|— LGA and city —|
|emir of Zazzau|
|• Total||300 km2 (100 sq mi)|
|Population (2006 Census)|
|• Density||1,400/km2 ( 3,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+01:00)|
Zaria is a major city in Kaduna State in Northern Nigeria, as well as being a Local Government Area. Formerly known as Zazzau, it was one of the original seven Hausa city-states. The 2006 Census population was 408,198. The current Emir of Zazzau (Sarkin Zazau in Hausa language) is Shehu Idris.
Zaria, initially known as Zazau, was also the capital of the Hausa kingdom of Zazzau. However, human settlement predates the rise of Zazzau, as the region, like some of its neighbors, had a history of sedentary Hausa settlement, with institutional but pre-capitalist market exchange and farming.
In the late 1450s, Islam arrived in Zaria by the way of its sister Habe cities, Kano and Katsina. Along with Islam, trade also flourished between the cities as traders brought camel caravans filled with salt in exchange for slaves and grain. Between the fifteenth and sixteenth century the kingdom became a tributary state of the Songhai Empire. In 1805 it was captured by the Fulani during the Fulani Jihad. British forces led by Frederick Lugard took the city in 1901.
The old part of the city, known as Birnin Zaria or Zaria-City, was originally surrounded by walls, which now have been mostly removed. The Emir's palace is located in the old city. In the old city and the adjacent Tudun Wada neighbourhood people typically reside in traditional adobe compounds. These two neighborhoods are predominately occupied by the indigenous Hausa. The neighborhoods of Samaru and Sabon Gari are predominately occupied by Nigerians of southern origin, such as the Ibo. The largest marketplace is in Sabon Gari. Other more recent neighborhoods include: Danmagaji/Wusasa, PZ, Kongo, GRA-Zaria, Hanwa, Bassawa, Lowcost Kofan-Gayan and Shikka.
Transport and economy 
Zaria's economy is primarily based on agriculture. Staples are guinea corn and millet, and cash crops include cotton, groundnuts and tobacco. The city is considered by some to be a main center of Hausa agriculture[who?]. Not only is Zaria a market town for the surrounding area, it is the home of numerous artisans, from traditional crafts like leather work, dyeing and cap making, to tinkers, printshops and furniture makers. Zaria is also the center of a textile industry that for over 200 years has made elaborately hand-embroidered robes that are worn by men throughout Nigeria and West Africa.
Because Zaria is north of the rail junction at Kaduna, it has equal rail access to the seaports at Lagos and Port Harcourt. However, currently only the railway to Lagos is functional, as the eastern line of Nigeria's rail network is operational. This means that Zaria currently has rail access to Lagos and Kano to the north, but not Port Harcrout.
Zaria is home to Ahmadu Bello University, the largest university in Nigeria and the second largest on the African continent. The institution is very prominent in the fields of Agriculture, Science, Finance, Medicine and Law. Zaria is also the base for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology. National Research Institute for Chemical Technology. Zaria is also home to Barewa College. The school is known for the large number of elites from the region that passed through the school's academic buildings and counts among its alumni, five of whom were at one time Nigerian Heads of State, including the late president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.
Notable births and residents 
Notable births and current and former residents of Zaria include:
- Shola Ameobi, football player in England
- D'banj, music artist
- Edoheart, musician, poet, dancer
- Bola Ige, lawyer and politician
- Rilwanu Lukman, engineer and former Secretary General of OPEC
- Rumun Ndur, professional ice hockey player
- Adewale Olukoju, athlete
- Isaac Promise, football player
- Namadi Sambo, Vice President of Nigeria since May 2010
- Masai Ujiri, general manager of the Denver Nuggets of the NBA
- "The Britannica Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2007-02-04.
- Gihring, Thomas (1984) "Intraurban Activity Patterns among Entrepreneurs in a West African Setting" Human Geography (Geografiska Annaler Series B) 66(1): pp. 17–27, page 19
- "Welcome to Zaria" Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN) at Ahmadu Bello University
- Gihring, Thomas (1984) "Intraurban Activity Patterns among Entrepreneurs in a West African Setting" Human Geography (Geografiska Annaler Series B) 66(1): pp. 17–27, page 20
- Maiwada, Salihu and Renne, Elisha P. (2007) "New Technologies of Embroidered Robe Production and Changing Gender Roles in Zaria, Nigeria, 1950-2005" Textile History 38(1): pp. 25-58, page 25
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21364541 BBC News - "Can Nigeria's renovated railway unite north and south?"
- http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21571481-renovated-railway-line-welcome-more-are-still-sorely-needed-slow The Economist - "Trains in Nigeria: A slow but steady new chug"
- "About Us". Nigerian College of Aviation Technology. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
- "National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT, Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), National Research Institute for Chemical Technology): About Us". Retrieved 2010-06-27.
- Smith, Michael G. (1960) Government in [Zazzau 1800-1950 International African Institute by the Oxford University Press, London, OCLC 293592; reprinted in 1964 and 1970.
- Dan Isaacs (September 28, 2010). "Nigeria's emirs: Power behind the throne". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
Media related to Zaria at Wikimedia Commons