Nzinga Mbande

The mother of An­gola 1583-1663

All About History - - DON’T CALL ME PRINCESS -

Here’s how the leg­end goes: the Por­tuguese had in­vaded the African na­tion of Ndongo (present-day An­gola) and taken its king pris­oner. The king’s sis­ter, Nzinga, ap­proached them for ne­go­ti­a­tions but when she ar­rived, they didn’t of­fer her a chair. Un­per­turbed, she or­dered a ser­vant to get on all fours and sat on their back, like a stool. Af­ter the meet­ing, she slit the ser­vant’s throat in full view of ev­ery­one, declar­ing that “the queen of Ndongo does not use the same chair twice”. She then moved south, con­quered a tribe of can­ni­bals and waged war on the Por­tuguese for 35 years. While some de­tails of her story are def­i­nitely sketchy – she al­most cer­tainly didn’t slit any­one’s throat – it’s a tes­ta­ment to her for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion that those are the ru­mours that got spread about her. Af­ter decades of her wag­ing eco­nomic and mil­i­tary war against them, the Por­tuguese even­tu­ally ne­go­ti­ated a peace treaty. There are stat­ues of her all over An­gola to this day.

“she did what any good mother would do – she de­posed him and took the reins her­self”

In re­al­ity, she prob­a­bly sat on a fe­male ser­vant

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