Queen Nzingha, or Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande, was an African ruler who was born in 1583 in Angola. She held dominion over the Matamba and Ndongo Kingdoms of Angola’s Mbundu people from 1631 until her death, attributed to natural causes, on December 17th, 1663. Queen Nzingha ruled long enough to earn several nicknames, including Njinga Mbande and Queen Anna Nzinga.
What Was Occurring in the World During Queen Nzinga’s Reign?
- The Angola that Nzinga was born into was considered a Portuguese colony.
- The Second Bishops’ War was in full swing within the United Kingdom.
- The First Anglo-Dutch War was formally concluded.
What Significant Events Happened in Her Life?
She converted to Catholicism, largely for political reasons, in 1622, and took the Christian name of “Dona Anna de Sousa.” Her brother committed suicide due to the inability to gain ground with the Portuguese, leaving her to serve as the regent to his son, Kaza. After telling Kaza to leave the country only for the boy to return, she executed him for his impudence and claimed the throne of Andongo.
What is Queen Nzinga Most Known For?
She was known for having a cool head, an impressive amount of confidence and a tactical mind; these traits first appeared in 1617, when she was to meet with the Portuguese to bring independence to the Ndongo Kingdom. Presented with only a mat to sit upon and aware that such a spot was only for subordinates, Nzinga ordered one of the Portuguese diplomat’s servants to serve as her seat for the meeting’s duration. Reports of the diplomacy indicated that Nzinga never gave the Portuguese an opportunity to gain leverage.
After swearing an oath of peace between the two nations, the Portuguese continued to raid Angola for wealth and slaves. This was the catalyst that led Nzinga to take every opportunity to expel the Portuguese, a campaign that earned her fame as a liberator and Dutch allies.
A major road within Luanda, the Angolan capital city, is named after her and a statue was erected in the city of Kinaxixi in 2002, bearing her likeness. A film retelling her story was released in 2013.