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Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in African | 0 comments

African Tribe Women Warriors & Queens

African Tribe Women Warriors & Queens

African tribal women warriors were the brave soldiers who defied history of struggle, challenged circumstance, and overturned custom to make changes in their lives and the lives of all african tribes.

Africa is home to many cultures, and the place of women varies in different African societies. Matriarchal warrior tribes and matrilineal tribal descent are a continuing theme in African history and in some cases survived into modern times. Throughout history, women warriors have fought and led troops into battle. One of the great African warrior queens of the ancient world was Majaji, who led the Lovedu tribe which was part of the Kushite Empire during the Kushite’s centuries long war with Rome. The empire ended in 350 AD when the Kushite stronghold of Meroe fell to repeated Roman assaults. Majaji led her warriors in battle armed with a shield and spear and is believed to have died on the walls of Meroe.

Famous Female Warriors of African Tribes

Dahomey – Women Warriors in West Africa

There some famous women warriors or soldiers in Dahomey kindom of africa, who fought in the 18th and 19th century for the independent African country of Dahomey. Recruiting women into the Dahomean army was not especially difficult, despite the requirement to climb thorn hedges and risk life and limb in battle. Most West African women lived lives of forced drudgery. Gezo’s female troops lived in his compound and were kept well supplied with tobacco, alcohol and slaves–as many as 50 to each warrior, according to the noted traveler Sir Richard Burton, who visited Dahomey in the 1860s. And “when amazons walked out of the palace,” notes Alpern, “they were preceded by a slave girl carrying a bell. The sound told every male to get out of their path, retire a certain distance, and look the other way.” To even touch these women meant death. It was this fierceness that most unnerved Western observers, and indeed Dahomey’s African enemies. Not everyone agreed on the quality of the Dahomeans’ military preparedness—European observers were disdainful of the way in which the women handled their ancient flintlock muskets, most firing from the hip rather than aiming from the shoulder, but even the French agreed that they “excelled at hand-to-hand combat” and “handled [knives] admirably.”

Women Warriors of Hausa states (Nigeria)

Female warriors of africa

Dahomey Women Warriors

Through the 10th and 11th centuries the Hausa states (modern day Nigeria) were ruled by the Habe warrior queens: Kufuru, Gino, Yakumo, Yakunya, Walzana, Daura, Gamata, Shata, Batatume, Sandamata, Yanbamu, Gizirgizir, Innagari, Jamata, Hamata, Zama and Shawata. Centuries later Amina, daughter of Queen Turunku of the Songhai in mid-Niger ruled the Hausa empire from 1536 to 1573. She extended her nation’s boundaries to the Atlantic coast, founded cities and personally led her army of 20,000 soldiers into battle.

Northwest Africa – Dahia al-Kahina

The Berber tribe of Jarawa in the Aures Mountains was led by a Dahia al-Kahina. The warrior queen ruled over a vast area and achieved brilliant victories against the Arab invaders led by Caliph Abdalmelek.4 After her death in battle at the end of the 7th century, the Arabs overcame Berber resistance. The Tuaregs, a Berber tribe, celebrated a woman’s divorce with a party, and rape was extremely rare among them. Wrestling matches between girls were a part of Tuareg culture.

Seh-Dong-Hong-Beh

Seh-Dong-Hong-Beh, was a leader of the Dahomey Amazons under King Gezo. In 1851 she led an army of 6,000 women against the Egba fortress of Abeokuta. Because the Amazons were armed with spears, bows and swords while the Egba had European cannons only about 1,200 survived the extended battle. In 1892 King Behanzin of Dahomey (now Benin) was at war with the French colonists over trading rights. He led his army of 12,000 troops, including 2,000 Amazons into battle.

Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa

Yaa Asantewaa was the queen mother of the Edweso tribe of the Asante (Ashanti) in what is modern Ghana. She was an exceptionally brave fighter who, in March 1900, raised and led an army of thousands against the British colonial forces in Ghana and their efforts to subjugate the Asante and seize the Golden Stool, the Asante nation’s spiritual symbol of unity and sovereignty. Yaa Asantewaa mobilized the Asante troops and for three months laid siege to the British fort of Kumasi. The British colonizers had to bring in several thousand troops and artillery to break the siege, exiling Queen Yaa Asantewaa and 15 of her closest advisers to the Seychelles. She lived in exile until her death in October 1921. Yaa Asantewaa’s War, as it is presently known in Ghana, was one of the last major wars on the continent of Africa to be led by a woman.

Queens of Ethiopia

African women of antiquity were legendary for their beauty and power. Especially great were the Queens of Ethiopia; Queen of Sheba (960 B.C.), Candace of Meroe and her defeat of Alexander the Great (332 B.C.), Amanirenas, Amanishakhete, Nawidemak, Amanitore (Acts 8:26-40), Shanakdakh, and Malegereabar.

Candace (title of the queen of Nubia) – Northeast Africa

Candace (title of the queen of Nubia) led her armies in person to fight the Romans in southern Egypt during the 1st century B.C. The Romans were forced to retreat without entering Nubia. According to classical records, Candace was mannish and blind in one eye.6

Mantatisi, warrior queen of the baTlokwas

Mantatisi, warrior queen of the baTlokwas in the early 1800s fought to preserve her tribal lands during the wars between Shaka Zulu and Matiwane. She succeeded in protecting the baTlokwas heritage although her son, who became King when she died, was eventually defeated by Mahweshwe. Madame Yoko ruled and led the army of the fourteen tribes of the Kpa Mende Confederacy, the largest tribal group in 19th century Sierra Leone. At that time at least 15% of all the tribes in Sierra Leone were led by women, today approximately 9% have women rulers. Menen Leben Amede was Empress of Ethopia. She commanded her own army and acted as regent for her son Ali Alulus. She was wounded and captured in a battle in 1847 but was ransomed by her son and continued to rule until 1853.

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