Gobir External Relations in the 18th Century

Being a paper presented at the First International Conference on Gobir Kingdom, Past And Present: Transformation And Change, held at The Usmanu Danfodiyo University Auditorium, from 9th – 13th July, 2018

Gobir External Relations in the 18th Century


Professor Aminu Isyaku Yandaki
Department of History,
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto; 

Dr. Sanusi Shehu Gusau
Zamfara State History Bureau; & 

Umar Aminu Yandaki
 Department of History
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto 


Gobir State in 18Ih Century Hausaland was one dominated by wars and conflicts. Its neighbours experienced very little peace with Gobir. Many a neighbour had started as friends and allies with Gobir, albeit suddenly they turned into enemies. From its stay at Azbin to its strongest hold at Alkalawa, the philosophy of its political leadership appeared centred on war. It led decades of continuous wars and conflicts within Hausaland. This tendency of Gobir leaders earned the State the epithet, Gobir uwarfada, meaning the aggressive Gobir. But what was the reason behind Gobir's aggression? Certainly, to a greater extent it was not for booty nor was it for territorial gains. For Gobir's war with Kabi in the early decades of the 18th century was not fought against the line of booty. The war fought with Zamfara leading to fall of Birnin Zamfara in 1764 was clearly not for booty or territorial expansion. Gobir's wars against Katsina before and after 1764, to an extent were not for booty or territorial expansion. Reason for Gobir's aggression is remotely observed in its salient interest; the Azbin route. This factor defined and shaped 18th century Gobir. For this reason Gobir chose aggression as a means to an end within the wider gamut of inter-group relations as no nation can constitute an island unto itself. It is this salient feature in Gobir that this paper seeks to address.

Keywords: Gobir, External Relations, 18th Century



This paper discusses conflicts and wars between Gobir and her neighbours. It entails discussion on the various areas of conflicts and wars which characterised development among these Hausa states in the 18th century. It gives a picture of events as they unfolded and affected each state within the period of peace, conflict and war. In order to have clear picture of developments that affected the states and cause of action that precede 18th century Gobir, developments prior to 18th century are discussed. This is done in order to give sequence of developments that are precursor to state of relations between or among these states. Furthermore, the paper only discusses neighbours of Gobir of the 18th century. These are Azbin, Kabi, Zamfara and Katsina.  Finally, the paper is divided into three sections discussing, (a) Relations Between Gobir and her Neighbours up to 18th Century (b) The 18th Century Hausaland: Conflicts and Wars Between Gobir and her Neighbours and (c) Significance of the Ahir Route to 18th Century Gobir.

 (a) Relations between Gobir and Her Neighbours up to the 18th Century

Prior to the 18th century relations between Gobir and her neighbours, was essentially peaceful even though, there were some scores of frictions and wars between them. This was because Gobir by then was not for long been away from the persistent pressure of Azbin. Since the settlement of the Tawarig at the Oasis of Azbin conflicts and wars erupted between Gobir and the new settlers. Consequently, wars with Azbin took a lot from her time by the 17th century, it needed what peace it can find in proper Hausaland. However, developments in Gobir near the Gulbin Maradi region were marked by persistent wars. These wars were fought in defence against Azbin, so much so that hostilities between them defined developments in both states in the 17th century.


Azbin-Gobir Relatiosn prior to the 18th century

The region of Azbin had been home to five ethnic groups including the last two been Gobir and Tawarig. According to Gobir traditions, from the Oasis of Azbin conflict and war, were to lead to their gradual movement westward [1] and establishment of Birnin Lalle in the 15th century. Even with Gobir s shift of base, wars between the two states continued relentlessly[2]. Hostilities between Azbin and Gobir were therefore, deeply rooted in their contact since about the exit of Gobir from Egypt. Details of developments that led to the exit of Gobir from Egypt have not so far been subjected to adequate academic scrutiny. However, perhaps to lend some credence to their claim of stay at Egypt is the discovery of the mention of 'Hausa' in one of the burial sites along the Nile. A Nigerian Egyptologist, Musa, working in Egypt burial site discovered the mention of Hausa and description of two pyramids in Niger Republic.[3] The Hausa people or the language speakers are said to be distributed not only in western Sudan, in areas of Mande - Dyula speakers but are to be found from, Senegal to the Hijaz, from the Congo to the coastal cities of North Africa[4]. Furthermore, small communities of the speakers are also to be found in the important towns of the old Ottoman Empire, in what is now Albania to Iraq. The reason for the spread of the language and the speakers was not far from economic. The Hausa language is said to be one of the commonest vehicles of communication in Hausaland and West African commerce. Accordingly, Gobirawa on the other hand are original native Hausa. Their facial marks are distinctive, six and seven on either cheek. Perhaps their stay at Egypt wasn't unrelated to commerce even though their traditions claimed they originated from there[5].

Consequently, their relation with the Tcnvarig, for the most part is defined by war[6]. Even though Gobir was known for its war like dispositions, however, Azbin on the other hand had also led catalogues of wars with its neighbours, including Zamfara. Accounts of their war with Zamfara is said to occur as early as the 14th century, during the reign of Queen Argoje. Factors responsible for this war were not disclosed, however, it is possible that it may not be very far from economic. For in the 14lh century, contact between the two states was likely linked from the Trans-Saharan trade route which passed through Azbin, crossed Zamfara and reached areas like Salga in the western Sudan. This likely would have been the area of the hostilities that led to war with Zamfara.

Accordingly, matters in the external relations of Azbin were for the most part of the century not very quiet. This situation came about because the 17th century saw the Sultanate grappling with, Gobir war externally and political instability at the home front.[7]  However, the reign of Agabba c. 1687 - 1721, came to stabilised the political crisis in the Sultanate. His reign was also remarkable for improving that state's external relations. Agabba's efforts in external relations extended to Gobir even unto a coalition with the state in early decades of the 18thcentury. Generally, the 18th century began in Azbin and also Hausaland with improved external relations among states. However, impact of relations in the region, were not restricted to Gobir and Azbin alone, but it extended to some of its neighbours including Katsina.


Katsina and Gobir Relations

Katsina by the seventeenth century had already established contact with Gobir. However, relations between them were wrought by Sarkin Gobir Soba's attack on Maradi within the century. Even before this attack, oral traditions in Maradi claimed that the Sarkin Katsina was once too suspicious of Gobir's tendency. He was said to device cunning means to outwit the Sarkin Gobir into abandoning his capital, Gobir Tudu. Eventually, from this centre the Gobirawa resettled at Gwararrame. It was here that Gobir found relative peace. It appeared also to have furthered away from the dry lands of the Sahara. For much of what was the strait of Azbin and areas within its confines is but a dry land. Dry conditions are said to be for ten months in a year[8]. This condition was responsible for most of the migrations south west from the east. Furthermore, migrations around Birnin Katsina, southwards into the Rima Valley area was also encouraged by local priest in areas of Katsina-Maradi. At Bargaja, in the Rima Fadama plains near Isa town, Sokoto state, resides a family who claimed to have for centuries originated from Katsina9. The family claimed that, their grandfather had lived" most of his life without an offspring at Katsina.[9] Thereupon, he was advised by .the local priest to move south west and he find riches and heirs. Many people from Katsina-Maradi and beyond have taken this course. On the side of the Gobirawa, their stay at this capital, Gwararrame, was marked by a prevailed peace between that state and Katsina, its neighbour on the south. With prevalence of peace the Gobirawa must have tapped the wealth obtained in the commerce on the trading routes to and from Hausaland. Its proximity to Katsina around the Gulbin Maradi area predisposes them for this accord.

The Gobirawa long distance traders must have kept inter-group relations alive as they intermingle with host communities. Although, a considerable number of Hausa traders were Kolanut merchants to Gonja, there are others whose trade goes beyond kolanut. At Yandoto in the closing years of the 18th century were trader-scholars like Malam Musa Bamalle who traded in natron[10]  Furthermore, the impact of long distance trade by Hausa communities is extensively discussed by Adamu.[11] However, the role of Gobirawa in this regard is not comparable to the dynamics of Katsina visa viz the Abakwarigas. Much as the foregone is true, Gobir significance is discernible when one relates significance of Katsina market of the 18th century and Gobirawa's establishment of Mara Zamfarawa.

The considerable role they must have played in the long distance trade or fataitci certainly established some good relations at Katsina markets. Relations between Gobir and Katsina led to peaceful emergence of Gobir settlements in Katsina like the aforementioned, Mara Zamfarawa[12]. This town has risen to become one of the prosperous rising semi urban settlements in Katsina, even today. This is symbolic of the nature of good relations that emanated since the 18th century between Gobirawa and Katsinawa. Over time, peace to a certain extent prevailed between these two important states in Hausaland up to closing years of the 17th century.


Zamfara and Gobir Relations

There is no contention to assert that, the level of socio-religious and political relations between Gobir and Zamfara prior to 1764 were second to none in Hausaland. Relations between these two states was so intertwined that it was almost impossible to discuss their history separately. In their traditions of origin, there abound stories that ascribed primogeniture of the Zamfarawa to Gobirawa. In one of these traditions Zamfarawa were said to be an offspring of a union between a Gobir woman and a Katsina father. Even though these traditions were disputed for war propaganda no belittle Zamfara, they indicated a deeper connectivity, historically, between Gobir and Zamfara.[13] Over time, developments in this region of Hausaland and beyond, between the two states, significantly increased the level of contact and relations between them before the 18th century. For instance, the Zamfarawa were said to have fought in support of Gobir when it was besieged by enemy forces in the reign of Sarkin Gobir Soba. This indicated depth of political relations between them before 18th century. In contrast to the aforementioned, relations were not always peaceful between Zamfara and Gobir.  As early as the 14th century, under Queen Argoje 1350 - 1400, Zamfara was said to have engaged Gobir in war. Although, causes, course and aftermath of the war was not mentioned, this incidence significantly) indicated centuries old existence of tension between them. Religiously, there were also significant relations between them. The Gobirawa are said to attend annual Budin Daji ceremonies at Dutsi, first religious and political centre of Zamfara[14]. Even in the contemporary times these practices still persist with Gobirawa in attendance. Furthermore, in the Zamfara pre-Islamic spirit worship there is the existence of a pantheon known as Bagobiri.[15]

Accordingly, relations in Hausaland are intertwined, but are more easily discerned and distinguished in peculiar states relations. The Zamfara and Gobir relations are symbolic in this respect. Their histories are well accounted for in their oral traditions and some written records. This perhaps is related to intense contact between the two states. But this particular situation is not always available in historical developments of some states in Hausaland. For instance, Kabi was a state in Hausaland where some important historical developments in that, state were not accounted for[16]. This is the reason why accounts of relations between Gobir and Kabi are limited. Another reason could be that the territory of Kabi, before the rise of Kanta in the 16th century was under Songhai. But even in this there existed contact between the Kabawa under Songhai and Gobirawa. This is discernible in trading relations along the trade routes. The many arteries of trading routes that crossed Hausaland. Especially in the Trans-Saharan Trade and Kola trade significantly created contact between caravan and host communities[17]. Many Gobirawa were said to have made contact with the people of Kabi through Kola trade. This came about as they ferry goods from Gobir and Zamfara to areas in Ghana.

Conflict and war were discernible in Kabi and Gobir relations before 18th century. The rise of Kanta in the 16th century placed Kabi in a position of power detested by most states in Hausaland. This placed the successors of Kanta on a hot seat constantly watched by hostile neighbours. Therefore, tension between Kabi and Gobir existed because of the preeminent military power of Kabi. Kabi borders in the north eastern frontiers were shared between it and Gobir and Zamfara on the southern axis. As later events revealed existence of these border lines did not augur well for Kabi.[18] Consequently, by the early decades of the 18thcentury unfolding events saw Hausa states and beyond, in an all out war against that state.


(b) War and Peace in the 18th Century

By the beginning of the 18th century Hausaland, wars, between states were to a large extent minimal. Most of the states were either engaged in consolidation of their positions or ensuring stability in their domains. For instance, relations among the many kingdoms were at best described, cordial. Perhaps this emanates from their perception of the Kabi threat on their political positions within their states and among their external relations. For by this period Kabi remained militarily and politically stronger than most kingdoms in Hausaland. Rising powers among the states such as Zamfara sees its position militated against by the Kabi hegemony. Gobir at Birnin Lale was denied expansion into the more agriculturally viable areas around its south western axis; bordering Kabi. Even the more distant states of the Tawarig like Azbin felt the threat of Kabi on the continued independence of their state. This was because under Kanta Kabi engaged Azbin in a war outcome of which led to the death of Kanta. The Azbin state seemed not to have forgotten this war by the 18th century. For this apparent reason and others like the ensuring of peace in the region appeared preeminent to this state. By 1722, the fear of Kabi by its neighbours can no longer be tolerated and for this Zamfara, Gobir and Azbin engaged in a joint attack against Kabi.


The Coalition of Gobir, Zamfara and Azbin against Kabi in 1722

As early as the 1720s, nature of relations in Hausaland and beyond took a new dimension. This was when the looming threat of Kabi became ever more imminent to some major Hausa states like Zamfara and Gobir. Both states shared borders with Kabi. Tendency of an-imminent war between them with their powerful neighbour was only a matter of time. By 1722, the last straw that broke the camel's back ensued. The war with Kabi marked the beginning of wars between Gobir and her neighbours in the 18th century.

Each of the wars fought by Gobir appeared to have, different causes on the first look, while others have salient features whose underlining tones were similar. For instance the war with Kabi to some extent appeared to have been fought against the Kabi hegemony. The combined force of Gobir under Sarkin Gobir Muhammadu Mai Gicci, Sarkin Azbin Agabba and Sarkin Zamfara Yakubu conquered the major towns of Kabi which included, Surame, Gungu and Leka. Sarkin Kabi Ahmadu was killed between the lakes of Kyamuri[19]. The Kabi territory was then divided between Gobir and Zamfara. The Gobir portion was the area lying to the north- east of Surame while Zamfara took the more northerly portion of the land. Azbin's share of spoils was the destruction of Kabi's cavalry and its position in Hausaland. The equilibrium of states was to change in Hausaland. After this war Zamfara rose to occupy the most powerful state in Hausaland.

Gradually, development in the region remained to a large extent peaceful after the war with Kabi. This peaceful times improved prosperity and encouraged migrations in some of these states. Zamfara soon attracted immigrants from Gobir and Borno. The Tanzawa from Borno soon settled at Birnin Zamfara. The Gobirawa also began their peaceful penetration of Zamfara. They settled at Alkalawa after some opposition against this by Sarkin Zamfara Yakubu dan Babba. The Sarkin Zamfara feared harbouring of the Gobirawa was an evil omen that will bring an end to his rule. His council entertained a different opinion. As matters soon unfolded the Gobirawa at Alkalawa soon became a menace not only to Zamfara but to the region as a whole. The tendency of the Gobir settlement at Alkalawa began to rear its head under Sarkin Zamfara Malo, (1741 - 1748) These developments at Alkalawa soon ignited conflict and wars between Gobir and her neighbours in the 18th century.

More than two decades into Gobir settlement at Alkalawa, skirmishes between the Gobirawa and the Zamfarawa residents of Alkalawa started. The causes of these skirmishes were multifaceted. For instance, one of the causes of the skirmishes was a long Hausa tradition known as Shara. This is a token of fees paid by male offspring to female offspring of a brother and sister of one family. As a result of the intermarriages that took place between the Gobirawa and Zamfarcnva, this cousinship relationship known as "Taubasantaka" in which Shara is paid came up. This relationship involved not only payment of Shara but also include jesting of each other between cousins[20]. This cultural practice is embodied in Hausa culture and it extended to non Hausa ethnic groups. The Gobirawa practiced this taubasantaka with the Yoruba. This emanated from the Sarkin Gobir Soba's campaign in the Yoruba country by the sixteenth century[21]. Some Gobir forces were left behind in Yorubaland. It was these Gobirawa that intermarried with the Yoruba. Descendants of this marriage bond established the taubasantaka[22], cousinship relationship. This practice is obtainable even today.

Through these jests between cousins, things went out of hand between Zamfarmva and Gobirmva at Alkalawa. Gradually, the trouble escalated and the adults got drawn into it. Soon it turned into physical combat and then use of arms. The Gobirawa were able to over­power the Zamfarawa of Alkalawa. From Alkalawa the conflict escalated to villages and hamlets of Zamfarawa located around the centre of conflict, Alkalawa. The Gobirawa destroyed some of these Zamfara villages. A lot of damage was done to these settlements before news got to the Sarkin Zamfara. Sarkin Zamfara, Malo, 1741 – 1748, sent one of his lieutenants to put a stop to the pillaging by the Gobirawa[23]. The conflict was brought under control, or so it seemed. However, the real cause of the fight was not Shara incidence. It was much more than it and older also.

The real cause of the crisis was an old wound that the Gobirawa have been nursing. This was the refusal of Sarkin Zamfara Yakubu dan Babba to agree to their settling at Alkalawa in 1720. This coupled with his son's refusal. Sarkin Zamfara Malo, to allow them build a Ganuwa, or city wall around Alkalawa during his reign, (1741 – 1748) this had aggravated the Gobirawa. It was possible that the Gobirawa perceived that there was no love lost between them and Malos' family since the time of Yakubu dan Babba. For this reason they became infuriated not so for the Shara incidence but their perceived hate from 1720s action. The Shara incidence was thus a smoke screen to cover the real cause of the crisis. As would be observed later, this reason will resurface in 1764. However, if the cause of conflict between Zamfara and Gobir emanated out of cultural practice, or a long nursed wound, that of Kabi that soon ensued was perhaps for booty.


The Kabi and Gobir Conflict in the 18th Century

Accounts in the Tarihin Zamfara attest that after Alkalawa Shara incidence, the Gobirawa launched an all war effort against Kabi. They were said to unleash terror on some Kabi settlements. Killing, pillaging and maiming in a spree of wanton destruction. They destroyed a lot of Kabi settlements and carted away a lot of booty. On their return to Alkalawa, they began piling up arms in secret. These attacks were said to have taken them so close to Argungu. Another attack on Kabi was again launched with the same intensity as the previous. They obtained a lot of booty. This included many horses, arms and lots of wealth. From the surface it appeared to the Zamfara rulers that Alkalawa Gobirawa, are only in a quest for booty. Or that from experience on the war front, fighting as mercenary soldiers for Zamfara, the Gobirawa were aware of the riches in Kabi. However, this was' not the case. Secretly they were gathering more weapons and improving their fighting capability. This factor soon revealed itself as their fighting capability was strong enough to undertake long distance assaults. They launched an attack against Adar and were victorious. They came back with a great number of horses, a stockade of weapons and lots of other booties.

The pockets of victories over Kabi and Adar elevated the status of the Gobirawa and on their return they sent to the Sarkin Zamfara a request to increase the size of Alkalawa and sent some of the Adar booty to him. Their request was granted but they were again denied the building of a city wall and the expansion of their settlement. They agreed to use stockades[24] of sticks to fence Alkalawa. Following this they prepared for another military expedition against Kabi. They entered into Kabi territory ferociously. The onslaught was so overwhelming that their forces were able to reach Sarkin Kabi. This battle is said to have been very devastating to the Kabawa. The Gobirawa again were able to get many horses and enormous booty. Despite these military expeditions the Gobirawa had no king at Alkalawa but nonetheless they had a leader who adjucated on all matters concerning them. All correspondences from Sarkin Zamfara were sent to him. It seemed that the Gobirawa attacks were done in order to acquire an arsenal to equip their fighting force. And this they did. The Alkalawa cavalry and stockade of weapons was so strong that they took on attacks proactively against Kabi and Ahir. Not a state on its own or a Gobir capital, but a mercenary centre with insurgency capability. However, doings of Alkalawa were with the consent of Gwarararame the Gobir capital, only some 60 kilometres away.[25]

Therefore, building up of the Alkalawa force was a salient interest of Gobir nursed since the reign of Sarkin Gobir Muhammadu Mai Gicci. For instance, it was observed that as early as the 16th century, rise of the long distance trade became very significant in Hausaland. The rulers were said to have benefitted considerably from the trade. The trade -on the Azbin route has also become very important in Hausaland. Its linkage with the Trans-Saharan trade made it ever more significant. Consequently, Gobir must have nursed the growing ambition to have to itself, an advantage of more revenues to finance its growing war demands and to service its growing population. During the reign of Sarkin Gobir Muhammadu Mai Gicci, Gobir began making moves to secure rich potentials of Azbin trading route. Gobir was able to access the importance of the Azbin trading route that initially led to Surame and then into hinterlands of Kabi. For this reason, Kabi capital at Surame was conquered. One of the important commodities of trade on this route was horses from Azbin. These were strong Arabian stallions knoun for their agility, strength and speed. They were an important if not indispensable asset to the cavalry. This interest became preeminent to Gobir. For this interest Gobir needed a launching pad. a strategic position close to its interest.

Alkalawa not only served this interest but another quest for Gobir. This was its search for fertile agricultural land. This was provided for in the Rima Basin with its enormous Fadama lands. When all these were happening, Sarkin Zamfara Malo died. Before the death of Malo, Birnin Zamfara had developed in size and prosperity in the city was overwhelming. This was owing to one of the trans-Saharan trade route that passed through it. The composition of the city became cosmopolitan as many people from diverse ethnic groups were found within the Birni, as traders, merchants, itinerant Mallams and scholars.[26]

From the general state of events in 18th century Hausaland and beyond it would be observed that Gobir was the most warring state in the region. It led decades of wars with Kabi but did not expand into its territories. It led a forty year old war with Zamfara, (1764 – 1804) not conquering one fifth of that state. Its war with Katsina, other than the death of its two rulers, Bawa and Yakuba was nothing to write home about. Its wars with Azbin also earned it the death of its king, Sarkin Gobir Dan Gude. Other wars were less consequential like that of Gurma and Kano. All these catalogues of failures, one would wonder, what really was Gobir's interest.


(c) Significance of the Azbin/Route Trade

As early as the sixteenth century events in the central Sudan had shown the importance of commerce to states. The importance of the Trans Saharan trade had opened up new frontiers in state relations. In Borno diplomatic relations had opened up with the Arab world[27]. Trade had come to be pre-eminent in this relation. Not more than a century back, the Wangarawa Arab merchant-scholars had fanned embers of spiritual belief in the region[28]. Therefore, the Gobiravva who had stayed at Azbin in the fifteenth century had most likely benefitted from this commerce. Their shift of base to Birnin Lalle and Gobir Tudu placed them further away from the Azbin trade route and ever more closely to the Katsina market. The caravans of merchants passing to the markets of Birnin Zamfara and eventually to markets in Western Sudan like, Mali for gold, also passed closely Gobir. This clearly would have given Gobir a clear picture of the economic importance of the trade routes of this commerce and a reason to develop interest on it.

Furthermore, development after Gobir's 1764 sack of Birnin Zamfara clearly defined its real focus in the Rima Basin. One reason in discerning this was Gobir's refusal to put an all out force and put to the drawers Zamfara and the Dakkawa as part of history. Interestingly, Gobir failed to conquer Birnin Zamfara suburbs like, Dan Zanke, Mowodachi, Biyuri and Lugu. This would not be so much for Gobir's lack of military might but for its salient interest in the Rima Basin. It's source of military power, Gobir earned its place over the century in Hausaland for its fighting machine. Its epithet; “Gobir uwar fada”, meaning Gobir the mother of wars, said it all. Consequently, Gobir was revealed to have persistently pursued hostilities in its external relations with its neighbors. Apparently, it was guarding its interest in the western expansion of its territory tapping into the rich Rima valley area. Through consolidating its hold on the areas adjacent to territories it conquered in 1722, like Surame, Gobir placed itself along the Azbin trade route. Thus, safeguarding its hold on the strategic horse supply route of Azbin; for its cavalry, this had all along been pre eminent to Gobir. This was what seemed to concern Gobir in the 18th century and beyond; its face in the comity of Hausa states which came about through its military strength. This aspect super imposed itself on Gobir rulers. This was why the Tawarig state proactively attacked Gobir after the sack of Birnin Zamfara, to cut them off the Azbin route. As matters turned out the war led to the death of Sarkin Gobir Dan Gude at Bobo in Mafara, a Zamfara territory. Therefore, the reason for Gobir's apparent non zeal in putting an end to its war with Sarakunan Zamfara was because it had a mission. To get hold of Birnin Zamfara link with the Azbin route for its economic gains. Although the wars undertaken by Gobir, especially those against Zamfara and Kabi could lend credence to our argument, certainly that of Katsina in concert with the Sarakunan Zamfara wouldn't. This war could only be interpreted on two perspectives i.e. Katsina safeguarding its territorial integrity and protecting the continued existence of a friendly neighbor, Zamfara.



Developments in Hausaland of the 18th century can be fully appreciated when viewed from perspective of an economic and strategic importance. This is true against the back drop of Gobir's failure to conquer Zamfara. Although reason for Gobir's failure, could also have been in the Zamfara military tactics and strategy. The Gobirawa were well aware of Zamfara's military edge over Gobir army. They had fought as mercenaries for Zamfara, attacking Kabi relentlessly for the Azbin route[29]. Now that they had gained control of the route and fully aware that they could be fighting a lost war against the Dakkawa29 the Sarakunan Gobir confined themselves with preventing a full recoup of Zamfara forces. To this end Gobir fought pitch battles and ensured furthering away of Sarakunan Zamfara from Alkalawa and the Azbin route. Consequently, some Zamfara towns were let live by Gobir militarily to a certain extent but resorting to using intrigues to persuade them to accept Gobir’s over lordship. This was what defined 18th century Gobir; its interest in the Azbin route.



Interview with Abou Magaji,    Zauren Tarihi, , age 79 years, at Maradi in Niger Republic on 30/1/2014


Interview with Malam Haruna Dan Katsina, 79 years old, at Bargaja, 13/1 1/2015


Interview with late Prof. Mahdi Adamu, 75 years of age, Runjin Sambo, Sokoto. 27 5 2' :

Interview with Sale Wakilin Darma, 67 years of age, Dutsi, 27/3/2014


Interview with Sarkin Zamfara, Attahiru Muhammad, age 57 Emir's Palace, Anka 22/12/2015.


Group Interview, Bargaja, Zurmi LGA, on various dates in 2015


Harris, P.G, - Sokoto Provincial Gazzetteer, 1938


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Alkali, M.B - "A Hausa Community in Crisis Kebbi in the 19th Century'VM.A (History) Dissertation, A.B.U, Zaria, 1977


Augie, A.R, - 'The Gobir Factor in the Social and Political History of the Rima Basin C. 1650 - 1808", Ph.D (History) ABU, Zaria, 1984


Alkali, M.B, - "A Hausa Community in Crisis Kebbi in the 19lh Century", M.A (History) Dissertation, ABU, Zaria, 1977


Gusau, S.S, - "A History of Zamfara, 1764 To 2013", Ph.D (History), UDU, Sokoto. 2017.


Gusau, S.S. "The Yandoto Factor In The History of Hausaland To 1806". M.A (History), Dissertation, 2009


Nadama, Garba, - "The Rise and Collapse of a Hausa State; a Social and Political History of Zamfara", Ph.D(History), ABU, Zaria, 1977.


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[1] Tarihin Doular Gobir, in John Lavaers Collection, A. H Nos. DT.53.3, P. 6.

[2] Ibid, p.7.

[3] See, Gusau, S.S, A History of Zamfara 1764-2013, Ph. D (History) Thesis, Usmanu Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, 2017.

[4] Hausa Studies And The Historian in A. H, John Lavaers Collection Nos. 1/16/175,  p.1.

[5] Bello, M. Infaqul-Maisuri, PP. 39-43.

[6] Ibid, p.7.

[7] Augie, A.R. The Gobir Factor…, p. 447.

[8] See Bello, M. Infaqul Maisuri, pp. 39 – 43.

[9] Interview with Malam Haruna Dan Katsina, 79 years old, at Bargaja, 13/11/2015.

[10] See, Gusau, S.S. "The Yandoto Factor In The History Of Hausaland To 1806", M.A(History), Dissertation, 2009.

[11] M. Adamu, The Hausa Factor in West African History, ABU Press, 1975.  Reference could be made to it for more details.

[12] Ibid, Gusau, S.S, "A History of Zamfara 1764 – 2013.

[13] Interview with Sarkin Zamfara Alhaji Attahiru Muhammad Ahmad, 57 years, on various dates in 2015.

[14] Interview with Sale, Wakilin Darma, approx, age 67 at Dutsi on various dates in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

[15] Garba, N. "The Rise and Collapse of A Hausa State............", various pages.

[16] See, Lovejoy, P. Caravans of Kola: The Hausa Kola Trade 1700 -1800, University Press, A.B.U Zaria, 1980, several pages.

[17] See, Krieger, K. Geschicte Von Zamfara,.....

[18] Ibid.

[19] See, Harris, P.G. - Sokoto Provincial Gazzetteer, 1938.

[20] Ibid, K.Krieger, Geschicle Von Zamfara and, P.O. Harris. Sokolo Provincial...... on this and many more of this kind of relation among Hausa and other ethnic groups in Nigeria

[21] Interview with Zauren Tarih\. Abou Magaji. at Maradi in Niger Republic on 30/1/2014.

[22] Ibid, on 30/1/2014.

[23] Tarihin Zamfara…,

[24] See, S.Shehu, "History of Zamfara Kingdom..............." unpublished papers

[25] Fuglested, F. A Reconsideration of Hausa History Before the Jihad in The Journal of African History, Vol. 19, No. 3, 1978 P. 320.

[26] Hogben, The Emirates of Northern Nigeria......P. 375.

[27] See, Hopkins, A. G. -An Economic History of West Africa, Longman, London.

[28] See, Clarke, P. - Islam in West Africa, Longman.

[29] 28. See, Alkali, M.B - "A Hausa Community in Crisis Kcbbi in the 19"' Century". M.A (History) Dissertation, A.B.U, Zaria. 1977.

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