Ann Nzinga Queen of Ndongo (1582-1663)

Nzinga was the Queen regnant of the joint kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba, in modern day Angola in Africa. She stood up to the Portuguese colonialists and defended her people from enslavement.

Her brilliance, pride and perseverance forced the Portuguese to recognize her kingdoms and she remains a symbol of freedom and resistance to oppression to this day. She is one of the great Queens of African History.

Her extraordinary story begins about 1582, the year of her birth. She is referred to as Nzingha, or Jinga, but is better known as Ann Nzingha. She was the sister of the then-reigning King of Ndongo, Ngoli Bbondi, whose country was later called Angola. Nzingha was from an ethnic group called the Jagas.

The Jagas were an extremely militant group who formed a human shield against the Portuguese slave traders. Nzingha never accepted the Portuguese conquest of Angola, and was always on the military offensive. As part of her strategy against the invaders, she formed an alliance with the Dutch, who she intended to use to defeat the Portuguese slave traders.

Nzinga Mbande today symbolizes Angolan independence

In 1623, at the age of forty-one, Nzingha became Queen of Ndongo. She forbade her subjects to call her Queen, She preferred to be called King, and when leading an army in battle she dressed in men’s clothing.

Queen Anna Nzinga of Angola fought against the slave trade and European influence in the seventeenth century. Known for being an astute diplomat and visionary military leader, she resisted Portuguese invasion and slave raids for 30 years. She ruled during a period of rapid growth in the African slave trade and encroachment of the Portuguese Empire into South West Africa, in attempts to control the slave trade. Nzinga fought for the Independence and stature of her kingdoms against the Portuguese in a reign that lasted 37 years.

In 1659, at the age of seventy-five, she signed a treaty with the Portuguese, bringing her no feeling of triumph. Nzingha had resisted the Portuguese most of her adult life. African bravery, however, was no match for gun powder. This great African woman died in 1663, which was followed by the massive expansion of the Portuguese slave trade. Unity, Love, Peace

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