Gidan Yarima, Katsina State, Nigeria

The history of how Gidan Yarima in Katsina State in Nigeria was created. How Islam and the royalty effected the creation of Gidan Yarima.

This is the history of the heritage site, Gidan Yarimain, which contains Nigerian villages and settlements. Gidan Yarmia, is a historical monument in Birni Katsina. Katsina State is an ancient city that occupies almost 25,000 square kilometers of land and contains 34 local governments.1 The people who occupy and live in the territory are mostly Hausa Fulani people of Northern Nigeria.2 The state is bordered by the Kano and Jigawa states in the east, west by Zamfara State, south by Kaduna State, and north by the Niger Republic.3 Today the state is composed of two emirates, the territory in which an emirate rules over, which are part of the seven Hausa kingdoms. Katsina State is one of many states that Nigeria is divided into today. In 1870, during the reign of Ibrahim Dan Bello, the Gidan Yarima was built. The Gidan Yarima is made up of several houses with many doors, some for servants, and some for the royals. Originally it was built for Emir Ibrahim Dan Bello’s son, Yarima Abubakar, in 1870 for defense and maintaining the royal’s privacy. Yarima Abubakar took residence in the Gidan Yarima after his father’s passing in 1887. The residence was composed of mud bricks and a gate that was claimed so strong that no human can enter. Again, these structures were originally built as a royal complex for Yarima Abubakar, who would assume the position of emir after his father’s passing. Another structure, Birni, was where Lord Lugard was housed upon his arrival to Katsina in 1903. Both structures represent similar ideas: prestige and royal status, both of which Lord Lugard and Yarima Abubakar embodied. The construction of these royal residences in the Fulani rule helped to urbanize within the emirate. The first royal residence was built for guest housing for the ruling Emir in Birni Katsina. To urbanize, the Fulani emirs built many royal residences within and outside the capitals to populate villages and towns. To further urbanization, the serving emir, Ibrahim Dan Bello, continued construction of his building from the point of which his father had stopped. A new royal residence was constructed and served as a guest house for the emir. The newly constructed royal residence also was designed to guard against rebellions that plagued Katsina for decades. The Dakin Yarima was the most important room in the house, again made of mud that was sun-baked into bricks. The inner bedrooms were the Yarima’s bedrooms. These architectural designs dating back to the 19th century, featuring separate rooms that feature a complex and rich design as well as the overall influence of Islam in architecture and everyday life. These structures were also strategically located as they were royal residences, with natural barriers such as hills and rocks for added security and protection. These structures and Islamic influences represent how these architects used the land and materials that surrounded the area to provide extra protection for the Emir. Although this city is ancient, the current day events are not. The city was filled with ancient monuments and art pieces. Current day events in Katsina State at the Gidan Yarima include twenty-three of the thirty-four members of the assembly voted to impeach their House of Assembly Speaker, Aliyu Sabiu Muduru. A new speaker has taken the position, lawmaker, Yahaya Kushada. The Gidan Yarima is listed as a historical monument. This historical site tells us that the people in the Katsina State valued the status and protection of their royals. These buildings were constructed for the main purpose of protecting royals and their families. These homes also were used as the royal’s first line of defense and protection against the continuous rebellions.