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Jeremy Rich

queen mother, was born in the kingdom of Rwanda sometime in the middle of the nineteenth century. She belonged to the influential Bakagara lineage of the Bega clan. Her father, Rwakagara, was a leader of the Bakagara lineage who had been deeply involved in the byzantine and often brutal competition within the Rwandan royal family. Sometime in the 1870s Kanjogera married the Rwandan monarch Rwabugiri (reigned 1867–1897). She became his favorite wife as he led numerous wars against neighboring states and ordered the killings of suspected enemies within Rwandan nobility and his own family. Around 1889 Rwabugiri decided to make Kanjogera the adoptive queen mother of his son Rutarindwa (who was born to a different wife), even though his son belonged to a different clan. Rutarindwa co-ruled with his father for several years until Rwabugiri's death in September 1895 Ritual specialists of the court proclaimed Kanjogera as ...

Article

Kanuni  

Heike Becker

hompa (queen) of the Kwangali people in the northeastern Namibian Okavango region for more than thirty-five years, was probably born around the turn of the twentieth century. Very little is known about her background except that she was a member of the Kwangali royal clan. Her exact date of birth is unknown, but she was described as a young woman when she first came to power in 1923.

Kanuni became a regent in 1923 after the death of the previous hompa, Kandjimi. As a sister to both the previous hompa and his successor, she first reigned in place of the new hompa Mbuna who was still very young but had been chosen as Kandjimi s successor and approved by the colonial authorities under the newly established Native Commissioner for the Okavango District René Dickmann Mbuna also referred to as Kandjimi II died in an accident in the ...

Article

Judith Imel Van Allen

mohumagadi (queen or queen mother) of the BaNgwato of the Bechuanaland Protectorate, now Botswana, and Christian leader and teacher. Semane Setlhoko was descended from BaBirwa and BaSeleka from the Tswapong Hills on the edge of the Limpopo valley, subject or vassal peoples of the BaNgwato, the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful of the BaTswana kingdoms. In 1900 she became the fourth wife of Khama III, kgosi (king) of the BaNgwato, despite initial disapproval by many BaNgwato because of her ancestry, which was far from the royal birth customary for the wife of a kgosi. Khama III’s daughter Bessie Ratshosa handpicked Semane as an appropriate mohumagadi to lead BaNgwato women into the modern world because of her achievements as a teacher a committed Christian and a temperance advocate Semane was also beautiful and intelligent as well as youthful and potentially fertile Khama III one of the first baptized Christians ...

Article

Judith Imel Van Allen

BaTawana mohumagadi (queen or queen mother) and regent, was born in the Orange Free State, South Africa. Her parents were from the BaRolong, a Tswana subgroup resident both in South Africa and the Bechuanaland Protectorate, now Botswana. Pulane was trained as a nurse and took a job at Tiger Kloof School in South Africa, where she met her husband-to-be, Moremi, heir to bogosi (rulership) of the BaTawana of Ngamiland in northwestern Bechuanaland. They married in 1937, the year that he became the BaTawana kgosi (king) as Moremi III. Pulane had three children, including Letsholathebe, the heir to BaTawana bogosi.

Moremi III’s relationship with the British colonial government was conflictual, with repeated British accusations of corruption under his rule. In 1945 the British suspended Moremi III and named Pulane, whom they regarded as trustworthy, as tribal treasurer. When Moremi III was killed in a car crash in 1946 ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Congolese political leader, was born with the name Ngassié in the village of Ngabé. She was a twin. Ngassié, which means “beautiful star,” belonged to a noble Téké-speaking family. Her parents agreed to marry her to the aged king of the Téké kingdom of Mbe, Iloo, who acted as a central authority over spiritual forces and collected taxes from various noble families in the Téké plateau as well as the lucrative markets of the Malebo Pool on the Congo River. The marriage took place around 1880 According to oral traditions Ngassié was Iloo s second wife Despite her youth she became a prominent figure among Iloo s councilors Like other Téké monarchs she received a new name upon becoming a queen Ngalifourou which means queen of power in Téké She profited from the military assistance that French colonial officer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza provided Iloo in subjugating dissident noble ...

Article

Mary Nombulelo Ntabeni

was born Moipone Nkoebe, the firstborn daughter of Chief Sempe Nkoebe, one of the principal chiefs of Quthing in Lesotho (then known as Basutoland). She is also known as Mofumahali, meaning queen, a position she gained as the wife of the paramount chief; in the context of British colonial rule, she was regent paramount chieftainess of Lesotho from 1941 to 1960 She completed her primary education and then married Morena e Moholo king or paramount chief Simon Seeiso Griffith as his first wife They had one child a daughter named Ntsebo The marriage gave her a new designation as M a rona Mother of the Nation but during her regency she insisted on being called Ntate father because the office and of the other chiefs was regarded as a male position As it turned out Mantsebo has been the first and only Mosotho woman to occupy the office of ...

Article

Hanna Rubinkowska

empress of Ethiopia (r. 1916–1930), was born Askala Maryam on 29 April 1876 in Inewari, the third and youngest child of Emperor Menilek II. Her mother, Abchiw of Wello, was one of Menilek ‘s consorts. Zewditu’s birth caused Menilek’s wife at the time, Bafena, to take military action against her husband.

As a child, Zewditu stayed at her father’s court under the care of Bafena. In 1882 when she was six she married the son of Emperor Yohannes IV Ras Araya Sellase who was about thirteen years old The marriage was arranged for political reasons as it was meant to bind the interests of the then king of Shewa Menilek with those of Yohannes and was related to the taking of Wello Province from Menilek by the emperor who then gave it to Ras Araya These northern domains played a role in the ties linking Zewditu with the ...