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Facial reconstruction of Queen Nzinga. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Royalty Now Studios.

Queen Nzinga’s Life of Fighting Portuguese Colonization (Video)

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Explore Queen Nzinga's remarkable life as a warrior ruler during the 17th century in Africa. Born around 1583 into the Mbundu ruling family of Ndongo (present-day Angola), Nzinga faced constant threats from Portuguese slave traders. She learned diplomacy and combat and even acquired Portuguese language skills, which would prove invaluable later. Her journey took a bold turn when, in defiance of the Portuguese governor, she knelt on a grass mat during negotiations, establishing her as a formidable presence. After returning to Ndongo, Nzinga's rise to power faced opposition from the Portuguese, leading to a 25-year struggle. She used alliances and diplomacy to thwart their efforts, eventually allowing Christianity into her kingdom as a diplomatic tool, paving the way for peace negotiations settled in 1656.

Queen Nzinga's legacy is complex, as she made concessions in the treaty, allowing Portuguese influence into the African interior. Her story continues to inspire as a symbol of resistance against oppression. While her reign had its compromises, she remains a hero in Angola's history, with an impact that extended to the fight for independence from Portugal in the 1970s. Regrettably, no contemporary portrait of Queen Nzinga exists, the only clue we have as to what she looked like is a copy of a lost original sketch. This video has used that tot ry and create a lifelike facial reconstruction.

Top image: Facial reconstruction of Queen Nzinga. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Royalty Now Studios.

By Robbie Mitchell

 
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Robbie

I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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