The Hausa States or Hausa Kingdoms were a collection of independent city-states situated in what became Northern Nigeria. Despite relatively constant growth, the city-states were vulnerable to aggression and, although the vast majority of its inhabitants were Muslim by the 16th century, they were attacked by Muslim jihadists from 1804 to 1808. In 1808 the last Hausa state was finally conquered by Usuman dan Fodio and incorporated into the Sokoto Caliphate.
The Hausa Kingdoms emerged in the 13th century as vibrant trading centers competing with Kanem-Bornu and Mali. The primary exports were leather, gold, cloth, salt, kola nuts, animal hides, and henna. Except for minor alliances, the Hausa city-states functioned independently. Rivalries generally inhibited the formation of one centralized authority.
There were fourteen Hausa Kingdoms: The "Hausa Seven" and the "Bastard Seven"
The Hausa Kingdoms began as seven states with a shared mythology with its founders being the sons of a Queen. They are known as the Hausa Bakwai meaning Hausa Seven. The states included:
The growth and conquest of the Hausa Bakwai resulted in the founding of additional states with rulers tracing their lineage to a concubine of the Hausa founding father, Bayajidda. Thus they are called the 'Banza Bakwai meaning Bastard Seven. The Banza Bakwai adopted many of the customs and institutions of the Hausa Bakwai but were considered unsanctioned or copy-cat kingdoms by non-Hausa people. These states include:
Northern Nigeria was a British colony formed in 1900. The basis of the colony was the 1885 Treaty of Berlin which broadly granted Northern Nigeria to Britain, on the basis of their protectorates in Southern Nigeria.
Britain's chosen Governor, Frederick Lugard, with limited resources, slowly negotiated with ,and sometimes coerced, the emirates of the north into accepting British rule, finding that the only way this could be achieved was with the consent of local rulers through a policy of indirect rule which he developed from a necessary improvisation into a sophisticated political theory. Lugard left the protectorate after some years, serving in Hong Kong, but was eventually returned to work in Nigeria where he decided on the merger of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate with Southern Nigeria in 1914.
Postage stamps were issued specifically for Northern Nigeria beginning in March 1890. All stamps issued were the of Key Plate design, differing in the sovereign depicted, watermarks, and choice of colored or colorless numerals for the denomination.
Unusually, a 25-pound stamp was issued in 1904. This was really intended as a revenue stamp, it being nearly impossible to invent a piece of mail needing so much postage. It was used to pay for imported liquor licences. It is the great rarity of philately; mint copies commanding a price of around US$90,000.