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February 1, 2016

 

Happy February My Purpose Driven Free Thinkers aka PDFTs! May the first day of this month exceed your expectations! As we all know February is Black History Month. I don't know if you study or research Black people who significantly contributed to the Black experience during this month but personally, I don't need a month to tell me it's okay to be Black, speak on Black, or act Black. I'm always Black minded but for y'all who do celebrate Blackness on this month, do it big! As you know (or maybe don't) my book will be dropping on February 14th aka Valentines Day. It'll be available on this website on the STORE page for purchase. If you want to know the synopsis of MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD go to the Book page on this website. Also, you can check out my youtube channel VIEIS_ME to get more in-depth with my story. I'll add the link below this blog post to the video. And if all that doesn't quench your thirst for MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD, follow my IG for past and future Daily Snippets from my book. They'll always be available but after February 14th, I won't be making any new Daily Snippets from MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-ccDSPFAjI

 

In Honor Of February, Black History Month, I'll be picking one of many Black historical people to honor. Toda it's Queen Nzinga. Many people may not know who Queen Anna Nzinga aka Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande is or what she had done. Queen Nzinga was 17th Century royalty from the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people. She was born in 1583 and died on December 17th, 1663. In her early life, she was told she was destined to be Queen. She was a bright and confident young girl that her father favored. He adorned her so much so he would allow her to see him govern the Kingdom as well as take her to war with him. The Atlantic Slave Trade and the colonization by the Portuguese were vastly ravaging the area in Angola. The first mention of Nzing in historical records was when she stood as a messenger for her brother, ngiolssa Ngola Mbande at a peace conference with the Portuguese governor João Correia de Sousa in Luanda in 1622. 

 

The immediate cause of her envoy was because her brother wanted the Portuguese to withdraw the fortress Ambaca that they built on his land in 1618 by Governor Mendes de Vasconcelos. He also wanted to have some of his subjects (Ijiko in Kimbundu but slaves to the Portuguese) that were taken captive during Governor Mendes de Vasconcelos's campaigns in 1617 to 1621 to be returned to him. Not to mention, to persuade the governor to stop the pillaging of Imbangala mercenaries in Portuguese service. Nzinga's embassy was successful. The governor João Correia de Sousa agreed to her terms which resulted in a treaty on equal terms because Nzinga had the advantage over him. One rememberable disagreement was the issue of whether Nzinga acquiescence to Portugal and accepted vassalage (basically kowtow and assimilate into Portuguese customs). There's a famous story that goes during the meeting with Portuguese governor, João Correia de Sousa, he nor his members offer Nzings a chair to sit on, instead they placed a floor mat for her to sit on. In Mbundu custom mats were suitable for subordinates. Nzinga not fawn of disrespect ordered one of her servants to get down on all four for her to sit on the servant's back during negotiations. By her doing this, Nzinga asserted her status as equal to the governor, which solidified her worth as a brave and confident person. 

 

Nzinga converted to Christianity, perhaps to strengthen the peace treaty she had with the Portuguese. She also adopted the name Dona Anna de Sousa in honor of the governor's wife after she was baptized, ironically she was Nzinga's godmother. The Portuguese never honored the treaty between them and Nzinga nor withdrawed Ambaca, nor returned the subjects (Ijiko) who were considered prisoners turned slaves of war, and they were unable to stop the Imbangala (an ethnic group of warriors in Angola) but tragedy hit Nzinga. Her brother committed suicide following this diplomatic deadlock treaty with the Portuguese. He believed that he would never be able to recover what he had lost in the war with Portugal thus committing suicide. Rumors circulated that Nzinga had actually poisoned him and the Portuguese used these rumors as an excuse to not honoring her right to succeed her brother. Nzinga was placed as a minister for her brother's young son, Kaza, who took the thrown. At the time Kaza lived with the Imbangala, Nzinga sent to have the boy be under her rule. Kaza returned but shortly died and people assumed she had him killed for being impertinent. She then took over as ruler of the Ndongo. In 1624, she titled herself as "Lady of Andongo" (senhora de Andongo), but in a letter in 1626 she officially named herself "Queen of Andongo" (rainha de Andongo) from then on that's what she answered to.

 

In 1641, the Dutch in alliance with the Kingdom of Kongo seized Luanda. Queen Nzinga quickly sent them a delegate and formed an alliance Dutch against the Portuguese who occupied the inland with their colony of males, but had their main headquarters at the town of Masangano. Queen Nzinga's purpose was to recover lost lands with the aid of Dutch, she moved her capital to Kavanga, the northern part of Ndongo's Kingdom. In 1644, she defeated the Portuguese army at Ngoleme but she was unable to continue. In 1646, she was defeated by the Portuguese at Kavanga during the capture process, her sister was taken along with her personal archives which revealed an alliance with Kongo (a Kingdom located northern Angola). The archives showed that her captive  sister had surreptitious communications with Queen Nzinga which revealed covert Portuguese plans. As a result of the espionage, the Portuguese revengefully drowned the sister in the Kwanza River. BUT, another account says the sister managed to free herself and fled to what is today Namibia. The Dutch who settled in Luanda sent Queen Nzinga support which helped Queen Nzinga routed a Portuguese army in 1647, she followed up with a siege to the Portuguese capital of Masangano. The Portuguese recaptured Luanda with help from a Brazilian-based alliance who provided an attack led by Salvador Correia de Sá, and in 1648, Nzinga retreated to Matambaand and proceeded to resist the Portuguese. She resisted the Portuguese into her elderly age. In her sixties, she personally led troops into battle.

 

In 1657, after a long struggle, Queen Nzinga signed a peace treaty with Portugal. Following the treaty with Portugal, she attempted to rebuild her nation that had been severally damaged by years of war and over-farming. Queen Nzinga was anxious that Njinga Mona's Imbangala would succeed her as ruler of the kingdoms Ndongo and Matamba, and impose a language in the treaty that bound Portugal to help her family to retain power. Lacking a son to be her successor, Queen Nzinga attempted to bestow power to the Ngola Kanini family and arranged a marriage for her sister to marry João Guterres Ngola Kanini so her sister could succeed her. The marriage wasn't allowed because the priests believed that João had a wife back in Ambaca. Queen Nzinga returned to the Christian church to separate herself ideologically from the Imbangala and chose a Kongo priest Calisto Zelotes dos Reis Magros as her personal confessor. She permitted Capuchin missionaries, first Antonio da Gaeta and second Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo to preach the Christian ideology. Both men wrote extensive accounts of her life, kingdom, and strong will.

 

She dedicated her later years to resettling former slaves and allowing women to birth children. Despite countless attempts to dethrone her Nzinga died a peaceful death at the age of eighty on December 17th, 1663 in Matamba. Matamba experienced a civil war after her death, but Francisco Guterres Ngola Kanini carried on the royal line in the kingdom and because of her death the Portuguese increased occupation of the inland of South West Africa, fueled by the rapid development of the Portuguese slave trade. Portugal would not have control of the region until the 20th century. 

(source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nzinga_of_Ndongo_and_Matamba

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