Katsina and the Durbar: Now and Then

Nigeria Magazine #29 1948
Nigeria Magazine #29 1948
Wikipedia, common domain
Wikipedia, common domain

The first written account of Katsina dates from the fifteenth century. Leo Africans, the mediaeval explorer and historian, left eye-witness stories of cities established in trans-Sahara trade. Katsina, a sweet sounding name in any language, was founded, as legend would have it, by a descendent of the snake-slaying hero from Baghdad who married the Queen of Daura. (Nigeria Magazine No. 50, 1956, ).

In local tradition the followers of the snake-slayer are referred to as “Arabs” and most authorities accept the legend as a memory of a Berber invasion at the beginning of the twelfth century. The Berber migrations resulting from the period of great desiccation which led to the enlargement of the Sahara and the consequent shrinkage of the pastures surrounding it. (Nigeria Mag No. 50, 1956.)

By the end of the fifteenth century Katsina is said to have been converted to Islam, the credit going to the famous Sheikh Muhammed Al Maghili of That. This is about the time that Leo Africans visited the city. He speaks of desert trade and of the commercial value of the city. (Nigeria Mag #51)

Gobarau Minaret built between 1348-1398 using baked clay and mud. Nigeria Magazine #51, 1956
Gobarau Minaret built between 1348-1398 using baked clay and mud.
Nigeria Magazine #51, 1956 (Habe means Hausa)
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Today, Gobarau Minaret
Today, Gobarau Minaret
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King or Sarkin of Katsina 1956, Nigeria Mag. #51

The Katsina Royal Palace ( Sarkin means king) is a huge compound built in 1348 AD in the center of the ancient city. It is a symbol of culture, history and traditions as Katsina is known as the cradle of knowledge. The Emir’s residential quarters is built in the typical Hausa traditional architecture.
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Sarkin or Emir Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman leading the Durbar
Sarkin or Emir Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman leading the Durbar
Nigeria Magazine, 1956
Nigeria Magazine, 1956
Nigeria Mag. 1956
Nigeria Mag. #51, 1956
Camels and bronze drums, 2015 Katsina
Camels and bronze drums, 2015 Katsina
Nigeria Mag 1956, horsemen clad in chain mail.
Nigeria Mag #51, 1956, horsemen clad in chain mail.
Ancient chain mail, Nigeria Magazine #23 1946, p 138.
Ancient chain mail, Nigeria Magazine #23 1946, p 138.
Katsina 2015, Guards clad in ancient chain mail said to be from medieval period.
Katsina 2015, Guards clad in ancient chain mail said to be from medieval period.
Nigeria Mag. #51, 1956
Nigeria Mag. #51, 1956
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Horsemen racing toward the Emir in a show of horsemanship and respect. Katsina 2015
Emir's guards clad in ostrich feathers (used for royalty only) spur toward the Emir
Emir’s guards clad in ostrich feathers (used for royalty only) spur toward the Emir
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