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7 most powerful African queens in history you need to know

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7 most powerful African queens in history you need to know

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Ten of Africa’s Most Powerful Kings, Queens, Warriors and Legends

Africa is a area with a long and superb historical past, with loads of distinct cultures and traditions. From the Egyptians to the Zulus every culture has produced one of the largest warriors and maximum robust leaders on this planet.

From discerning tradesmen to distinguished scholars – here are simply among the fascinating figures from African history of legendary African rulers.


No checklist of mythical African rulers could be whole without no less than one Egyptian pharaoh, and whilst various pharaoh’s have faded into obscurity over hundreds of years since they dominated, a choose few have made their mark.

Hatshepsut used to be the only kid of Pharaoh Thutmose I and his number one spouse, and she was married to Thutmose II a half-brother through a secondary spouse. As queen consort she already assumed lots of the roles of pharaoh, but after the death of her husband she officially adopted the identify in 1478 BC. She used to be well skilled, understood the religion of her other people, and as the daughter, sister AND wife to kings she had an undeniable blood-right to the placement. She was once easily ready to make use of this stuff to her merit, becoming widely accepted via Egyptologists nowadays as probably the most a hit pharaohs.

Queen Hatshepsut, legendary African Ruler. (Jbribeiro1 / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

She established essential trade routes, finished a lot of important construction tasks, and is remembered in monuments as a perfect pharaoh. Moreover, she is the earliest identified woman to have vital power.

2.The Queen of Sheba

Most other people could have encountered the word “who does she assume she is - the Queen of Sheba ?” in the future – however was there ever a real Queen of Sheba ? And what did she do this used to be noteworthy it coined a word?

The remains of a grand stone palace in Aksum, which is in present day Ethiopia, are believed to were the home of the Queen of Sheba . There is no surviving document of what her actual title used to be, but in North Africa as of late no person questions whether or not she was once actual or now not. She is considered by Ethiopians to be the mummy in their country, and the founder of a dynasty which simplest died out with the remaining descendent, Haile Selassie in 1975. She is a well-documented historic determine in the Bible .

3.Ezana of Axum

Ezana of Axum ruled the kingdom of Aksum within the Four th Century AD. The kingdom was vast and coated present day Northern Ethiopia, Yemen, some parts of southern Saudi Arabia, northern Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and some regions of Sudan. He inherited the function from his father, who died whilst Ezana was nonetheless a child.

He is notable for being the primary king of Aksum to convert to Christianity. He was once a kind ruler and he cared deeply in regards to the happiness of his folks. He used to be a monument builder, erecting quite a lot of obelisks and stelae throughout his reign. Despite this, he's highest remembered today for his Christian faith and he is thought of as a saint by way of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahado Church.

Solomon and The Queen of Sheba, legendary African Ruler, discussed in the Bible . (Shakko / Public Domain )

She used to be purportedly extraordinarily rich and archaeological excavations at Aksum in 2012 found out proof of a huge historical gold mine which would had been an overly reputable and considerable supply of wealth for the queen. Further excavations in 2015 found out two feminine skeletons , either one of which have been buried in a regal style with extremely precious jewellery. This tangible evidence that the legend could also be actual is further subsidized up by means of the truth that 90% of Aksum is unexcavated – with legends concerning the Queen being confirmed already, it’s extremely most probably there shall be further confirmation that she actually did exist as additional work is done at the site.

4.Mansa Kankan Musa – The Richest African Warrior

Musa I used to be the 10th Mansa (sultan or king) of Mali. His reign used to be between 1312 and 1337 AD. He used to be an extremely powerful leader and underneath his leadership Mali used to be in a position to triumph over 24 cities. He had a substantial amount of nick names and titles, including the ‘Lion of Mali’ and ‘Conqueror of Ghanata’.

One of his nicknames, ‘Lord of the Mines of Wangara’, was once because of the fact he was once in keep watch over of the entire gold mines there. This contributed to the reality he was exceptionally wealthy – his contemporaries described him as “inconceivably rich”. Both Time and the BBC have commented on his wealth from a modern view level, with the latter declaring him the richest guy of all time.

Detail showing Mansa Musa sitting on a throne and preserving a gold coin. ( Public Domain )

With such unattainable affect, wealth, and keep an eye on Musa I would fit in very easily in a show like Game of Thrones nowadays.

5.Tunka Manin

Tunka Manin was the Ga’na (ruler) of the Wagadou from 1037 – 1075 AD. He was described in recent accounts as a lover of justice and he settled many disputes inside his empire personally. He turned into known for his involvement in communities and for the fact he greatly boosted the economy of the empire. He used to be able to additional cultivate his public symbol through projecting an air of magic and mysticism.

Unfortunately, Tunka Manin was the remaining ruler of the Wagadou, because the empire fell due to quite a lot of elements together with disputes in regards to the region converting to Islam.

6.Warrior Queen Amina

Amina, or Aminatu, was once a warrior queen of the Zaria Emirate, which is in modern-day Nigeria. She is the topic of many legends and ruled in the future in the 15 th Century, despite the fact that the dates are uncertain. She conquered many cities and ruled for 34 years.

She used to be a legendary and eager warrior, and as a kid her grandmother discovered her wielding a dagger as nimbly as any warrior. Like many different female regents, she refused to marry so that she would now not possibility losing any authority. One of her less fearsome legacies is that she presented the cultivation of kola nuts to her kingdom.

7.Ewuare the Great

Ewuare I was the king of the Benin Empire for the latter 1/2 of the 15 th Century AD. His rise to power was once a violent and bloody one, and the result of a vicious coup against his own brother which destroyed much of the capital of Benin.

Despite the violent begin to his reign, Ewuare earned his name of ‘The Great’ via rebuilding a lot of Benin City, reforming political structures, becoming a patron of the humanities, and expanding the territory of the empire. He higher and expanded trade with different countries, which helped him to foster the arts and it's because of him that ivory and wood carving changed into extra popular.

He was once an no doubt actual ancient determine, but he used to be the sort of powerful man that many believed he held magical powers, which is attested to in much of the art work of the generation. An annual competition referred to as the Igue pageant was once originally held to resume his magical powers but it's nonetheless celebrated in Benin to these days.

Ewuare I, legendary African Ruler, was once the king of the Benin Empire. (MassiveEartha / Public Domain )

8.Shaka Zulu

Even lately folks know that the Zulu warriors have been exceptionally skilled in battle. The military innovations adopted by means of Shaka Zulu helped to domesticate their warrior culture and fearsome reputation. But Shaka didn't all the time hotel to battle, he used to be a talented diplomat and used to be regularly ready to barter along with his adversaries. At the peak of his ten yr reign Shaka dominated over 250,000 folks and commanded greater than 50,000 warriors.

Shaka, mythical African Ruler, demonstrated firearms useless towards the fast encirclements of charging spearmen. Though it ultimately failed against more modern rifle and artillery hearth in 1879, this practice proved partly a success at Isandlwana. (Barbe-Noire / Public Domain )

Shaka’s rule was once reduce short when he was once assassinated at around the age of Forty via his own brothers, and today the Zulu people view him as each a heroic chief for his clear talents as a king and a despot due to the large number of people that were killed on his orders.

9.Cetshwayo kaMpande

Shaka is also the best recognized Zulu, however he isn't the only mythical Zulu king. Cetshwayo kaMpande was chief of the Zulu Kingdom throughout a time of great turmoil in the area. The British had been invading Africa the use of excessive force. Cetshwayo refused to face down, as an alternative sending 20,000 Zulu warriors with their traditional spears and unique cowhide shields to fight towards British troops armed with rifles, mountain guns, and an early form of rocket.

Under Cetshwayo’s command the Zulu warriors wiped out just about all of the poorly organized British troops, dropping simplest round 1000 of their own. The decisive Zulu victory was once the best defeat the British had ever suffered in opposition to indigenous tribes with extra primitive weaponry, however rather than negotiating peace as Cetshwayo hoped, they took a far more aggressive manner sending in a 2nd wave of closely reinforced troops.

Cetshwayo, legendary African Ruler, in Cape Town in a while after his seize in the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War. He led a number of victories against the British army early within the battle. (OttawaAC / Public Domain )

Cetshwayo died at around 60 years of age from an assumed middle assault but it is theorized via some that he used to be poisoned via a rival.

10.The King Shark

Béhanzin (Gbêhanzin) Hossu Bowelle, which interprets to “the egg of the arena” or the son of the shark” he become identified colloquially as ‘The King Shark’ and he was arguably probably the most tough ruler of West Africa on the end of the 19 th Century.

He commanded an impressive military served by way of both 150,000 male and 5000 infamous Amazon women and used to be perceived as a brave and wise ruler by his other folks, but because the French had been making an attempt to take over his kingdom he used to be the sufferer of quite a lot of propaganda. He used to be portrayed as a vicious guy who dominated over savages. One example of this propaganda is the story of an Amazon warrior who killed French soldier through ripping out his throat along with her teeth – the French unnoticed the part the place she was once forced to resort to this when she ran out of ammunition in combat and used to be in a lifestyles or demise scenario against the head of the French Military Intelligence.

Despite his fierce military and knowledge, Béhanzin used to be defeated via the French who had far more complex guns and better numbers of units and he served out the rest of his life in exile.

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The nations and cultures that make up Africa have produced some of the maximum mythical and robust figures for thousands of years. Even even though many of the cultures, such as Ancient Egyptian dynasties and the Sabaen culture of Sheba, have long since been misplaced to time, the people who ruled them live to tell the tale in folklore and legend, and many of them are still celebrated for their bravery and achievements today.

Top image: An artist's depiction Sunni Ali Ber, African warrior king of the Songhai empire. Source: HistoryNmoor / CC BY-SA 4.0 .

By Sarah P Young


Afro Legends. 2012. Béhanzin, King of Dahomey, some of the remaining African Resistand to French Colonization. [Online] Available at:, P. 1999. Art, Innovation, and Politics in Eighteenth Century Benin. Indiana University Press. Bishop, D. Date unknown. The Rise and Fall of Shaka . [Online] Available at:, P. 1994. Chronicle of the Pharaohs. Thames and Hudson. Conrad, D.C. 2009. Empires of Medieval West Africa: Ghana, Mali and Songhay. Infobase Publishing. Egharevba, J. 1960. A Short History of Benin. Ibadan University Press. Eweka, I. 1998. Dawn to Dusk: Folktales from Benin. Frank Cass Publishing. Gray, M. 2017. Obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut, Karnak. [Online] Available at:, D.E. 2000. Women Warriors: A History. Brassey’s. Knight, I and McBride, A. 1989. The Zulus. Bloomsbury USA. Knight, I. 2003 Zulu War. Osprey Publishing. Meredith, M. 2007. Diamonds, Gold, and war: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa. Public Affairs. Mohamud, N. 2019. Mansa Musa: The Richest Man Who Ever Lived [Online] Available at:, T. 2018. This 14 th-Century African Emperor Remains the Richest Person in History. [Online] Available at:, P-D. 2003. West African Kingdoms 500-1590 (World Eras). Gale Research Inc. Munroe-Hay, S.C. 1991. Aksum: An African Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh University Press. Phouka. Date unknown. Queen Hatshepsut. [Online] Available at: African History Online. 2018. King Cetshwayo. [Online] Available at:, S. Date unknown. In search of the true Queen of Sheba. [Online] Available at:, N. 1996. International Dictionary of Historical Places: Middle East and Africa. Fitzroy Dearborn. World Digital Library. 2018 . King Bihuazin [i.e. Béhanzin] of Dahomey, and His Two Wives [Standing on Porch]: French Government Prisoner in Martinique, Fort de France. [Online] Available at:, D. 2006. Myth of Iron: Shaka in History. University of KwaZulu-Natal Press.

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