Queen of the Ndongo (Angola), queen of Matamba
1581 - December 17, 1663
Nzingha, Zinga, Njinja, Dona Ana de Souza, Njinga Mbandi
Converted to Christianity, taking name Dona Anna de Souza
Anna Nzinga was born the same year that the Ndongo people, led by her father, began fighting against Portuguese who were raiding their territory for slaves and attempting to conquer territory they believed included silver mines.
When Anna Nzinga"s brother, Mbandi, deposed his father, he had Nzinga"s child murdered. She fled with her husband to Matamba. Mbandi"s rule was cruel, unpopular, and chaotic. In 1633 he asked Nzinga to return and negotiate a a treaty with the Portuguese.
Nzinga mustered a royal impression as she approached the negotiations. The Portuguese arranged the meeting room with only one chair, so Nzinga would have to stand, making her appear to be the inferior of the Portuguese governor. But she outsmarted the Europeans, and had her maid kneel, making a chair -- and making quite an impression of power.
Nzinga succeeded in this negotiation with the Portuguese governor, Correa de Souza, restoring her brother to power, and the Portuguese agreed to limits on the slave trade. Around this time, Nzinga was baptized as a Christian, taking the name Dona Anna de Souza.
In 1623, Nzinga had her brother killed, and became ruler.
The Portuguese named her governer of Luanda, and she opened her land to Christian missionaries and to the introduction of whatever modern technologies she could attract. By 1626, she had resumed the conflict with the Portuguese, pointing to their many treaty violations. The Portuguese established one of Nzinga"s relatives as a puppet king (Phillip) while Nzinga"s forces continued to harass the Portuguese. She found allies in some neighboring peoples, and in Dutch merchants, and conquered and became ruler of the Matamba (1630), continuing a resistance campaign against the Portuguese.
In 1639, Nzinga"s campaign was successful enough that the Portuguese opened peace negotiations, but these failed. The