African history was passed down orally and hardly written.  African history mainly focuses on patriarchal kingship.  However there are ancient warrior African Queens who defended their people and territory.

Queen Nzingha Mbande

Nzingha Mbande (1583–1663) was Queen of the Ambundu Kingdoms of Ndongo (1624–1663) and Matamba (1631–1663), in what is present-day Angola.  As a child Nzinga received military and political training. The Queen demonstrated an aptitude for defusing political crises as an ambassador to the Portuguese Empire.  She ruled during a period of intense slave trade.  She fought various wars against the Portuguese to protect the freedom of her people and territory.  She also made a decree, establishing her kingdom as a safe haven for runaway slaves seeking refuge from the European colonists.

She is Africa | Warrior African Queens – Nzingha Mbande | Credit Achille DevÈria, printed by FranÁois Le Villain, published by Edward Bull, published by Edward Churton, after Unknown artist, hand-coloured lithograph, 1830s

Queen Amina

Amina (also Aminatu; d. 1610) was a Hausa warrior queen of the city-state Zazzau (present-day city of Zaria in Kaduna State), in what is now in the north-west region of Nigeria.  Queen Amina is notorious for her military skills.  As Queen she methodologically expanded her territory.  Amina waged a 34-year campaign against her neighbors, meant to expand Zazzau territory. Her army, consisting of 20,000 foot soldiers and 1,000 cavalry troops, was well trained and fearsome.    As a result of the Queen’s work her kingdom of Zakzak was the most extensive among the kingdoms of Hausa.

She is Africa | Warrior African Queens – Queen Amina

Queen Eleni

Queen Eleni (or Helena) or Queen of Zeila was an Empress of Ethiopia. She served as regent between 1507 and 1516 during the minority of emperor Dawit II.  She played a significant role in the government of Ethiopia.   Around 1486 the Queen participated in a palace coup that led to his deposition and execution.Later the Queen played a leading role in government, which continued into the reign of Emperor Na’od.  Many historians noted her great faith in God, deep knowledge in law and solid understanding the affairs of state.

 

Queen Kanuni

Kanuni (c. 1900 – February 18, 1972) was a hompa, or queen, of Kwangali in the Okavango region of Namibia.  She became regent in 1923 after the death of the previous ruler, Kandjimi; she was not only his sister but also sister to the newly-chosen hompa, Mbuna, who died in an accident in 1926 before taking power himself.  The Queen was disliked by the apartheid South African government as they struggled to recruit migrant labourers in her territory.  The apartheid government also disliked her because she was a woman.  Fearing for her life, after a physical fight with her brother Sivute, she fled to Angola.  In 1958 her brother King Sivute was desposed. Queen Kanuni returned from exile and reigned until her death.

She is Africa | Warrior African Queens – Queen Kanuni

Queen Jumbe-Souli

Queen Jumbe-Souli (born c.1835) was ruler of the island of Moheli, in the Comoros archipelago off the coast of Africa.  The Queen inherited the throne of the island of Moheli (Mwali) after the death of her father, King Ramanateka, also known as Sultan Abderahmane.  The Queen was smart and steadfast.  In 1863 France tried to persuade the young Queen to join their colony. She resisted and protected the freedom of her people.

She is Africa | Warrior African Queens – Queen Jumbe-Souli

She could reign. So you can too!

She is Africa is a free, informative website. If you find value in any of my content, please consider making a donation to keep She is Africa running.

If you liked this article, you might also like African women liberators or 14 women inventors that changed the world