Sunday, August 21, 2011
Remembering Warrior Queen Nzinga ruler of the Kongo.
THE TERRIBLE BLACK QUEEN
SLAVE ROUTES (DUTCH EXPEDITIONS)
“For every two million Blacks enslaved over a million died. The record indicates rather clearly that many millions preferred death to slavery. I just said “the record indicates,” but you will never find a single Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, English or American document that explicitly says any such thing. The archives in Lisbon are rich to overflowing with African documents going back 500 yrs. By wading through such a great mass of written records the historian often gets a picture that was not intended for painting and messages from the same documents which were not sent--- which is merely another way of saying again that written documents often reveal far more than their authors intended. You will therefore search in vain for an account written of the following”:
“It is not true that all women, and even children were like-wise marched in chains; this would have been unnecessary anyway because we had learned that these black women are so loyal to their men that they would follow them even to hell. Yet many of these same women would seek death directly by attacking us and our armed guards. These, of course, were beaten and chained the same as the male slaves___Another problem was the large number of suicides during the two-hundred mile trek to the slave pens on the coast. The greatest number died from poison which hundreds of women would conceal on their bodies for the purpose, passing it to friends and kinsmen in the darkness of night before giving it to their children and finally taking it themselves. All this slowed us down during the night when we should have moved faster because it was cooler. Yet the dead and the dying had to have their chains chopped off from the living. Many babies were deliberately smothered to death by their dying mothers___We do not believe that the other deaths were caused by the long march as some allege. For while it is true that we ourselves are carried in hammocks, the bearers are changed every ten or fifteen miles. The biggest and strongest boys are selected to carry us. They are usually between twenty and thirty years old. They also collapse sometimes, but only five have died during this year. It must be remembered that these Blacks are quite used to walking very long distances with heavy burdens___There are many problems in this business. The captains, taking it easy on the coast, are always complaining about our slow movement and the many weeks it takes on the march. They never take into account how much we are slowed down by tramping and stumbling over the skeletons and rottening dead bodies of slaves that went along these trails before us___sometimes, years before us. The stench of those who died recently is unbearable, yet we bear it. We also lose much time trying to find routes down which are free of the dead and dying. Then there are scores and scores of perfectly healthy Blacks who drop dead without any apparent cause. Some say they die out of sheer spite __ another way of defeating us_______We work in fear, for our guns are often useless in the increasing number of ambush attacks along the death-ridden trails. And while the Kongolese kings now harass us in the Angola region, the region of the Black Terror in the form of a death-defying Black queen, Ann Nzinga. Who ever heard of a woman general, leading her armies in person? The truth is that she is the greatest military strategist that ever confronted the armed forces of Portugal. Her tactics keep our commanders sweating in confusion and dismay. Her aim is nothing less than the total destruction of the slave trade. To this end __ and what alarms us most __ she has developed a system of infiltrating our Black troops with her own men, causing whole companies to rebel, desert, and join her armies in what she calls a ‘WAR OF LIBERATION’ . . .’ Portuguese casualties are always heavier than reported, for she stages surprise attacks with lightening speed, always aiming first to capture guns and cannons. And while we now surround ourselves with armed guards on these long marches, we never know how many of our Black soldiers are the Queens own men . . .”
This would have been a true account up to 1663 when the forty years of unremitting warfare that Queen Nzinga waged against the Portuguese to free Angola ended with her passing. Africa had lost her greatest daughter, the slaves their greatest emancipator. Where is this explicitly written?
QUEEN NZINGA: THE UNCONQUERABLE
QUEEN NZINGA - WARS OF LIBERATION (40YRS)
Greatness was born out of the savage oppression of the Africans and out of that oppression it grew like a giant. Just why the Portuguese drew so much blood with the lash from already chained and helpless slaves is beyond all human understanding since, if for no other reason, the victims were “articles of commerce” and the source of the very riches slavers sought. Besides, over half of the captured Blacks died before reaching their destination. Self interest, then, should have stayed the murderous hands of the slavers. Nothing did, and that fact was one of the reasons that Queen Nzinga said that the real savages in Africa were the whites. They created the conditions that brought her to the fore.
GUNS AND SLAVES
“Up to the sixteenth century the people the world calls "slaves" in Africa were not at all slaves in the modern sense, but labourers, either captured as prisoners of war or persons imprisoned for various offenses. During the first stages of the slave trade many African chiefs and kings actually thought they were supplying workers needed abroad—and at a great profit to themselves. They has no experience with the white man’s slave system or its equation with “race”. Not at first, we have said. But as the decades passed—and the Kongo state is a good example—many Africans became enmeshed in the pursuit of guns and riches, became as brutal as the whites in dealing with their own kind”.
Guns Black leaders saw these new weapons of death as the real source of the white man’s power and the immediate threat to their own existence; the earth-shaking cannons that were being brought into Africa seemed to herald the death of a whole race or its total enslavement. The Africans became insistent in their demands for guns as articles of trade. There was then, as now, a silent embargo on arms to Black Africa—a sort of white “Gentleman’s Agreement.” The demand for guns by the chiefs was pitted against the demand for slaves by the Europeans and the Arabs (the Arab slavers had no trouble securing firearms).The chiefs could seriously hamper the trade if their demands for guns were not met. Besides, many slave traders were quick to see that the supply of slaves would double and triple if firearms were given to a certain strategically located kingdoms and chiefdoms; for these would then seek to become bigger, wealthier powers, expanding their territories over weaker Black states, and capturing millions of prisoners to be enslaved in the process. The more aggressive traders were willing to arm such African states as one of the risks capitalists must take in the pursuit of wealth. The more imperialist-minded saw an outcome even more important. That this would be a built in motivation for perpetual warfare among the Blacks themselves, creating an everlasting hatred between groups, destroying every basis for unity and, above all, keep them so busily hating and fighting each other that they would forget their real enemies—the “white devils” from the sea.
CHRISTIANIZATION AND COMMERCE
The Portuguese Christianization of the Kongo created something more than chaos. It was a revolting mess, no matter from what angle it is viewed. To begin with, priests were not only among the leading slave traders, but they also owned slave ships to carry the “black cargoes” to distant lands. Priests also had their harems of black slave girls, some having as many as twenty each. They were called “house servants” by these “holy fathers”. The great majority of the whites were the scum of the land from which they came. Even the half-educated priests were generally of the very lowest character, morally and otherwise. The slave situation became more and more desparate and out of hand as every white man down to the lowly worker became a trader. The slave situation became more and more desperate and out of hand as every white man down to the lowly worker became a trader. The builders sent over to erect the fortifications and other permanent installations for the Portuguese—stone and brick masons, carpenters, engineers, painters, metal and other craftsmen were all slave traders. Sailors and unskilled Portuguese labourers had their own quotas of slaves—especially slave girls. For let it stand out clearly: One of the main attractions of slavery, and the magnet that drew thousands of white men on, was their sexual freedom unlimited with all the Black girls and women who were enslaved and helpless in the power of their masters. These “wholesale raids” on Black womanhood continued to swell the mulatto population, the majority of which—again as in the case of Egypt and the Sudan—became the faithful servants and loyal representatives of the conquering races to which their fathers belonged.
The Portuguese were so aggressive in their program of dividing the Blacks and keeping them fighting among themselves that they overshot the mark, simply went too far. The system of spreading out over the country into the provinces and allying themselves with the various chiefs has been mentioned more than once. But after 1608 the commander-in-chief of the Portuguese army tightened the noose. This was Bento Cardoso. Under his plan Angola was to be depopulated by a massive onslaught for slaves through a closely coordinated system in which every chief in the land would be “owned” by a Portuguese and directly responsible to him for a stated quota of slaves. This would bypass the Angolan king (of Ndongo) to whom the provincial chiefs paid their taxes in slaves. This would also mean increased warfare between the chiefdoms in order to meet the increased quotas demanded by raiding into each other’s territories.
Chiefs failing to secure the required number of slaves were themselves enslaved by the Portuguese. Over a hundred chiefs and other notables were sold into slavery in a single year and another hundred murdered by the Portuguese. We may safely assume that the actual number of chiefs enslaved or murdered was greater than that stated above since the Portuguese, like other nations, generally cut casualty figures for the record.
The situation to be considered here, however, is the widespread confusion and terror among a hunted and leaderless people. To make matters even worse – if that was possible, the half-savage Jaga, who would join anybody for their favourite game of looting and raping – becoming allies of Cardoso. The Angolan king, who had been cooperating with the slave traders, now saw himself ruined on all fronts, losing his people and his profits. He therefore began to resist the Portuguese. The people, even though they knew that their king himself was a slaver, in sheer desperation flocked to support the war of resistance. It paid off. Both the Portuguese and their Jaga allies were checked, and the war dragged on year after year. After Kabasa, the capital city, fell to the Portuguese, their losses had become so heavy that the new governor who had been sent from Lisbon with firm orders to complete the conquest of Angola “once and for all,” nevertheless was forced to sue for peace without victory. The Portuguese had suffered a disastrous defeat by the Blacks, but the official version –and excuse—was that there was “general illness” in their ranks. Yet the Portuguese insisted on holding Kabasa. The Africans therefore rejected peace proposals as a trick and the war was resumed in a land of famine where food crops and slave trade itself had come to a standstill. In this desperate state of affairs the fighting somehow continued, with both sides obviously weakened and in disarray. It was during this period, in 1619, that a new Portuguese commander managed to murder over a hundred chiefs. At this point the Pope intervened, insisting that the wholesale slaughter be ended and peace be pursued. In 1622, a new governor was sent from Lisbon to make peace. Portugal had been appointing “governors of Angola” for over forty years without having control over it.
AFRICA'S GREATEST DAUGHTER
The peace conference was held at Luanda. The Black delegation was headed by the country’s ablest and most uncompromising diplomat, Ann Nzinga, not yet queen, but sister to the king—the woman power behind a weak king, and the one responsible for inspiring the people to continue the war of resistance when every hope was gone, unless she herself had become their last hope. But even before the peace offering began, and at the risk of wrecking it, the governor’s Caucasian arrogance could not be restrained. He had decided on a studied insult at the outset by providing chairs in the conference room only for himself and his councillors, with the idea of forcing the Black princess to stand humbly before his noble presence. He remained seated of course, staring haughtily as she entered the room. She took in the situation at a glance with a contemptuous smile, while her attendants moved with a swiftness that seemed to suggest that they anticipated this stupid behaviour by the Portuguese. They quickly rolled out the beautifully designed royal carpet they had brought before Nzinga, after which one of them went down on all fours and expertly formed himself into a “royal throne” upon which the princess sat easily without being a strain on her devoted follower. Yet she rose at regular intervals, knowing that other attendants were vying for the honour of thus giving to these whites still another defeat. I gather from the different ways this incident is reported that the Western mind is unable to grasp its real meaning. Some historians saw it as a cruel and inhuman use of slaves, ignoring the fact that Nzinga’s chief claim to fame was that she was the greatest abolitionist of slavery, that she herself had no slaves and, indeed, had not the slightest need for any. One reason might well be that she was so much loved and even blindly followed by her people that it was believed that all would die to the last man and woman following her leadership. Such were the men, not slaves, who gladly formed a human couch before the astonished Portuguese for their leader.
She faced the Portuguese governor and spoke as a ruler of the land, and not as a subject of the king of Portugal. She did not recognise the man in the big chair as a governor because she did not recognise the existence of a Portuguese “colony of Angola.” She only saw before her what her people had seen approaching their shores over a hundred years before—pompous white devils bent on the destruction of the non white world. The Ndongo terms for peace were presented as uncompromising demands, and it was clear from the beginning that the Portuguese would have fared better with a man. For before any kind of treaty was signed Portugal had to agree (1) to evacuate Kabasa and all nearby fortifications; (2) the Portuguese were to wage war against the Jaga (a harsh provision since the Jaga had been Portugal’s allies in trying to crush Ndongo); (3) all chiefs who had become vassals of the Portuguese king were to be freed and enabled to return to return to former tributary status at home and, finally, the important concession Nzinga made was to return the Portuguese prisoners-of-war she held. The treaty of 1622 was supposed to end all fighting in the whole West-Central region. But the governor, as though to make up for his defeat in the peace negotiations with Nzinga, marched off to invade Kongo again almost immediately. The treaty then became dead insofar as its execution was concerned. But Nzinga’s brother died the next year and she became Queen of Ndongo. The distressed Portuguese, in order to discredit her, put out the story that she had poisoned him. And while there was not a scintilla of evidence or any basis at all for their concoction, historians have shown their unbiased objectivity by faithfully carrying on the charge for over three hundred years. Yet if lying is a legitimate aspect of warfare, the Portuguese may have felt justified in trying to destroy such an implacable foe in any way they could. Their greatest trouble was yet to come.
QUEEN NZINGA (1623)
Nzinga became queen in 1623, and went into action at once. Her first major move was to send an ultimatum to the Portuguese authorities demanding the immediate execution of the terms of the treaty—otherwise war would be declared. While the Portuguese were preparing to meet the Queen’s armies, the Dutch fleet appeared as a new threat. The Dutch, themselves great slavers, certainly did not come as liberators of the hard-pressed Blacks. Their aim was to break the Portuguese monopoly and secure their share of the slave trade and the mineral wealth of West and Central Africa. To further these ends, they used the Blacks as other white peoples did and still do. So no time was lost in forming an alliance with Pedro II, King of Kongo, in his war with the Portuguese. The Dutch had already captured seven Portuguese slave ships at sea, sunk other vessels in the harbours at Luanda and Mpinda, and were raising hell generally. All this gave Queen Nzinga more time to prepare for the inevitable. She even reversed he demands for a Portuguese war against the Jaga and formed a military alliance with them herself. Knowing how very unreliable the Jaga were, she sought to make the alliance binding by promising to marry the Jaga chief, Kasinji, and adopting certain Jaga customs.
Nzinga’s greatest act, however—and probably the one that makes he one of the greatest women in history—was in 1624 when she declared all territory in Angola over which she had control was Free Country, all slaves reaching it from whatever quarter were forever free. She went further. Since it was clear to her that White Power in Africa rested squarely on the use of Black troops against Black people, she undertook the first and only carefully organised effort to undermine and destroy the effective employment and use of Black soldiers by whites—the first and only Black leader in history who was ever known to undertake such a task. She has carefully selected groups of her own soldiers to infiltrate the Portuguese held territory and allowing themselves to be “induced” by Portuguese recruiting agents to join their forces. The quiet and effective work of Nzinga’s agents among the Black troops of Portugal was one of the most glorious, yet unsung, pages in African history. For whole companies rebelled and deserted to the colours of the Black queen, taking with them the much needed guns and ammunition which she had been unable to secure except by swiftly moving surprise attacks on enemy units. The Queen’s armies were further strengthened by the runaway slaves who streamed into the only certain haven for the free on the whole continent of Africa. To the Portuguese Queen Nzinga had just passed the last word in unheard-of audacity when she was able to influence scores of vassal chiefs to rebel against them and join the cause of their own race. This was too much. This woman had to be destroyed. It had come to that.
Warrior Queen Nzinga
The Portuguese sent their ultimatum to the Queen from their Luanda stronghold—Portugal’s Lisbon in Africa. It demanded the immediate return of all chiefs, soldiers and slaves to Portuguese territory; that is, all who had fled therefrom. Refusal would mean war, the ultimatum concluded. The fact was that a state of war already existed since the Queen’s own ultimatum of the previous year. The Portuguese were afraid to move against her stronger forces now, although they continued to give the Dutch threat as the reason for delaying the required all-out attack. Meanwhile, the usual strategy of first instigating factional strife among the Blacks was by no means forgotten. It was just that there was so much unity and patriotism in this dominant Angola state that there was so much unity to this “terrible Black Queen”, that internal subversion was almost impossible. They tried to overcome all this by formally declaring that Nzinga was not legally Queen of Ndongo, the throne vacant, and one of their own vassal chiefs, Aidi Kiluanji, was declared king. The Portuguese marshalled all of their forces on land and sea, their special river fleet in particular, to crush Nzinga before the Dutch struck again. But the Queen herself opened the offensive, striking first at the Portuguese puppet king and his forces. The Portuguese captured her principal island stronghold in the Cuanza river in July, 1626, thus dividing her forces and, by a swift encircling movement designed to capture the Queen, cut off her main supporting regiments and forced her not only to retreat but to withdraw from he country. Joy reigned at Luanda and Sao Thome. With Nzinga;s flight from Angola it appeared that the Black menace was over and victory complete. Aidi Kiluanji was crowned King Philip I of Ndongo.
The solidarity of the Blacks remained unbroken, however, and their loyalty to Nzinga remained steadfast. She was “just away a little while,” and would return soon. Any child in the most distant bush could tell you that their Queen was just “away on business”. So who was Philip !?” His name said he was Portuguese, so he couldn’t be King of Ndongo. All Angolan kings and queens were so African that they couldn’t be tricked out of their own African names. The Queen herself had dropped “ANNA” from her name when she discovered that baptizing a Black into Christianity meant surrendering his soul and body not to any Christ, but to the white man. And oral tradition further has it that the people not only rejected “Philip I”, but made fun of the very idea that he considered himself to be king. Their blind faith in their Queen and the certainty of her return, according to the same oral record, was not really so blind. Those who understood the coded drum messages spread the news that all guerrilla attacks which occurred throughout the land were attacks which were personally directed by the Queen and that, in fact, she was raising a new army of liberation. Her loyal chiefs and people in Ndongo were to stand by, ready.
The written records, no matter how slanted, supports the oral. For in November, 1627, she crossed the borders back into her country at the head of a strong army—made stronger and stronger as her loyal chiefs and wildly cheering people—including her fanatically devoted freed men—flocked to her standard as she swept forward to recapture the Cuanza stronghold held by Philip I and put him to flight. The Portuguese continued to be amazed at this display at Black unity—and under a woman’s leadership at that. Black unity was now seen clearly as Black Power, and that meant an unconquerable people. The Portuguese were resolved to break that unity and the power the developed from it. The revolt against them had become general as Nzinga’s victorious forces advanced. The Portuguese retreated to their own strongholds on the coast, giving the Dutch threat as an excuse—and not the threat of being annihilated by the Queen’s forces.
But as there was in fact no imminent Dutch threat, the Portuguese regrouped and strengthened their forces for an all-out war to destroy Nzinga and, this time, not to cease fighting until this was done. They began by giving orders and offering a big reward for her capture, dead or alive. Their slave troops, still the backbone of the Portuguese armed forces, were given the special inducements of land and freedom for her capture. Realizing that such an all-out attempt to capture her meant that countless thousands of her people would die in her defence, she outwitted the Portuguese again by slipping out of the country, instructing her lieutenants to spread the word everywhere that she had fled the country, mistakenly entered the country of an enemy and had been killed. To give point to the story, there was general weeping and mourning throughout Ndongo—real weeping and mourning, because the masses believed the story to be true. So did the Portuguese. The only reason for the war having been removed by Providence, the Bishop could celebrate a special mass in celebration of this special blessing, and the Colony of Angola could at last be organized after over fifty years of obstruction. All things now seemed to be happy and going well according to the original grand design.
Then in 1629 the Portuguese stood aghast when Queen Nzinga “burst upon them from the grave,” sweeping all opposition before her. She brought in her fierce Jaga allies with her, apparently willing to do even this to defeat the whites. The Portuguese were completely defeated. She had not only retaken her own country but had, meanwhile, become Queen of Matamba also, having replaced the weak Queen there. Nzinga was now an empress of two countries. She no redoubled he campaign against slavery and the slave trade by making both Ndongo and Matamba havens for all who could escape from the slaver by rebelling or otherwise. Chiefs engaged in the traffic in nearby states now stood in fear of her wrath. The Portuguese saw “the handwriting on the wall”. In order not to loose every foothold in the area, Lisbon suddenly remembered that it had never carried out the treaty signed with Nzinga in 1622, and declared the Portugal’s wars against her had been unjust! High level embassies were sent to the Queen in 1639 in efforts to effect a settlement. Nzinga received them, listened to their protestations of eternal friendship, and went ahead with determination in reorganizing both of her kingdoms and undermining colonial rule in areas held by the enemy. That every white man in Africa was an enemy of the Blacks was a matter about which there was no debate in her mind. Even the holy robes of the priests in Angola no only covered their real mission as agents of empire, but also covered their insatiable lust for the Black bodies of their helpless slave girls. She had been forced by the actualities of black-white relations to distrust all whites, along with their tricky treaties.
[The Queen was further outraged over the success of the Portuguese in capturing both of her younger sisters. This gave the enemy a most powerful bargaining weapon. Yet she continued to reject all of their principal demands, with the result that her sisters—to whom she was deeply devoted—remained in captivity for many years].
By 1641 the Dutch had made great progress in reducing the power of Portugal all along the coast, and Nzinga’s adamant position made their situation an impossible one to maintain. So a despairing governor and council had no choice but to declare war against her once again—a full scale war. But the situation was now most favourable for the Angolans. Their northern neighbour, Kongo, had become more active in its own war against the Portuguese and, besides, a new and greater king had assumed the leadership. This was Garcia II, who had continued the policy of cooperating with the Dutch where and when Kongolese interests were involved. (Some Black leaders had learned to use the whites as they had always used them: When it served their own interests). The other happy development for Ndongo was that the Dutch invasion of Portuguese-held areas had actually begun in 1641 before any moves could be made against any of the two Black states, Kongo and Ndongo.
Nzinga continued her campaign against the Portuguese, winning victories everywhere a battle was joined. With Dutch aid, the great Portuguese stronghold of Massangano fell in 1648. The Dutch, having previously captured Luanda, now found themselves threatened by the steady reinforcements that continued to pour in from Portuguese Brazil. The Dutch withdrew, leaving the Blacks in the area, who had helped them to capture and defend this the most important Portuguese city in Africa, to fend for themselves alone. While the chiefs and their forces did indeed put up a gallant fight, they were massacred in one of the most savage onslaughts on record. The recapture of Luanda by Salvador de Sa, the new governor, and his crushing of Black opposition there, led him to initiate new peace efforts with Kongo and Nzinga’s new kingdoms. The Kongolese King refused to answer his letter, but did send a monk to hear the governor’s terms. Nzinga also agreed to efforts at negotiations. These gestures by the two African leaders led Salvador de Sa to advise the king of Portugal that all the African states were cowed and their power broken. He knew better, of course, for even the chiefs and their people in his own Portuguese-held territory were still fighting on despite the massacres, and probably because of them.
If the Portuguese had been able to conquer either Kongo or Ndong-Matamba, no peace offers would have been made. Hadn’t they tried it over and over and failed? To be able to conquer both now was out of the question. So the old conquest route was being tried again: The beginning smiles and protestations of friendship, finding concrete expression in negotiation for peace. The language of diplomacy reached its most brilliant heights of deception in those velvety clauses of proposed treaties which the Africans, if they signed them, would be signing themselves and their people into perpetual bondage, This fact was supposed to be assured by the other fact that the relevant clauses were so ambiguous that they could be interpreted in several ways—in this case in whatever way the Portuguese chose to interpret them. The very same provisions of the treaties could be read and explained to the Blacks in such language that the Europeans were not only humbling themselves but also proclaiming the outcome as a victory for the Africans. For of course no Blacks—not even an Nzinga—was supposed to be intelligent enough, sharply intelligent enough to see through all this. But, stripping away all the glittering verbiage, Nzinga saw at a glance that what it all meant was that she was to be a vassal of the Portuguese king, and one paying him a big annual tribute. She would die first. And no one should have known this better than the Portuguese who at the time of this latest treaty offer had been at war with her—and repeatedly defeated—for over twenty-eight years.
They had met one of the giants of the human race which they had found impossible to recognise as such because she appeared on the planet not only as a woman but one with black skin. Nzinga, therefore, kept them anxiously waiting for action on the treaty, toying with it for six years, while giving her war-torn land and tired-out people a period for rest and recovery. She was the same Queen who had twice fled the country not to save herself but to save her people from a slaughter that her flight would prevent. For the same reason she did not want the war resumed again after forty years of warfare. On the other hand, she would not surrender her country to Portugal and its slave trade. The areas of Angola they still held, including the important islands of Luanda and Sao Thome, belonged to the Angolan people, and some of these areas belonged directly to her own kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba. Finally, then, in 1656—tired and weary from four decades of relentless struggles—she signed a treaty that was revised and made acceptable to her. Her greatest concession allowed the Portuguese puppet king, Aidi, to head the territory conceded to them.
SEVEN MORE YEARS
There were seven more years of a busy life for Queen Nzinga—pushing reconstruction, the resettlement of ex-slaves, and under-taking the development of an economy of free men and women that would be able to succeed without the slave trade. She could not have been unaware that, with the Portuguese still strongly entrenched in the most strategic areas, unless she was succeeded by equally great leader, all of her labours in defense of the freedom of the Blacks would ultimately be in vain. That was the burning question in 1663 as a dull autumn sun lengthened the shadows over the palace grounds where thousands stood in tears: Were there any more Garcias anywhere? The sun slowly went down over the Angolan trees and darkness spread over the land. Over three hundred years later the blacks of Angola are still fighting the Portuguese, and still waiting for the sunrise.
In the heart-torn state of national mourning, the Queen’s Council permitted two priests wo come in and perform the last rites of the Church. Since the Queen had renounced the Catholic religion many years before her passing, had banned missions from her country as centers of subversion, this appearance of priests at the royal bedside may be explained either as a once-a-Catholic-always a-Catholic theory, or as an attempt by Catholic Portugal to give the appearance of final victory on all fronts. In this case it would mean that the most unconquerable of foes, recanting and submissive, had been conquered by their religion in the end. And so it is written in the official documents of Portugal—written that Nzinga returned to the Church that had baptized her “Anna”—the written record used by almost all historians of Africa. Yet she was one of the very first of the Blacks to see that the Portuguese conquests, the slave trade, and the Church were all inseparably one and the same. The long years of warfare had been equally against all three—the unholy trinity.She never surrendered to either. In 1963—three hundred years after her death—people, now Catholic themselves, did not believe she ever returned to the Church.
(pronounced Geen-gah Em-bahn-day) (c. 1583 – December 17, 1663)
NZINGA MBANDE KNOWN TO LEAD HER TROOPS INTO BATTLE WELL BEYOND HER SIXTIES. EVEN HER SISTERS, KIFUNJI AND MUKUMBU. ALL THREE WOULD MARCH INTO BATTLE WEARING THE EXACT SAME ANIMAL SKIN OUTFITS, EQUIPPED WITH SWORDS, AXES, BOWS AND ARROWSNZINGA ART
QUEEN NZINGA (NJINGA)
STATUE OF QUEEN 'NJINGA' IN LUANDA ANGOLA, KINAXIXI SQUARE
"Queen Nzingha, also known as Ann Nzingha, was overlord of portions of both Angola and Zaire. She has been called the "greatest military strategist that ever confronted the armed forces of Portugal." Nzingha's military campaigns kept the Portuguese in Africa at bay for more than four decades. Her objective was nothing less than the complete and total destruction of the African slave trade. Nzingha sent ambassadors throughout West and Central Africa with the intent of enlisting a huge coalition of African armies to eject the Portuguese. Queen Nzingha died fighting for her people in 1663 at the ripe old age of eighty-one. Africa has known no greater patriot".