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Nzinga

Nzinga or Njinga, c.1583–1663, queen of the Mbundu people in what is now Angola. In 1622, she represented her brother, King Mbande of Ndongo, in talks with the Portuguese, who had established a fort at Luanda and were encroaching on Mbundu land in their quest to control the Atlantic slave trade. She converted to Christianity, possibly to seal the treaty that resulted, and adopted the name Dona Ana de Souza. The treaty was not honored, however, and during the subsequent conflict Nzinga succeeded (1624) Mbande after his death. Although she lost control of Ndongo (1626–29), she took power by 1631 in neighboring Matamba, which became her base in her long war with the Portuguese, which continued until 1657. Nzinga was skilled politician and diplomat and courageous battlefield leader, sometimes forming alliances with rival states and the Dutch.

See L. Heywood, Njinga of Angola (2017).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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