NPG D34632; Ann Zingha by Achille DevÈria, printed by FranÁois Le Villain, published by Edward Bull, published by Edward Churton, after Unknown artist 

Nzinga left her mark in the history of that part of central Africa and worldwide. She is one of the most known African heroines who resisted invasions and colonization for most of her life.

She is praised for being a fearless leader, an astute diplomat and a skilled military tactician. She tirelessly fought against the Portuguese invasion and the slave trade until her death at age 80.

It is very important for us today to learn about and celebrate our past heroes and heroines. Nzinga’s story debunks the myth that Africa was a place with no civilization, no culture and no societal structures of their own and that European colonisers met no or very little resistance.

Learning and embracing our history will help us change the narrative about our continent and reclaim our future.

Important dates in Nzinga’s reign:

  • 1627: Nzinga officially accessed to the throne.
  • 1641: She signed a deal with the Netherlands and their ally the kingdom of Kongo, upon hearing about the Portuguese defeat in Luanda. She hoped to reclaim territories further lost to the Portuguese.
  • 1644: She defeated the Portuguese troops. Unable to consolidate her victory though, she was defeated 2 years later. Her sister is held captive and her archives (containing her strategies, deals and alliances) are seized.
  • 1647: With the help of the Dutch army, she conquered Luanda again. The following year, the Portuguese, backed by Brazil regained control of Luanda. Nzinga retreated to one area of her kingdom in the Matamba territory. From there she fought the Portuguese army until later in life, still going to the battlefield after the age of 60.
  • 1657: After decades of never-ending fights with the Portuguese, an ageing Nzinga finally signed a peace deal with the Portuguese. She had one condition, though: that the Portuguese maintain her family to power.
  • 1663: She died at age 82.

This is a 3-parts series article to narrate the story of Queen Nzinga and her significance for this blog.

Read part 1 here and part 3 here.

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