Queen Anna Nzinga (1583-1663), was the queen of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people in Angola.
According to her recollections later in life, she was greatly favoured by her father, who allowed her to witness as he governed his kingdom, and who carried her with him to war.
She came to power as an ambassador after demonstrating an ability to tactfully defuse foreign crises, as she regained control of the Portuguese fortress of Ambaca. Being the sister of the king, Ngola (King) Mbande, she naturally had an influence on political decisions, when the king assigned her to represent him in peace negotiations with bordering countries. Nzinga assumed control as regent of his young son, Kaza.
Today she is remembered in Angola for her political and diplomatic acumen, as well as her brilliant military tactics.
Accounts of her life are often romanticized, and she is considered a symbol of the fight against oppression.
She lived during a period when the Atlantic slave trade and the consolidation of power by the Portuguese in the region were growing rapidly. The Portuguese shifted their slave-trading activities to the Congo and South West Africa. Mistaking the title of the ruler, ngola, for the name of the country, the Portuguese called the land of the Mbundu people "Angola"—the name by which it is still known today. ______________
Little fact: According to the Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Boudoir, Nzinga was a woman who "immolated her lovers." It claims that after becoming queen, she obtained a large, all male harem at her disposal.
Her men fought to the death in order to spend the night with her and, after a single night of lovemaking, were put to death. It is also said that Nzinga made her male servants dress as women. These men were known as chibados. In 1633, Nzinga's oldest brother died of cancer, which some attribute to her.