Royal Reels: Gambling


This airmail cover registered at Windsor N.S.W., is postmarked WINDSOR/26 NO 62/ N.S.W. and is addressed to J.A. Regan, Esq, P.O.B.26, Katsina, Northern Nigeria, West Africa. It has a copy of the blue 2/- Flannel Flowers stamp and the 2/3 British Empire & Commonwealth Games, Perth 1962 stamp, the latter being issued 1 Nov 1962. The combined postage of 4/3 is for the ½ ounce airmail letter rate to Africa (2/3) plus the registration rate of 2/- (Figure 1).

Katsina (capital of Katsina state) had a population of 201,500 (estimated for 1995) and is situated in Northern Nigeria near the Niger border (Figure 2). The city is surrounded by a wall (which is now largely in ruins) that is 21 km long and it is the trade centre for an agricultural region where guinea corn and millet are grown for home consumption, and peanuts, cotton and hides are produced commercially. The city has a steel-rolling and vegetable oil mills. Traditional crafts, including weaving, dyeing and leather handicrafts, are made in Katsina. By the 17th century Katsina was a centre of Islamic learning and the landmark of the city is the Gobir Minaret, a 15 meter tower connected to the city’s central mosque, believed to have been built in the 18th century.

Fulani emirs, or rulers, live in a palace in Katsina and still play an advisory role in the government. Katsina was under the control of the Songhai Empire from ca. 1513 until 1554. It then became an important intellectual centre and caravan hub for the Hausa States until the early 19th century, when Kano grew in importance, and new trade routes were established to the Gulf of Guinea. The city is now the site of a campus of the Katsina College of Arts, Science and Technology, as well as the Kaduna State College of Legal Studies.

Categories: Places