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Kathleen Sheldon

queen mother in Ghana, where she served as asantehemaa from around 1809 until about 1819, when she was removed from office after being involved in a failed rebellion against Osei Tutu Kwame. Her father was Apa Owusi, who held the position of mampon apahene, or chief of the locality of Mampon; her mother, Sewaa Awukuwa, was a member of the Asante royal family. It appears from some sources that Adoma Akosua was married to a son of Asantehene Osei Kwadwo.

When the ruling queen mother, Asantehemaa Konadu Yaadom, died in 1809, there were two women with a strong genealogical claim to succeed her. One was Konadu Yaadom’s own daughter, Yaa Dufi, and the other was Adoma Akosua. Adoma Akosua was a matrilateral cousin of Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame (their mothers were sisters); as such she was eligible to be named asantehemaa and she was selected for ...



LaRay Denzer

sarauniya (queen) of Zazzau (present-day Zaria, Nigeria), was the legendary warrior and state builder who established the kingdom of Zazzau as a major Hausa state in the sixteenth century. Also known as Aminatu, she may have been born about 1533, but this is uncertain. She was the eldest daughter of Bakwa Turunku, the twenty-second sarki (ruler) of Zazzau (now Zaria). There are conflicting accounts about the gender of this ruler. Historian Abubakr Saʾad believes that she was a woman and argues that she very likely was the sarauniya of Kufena, the predecessor kingdom to Zazzau. Among the estates under her authority was Turunku. When an interregnum occurred, she was either appointed ruler or seized control of Kufena and in 1537 moved her capital to Zazzau which she named after her second daughter to secure land for expansion and better water supplies Her reign was mostly peaceful except for ...


Cecily Jones

Queen of England and patron of slave‐trading ventures.

1.Genesis of the British slave trade

2.Africans in Elizabethan England

3.Scapegoating ‘Blackamoors’

4.Attempts to expel Blacks



Abdul Sheriff

queen on the island of Unguja in the archipelago of Zanzibar during the last years of Portuguese rule along the Swahili coast, was descended from one of the Sayyid dynasties from Hadhramaut in south Yemen. Her full name was Fatuma binti Yusuf al-Alawi. She is considered in local traditions to be of Shirazi (Persian) origin, and she maintained close connections with the African mainland, typical of cosmopolitan Indian Ocean communities.

The dynasty in Zanzibar maintained an intimate relationship with Utondwe, on the African coast directly to the west of Zanzibar, and at least two generations of the respective ruling families intermarried. It is also said that the regalia of the rulers of Zanzibar—a wooden side-blown siwa horn and the royal drums—came from Utondwe. They are now in the House of Wonders Museum in Zanzibar.

Fatuma was one of at least twenty six queens who ruled various Swahili city states between ...


Edna G. Bay

kpojito, the reign-mate of King Tegbesu (r. 1740–1774) of the Fon kingdom of Dahomey (located in what is now southern Benin), was a commoner and possibly a slave. She was without question the most powerful female figure in eighteenth-century Dahomean history and arguably one of the most important individuals in the history of the kingdom. A woman noted for her spiritual powers, Hwanjile ruled in tandem with King Tegbesu. Together they secured the kingdom from various internal and external threats and reordered the spiritual life of the kingdom, ushering in a period of relative peace and prosperity.

Hwanjile was from Ajahome, an area to the west-southwest of Dahomey’s capital, Abomey. She was already an adult with two children and a reputation as an effective priest of the vodun or spirits when she came to Dahomey probably as a captive of war during the reign of King Agaja ...


Claire Bosc-Tiessé

regent queen of Ethiopia in the eighteenth century, was baptized Walatta Giyorgis and served as regent as Berhan Mogesa for her son Iyasu II (r. 1730–1755) and her grandson Iyoas (r. 1755–1769). She is, however, better known by her nickname Mentewwab, meaning “How Beautiful She Is!” Mentewwab was born in the region of Qwara, west of the town of Gonder, which at that period was capital of the kingdom of Ethiopia. Her father Manbar was the son of the governor of Qwara and occupied a small rank in the hierarchy of the kingdom. Her mother Enkoye was said to be a descendant of the royal family through Fiqtor, a son of King Minas (r. 1559–1563). According to her genealogy, detailed in Iyasu’s and Mentewwab’s official chronicles, she appears as the heir of regions located south, east, north, and west of the capital.

Mentewwab was educated by clergymen from the monastic ...



Kathleen Sheldon and Jennifer Weir

royal figure best known as the mother of the Zulu leader Shaka, was probably born around 1760 in what is now South Africa. Historic accounts are scarce, and the story of her life is often romanticized through myth and fiction, making it difficult to relate a purely factual biography.

The first important event of Nandi s life according to what is known about her concerns her relationship with Shaka s father Senzangakhona ka Jama s 1757 1816 Nandi of the Langeni people had a relationship with Senzangakhona that resulted in the birth of Shaka The popular story has been that they were not married perhaps because they were considered to be too closely related Other reports suggested that she became pregnant before they were able to marry so that Shaka s birth was considered irregular This issue has weight because Shaka s illegitimate status was sometimes claimed to be a ...


Nicolette M. Kostiw

a seventeenth-century ruler of the kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba in the Imbangala region of West Central Africa (modern-day Angola), was born to one of the female slave dependents of the royal court. Born in 1582, she was later baptized as “Ana” but is alternately referred to as “Ginga,” “Njinga,” or “Nzinga” in documents from the period. Her life began during an era of violent political upheaval in Ndongo, as the Portuguese crown took control of the region and the Imbangala mounted a bloody expansion campaign toward the coast. In 1617, her brother murdered her father to become king. Ascending to the throne in 1624, her rule corresponded with increased efforts by the Portuguese Crown to convert the region to Christianity, and with the projection of the commercial interests of several European nations in slave trading.

When her brother died in 1624 Ginga became regent of ...


John Thornton

Njinga Mbandi was born around 1582, the eldest daughter of King Mbandi Ngola of Ndongo. He favored her above his other children, allowing her to sit in court sessions and to exercise with the army. Njinga Mbandi had unusual physical gifts and was skilled in military arts even in her old age. When Mbandi Ngola died, around 1617, his son, Njinga’s brother Ngola Mbandi, became king. From 1619 to 1621, Portuguese-led forces from the colony of Angola, under Governor Luis Mendes de Vasconcelos, attacked Ndongo, destroying the capital city and forcing the king and his government to flee to the Kindonga Islands in the Kwanza River. Ngola Mbandi sought a peace agreement with the Portuguese government and in 1622 dispatched Njinga Mbandi to Luanda to negotiate a treaty on his behalf While in Luanda Njinga was baptized taking the Christian name of Ana de Sousa the ...


Selma Pantoja

was a queen and warrior of Ngola, a territory now within the borders of the present-day People’s Republic of Angola. She was also known as Ana de Sousa. There are many stories told about this queen, yet many fundamental aspects of her life are unknown. Her place of birth, the kingdom of Ndongo, was mainly occupied by the Mbundu people, who spoke Kimbundu, and bordered on various cultural and linguistic frontiers in West Central Africa. Nzinga grew up during the first attacks by the Portuguese conquerors. She was twenty years old when the Portuguese built a fort in the Ngola territory. In 1618, Nzinga aided in the construction of another fort in the heart of Ndongo, which continued for some time as an independent political entity.

After the death of her father her brother Ngola Mbandi became king The new Mbundu ruler faced devastating wars that slowed the Portuguese ...


Kathleen Sheldon

a queen of Matamba in Angola, succeeded her brother Ngola (king) Kanini to the throne in 1681. Her full name was Dona Verónica Gutteres. The area of Matamba was a site of frequent conflict, as local chiefdoms attempted to control trade and disputed with the Portuguese who were resident in the region. At the end of the 1670s, there were disputes over who would be king involving local rulers, especially from Kasanje, as well the Portuguese, who were trying to control the parameters of trade themselves. Ngola Kanini sacked Kasanje in late 1680, arousing the ire of the Portuguese, who raised an army and attacked Matamba in August 1681 After a battle that cost one hundred Portuguese lives they retreated to Luanda Some accounts claim that a Portuguese soldier killed Ngola Kanini with a lucky shot while others state that Kanini was killed by the king of ...


David Owusu-Ansah

Asantehemaa (queen-mother) of Asante (present-day Ghana), became Asantehemaa in about 1770 and during the reign of Asante Osei Kwadwo (d. 1777). Her father was Mamponhene Asumgyima Penemo. Her mother, Yaa Aberefi, was a royal of the Golden Stool of Asante and the Oyoko clan of Kumasi.

Mamponhene Asumgyima Penemo’s marriage to Yaa Aberefi is viewed by historians of Asante as one of the series of strategic political engagements by rulers of the Bretuo clan to secure their place in the otherwise Oyoko-dominated Asante union of states. In a similar fashion, Konadu Yaadom was given as a child bride (c. 1760) in an arranged marriage to the ruler of the Mampon village of Apa, but she was claimed by Mamponhene Safo Katanka (d. 1767 who became successor ruler to the Mampon throne Upon rejecting another marriage after the death of Safo Katanka Konadu Yaadom moved to Kumasi where ...