The Queen That Never Surrendered: Queen Nzinga

Edited by Tae Queen

Queen Nzinga Mbande was the monarch of the Mbundu people. Most famous for her resistance of Portuguese colonization and slave trade, she was known as a powerful military strategist who kept her people safe until her dying day.

One of her most famous encounters with the Portuguese was in 1622, when she met with Portuguese officials in Luanda to discuss a peace treaty. During this peace conference she established a line of trade with Portugal in hopes of securing weaponry. She also converted to Christianity to appease this connection, but Portugal was not satisfied with mere trade and desired African slaves. Nzinga, displeased with this deliberate breach of treaty, reached out to her brother, only to be saddened by his weakness on the matter. Her brother eventually committed suicide in 1626 leaving Nzinga as Queen of the Mbundu people.

Queen Nzinga took it upon herself to form an alliance with the Janga people by marrying their chief and organized an army. She also created a land for her people by conquering the kingdom of Matamba. This alliance ended in betrayal as the chief ended up attacking Matamba and her people.

Queen Nzinga’s brilliant military mind seized her chance to form an alliance with the Dutch as they fought with the Portuguese over their share of the slave trade in 1641.  In 1647, Queen Nzinga, with the assistance of the Dutch, defeated the Portuguese army. When the Portuguese defeated the Dutch army sending them packing from Central Africa, Queen Nzinga continued to battle the Portuguese until her dying day December 17, 1663.

 

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“Queenly Character” (2016) by Way (SOULar Lioness)

 

Artist: Way (SOULar Lioness) Founder and Owner of SOUL Meets BODY

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