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Kukawa is located in Nigeria
Location in Nigeria
Coordinates: 12°55′N 13°34′E / 12.917°N 13.567°E / 12.917; 13.567
Country Flag of Nigeria.svg Nigeria
State Borno State

Kukawa (previously Kuka) is a town and Local Government Area in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, close to Lake Chad.

The town was founded in 1814 as capital of the Kanem-Bornu Empire by the Muslim scholar and warlord Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi after the fall of the previous capital, Ngazargamu, conquered in 1808 in the Fulani War.[1] The town had great strategical importance, being one of the southern terminals of trans-Saharan trade routes to Tripoli.[2]

The town was visited by German explorer Heinrich Barth in 1851 who arrived from Tripoli seeking to open trade with Europe and explore Africa,[1] and again in 1892 by the French explorer Parfait-Louis Monteil, who was checking the borders between areas of West Africa assigned to the French and the British.[3] The town was captured and sacked in 1893 by the Sudanese warlord Rabih az-Zubayr, and then by the British in 1902.

Historically the city was much larger than today, with a population estimated by the British at 50,000-60,000 in the late nineteenth-century.

Towns in the Kukawa Local Government Area include Cross Kauwa and Baga.

It is one of the sixteen LGAs that constitute the Borno Emirate, a traditional state located in Borno State, Nigeria.[4]


  1. ^ a b Steve Kemper (2012). Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles Through Islamic Africa. W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0393079661. 
  2. ^ J. D. Fage, ed. (1985). The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 6. Cambridge University Press. p. 16. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ Emil Lengyel. Dakar - Outpost of Two Hemispheres. READ BOOKS, 2007. p. 170ff. ISBN 1-4067-6146-X. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  4. ^ Nigeria (2000). Nigeria: a people united, a future assured. 2, State Surveys (Millennium ed ed.). Abuja, Nigeria: Federal Ministry of Information. p. 106. ISBN 9780104089. 

Coordinates: 12°55′N 13°34′E / 12.917°N 13.567°E / 12.917; 13.567