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.
Today, it is known for housing Nigeria's largest university, Ahmadu Bello University, as well as being home to a number of prominent Nigerians. From the 2006 population census, Zaria was estimated to have 408,198 people. It is home to the Zazzau Emirate. Zaria, initially known as Zazzau, was the capital of the Hausa kingdom of Zazzau. Zazzau is thought to have been founded in 1536 and later was renamed after Queen Zaria. Human settlement predates the rise of Zazzau, as the region, like some of its neighbors, had a history of sedentary Hausa settlement, with institutional market exchange and farming. Zaria was the most southern of the Hausa city-states. It was a trading destination for Saharan caravans as well as a prominent city in the Hausa slave trade. In the late 1450s, Islam arrived in Zaria by the way of its sister Habe cities, Kano and Katsina. Along with Islam, trade flourished between the cities as traders brought camel caravans filled with salt in exchange for slaves and grain.