Copyright © 2007 Stacy Victor McClain. All rights reserved.
Or “Njingha”, was one of the best documented early African rulers. She existed during the time of massive slave trade. During her early years, she was favored by her father, and was allowed to go on political excursions with him. It was on these trips that Nzinga learned about war and how to rule over groups of people. In 1622 Nzingha appeared as envoy for her brother during peace conferences with Portuguese governor, Joao Correria de Sousa. After her brother lost his kingdom to the Portuguese and committed suicide, Nzingha assumed rule over Ndongo. During Portugal’s take over the island of Kidonga, Nzingha raised her own army and took over the neighboring Kingdom of Matamba in 1631. Later, in an attempt to regain the city of Luanda after Portuguese conquest, Nzinga formed alliances with the Dutch, and there were short victories. Luanda was recaptured by Portugal again later, and Nzingha was forced to retreat back to Matamba. Nzingha continued to resist Portugal by personally leading troops into battle well into her sixties. She went by many names and accepted Christianity in order to ease peace talks with Portugal.
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