Kano , city (1991 est. pop. 595,000), N Nigeria. It is the trade and shipping center for an agricultural region where cotton, cattle, and about half of Nigeria's peanuts are raised. Kanois the major industrial center of N Nigeria; peanut flour and oil, cotton textiles, steel furniture, processed meat, concrete blocks, shoes, and soap are the chief manufactures. The city has long been known for its leatherwork; its tanned goatskins were sent (from about 15th cent.) to N Africa and were known in Europe as Morocco leather.
One of the seven Hausa city-states, Kano's written history dates back to A.D. 999, when the city was already several hundred years old. It was a cultural, handicraft, and commercial center, with wide trade contacts in W and N Africa. In the early 16th cent. Kano accepted Islam. Kano reached the height of its power in the 17th and 18th cent. In 1809 it was conquered by the Fulani, but it soon regained its leading commercial position. In 1903 a British force captured the city. In Kano are Abdullahi Bayero College (1960; part of Ahmadu Bello Univ., Zaria); Gidan Makama Museum, with examples of local art; and the palace of the emir, the former ruler of the Kano city-state.