3 Wealthy And Powerful Kings of Ancient Africa

Previously on this blog, we’ve briefly looked into the history of 5 of the most fierce women who once took dominion of ancient African empires. But without a king, it would be hard to make exploits, especially in the type of era Africa operated in, which was very different than the Africa we are accustomed to today.

Below are the 3 powerful and wealthy kings that once ruled Africa.

1. Musa Keita I

(Mansa Musa which translates as, “Kings of Kings” or “Emperor” of Ancient Mali) Keita 1 was the 10th Musa of the Mansa Dynasty. Under the rule of the king Musa Keita, Mali became one of the most wealthiest empires in the world in their known time. From their gold and salt production, agriculture and imperialistic nature and dynamic trade location, the kingdom thrived. Musa Keita I is mostly recognized as the one who was responsible of enriching the great trading city of Timbuktu, establishing the library and Islamic Universities. Musa Keita’s reign over mali ended, however, one of his sons succeeded the throne in 1337

2. Taharqa

Taharqa reigned through the 25th Dynasty Reign 690 – 664 BCE. Taharqa was deemed one of the most respected Nubian Kings. As soon as Piye, the father to Taharqa, successfully conquered Egypt in battle, Taharqa united the two kingdoms to form the largest African empire at the time. His empire spanned from the 5th Nile Cataract in Nubia, throughout all of Egypt, up into the Middle East in Palestine. Biblical scholars have concluded that he is referenced in the Biblical book of Kings 19:9 and Isaiah 37:9 as the great King of Kush who waged war against Sennacherub, King of Assyria.

3. Amenhotep

Amenhotep III (Egypt) 18th Dynasty 1388-1351 BC.  During his reign, Egypt enjoyed immense wealth, peace and economic stability. There were several exquisite building projects and monuments he was responsible for building as well as the first man-made lake outside his palace in Malkata for his wife, the Great Queen Tiye. During his reign, Egypt had exceptional influence in foreign policy and diplomacy, which he handled along with his wife, Queen Tiye. Proof of this is in the “Amarna” letters that came from Assyria, Babylon, Mittani and Hatti. When Amenhotep III died, he left behind a country that was at its very peak off its power and influence, commanding immense respect around the world.

There are many other kings that reigned during the ancient times within Africa. These are just 3 of the kings that ruled back in the day that held immense power and wealth, as well as the weight in ensuring their kingdoms thrived in the way that they did. It is no surprise that the history of these pre-colonial kings is most celebrated throughout pop culture in movies and even promotes the topic of Afro-Futurism, which is the idea of a revived African history in a technologically advanced civilization, but that is a topic for another day.

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5 African Pre-Colonial Queens You Should Be Aware Of (Part 2)

Africa is always described as a place where women live under the plight of patriarchy-based traditions and customs. But once you start reading about ancient history and traditions, you’ll find out that women have always occupied important roles in most of our societies.

They are many women in African History who have contributed to creation of, ruled kingdoms and empires; furthermore they led armies and fought wars against invaders and colonizers.  

I strongly believe that, we as modern African women, we can take inspiration from these queens.

Following our first part of the series, discover our part 2 of 5 queens, from ancient Ethiopia to the Zulu Kingdom, that you should know:

1. Amina, Queen of Zazzau

Residing in Zazzau, which is the present day North Western region of Nigeria, was none other than Amina, the Queen of Zaria, ruling from the 16th and 17th Century, who was a valiant and fierce Hausa queen who’s leadership skills was one force to be reckoned with, first to be discovered by the likes of her grandfather. History records that she lived 200 years prior to when the Sokoto-Caliphate federation that ruled Nigeria during the period of the colonial rule by the British following the Islamic ‘Holy war’ in the 19th Century. It is said that she expanded the borders of the Hausa people.

2. Makeda, The Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia)

The Africa story of Makeda, also known as ‘Bilqis’, is the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba and is one of the first figures to be mentioned in the ancient Christian, Jewish and Islamic texts and traditions, known to have had a love affair with King Solomon, the King of Israel, right around the 10th Century BCE. Not much is known of her life, although the ancient Christian texts (1 Kings 10:1-14, 2 Chronicles 9:1-12) have record of her interactions with the ancient King Solomon of Isreal.

3. Cleopatra of Egypt

Cleopatra VII Philopator, who lived around 69 BC, was an Egyptian queen who also happened to be the last pharoah to rule ancient Egypt and also was the successor to the throne after her father, King Ptolemy XII Auletes died in 51 BC. The dismal end of Cleopatra’s reign over Egypt occurred when the Roman armies of Octavian surrounded Egypt’s combined forces. This then drove Cleopatra to committing suicide, thus beginning the reign of the Roman Empire in Egypt.

4. Nefertiti of Egyptian

Another Egyptian queen who ruled before the historical Cleopatra is Queen Nefertiti, also known as ‘Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti’, wife of the ancient Amenhotep IV was the queen of Egypt around the time of the 14th Century BCE. She married Amenhotep IV at fifteen years of age as he was a year older and became king when his father passed away. Later on their marriage, Amenhotep IV changed his name and changed the traditions of Egypt. Scholars say that she had been the vehicle Amenhotep IV used to accomplish his goal to changing the worship of the sun god Ra to Aton. After this change, Nefertiti vanished, without a trace of her left behind. However, some scholars suspect that she was exiled out of Egypt by her husband as she was no longer needed.

5. Anna Nzinga of Ndongo & Matamba

Ancient African queen of the kingdoms of Ndongo & Matamba, is Queen Anna Nzinga Mbande who ruled from 1583 – 1663. These kingdoms cover what is presently known Northern Angola. Her resilience and fierceness led her to forge a resistance against the Portuguese colonials as well as heavily disrupting their slave trade in Central Africa. Being a strategically skilled negotiator, she aligned herself with the Dutch against the Portuguese in hopes to be free of Portuguese domination. Despite the efforts of the Portuguese to get rid of her, all attempts failed. She died peacefully at age 82, leaving the Portuguese the power to regain control over the region.

It is interesting to see the history of the african queens and their reign across various parts of Africa and taking a brief journey to exploring the accomplishments of ancient queens that once ruled. The history of the ancient african empires and the leaders that lead in those times has been heavily contaminated, thus allowing for people of this day where information is at the disposal of the masses to be totally ignorant of the once most revered Africa.

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