12 Great African Women In History You Should Know

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AL-KAHINA

Statue of Dyhia in Khenchela AlgeriaDahia al-Kahina, in what is now Algeria, at the end of the seventh century was especially active in the North African resistance to the Arab invasions of Africa. Around the year 690, she took personal command of the African armies. Under her vigilant direction and leadership, the Arab legions were forced to retreat, regroup and reassess their strategy and tactics for the invasion of North Africa. The Arabs were intent on occupying Africa, however, and as the military situation of the Africans deteriorated, the determed Kahina instituted a scorched earth policy of destruction. Her posture was that she would rather see the destruction of the land rather than cede it to invaders. Sadly, the effects of the devastation can still be seen today in the North African countryside.

Based on tradition, Dahia al-Kahina eventually took her own life rather than accept defeat at the hands of the Arabs.  Her sons went on to help lead the Moorish invasion of Spain. But with the death of this bold African woman ended what was perhaps the most determined and inspiring chapter in the effort to preserve Africa for the Africans.

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