Bayajida: The legend of Hausa land

Historians doubt that Bayajida existed, but the legend of Bayajida remains powerful. It refers to him as the man whose lineage founded the Hausa nation. The legend is re-enacted yearly in Daura, Nigeria.

When did Bayajida live? Most of the Bayajida legend was transmitted through oral history. There is no record of Bayajida's date of birth or death, and no certainty of his existence. He is believed to have originally come from Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, and after a brief encounter with the Kanem empire in Bornu, he settled in Daura, in modern-day Katsina.

But what was the origin of the legend? Some sources state that the Bayajida legend appeared somewhere between the 16th and 19th centuries AD. But there is evidence of its existence in Hausa culture as early as the 9th and 10th centuries AD.

What does his name mean? His original name was most probablyAbu Zaid. The name given to him by the Hausas. Bayajida, is actually a phrase: "Ba ya ji da," which means "he couldn't understand before."

I've heard allusions to a snake. What is the story behind this? Bayajida is said to have slayed a snake that lived in a well in Kusugu, a place in modernday Daura. The snake had terrorized the people and deprived them of water. It only allowed water to be drawn from the well on Fridays. In spite of the warnings, Bayajida went to fetch water at the well on a Thursday. When the snake attacked him, he cut off its head with his sword.
Does this story have a happy end? As a reward for killing the snake, the Queen of Daura, Daurama, promised him half of her kingdom. But Bayajida cleverly refused and instead asked for her hand in marriage. This was unheard of, since all previous queens were had practiced celibacy. However, Daurama felt indebted to him and agreed.

What is Bayajida's legacy? Bayajida is known for altering the traditions in Daura: prior to his arrival, the Daura people had been ruled by women.
5 Nov 2019 English Germany History · Education

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