Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba

Queen Anna Nzinga (c. 1583 – December 17, 1663), also known as Njinga Mbande or Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande

Nzingha, also known as Ann Nzingha, is the great national figure of precolonial Angola.

The extraordinary scholar John Henrik Clarke referenced her as the “greatest military strategist that ever confronted the armed forces of Portugal.”

Nzingha was born in Central Africa around 1582 and her brilliance was recognised early on. Toward the middle of her life, she became increasingly aggressive in her desire to maintain the power and dignity of the people of Central Africa.

Indeed, her military campaigns kept the Portuguese in Africa at bay for more than four decades. Her goal was the final and complete eradication of the Portuguese capture and enslavement of African people.

This was the first time in history that the Mbundu people had been led by a woman, and everyone remembered Nzingha as an outstanding, impressive, female warrior, ruler and field commander.

For the Mbundu people, she is remembered for her love of her people, her strength, charisma, and her fight for their sovereignty and freedom.

No wonder, her influence was felt centuries later, when African slaves in Brazil organised themselves in Quilombo to fight their white masters and retain their freedom.

Nzingha died fighting for her people in 1663 at the ripe old age of 81.

In her youth, Nzingha was strongly favoured by her father, who allowed her to witness as he governed his kingdom, and who carried her with him to war. She participated in all the intense training for warriors.

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. Nzingha was a true politician, and showed true military and intellectual genius.

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