Kano is the state capital of
State in northern Nigeria.
has an estimated population in 2007 of 2,359,248. The principal
inhabitants of the city are the Hausa
. The city's traditional ruler is the Emir of Kano
, and the current Emir, Ado Bayero
, has been on the throne since
Foundation and Hausa rule
In the 7th century, Dala Hill
, a hill in
Kano, was the site of a group of a community that engaged in
iron-working; it is unknown whether these were Hausa people or
speakers of Niger-Congo
. Kano was originally known as Dala, after the hill,
and was referred to as such as late as the end of the 15th century
and the beginning of the 16th by Bornoan
The Kano Chronicle
, a priest of a Dalla Hill spirit,
as the city's first settler. (Elizabeth Isichei notes that the description
of Barbushe is similar to those of Sao
people.) While small chiefdoms were previously present in the
area, according to the Kano Chronicle, Bagauda, a grandson
of the mythical hero Bayajidda, became the
first king of Kano in 999, reigning until 1063.
(1095-1134), the third king, began
building city walls at the foot of Dalla Hill, and his own son,
(1136-1194), the fifth king,
completed them during his reign.
ascended to the throne
in 1463 and reigned until 1499. During his reign, he reformed the
city, expanded the Sahelian
(Emir's Palace), and played
a role in the further Islamization of the city, as he urged
prominent residents to convert. The Kano Chronicle attributes a
total of twelve "innovations" to Rumfa.
According to the Kano Chronicle, the thirty-seventh Sarkin Kano
(King of Kano
) was Mohammed Sharef
(1703–1731). His successor,
Kumbari dan Sharefa (1731–1743),
engaged in major battles with Sokoto.
Fulani conquest and rule
beginning of the 19th century, Fulani
Islamic leader Usman dan Fodio led a
jihad affecting much of northern Nigeria,
leading to the emergence of the Sokoto Caliphate.
Kano was the largest and most prosperous
province of the empire. This was one of the last major slave
societies, with high percentages of enslaved population long after
the Atlantic slave trade
been cut off. Heinrich Barth
classical scholar who spent several years in northern Nigeria in
the 1850s, estimated the percentage of slaves in Kano to be at
least 50%, most of whom lived in slave villages.
The city suffered famines from 1807-10, in the 1830s, 1847, 1855,
1863, 1873, 1884, and from 1889 until 1890.
From 1893 until 1895, two rival claimants for the throne fought a
civil war, or Basasa
. With the help
of royal slaves, Yusufu
was victorious over
, and claimed the title of emir.
British colonization and rule
British forces captured Kano in 1903 and made it the administrative
centre of Northern Nigeria
replaced as the centre of government by Kaduna, and only
regained administrative significance with the creation of Kano
State following Nigerian independence.
From 1913 to 1914, as the groundnut
was expanding, Kano suffered a major drought
, which caused a famine. Other famines during
British rule occurred in 1908, 1920, 1927, 1943, 1951, 1956, and
By 1922, groundnut trader Alhassan
had become the richest businessman in Kano, surpassing
fellow merchants Umaru Sharubutu
and Maikano Agogo
In May 1953, an inter-ethnic riot arose due to southern newspapers
misreporting on the nature of a disagreement between northern and
southern politicians in the House of
. Thousands of Nigerians of southern origin died
as a result of the riot.
became Emir of Kano in
In December 1980, radical preacher Mohammed Marwa Maitatsine
riots in Kano. He was killed by security forces, but his followers
later started uprisings in other northern cities.
After the introduction of sharia in Kano State in 2000, many
Christians left the city. 100 people were killed in riots over the
sharia issue during October 2001.
In November 2007, political violence broke out in the city after
(PDP) accused the All Nigeria Peoples Party
of rigging the November 17, 2007 local government elections. (The
ANPP won in 36 of the state's 44 Local Government Areas.) Hundreds
of youths took to the streets, over 300 of whom were arrested; at
least 25 people were killed. Buildings set on fire include a sharia
police station, an Islamic centre, and a council secretariat. 280
federal soldiers were deployed around the city.
Kano is largely Muslim. The majority of Kano Muslims are Sunni
, though a minority adhere to the Shia
branch (see Shia in
). Christians and followers of other non-Muslim
religions form a small part of the population, and traditionally
lived in the Sabon Gari
, or Foreign
Quarter. Christians alone comprise about 1% of the
Kabo Air, an airline, has its head office on the
grounds of Mallam Aminu Kano International
Airport in Kano.
Layout and geography
Elaborately dressed horseman returns
after paying tribute to Emir of Kano during the Durbar of October
Kano is situated at . It has long been the economic centre of
northern Nigeria, and a centre for the production and export of
. Kano houses the Bayero University and a railway station with trains to Lagos routed
through Kaduna, while Mallam Aminu
Kano International Airport lies nearby. Because Kano is north of the rail junction
at Kaduna, it has equal access to the seaports at Lagos and
, most of the gates to the
Old City survive. The Old City houses the vast Kurmi Market
, known for its crafts
, while old dye pits
still in use – lie nearby. Also in the Old City are the Emir's Palace,
Mosque, and the Gidan
Kano has six districts. They are the Old
Sabon Gari, Syrian Quarter
As of November 2007, there are plans to establish an information technology
park in the
The city is supplied with water by the nearby Challawa Gorge Dam
, which is also being
considered as a source of hydro power.
The Emir of Kano hosts a Durbar
mark and celebrate the two annual Muslim festivals and Eid-ul-Fitr
(to mark the end of the Holy Month
) and Eid
(to mark the Hajj
Pilgrimage). The Durbar culminates in a procession of highly
elaborately dressed horsemen who pass through the city to the
Emir's palace. Once assembled near the palace, groups of horsemen,
each group representing a nearby village, take it in turns to
charge towards the Emir, pulling up just feet in front of the
seated dignitaries to offer their respect and allegiance.