resources, including gold, iron ore, granite, limestone, and chromate. However, the state has been plagued by illegal mining activities, which have led to an increase in banditry and kidnapping. The state government is working to address these challenges by partnering with relevant agencies to regulate mining activities and improve security.

Agriculture is also an important sector of the state’s economy, with crops such as maize, millet, sorghum, and rice being cultivated. The state government has initiated various programs to support farmers, including the provision of fertilizers, improved seedlings, and irrigation facilities.

Education and Social Issues

Zamfara State has made significant progress in the education sector, with an increase in the number of schools and enrollment rates. The state government has also introduced various programs to improve the quality of education, including the provision of textbooks, teacher training, and the construction of new classrooms.

However, the state still faces social challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, and gender inequality. The state government has initiated various programs to address these challenges, including the provision of healthcare services, skills acquisition programs, and women empowerment initiatives.

In conclusion, Zamfara State has made significant progress in various sectors of its economy and society, despite facing some challenges. The state government is committed to addressing these challenges and improving the standard of living of its citizens.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the historical significance of Gusau in Zamfara State?

Gusau is the capital city of Zamfara State. It was founded by the Gobirawa and is located in the southwestern part of the state. The city has a rich history and has played an important role in the political and economic development of the state.

Who are the first-class emirs that have ruled in Zamfara State?

Zamfara State has a traditional system of governance, with emirs serving as the heads of the various emirates. Some of the first-class emirs that have ruled in the state include the Emir of Gusau, the Emir of Kano, and the Emir of Katsina.

Which ethnic groups are considered indigenous to Zamfara State?

Zamfara State is home to several ethnic groups, including the Hausa, Fulani, Gobirawa, and Kamuku. However, the Hausa and Fulani are considered the largest and most dominant ethnic groups in the state.

What are the origins and meaning of the name ‘Zamfara’?

The name ‘Zamfara’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘Zamfarawa’, which means ‘many hills’. The state is known for its numerous hills and mountains, which provide a scenic landscape and attract tourists from all over the world.

How has the religious landscape of Zamfara State evolved over time?

Zamfara State is predominantly Muslim, with Islam being the dominant religion in the state. However, there are also small communities of Christians and traditional worshippers in the state. The religious landscape of the state has remained largely unchanged over time, with Islam continuing to be the dominant religion.

Who has held the position of governor in Zamfara State, and what is their role in its history?

Since its creation in 1996, Zamfara State has had several governors. Some of the notable governors include Ahmed Sani Yerima, Mahmud Shinkafi, Abdulaziz Yari, and Bello Matawalle. The role of the governor is to oversee the affairs of the state and ensure its development and progress. The governor is also responsible for implementing policies and programs that will benefit the people of the state.

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