During the 17th century, Queen Anna Nzinga, one of the greatest women to be a ruler of Africa, dominated Angola, a southern African country. Queen Nzinga is mostly known for her power and bravery as she negotiated with the Portuguese to bring peace to her land.
Nzinga was the daughter of Ngola Kiluanji Kia Samba, king of the Ndonga. She was born in the late 16th century, during the time when the Ndonga went to war against the Portuguese. Because Kiluanji was an oppressive leader, he lost the support of his people and in 1618, Nzinga’s brother killed their father so that he could rule the land. He then requested that Nzinga’s son be killed so that there was no threat for anyone to take the throne. Her brother then fled the capital.
In 1622, Nzinga was sent as a representative for Ndonga to negotiate with the Portuguese governor. After Nzinga agreed to free any European captives, Ndonga was recognized as an independent monarchy.
Nzinga went as far as being baptized by the Catholic church, which many believe was more of a political move than a religious one. This convinced the Portuguese that her country would be open to technological and scientific advancements, as well as European missionaries.
When the treaties fell through and Nzinga’s brother proved to be as bad a leader as his father, Nzinga poisoned him and took the throne as queen in 1623.
Queen Anna Nzinga was seen as a strong leader due to her negotiation skills and her commitment to her people and her kingdom. Even today, many refer to her as the Mother of Angola or Queen of Ndonga.