For learning purposes only and to whet the appetite of the children of Africa to understand more about the power through the revelation of their hidden history, based on the tweets of Great House (@xspotsdamark)
Nzinga was born in 1583 in what is now the African nation of Angola. Her father Ngola Kia Samba was the king of the Ndongo kingdom, & her mother was one of his concubines. She had three younger Sisters & One younger Brother.
She was named Nzinga because she was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. In Mbundu culture, if a child survives such a birth, then that child is destined for greatness.
As a child, she followed her father almost everywhere he went. She was even allowed to sit in the king’s court during official governing meetings & war strategy. Her father also hired a Portuguese instructor to teach her how to read & write Portuguese.
After the death of her father, her younger Brother Ngola Mbandi was crowned king of the Ndongo kingdom, as women were not allowed to succeed to the throne. During this period, Nzinga also gave birth to a baby boy.
Ngola Mbandi feared that Nzinga’s son would one day grow up to challenge his son for the throne, so he ordered the baby killed. He also had Nzinga sterilized so she couldn’t bear anymore children. Nzinga feared she’ll be assassinated by her brother, so she chose to go into exile.
During her exile, the Portuguese, allied with the warlike Imbangala People began raiding the Ndongo Kingdom for Slaves. Their kingdom was being decimated & her brother was increasingly losing ground to the Portuguese.
After multiple failed attempts to negotiate a peace treaty with the Portuguese, Ngola Mbandi asked Nzinga to return to the Kingdom & assist him, since she was very fluent in Portuguese & also very familiar with their laws & customs. Nzinga agreed to return home.
Nzinga was able to reach an agreement with Portuguese, who signed a peace treaty agreeing to withdraw all their forces from Ndongo. However, the Portuguese soon broke the treaty & continued raiding Ndongo lands for Slaves.
With his kingdom decimated, his armed forces weakened & depleted, King Ngola Mbandi committed suicide. His young son Kaza Mbandi succeeded him. Since Kaza Mbandi was too young to govern, Nzinga served as his regent, running the government & military.
After the suicide of Ngola Mbandi, the Portuguese & their Imbangala allies declared all out war on the Ndongo Kingdom. During this period, young king Kaza Mbandi was mysteriously murdered. Nzinga was blamed for his murder, but she managed to assumed full control of the government
However, the council of elders refused to crown her Queen, it was against their customs for a woman to sit on the throne. She was also opposed by her cousin Hari.With the assistance from the Portuguese & Hari was crowned King. He converted to Christianity & ruled as Felipe I.
After an attempted assassination, Nzinga fled the Kingdom. She travelled east to the powerful neighboring Matamba kingdom which was also allied with the Portuguese. Nzinga somehow managed to depose the Queen of Matamba, took control of the army & declared herself Queen.
She convinced the Matamba army to turn against the Portuguese & fight for her. With the powerful Matamba army at her back & the now deposed former Queen of the Matamba as her prisoner, she marched back to Ndongo, expelled Felipe I & his allies & seized the throne.
She then united the Matamba & Ndongo kingdoms into one powerful Kingdom. She also managed to convince the Dutch to supply her with European guns & gunpowder. The Dutch at this point were allied with the Kingdom of Kongo, a rival of Nzinga & the Ndongo.
With her newly obtained weapons, Nzinga became the first ever Ndongo ruler to lead the army into battle herself. In 1647, she routed the Imbangala & the Portuguese handed them their biggest defeat on the African continent up until that point.
A few years later, a new Portuguese army arrived from Brazil & additional reinforcements from Europe. They launched a new campaign to recapture all the territory the had lost to Nzinga. The Portuguese also managed to retake Kongo from the Dutch.
Nzinga retreated to Matamba, from the she launched a Guerrilla campaign against the Portuguese. After 20 years of fighting, she managed to defeat & conquer most of the Portuguese African allies, including the fearsome Imbangala. The Portuguese gave up & retreated to Kongo
Nzinga returned to her capital in Ndongo, to rebuild her nation, which she had expanded over 10 times the size of her father’s kingdom. She revamped trade & agriculture. She also offered sanctuary to all people fleeing enslavement from Europeans & their allies.
Nzinga also survived multiple assassination attempts from the Portuguese, The Dutch & Kongo. She lived till the age of 82 & on December 17th 1663, she died peacefully on her bed.
Fun Fact: The Mbundu People are also the originators of the Capoeira fighting style, which is based on a traditional Mbundu dance called Ngolo