Queen Nzingha or “Amazon Queen of Matamba” was born in West Africa in 1583 and died 1663. Many women ranked among the great rulers of Africa, including this Angolan queen who was an astute diplomat and excelled as a military leader. When the slave-hunting Portuguese attacked the army of her brother’s kingdom, Nzingha was sent to negotiate the peace. She did so with astonishing skill and political tact, despite the fact that her brother had her only child killed.
She later formed her own army against the Portuguese, and waged war for nearly 30 years. These battles were a unique moment in colonial history, as Nzingha allied her nation with the Dutch, marking the first African-European alliance against a European oppressor. Nzingha continued to wield considerable influence among her subjects despite being forced into exile. Because of her quest for freedom and relentless drive to bring peace to her people, this African queen remains a glimmering symbol of inspiration.