Zaria (zäˈrēə) [key], city (1991 est. pop. 335,000), N Nigeria. It is the ginning center for Nigeria's main cotton-growing region. Cottonseed, peanuts, and shea-nut oil are produced. The city is on a major north-south railroad and highway and has an airport. First known as Zazzau, it was founded about A.D. 1000 and was one of the seven Hausa city-states. The city was captured by the Fulani in 1805 and included in the Sokoto caliphate. In 1901 British forces led by Frederick Lugard took the city. Zaria is the seat of Ahmadu Bello Univ. (1962) and an agricultural school. The old part of the city is surrounded by walls.