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I have a few pictures good for profiles of Queens. I will try to get more. I cannot do profiles for some reason, so if anyone is willing to help let me know, thanks.

African Kings


African Warrior Women

According to Greek accounts, the earliest Amazons came from Libya (then a name for most of North Africa). They wore red leather and carried crescent-shaped shields. It was these Libyan Amazons, they said, who later founded cities and temples in the Aegean and Anatolia.

At a much later period, the Amazons of Dahomey were crack all-female troops, all female, who also served as royal bodyguards. They were also priestesses and wore crescent moon crowns.

Amina QUEEN Of ZARIA (1588-1589)

This queen of Zazzua, a province of Nigeria now known as Zaria, was born around 1533 during the reign of Sarkin (king) Zazzau Nohir. She was probably his granddaughter. Zazzua was one of a number of Hausa city-states which dominated the trans-Saharan trade after the collapse of the Songhai empire to the west. Its wealth was due to trade of mainly leather goods, cloth, kola, salt, horses and imported metals. At the age of sixteen, Amina became the heir apparent (Magajiya) to her mother, Bakwa of Turunku, the ruling queen of Zazzua. With the title came the responsibility for a ward in the city and daily councils with other officials. Although her mother's reign was known for peace and prosperity, Amina also chose to learn military skills from the warriors. Queen Bakwa died around 1566 and the reign of Zazzua passed to her younger brother Karama. At this time Amina emerged as the leading warrior of Zazzua cavalry. Her military achievements brought her great wealth and power.

When Karama died after a ten-year rule, Amina became queen of Zazzua. She set off on her first military expedition three months after coming to power and continued fighting until her death. In her thirty-four year reign, she expanded the domain of Zazzua to its largest size ever. Her main focus, however, was not on annexation of neighboring lands, but on forcing local rulers to accept vassal status and permit Hausa traders safe passage. She is credited with popularizing the earthen city wall fortifications, which became characteristic of Hausa city-states since then. She ordered building of a defensive wall around each military camp that she established. Later, towns grew within these protective walls, many of which are still in existence. They're known as "ganuwar Amina", or Amina's walls. She is mostly remembered as "Amina, Yar Bakwa ta san rana," meaning "Amina, daughter of Nikatau, a woman as capable as a man. Contributed by Danuta Bois


Alexander reached Kemet (Ancient Egypt) in 332 B.C., on his world conquering rampage. But one of the greatest generals of the ancient world was also the Empress of Ethiopia. This formidable black Queen Candace, was world famous as a military tactician and field commander. Legend has it that Alexander could not entertain even the possibilty of having his world fame and unbroken chain of victories marred by risking a defeat, at last, by a woman. He halted his armies at the borders of Ethiopia and did not invade to meet the waiting black armies with their Queen in personal command Dahia-Al Kahina Dahia-Al Kahina Dahia al-Kahina became leader of the African resistance. She fought against the Arab incursion in North Africa where under her leadership Africans fought back fiercely and drove the Arab army northward into Tripolitania. Her opposition to the Arab incursion was purely nationalistic, since she favored neither Christians nor Moslems. She is generally held to have been a Jewess but we believe that she could just as well have followed the old Carthaginian religion. This differs from Judaism but also shares some affinities with it. There are, of course, Black Jews in many parts of Africa such as the Falasha of Ethiopia and the Lemba of South Africa. Arab records describe her as having "dark skin, a mass of hair and huge eyes" - the comment referring to her hair may refer to an afro or perhaps dreadlocks. Dr John Clarke describes her as a nationalist who favored no particular religion. This may explain her effectiveness in bringing together a united front against the invaders. She counterattacked the invaders and drove them into Tripolitania. This was so effective that some Arabs doubted whether Africa could be taken.

As one African army was beaten another replaced them. The Arabs seized Carthage in 698 AD. Dahia defeated them and instituted a scorched earth policy to prevent the Arabs from being able to find crops to feed on in the region. That desolation can be seen even today in southern Tunisia. Eventually, however, the Arabs returned. Dahia was finally defeated in battle in 705 AD.

After her death the Arabs began to change their strategy in advancing their faith and their power in Africa. The resistance to the southward spread of Islam was so great in some areas that some of the wives of African kings committed suicide to avoid falling into the hands of the Berbers and Arabs who showed no mercy to the people who would not be converted to Islam. She prevented Islam's southward spread into the Western Sudan but North Africa was overrun. Today Black people are a minority in North Africa. Furthermore, Africans in Mauretania and Sudan continue to face the threat of enslavement

Hatshepsut QUEEN OF KEMET (Ancient Egypt the land of the blacks) (1503-1482 B.C.)

One of the greatest queens of ancient Kemet was Queen Hatshepsut. While she was known as a "warrior" queen, her battles were engaged with her own rivals for the position of power in Kemetic hierarchy. A born dynast in her own right, Hatshepsut proved to be an aggressive and overpowering force. However, it was not in war, but in her aspiration to ascend to the "Heru (Horus) consciousness," she displayed the strength that has given her a place in history.

She adopted the Truth of Maat and became involved in the elimination of undesirable people and elements from Kemet. Determined to be revered in times yet to come, Hatshepsut depicted herself in as many masculine attributes as possible, i.e. male attire, king’s beard, etc. Although she ascended to the throne upon the death of her king-brother Thutmose II, she exerted her rightful claim to the throne. In exercising her power, she involved herself in foreign campaigns, a concentration on domestic affairs, extensive building and commercial ventures.

Even before becoming legal ruler, Hatshepsut, was actively pushing things dearest to the hearts of all Africans leaders: the expansion of foreign trade, international diplomatic relations, perfection of national defense, vast public building programs, securing the South and the North through either peace or war and, one of her "pet projects", building a great navy for both commerce and war.

Hatshepsut reestablished the trade networks that had been disrupted during the Hyksos occupation of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, thereby building a wealth of the eighteenth dynasty that has become so famous since the discovery of the burial of one of her descendants, Tutankhamun, began to be analyzed.

She oversaw the preparations and funding for a mission to the Land of Punt. The expedition set out in her name with five ships, each measuring 70 feet (21 m) long bearing several sails and accommodating 210 men that included sailors and 30 rowers. Many trade goods were bought in Punt, notably myrrh, which is said to have been Hatshepsut's favorite fragrance.

Most notably, however, the Egyptians returned from the voyage bearing 31 live frankincense trees, the roots of which were carefully kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage. This was the first recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. It is reported that Hatshepsut had these trees planted in the courts of her Deir el Bahari mortuary temple complex. Egyptians also returned with living Puntites (people of Punt). This trading expedition to Punt was roughly during Hatshepsut's nineteenth year of reign.

She had the expedition commemorated in relief at Deir el-Bahri, which also is famous for its realistic depiction of the Queen of the Land of Punt, Queen Iti, who appears to have had a genetic trait called steatopygia. Hatshepsut also sent raiding expeditions to Byblos and Sinai shortly after the Punt expedition. Very little is known about these expeditions. Although many Egyptologists have claimed that her foreign policy was mainly peaceful,[18] there is evidence that Hatshepsut led successful military campaigns in Nubia, the Levant, and Syria early in her career.Hatshepsut was one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper and Lower Egypt, that were grander and more numerous than those of any of her Middle Kingdom predecessors.  She employed two great architects: Ineni, who also had worked for her husband and father and for the royal steward Senemut. During her reign, so much statuary was produced that almost every major museum in the world has Hatshepsut statuary among their collections; for instance, the Hatshepsut Room in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is dedicated solely to these pieces.

Following the tradition of most pharaohs, Hatshepsut had monuments constructed at the Temple of Karnak. She also restored the original Precinct of Mut, the ancient great goddess of Egypt, at Karnak that had been ravaged by the foreign rulers during the Hyksos occupation. She had twin obelisks, at the time the tallest in the world, erected at the entrance to the temple. One still stands, as the tallest surviving ancient obelisk on Earth; the other has since broken in two and toppled. Another project, Karnak's Red Chapel, or Chapelle Rouge, was intended as a barque shrine and may have stood between her two obelisks originally. She later ordered the construction of two more obelisks to celebrate her sixteenth year as pharaoh; one of the obelisks broke during construction, and thus a third was constructed to replace it. The broken obelisk was left at its quarrying site in Aswan, where it still remains, known as The Unfinished Obelisk, serving as a demonstration of just how obelisks were quarried.

The Temple of Pakhet was built by Hatshepsut at Beni Hasan in the Minya Governorate south of Al Minya. Pakhet was a synthesis that occurred combining Bast and Sekhmet, who were similar lioness war goddesses, in an area that bordered the north and south division of their cults. The cavernous underground temple, cut into the rock cliffs on the eastern side of the Nile, was admired and called the Speos Artemidos by the Greeks during their occupation of Egypt, known as the Ptolemaic Dynasty. They saw the goddess as a parallel to their hunter goddess Artemis. The temple is thought to have been built alongside much more ancient ones that have not survived. This temple has an architrave bearing a long dedicatory text bearing Hatshepsut's famous denunciation of the Hyksos that has been translated by James P. Allen. They had occupied Egypt and cast it into a cultural decline that persisted until a revival brought about by her policies and innovations. This temple was altered later and some of its inside decorations were usurped by Seti I, in the nineteenth dynasty, attempting to have his name replace that of Hatshepsut.

The masterpiece of Hatshepsut's building projects was her mortuary temple complex at Deir el-Bahri. It was designed and implemented by Senemut at a site on the West Bank of the Nile River near the entrance to what is now called the Valley of the Kings because of all the pharaohs who later chose to associate their complexes with the grandeur of hers. Her buildings were the first grand ones planned for that location. The focal point was the Djeser-Djeseru or "the Sublime of Sublimes", a colonnaded structure of perfect harmony nearly one thousand years before the Parthenon was built. Djeser-Djeseru sits atop a series of terraces that once were graced with lush gardens. Djeser-Djeseru is built into a cliff face that rises sharply above it. Djeser-Djeseru and the other buildings of Hatshepsut's Deir el-Bahri complex are considered to be among the great buildings of the ancient world. Also another one of her great accomplishments is the Hatshepsut needle (also known as the granite obelisks). Her success on most of these fronts made her one of the giants of the race.


QUEEN OF KEMET (the land of the blacks) (1292-1225 B.C)

Her marriage to the great Rameses II of lower Ancient Egypt is known as one of the greatest royal love affair ever. This marriage also brought an end to the hundred years war between upper and lower ancient Kemet (Egypt), which in essence unified both sections into one great Kemet which was the world leading country. Monuments of this love affair still remains today in the temples that Rameses built for his wife at Abu Simbel.

The immense structures known as the two temples of Abu Simbel are among the most magnificent monuments in the world. Built during the New Kingdom nearly 3,000 years ago, it was hewn from the mountain which contains it as an everlasting dedication to King Ramses and his wife Nefertari. The temple detailed the Battle of Kadesh, and Ramses and Nefertari consorting with the deities and performing religious rituals. The rays of the sun still penetrate to the Holy of Holies in the rock of the main temple on the same two days of the year: the 20th of October and the 20th of February. This timing is probably connected to the symbolic unification, via the rays of the sun, of the statue of Ra-Herakhty and the statue of Ramses II. Up to today these structures remains as the largest, most majestic structures ever built to honor a wife.


QUEEN OF KEMET (Ancient Egypt the land of the blacks)

It is believe by some historians that Nefertiti was the daughter of Aye and Tiy, while other claims her as the oldest daughter of Amenhotep III. Nefertiti was married to Akhenaten the originated of the one god concept (monotheism) as it became known today. During the early life of Nefertiti she lived in a Kemet where a new model of human nature in relation to god was emerging. This belief considered man primarily has a material entity, whose happiness was measured by his ability to acquire and maintain a material heaven (wealth and pleasure). In this material heaven women were not principals that predicted or participated in social policy, but were objects of sensuality or objects to be used by men. As weaker members of this paradise women could not be participants in its building. This belief was completely contrary to the beliefs of the ancients and the principles of Ma'at. Akhenaten developed another model. The nature of his new religion was that Aton represented by the Sun was the sole god and creator of all life.

Nefertiti could not relegate herself to the traditional role of subservient-queen. She envisioned an active role for herself in reshaping civilization. This was later manifested as she is shown participating in all the religious ceremonies with Akhenaten. It was only through the combined royal pair that the god Aton's full blessing could be bestowed. Nefertiti is displayed with a prominence that other Egyptian queens were not. Her name is enclosed in a royal cartouche, and there are in fact more statues and drawings of her than of Akhenaten. Yet the priests with their materialist model were powerful and they dominated the higher government offices. In this arena women were incapable of divinity.

Akhenaten and Nefertiti countered a revolt by the priest and emerged victorious and created a new capital for Kemet called Akhetaten a city that could give birth to their scared mission, a mission in pursuit of Divine life. She insisted on being portrayed has a equal divine partner to Akhenaten and their exist many illustrations of her riding a chariot with Akhenaten during major rituals. While Akhenaten's ideas waned without him there to defend them the priest still considered Nefertiti's heresy a greater threat. The concept of a woman bypassing the male priest hood via a mother-goddess to worship the divine was totally unacceptable. And sadly enough continues to be unacceptable in the major religions that dominate the world today. Nefertiti though her devotion and her demand for respect proved she deserved a special place in the history of women.

Nehanda Mbuya Nehanda a.k.a Charwe Nyakasikana (c. 1862-1898) “My bones shall rise again”

Living in the Hills around Mazoe , Zimbabwe , were various sub-chiefs including Wata and Chidamba. In the Chidamba Village lived the famous Shona spirit medium Mbuya Nehanda. She must have had great authority even before the 1896-7 Rebellion and it is interesting that no greater authority than the Anglican Church in a map drawn up showing missionary work by the Church after 1888 there is a village in the area called Nehandas. She was a powerful woman spirit medium that was committed to upholding traditional Shona culture, she was instrumental in organizing the nationwide resistance to colonial rule during the First Chimurenga of 1896-7. Even Lobengula recognized her as a powerful spiritual medium in the land.

According to historical sources the original Nehanda was daughter of Mutota the first Monomatapa who was living in the escarpment North of Sipolilo in about 1430. This some 70 odd years before Christopher Columbus discovered America and Bartholemew Dias reached the Cape . Mutota was the founder of the Mutapa state, Mutota also had a son who later became the second Monomatapa, and the son was called Matope. Matope was Nehanda’s half brother, and to increase the power of Matope, Mutota ordered his son to commit incest with his half sister, Nyamhika, who became widely know as Nehanda. This incest ritual is believed to have increased Matope’s ruler and his empire, due to this Matope handed over a portion of his empire to Nehanda who became so powerful and well known that her spirit lived on in the human bodies of various spirit mediums over the years until almost 500 years later when we find it occupying the body of the Mazoe Nehanda. Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana was considered to be the female incarnation of the oracle spirit Nyamhika Nehanda.

As white settlement increased in the land, according to sources Nehanda initially welcomed the occupation by the Pioneers and counseled her followers to be friendly towards them "Don't be afraid of them" she said "as they are only traders, but take a black cow to them and say this is the meat with which we greet you." Unfortunately relationships became strained when the settlers starting imposing taxes, forced relocations, forced labor, etc.

As colonialism began to get its grip on the natives of Zimbabwe , there was military drive to rid of the British settlers. The collective efforts of the locals to get rid of the British colonialist in the period of 1896-7 have become known as the First Chimurenga a.k.a the Rebellion. Due to the cultural beliefs of the locals, the leading roles behind the rebellion were by three spirit mediums. The rebellion was initiated in Matebeland in May 1896, the leading role there being Mukwati, in October 1896 Kaguvi and Nehanda from Mashonaland joined in; these were the three critical people behind the rebellion

Kaguvi (a.k.a Kagubi) was believed to be the spirit husband of the other great Shona spirit, Nehanda, and it may have been this connection which enabled him in due course to persuade Mbuya Nehanda to preach the gospel of war resistance in Mashonaland, which led to the first Chimurenga. The role as well as the influence of the spirit mediums in form of Kaguvi and Nehanda, can not understated. As far as the people were concerned Nehanda and Kaguvi were the voices of God a.k.a Mwari. Kaguvi and later Nehanda (after convincing by Kaguvi) preached that according to Mwari the cause of all the trouble that had come upon the land was the white man. They had brought the locusts and the rinderpest, and to crown it all, they, the owners of the cattle which had died, were not allowed to eat the meat of the carcasses, which had to be burned or buried. Mwari decreed that the white men were to be driven from the country. They, the natives, had nothing to fear, Mwari would turn the bullets of the white man into water. For her role in the resistance a warrant of arrest was issued for the arrest of Nehanda. Nehanda was able to avoid arrest for over a year but she was eventually captured at the end of 1897 and brought to trial in 1898 for her part in the killing of Native Commissioner Pollard. Pollard had created great resentment among her people by thrashing Chief Chiweshe for failing to report an outbreak of Rinderpest among his herds. He was captured at the outbreak of the Rebellion and an eye witness reports as follows:

"So they took him to Nehanda." She said "Bring him here." Then she came and knelt down and spoke with Pollard. I then heard Nehanda say to Watta "Kill Pollard but take him some way of to the river or he will stink.” They took an axe and they chopped of his head. " So Nehanda along with her Spiritual husband were both charged with murder—Kagubi for the death of an African policeman, and Nehanda for the death of the Native Commissioner Pollard—and summarily sentenced to death by hanging. At Nehanda’s hanging there was drama, which could have been a display of her spiritual powers. Two unsuccessful attempts were made to hang her. An African prisoner present at her hanging then suggested that the hangman should remove from her belt a tobacco pouch. This was done and on the third attempt she was successfully hanged. Nehanda's dying words were, "My bones will rise again," meaning they will rise again to fight the settlers. There were numerous and strenuous attempts by a Catholic Priest to convert her to Christianity but she remained defiant to the end, but Kaguvi gave in and was converted.

Nehanda is rightfully honored by the Shona people as a resistance heroine. Her fortitude both before and after her arrest is remarkable, it played a critical part in Zimbabwean History. References: A.S. Chigwedere, From Mutapa to Rhodes . Peter Gibbs, The History of the BSAP. W. Edwards, Reminiscences in NADA. P.S. Garlake, The Mashona Rebellion east of Salisbury , Rhodesiana No. 14, July 1966. S. Hickman, Balleyhooley Hotel, Rhodesiana No. 17, December 1972. D.N. Beach , Kaguvi and Fort Mhondoro , Rhodesiana No. 27, December 1972. General History of Africa, Vol. VII: Africa under Colonial Domination, 1880-1935, UNESCO. University of California Press, 1990. Great Zimbabwe : described and explained, Peter Garlake, Zimbabwe Publishing House, 1982. Modern Africa : A social and political history (2nd ed.), Basil Davidson, Longman Group, 1989. A political history of Munhumutapa c 1400-1902, S.I.G. Mudenge, Zimbabwe Publishing House, 1988. Revolt in Southern Rhodesia , 1896-7: A Study in African Resistance, Terence O. Ranger, Heinemann, 1984. The struggle for Zimbabwe : The Chimurenga War, David Martin & Phyllis Johnson, Zimbabwe Publishing House, 1981. Women Leaders in African History, David Sweetman. General Publishing Company, Limited, 1984.



A very good military leader who waged war against the savage slave-hunting Europeans. This war lasted for more than thirty years. Queen Nzingha of Ndongo belonged to the Mbundu, a large and ancient ethnic group that lived in modern-day Angola. The Mbundu were divided into tribes, including the Songo, Lenge, Libolo, Hungu, Pende, Ndongo, and Imbangala. Every group was made up of clans descended from their mother's side of the family. Every clan was identified with their mother's clan and all the marriages were marriages between clans related maternally. Nzingha's family ruled the Ndongo people.

She was a member of the ethnic Jagas a militant group that formed a human shield against the Portuguese slave traders. As a visionary political leader, competent, and self sacrificing she was completely devoted to the resistance movement. She formed alliances with other foreign powers pitting them against one another to free Angola of European influence. She possessed both masculine hardness and feminine charm and used them both depending on the situation. She even used religion as a political tool when it suited her. Her death on December 17, 1663 helped open the door for the massive Portuguese slave trade. Yet her struggle helped awaken others that followed her and forced them to mount offensives against the invaders. These include Madame Tinubu of Nigeria; Nandi, the mother of the great Zulu warrior Chaka; Kaipkire of the Herero people of South West Africa; and the female army that followed the Dahomian King, Behanzin Bowelle.

Although many strong women grace history as powerful rulers, perhaps none was more cunning and skilled in militarism as Nzingha, Queen of Ndongo.

Nzingha was born in 1582 to Ndambi Kiluanji, the ngola, king, of the Ndongo tribe and territories, and his second wife, Kangela. Kangela had been captured from her tribe as a teenager and brought to the Ndongo capital, Kabasa, where she became a jaga, an outsider. Kiluanji fell in love with her, but because she was a captive and a jaga, she didn't have a clan and therefore she was not fit for the prince in the eyes of his mother, who is said to have been a very powerful person behind the throne, as most mothers were to their ngola sons. To please his family, Kiluanji married a more suitable woman, and then married Kangela. Kiluanji had his first child, a son named Mbandi, in 1579. The boy was useless. He was fat and lazy and showed no interest in athletic or military activity nor in intellectual or diplomatic activity. His mother was a schemer and was hated at the royal compounds in Kabasa, where she plotted to get her son on the throne.

In 1582, Kiluanji had a daughter, Nzingha. She was more promising. She was a great athlete and highly intelligent. She was skilled in diplomacy and was cunning. The only problem is that she was a female. Nzingha was followed by two more daughters, Mukambu (born in 1584) and Kifunji (born in 1587). Although Kangela had failed her duty to bear male heirs, Kiluanji still deeply loved his wife. Nzingha grew up in a world normally suited for males. She was educated in the fields of hunting and archery and in diplomacy and trade. Mbandi also received this training, although his training was more vigorous. He was awful. He never ceased from whining and complaining and eating. The only person who sympathized with him was his mother.

Nzingha's relationship with Mbandi was rooted in hatred. She could not stand her half-brother and often picked fights with him (normally winning unless his mother interfered and went crying to Kiluanji). However, Nzingha often could not control herself off the training fields and was even reputed to be banished from attending court when she insulted Mbandi at a meeting in front of all the concubines, children, and government officials. But the people adored Nzingha and she was brought back. Nzingha's relationship with her sisters was different. They all loved one another and got along well, often joining Nzingha on her hunts and during training. One of Nzingha's childhood friends was a man named Njali, a prisoner from another tribe that became one of Kiluanji's closest confidants. He taught Nzingha the ways of war and hunting, from picking the best poison to put on the tip of her spear to how to sneak up on grazing animals. During Nzingha's teenage years a man named Giovanni Gavazzi, a Portuguese priest, recorded most of what went on in Kabasa and among the Mbundu people. He was captured as a slave before Nzingha's birth and lived at Kiluanji's court for many years.

While most Europeans found the tribes appallingly primitive, Gavazzi embraced the culture and set out to educate the people in European ways while educating the Europeans in the Mbundu ways. However, while one Portuguese man befriended the Mbundu people, the Portuguese slave traders tried their best to destroy the Mbundu culture. Starting in the 1400s, Portuguese traders had set up ports and cities along the African coast, such as Luanda. Their job was simply to capture Mbundu people to sell. The fate of the slaves was horrible. Most died on the three-month voyage from Luanda to the West Indies, or threw themselves overboard while still chained to drown. Those who made it spent their lives toiling under Portuguese slave drivers. Kiluanji's reign was plagued by weak relations with the Portuguese to keep the Mbundu safe. He kept peace, but the Portuguese set out to capture and enslave the innocent and betrayed Mbundu people. Other Mbundu tribes had made deals and alliances with the Portuguese, but Kiluanji refused to give in. Because the other tribes made alliances, the Portuguese advanced closer and closer to Ndongo territory.

Thousands of the Ndongo people were captured, and Kiluanji led his people into war with the foreigners. Nzingha married a fellow royal Mbundu, a prince named Azeze, who had come to Kabasa in 1595 when Nzingha was 13 to make an alliance between his tribe and the Ndongo. Azeze and Nzingha were both deeply in love, and Azeze admired Nzingha's strength and her abilities on the field. They had a son between in the early 1600's, but unfortunately Azeze died in battle a few years afterwards. Although she was a widow, Nzingha still refused to lay down her bow and arrow and often went on hunting escapes, her sister trailing behind her, who also both lost their husbands in battle. In 1617, Kiluanji died, and the powerless and pathetic Mbandi was given the seat if power over the Ndongo. With his uncles controlling him, Mbandi ordered the deaths of all those who opposed him. Nzingha's son was murdered, as was her mother. Nzingha herself would have been murdered, but the people loved her and an outcry would arise if she were killed. Nzingha had promised her father before his death that she would do whatever was possible to keep the Portuguese out of the Ndongo territory. When she was called to go to the Portuguese city of Luanda, Nzingha reluctantly led a party to make an alliance with the Portuguese. When she met with the governor of Luanda, she was refused a seat. To show the governor her power and that she would not be below him, she sat on the back of one of her male servants and made him a human bench. There, she made a peace agreement.

Also while she was in Luanda, she came into contact with Father Giovanni, the priest who had lived among the Ndongo. She had him baptize her and took the name Ana de Sousa, in honor of the new Luanda governor, Joao Carreida de Sousa. It was rumored that Nzingha was only baptized to achieve respect from the Portuguese and establish herself as a leader. Nzingha returned to Kabasa in 1617, and not too long after her arrival, Mbandi was dead, supposedly murdered under Nzingha's orders. Without a leader, the Portuguese attacked Kabasa and burned it to the ground. Nzingha fled to the mountains with her people and over the next few years, organized an army to fight back. Seven years later, in 1624, 42-year-old Nzingha rallied her people and led them to take control of their territory. Nzingha was declared Ngola Kiluanji of the Mbundu of Ndongo, a prediction made when she was born. Her closest aides were her sisters, Mukambu and Kifunji. Never had the Mbundu seen a female government, but it proved capable. Nzingha's childhood friend, Njali, helped her make an alliance with the Imbangala tribes. For the next forty years, Nzingha led her people into battle against the Portuguese from the rocky slopes of Matamba. Her sisters were captured during a battle, but with the help of slaves in Luanda, they escaped from slavery. Later, Kifunji died from battle wounds.

Nzingha led many battles and peace treaties, some with the Portuguese, some with the Dutch, but she never resisted against slavery and the ill treatment of her people. She never returned to the ruins of Kabasa, and many remember her as the Queen of Matamba, because she ruled from the Matamba mountains and countryside, never from the Ndongo territory, despite her titles. When she died in 1663 at age 82, her sister, Mukambu, took over the seat of power as head of the Mbundu people. Mukambu had Nzingha laid to rest in her leopard skins and with her bow over her shoulder and arrows in her hand.

Makeda QUEEN OF SHEBA (The symbol of Beauty) (960 B.C.)

"I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, As the tents of Kedar, As the curtains of Solomon, Look not upon me because I am black Because the sun hath scorched me." (Song of Solomon)

Although most of Black history is suppressed, distorted or ignored by an ungrateful modern world, some African traditions are so persistent that all of the power and deception of the Western academic establishment have failed to stamp them out. One such story is that of Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon of Israel. Black women of antiquity were legendary for their beauty and power. Especially great were the Queens of Ethiopia. This nation was also known as Nubia, Kush, Axum and Sheba. One thousand years before Christ, Ethiopia was ruled by a line of virgin queens. The one whose story has survived into our time was known as Makeda, "the Queen of Sheba." Her remarkable tradition was recorded in the Kebar Nagast, or the Glory of Kings, and the Bible. The Bible tells us that, during his reign, King Solomon of Israel decided to build a magnificent temple.

To announce this endeavor, the king sent forth messengers to various foreign countries to invite merchants from abroad to come to Jerusalem with their caravans so that they might engage in trade there. At this time, Ethiopia was second only to Egypt in power and fame. Hence, King Solomon was enthralled by Ethiopia's beautiful people, rich history, deep spiritual tradition and wealth. He was especially interested in engaging in commerce with one of Queen Makeda's subjects, an important merchant by the name of Tamrin.1 Solomon sent for Tamrin who "packed up stores of valuables including ebony, sapphires and red gold, which he took to Jerusalem to sell to the king."2 It turns out that Tamrin's visit was momentous. Although accustomed to the grandeur and luxury of Egypt and Ethiopia, Tamrin was still impressed by King Solomon and his young nation.

During a prolonged stay in Israel, Tamrin observed the magnificent buildings and was intrigued by the Jewish people and their culture. But above all else, he was deeply moved by Solomon's wisdom and compassion for his subjects. Upon returning to his country, Tamrin poured forth elaborate details about his trip to Queen Makeda. She was so impressed by the exciting story that the great queen decided to visit King Solomon herself.3 To understand the significance of state visits in antiquity in contrast to those of today, we must completely remove ourselves from the present place and time. In ancient times, royal visits were very significant ceremonial affairs. The visiting regent was expected to favor the host with elaborate gifts and the state visit might well last for weeks or even months. Even by ancient standards, however, Queen Makeda's visit to King Solomon was extraordinary. In I Kings 10:1-2, the Bible tells us: "1. And when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions. "2. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bear spices and very much gold, and precious stones. And when she was come to Solomon she communed with him of all that was in her heart." I Kings 10:10 adds: "She gave the king 120 talents of gold, and of spices very great store and precious stones; there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon."

We should pause to consider the staggering sight of this beautiful Black woman and her vast array of resplendent attendants travelling over the Sahara desert into Israel with more than 797 camels plus donkeys and mules too numerous to count. The value of the gold alone, which she gave to King Solomon, would be $3,690,000 today and was of much greater worth in antiquity. King Solomon, and undoubtedly the Jewish people, were flabbergasted by this great woman and her people. He took great pains to accommodate her every need. A special apartment was built for her lodging while she remained in his country. She was also provided with the best of food and eleven changes of garments daily. As so many African leaders before her, this young maiden, though impressed with the beauty of Solomon's temple and his thriving domain, had come to Israel seeking wisdom and the truth about the God of the Jewish people. Responding to her quest for knowledge, Solomon had a throne set up for the queen beside his. "It was covered with silken carpets, adorned with fringes of gold and silver, and studded with diamonds and pearls. From this she listened while he delivered judgments."4 Queen Makeda also accompanied Solomon throughout his kingdom. She observed the wise, compassionate and spiritual ruler as he interacted with his subjects in everyday affairs. Speaking of the value of her visit with the King and her administration for him, Queen Makeda stated: "My Lord, how happy I am. Would that I could remain here always, if but as the humblest of your workers, so that I could always hear your words and obey you.

"How happy I am when I interrogate you! How happy when you answer me. My whole being is moved with pleasure; my soul is filled; my feet no longer stumble; I thrill with delight.

"Your wisdom and goodness," she continued, "are beyond all measure. They are excellence itself. Under your influence I am placing new values on life. I see light in the darkness; the firefly in the garden reveals itself in newer beauty. I discover added lustre in the pearl; a greater radiance in the morning star, and a softer harmony in the moonlight. Blessed be the God that brought me here; blessed be He who permitted your majestic mind to be revealed to me; blessed be the One who brought me into your house to hear your voice.

Solomon had a harem of over 700 wives and concubines, yet, he was enamored by the young Black virgin from Ethiopia. Although he held elaborate banquets in her honor and wined, dined and otherwise entertained her during the length of her visit, they both knew that, according to Ethiopian tradition, the Queen must remain chaste. Nevertheless, the Jewish monarch wished to plant his seed in Makeda, so that he might have a son from her regal African lineage. To this end the shrewd king conspired to conquer the affection of this young queen with whom he had fallen in love. When, after six months in Israel, Queen Makeda announced to King Solomon that she was ready to return to Ethiopia, he invited her to a magnificent farewell dinner at his palace. The meal lasted for several hours and featured hot, spicy foods that were certain to make all who ate thirsty and sleepy (as King Solomon had planned.) Since the meal ended very late, the king invited Queen Makeda to stay overnight in the palace in his quarters. She agreed as long as they would sleep in separate beds and the king would not seek to take advantage of her. He vowed to honor her chastity, but also requested that she not take anything in the palace. Outraged by such a suggestion, the Queen protested that she was not a thief and then promised as requested. Not long after the encounter, the Queen, dying of thirst, searched the palace for water. Once she found a large water jar and proceeded to drink, the King startled her by stating: "You have broken your oath that you would not take anything by force that is in my palace.

The Queen protested, of course, that surely the promise did not cover something so insignificant and plentiful as water, but Solomon argued that there was nothing in the world more valuable than water, for without it nothing could live. Makeda reluctantly admitted the truth of this and apologized for her mistake, begging for water for her parched throat. Solomon, now released from his promise, assuaged her thirst and his own, immediately taking the Queen as his lover."6 The following day as the Queen and her entourage prepared to leave Israel, the King placed a ring on her hand and stated, "If you have a son, give this to him and send him to me." After returning to the land of Sheba, Queen Makeda did indeed have a son, whom she named Son-of-the-wise-man, and reared as a prince and her heir apparent to the throne. Upon reaching adulthood, the young man wished to visit his father, so the Queen prepared another entourage, this time headed by Tamrin. She sent a message to Solomon to anoint their son as king of Ethiopia and to mandate that thenceforth only the males descended from their son should rule Sheba. Solomon and the Jewish people rejoiced when his son arrived in Israel.

The king anointed him as the Queen had requested and renamed him Menelik, meaning "how handsome he is." Though Solomon had many wives, only one had produced a son, Rehoboam, a boy of seven. So the king begged Menelik to remain, but the young prince would not. Solomon therefore called his leaders and nobles and announced that, since he was sending his first born son back to Ethiopia, he wanted all of them to send their firstborn sons "to be his counselors and officers." And they agreed to do so. Menelik asked his father for a relic of the Ark of the Covenant to take back with him to the land of Sheba. It is said that while Solomon intended to provide his son with a relic, the sons of the counselors, angry at having to leave their homes and go to Sheba with Menelik, actually stole the real Ark and took it to Ethiopia. Menelik returned to Sheba and, according to tradition, ruled wisely and well. And his famous line has continued down to the 20th century when, even now, the ruler of Ethiopia is the "conquering lion of Judah" descended directly from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba


THE NUBIAN QUEEN OF KEMET (Ancient Egypt) (1415-1340 B.C.)

Black, beautiful and gorgeous, Queen Tiye is regarded as one of the most influential Queens ever to rule Kemet. A princess of Nubian birth, she married the Kemetan King Amenhotep III who ruled during the New Kingdom Dynasties around 1391BC. Queen Tiye held the title of "Great Royal Wife" and acted upon it following the end of her husband's reign. It was Tiye who held sway over Kemet during the reign of her three sons Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton), Smenkhare, and the famous child king Tut-ankh-amen. For nearly half of a century, Tiye governed Kemet, regulated her trade, and protected her borders. During this time, she was believed to be the standard of beauty in the ancient world.

Although not of royal blood, Tiye's parents were sufficiently important within the court of Tuthmosis IV (the father of Amenhotep III) for her to have been regarded as the heiress whom Amenhotep was destined to marry. Her parents were Yuya (who held the post of Kingís Lieutenant of Chariotry and Master of the Horse) and Thuya who was an important court lady (Superintendent of the Harem of Min of Akhmim and of Amun of Thebes).

Tiye's parents were buried in the Valley of the Kings (as many nobles were) and their tomb was found intact in 1904, although not as grand as a Royal tomb it still held many treasures - including the mummies of both Yuya and Thuya.Despite her non-royal origins, Tiye became the Great Royal Wife of Amenhotep III (the king did have many royal wives, but the Great Royal Wife was the most important and the heir and future pharaoh would be her son). Tiye was frequently mentioned, or shown beside Amenhotep in sculptures, reliefs and inscriptions from the period, it is assumed that Tiye did have a strong effect on the state affairs of Egypt before and indeed after Amenhotep's death.

It is thought that when she died, Tiye was originally buried by her son in the Royal Tomb at Akhetaten, and not alongside Amenhotep III in the Valley of the Kings. Once the heretic Akhenaten had died, Tiyes body was moved - there is a small tomb in the Valley of the Kings was did have some ruined artifacts from Tiye's funeral possessions (tomb 55). Tiye's body was then moved again to her husband's tomb to rest for eternity with him, however, when the priests discovered the tomb had been robbed both the bodies of Amenhotep III and Tiye were moved to a safer location, the tomb of Amenhotep II. The identity of Tiye's mummy was made after an electron probe compared a hair sample from the mummy and the lock of hair of Queen Tiye from Tutankhamun's tomb (however like most finds dating to this period, these findings are disputed by some).

YAA Asantewa Yaa Asantewa of the Ashanti Empire

Her fight against British colonialists is a story that is woven throughout the history of Ghana. When the British exiled the King of Asante Prempeh I to the Seychelles in 1896 and other members of the Asante government, Yaa Asantewaa became regent of the Ejisu-Juaben District. After the deportation of Prempeh I, the British governor-general of the Gold Coast, Frederick Hodgson, demanded the Golden Stool, the symbol of the Asante nation. This disrespectful request led to a secret meeting of the remaining members of the Asante government at Kumasi, to discuss how to secure the return of their king.

Yaa Asantewa, the Queen Mother of Ejisu, was at the meeting. The chiefs were discussing how they should make war on the white men and force them to bring back the Asantehene. Yaa Asantewa noticed that some of the chiefs were afraid. Some said that there should be no war. They should rather go to beg the Governor to bring back the Asantehene King Prempeh.

Then suddenly Yaa Asantewa stood up and spoke. This was what she said:

"Now I have seen that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our king. If it were in the brave days of, the days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opolu Ware, chiefs would not sit down to see thief king taken away without firing a shot. No white man could have dared to speak to chief of the Ashanti in the way the Governor spoke to you chiefs this morning. Is it true that the bravery of the Ashanti is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this, if you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields."

This speech stirred up the men who took an oath to fight the white men until they released the Asantehene. For months the Ashantis led by Yaa Asantewa fought very bravely and kept the white men in the fort.

Beginning in March 1900, the rebellion laid siege to the fort at Kumasi where the British had sought refuge. The fort still stands today as the Kumasi Fort and Military Museum. After several months, the Gold Coast governor eventually sent a force of 1,400 to quell the rebellion. During the course of this, Queen Yaa Asantewaa and 15 of her closest advisers were captured, and they too were sent into exile to the Seychelles.

The rebellion represented the final war in the Anglo-Asante series of wars that lasted throughout the 19th Century. On January 1, 1902, the British were finally able to accomplish what the Asante army had denied them for almost a century, and the Asante empire was made a protectorate of the British crown. Yaa Asantewaa died in exile on October 17, 1921. Five years after her death, on November 12, 1926, Prempeh I and the other remaining members of the exiled Asante court were allowed to return to Asante. Prempeh I made sure that the remains of Yaa Asantewaa and the other exiled Asantes were returned for a proper royal burial. Yaa Asantewaa's dream for an Asante free of British rule was realized on March 6, 1957, when the Asante protectorate gained independence as part of Ghana, the first African nation to achieve this feat. Yaa Asantewa's war was the last of the major war in Africa led by a woman.


Nyabinghi, the "hidden queen" fought to free Africans from English slavery and rule. Also called Queen Muhmusa or Tahtahme, she inspired the Nyabinghi underpinnings of Rastafarianism.

Nanny of the Maroons was born in Ghana, and folk history says that she came to Jamaica with the express purpose of becoming a high priestess and leader of her people, never having been a slave. She was an obeah-woman who led the eastern Maroons based in Moreton, and forged an alliance with another group led by Cudjoe. (The name Maroons comes from the Spanish cimarron,meaning "gone back to the wild.")

The Jamaican Maroons were the first people to force the English to sign a treaty with their subjects, on March 1, 1738. The lands conceded in this treaty formed a base for the Maroon's independent survival. One of these communities was named Nannytown after the female Ghanaian leader. Maroon country was so feared by the English that it became known as the "Land of Look-Behind."


In the summer of 1848, eight or ten people made it across the Ohio river in their northward flight from slavery. The slave catchers tracked them into town, but the bounty they were after turned out to be elusive:

"The women began to gather from adjoining houses until the Amazons were about equal to the [slave-hunters]-- the former with shovels, tongs, washboards and rolling pins; the latter with revolvers, sword-canes and bowie-knives. Finally the beseigers decamped, leaving the Amazons in possession of the field, amid the jeers and loud huzzahs of the crowd."

--Report from The North Star, an African-American paper out of Cincinnati, August 11, 1848. (For more, see Dorothy Sterling's book Speak Out In Thunder Tones.)


"If you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon you my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight until the last of us falls in the battlefield."

---Ya Asantewa, an Ashanti queen who led the resistence to British colonial rule in Ghana. She succeeded in the short run, but the Ashanti were heavily outgunned.


The Aba rebellion in southeastern Nigeria grew out of a traditional female rite of the Igbo. People were outraged at the colonial government's plan to tax women, "the trees that bear fruit." In protest, Ibo women bound their heads with ferns, painted their faces with ash, put on loincloths and carried sacred sticks with palm frond wreaths. Thousands marched on the District Office, dancing, singing protests, and demanding the cap of office of the colonial chief Okugo. When he approached one woman to count her goats and sheep, she had retorted, "Was mother counted?"

This protest spread into a vast regional insurrection. The Ibo women's councils mobilized demonstrations in three provinces, turning out over 2,000,000 protesters. The British District Officer at Bende wrote, "The trouble spread in the 2nd week of December to Aba, an important trading center on the railway. Here there converged some 10,000 women, scantily clothed, girdled with green leaves, carrying sticks. Singing angry songs against the chiefs and the court messengers, the women proceeded to attack and loot the European trading shops, stores, and Barclay's Bank, and to break into the prison and release the prisoners."

Elsewhere women protestors burned down the hated British "Native Courts" and cut telegraph wires, throwing officials into panic. The colonials fired on the female protesters, killing more than fifty and wounding more. Marches continued sporadically into 1930. These mass actions became known as the Aba Rebellion of 1929, or The War of the Women. It was one of the most significant anti-colonial revolts in Africa of that day.

Diola women led similar protests against French attempts to exact a tribute from their rice harvest in Senegal, an event dramatized by filmmaker Ousmane Sembene.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ If you want to know who I am I am daughter of Angola, of Kêto and Nagô I don't fear blows because I am a warrior Inside of samba I was born I raised myself, I transformed myself, and no one will lower my banner, O, O, O. I am a warrior woman daughter of Ogun and Yansâ

---Song from an album by Brazilian singer Clara Nuñes

Rain Queens of the Lovedu Dzugudini, a grand-daughter of "the famous ruler Monomatapa," was the founding Rain Queen of the Lovedu. Her royal father was angry that she bore a child out of wedlock. Oral tradition says her mother taught her the art of rain-making and gave her rain charms and sacred beads. Then she fled south with some supporters. They settled peacefully among the Sotho. In the early 1800s, a leadership crisis was resolved by accession of the first Mujaji, a Rain Queen with both political and ceremonial power. Chiefs presented her with wives. She had no military, but even the Zulu king Shaka paid her tribute because of her rain power. Her successors have less authority, but still preside over womanhood initiations and other important rituals. 

SWAZI The queen is called by honorific titles such as "Mother of the Country" and Indlovukati, "Lady Elephant." She is a powerful rain maker, guardian of the royal clan's sacred objects, and addresses the ancestors on behalf of the Swazi nation. She has the power to give sanctuary to persons condemned by the king's court. Her village is the capital of the country, where troops are quartered.

HAUSA Many powerful queens are remembered in Hausa tradition. Among the Kotoko, the Gumsu was the female heir of the land, associated with the morning star, mother of all stars. She lived in the southern part of the palace and performed functions associated with the south, was the head of the country's women and played a leading part in the seven year rites for its welfare. The Kotoko government was based on a delicate balance of male/female, right/left, north/south. Among the Kanuri, the Gumsu retained her authority in Muslim times. Diwan records recount that the Gumsu Fasama became angry at her son, Sultan Biri ibn Dunama, for executing a thief, rather than cutting off his hands as the Koran decreed. "Accordingly his mother put Biri in prison, and he submitted to the punishment for a whole year.

For many centuries there have been organized states and powerful empires in West Africa. Their wealth came from agriculture and mining, which gave rise to trade through the region and with Central and North Africa. Emperor Mansa Musa who reigned over Mali in the 14th century established trade and cultural relations with the Islamic world. King Osei Tutu of Asante (17th century Ghana) used commercial ties with the Europeans to expand his territories. Ndate yalla Mobdj, queen of Walo in 19th century Senegal tried to protect the trade and independence of her realm from a French takeover. These royal figures shaped the course of history in West Africa through their strength, wisdom and vision. Readers get to examine these great lives and their impact on the region today.


Kings and Queens of Southern Africa Large movements of populations have marked the history of Southern Africa. From the Bantu migration in the 6th century, to the expansion of the Zulu and the settling of the Europeans. At the dawn of the 21st century, the region is changing in leaps and bounds. Readers can gain a deeper understanding of current seismic political, social and cultural changes with this look at the lives of such pivotal figures as Angolan queen Nzinga Mbande (17th century) a fiercely independent ruler; Shaka, the Zulu king who consolidated numerous groups in the 1820s; and Moshoeshoe, king of the Sotho who rallied those who had lost their land and their hope.

Kings and Queens of Central Africa

Readers travel to the heart of Africa and trace Central Africa’s geographical, political and social evolution through its greatest rulers in this revealing volume. Focus is given to the 15th-century Kongo king Afonso I, the first to introduce European religion, goods and know-how to the region. Afonso wanted to deal with Europe on an equal footing but could not stop the slave trade that eventually sent millions of people from the region to the Americas. Shamba Bolongongo, the legendary Bakuba king was an innovative and peaceful ruler who developed arts and crafts. In the 20th century progressive King Njoya of Cameroon, a restless innovator introduced new ways into Bamum country, even as his realm was caught between competing French, British and German powers.

Kings And Queens of East Africa

East Africa is characterized by great variety in peoples, cultures, and religions. Great kingdoms have emerged here. The most ancient flourished in Nubia, in the Sudan, 5,000 years ago. In the 19th century, Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar repelled two European invasions, and King Yambio of the Azande in Southern Sudan fought against slave dealers, a Northern incursion and several European powers. Menelik II of Ethiopia thwarted Italy’s attempt to colonize his country. His wife, Empress Taytu Betul was a legendary patron of the Christian Church. The stunning history of East Africa is told through lives and legacies of these royal figures and ends with a look at the modern-day region

The Rain Queens of South Africa