Hailing from the African state of Ndongo and born in 1581 during the start of Luandan disagreement with Portuguese settlers (Toler 265), Queen Nzinga of the African Mbundu tribe stood up for her country and reestablished power over her people. Nzinga came in a time period that needed her. She got her country of Matamba (present day Angola) equal, both economically and socially, to the Portuguese. In order to do this, Nzinga took measures to place herself in the right position to eventually seize rule and steer her country in the right direction, even though it prompted a steady flow of opposition from her enemies. These initial enemies included the Imbangala tribes and irritated Portuguese Settlers, both of which she succeeded in turning into allies. Queen Nzinga's rule was well justified by a legal rise to the throne, and her subsequent role as a skilled ruler counteracted her reputation as a thriving slave trader.
Queen Nzinga’s methodical rise to power was well justified and vindicative of her ensuing rule, contrary to the arguments of her opponents. As the daughter of a previous king and sister to the next heir to the throne, Nzinga had the correct hereditary history to rule, an important prerequisite for rule in Ndongo culture. To reinforce this, Nzinga held an election, in which qualified officials appointed her as queen (Thornton 37). She was not the first queen to take uimate power over Ndongo (although none were as influential as she), but her traditional minded critics refused to accept it, and considered it a sign of illegitimate rule (Thornton 37). To combat this, Nzinga expanded her gender identity and strived to be more “manly” by engaging in battles personally (Thornton 39). It also helped that she was deemed i...
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.... D. and a member of the World History Association in addition to the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She also writes for national journals specialized in history and culture. The selected chapter in the source discusses the rise of Queen Nzinga to power and her relationship with the Portuguese, both of which I discuss in my paper.
Thornton, John K. (1991). Legitimacy and Political Power: Queen Njinga,
1624–1663. The Journal of African History, 32, pp 25-40. doi:10.1017/
Thornton is a graduate from Millersville University, Pennsylvania. He is an American historian specialized in the history of Africa and the African Diaspora. He is also a history professor in Boston University. My paper speaks about the legitimacy of Nzinga’s coming to rule. I use Thornton’s piece for information about her rise to power.
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