The gate still serves as the major entrance to the great ancient city of Zaria which was connected to the great walls that rounded the city (Ganuwa); which was built by the legendary Queen Amina of Zazzau in sixteen century.
After the death of her brother Karama in 1576, Amina ascended to the position of queen. Zazzau was one of the original seven Hausa States (Hausa Bakwai), the others being Daura, Kano, Gobir, Katsina, Rano, and Garun Gabas. Before Amina assumed the throne, Zazzau was one of the largest of these states. It was also the primary source of slaves that would be sold at the slave markets of Kano and Katsina by Arab merchants.
Only three months after being crowned queen, Amina waged a 34-year campaign against her neighbors, meant to expand Zazzau territory. Her army, consisting of 20,000 foot soldiers and 1,000 cavalry troops, was well trained and fearsome. In fact, one of her first announcements to her people was a call for them to “resharpen their weapons.”She conquered large tracts of land as far as Kwararafa and Nupe.
Under Amina, Zazzau controlled more territory than ever before. To mark and protect her new lands, Amina had her cities surrounded by earthen walls. These walls became commonplace across the nation until the British conquest of Zazzua in 1904, and many of them survive today, known as ganuwar Amina (Amina’s walls).