Great Kings And Queens OF Africa


Teaching a doctrine of love and peace, he moved into the desert early in his reign and built a new city dedicated to religion, art and music. This new city, Akhenaton (now Tell el Amarna) with its lush gardens and magnificent buildings became known as the City of Dreams.


So peace loving was Khama, that on several occasions he surrendered control of his kingdom to his father, Sekhomi, who despised Khama? conversion to Christianity. The Bamangwato tribe displayed strong affection and support for Khama, however. Once, when Khama departed for a self-imposed exile, most of the tribe gathered their belongings to follow.
Khama distinguished his reign with the desire and ability to extract technological innovations from Europeans while resisting their attempts to colonize his country.

Bechuanaland advancements under Khama included the building of schools, scientific cattle breeding, and the introduction of a mounted police corps which practically eliminated all forms of crime.

Respect for Khama was exemplified during a visit with Queen Victoria of England to protest English settlement in Bechuanaland in 1875. The English honored Khama and confirmed his appeal for continued freedom for Bechuanaland.

[image] Moshoeshoe

For half a century the Basotho people were ruled by the founder of their nation, a wise and just king who was as brilliant in diplomacy as he was in battle.
To create Basutoland, Moshoeshoe united many diverse groups, uprooted by war, into a stable society where law and order prevailed and the people could raise their crops and cattle in peace. He knew that peace made prosperity possible, and he often avoided conflict through skillful negotiations.

Even so, the Basotho had to fight for their survival. First came plundering Africans, later European colonialists - the British and particularly the Boers, who took more and more land from the Basothos.

Moshoeshoe solidified Basotho defenses at Thaba Bosiu, their impregnable mountain capital. From this stronghold he engineered a number of major victories over superior forces.

But eventually the relentless Boers were about to annihilate the Basothos and take their remaining land. Moshoeshoe persuaded the British to intervene and make Basutoland a protectorate in 1868. It was yet another of his diplomatic coups, one that not only helped assure his nation of its survival but also helped assure Moshoeshoe of a permanent place in African history.


Osei Tutu was the founder and first king of the Asante nation, a great West African forest kingdom in what is now Ghana. He was able to convince a half dozen suspicious chiefs to join their states under his leadership.
According to legend, this occurred when the Golden Stool descended from heaven and came to rest on Osei Tutu? knees, signifying his choice by the gods. The Golden Stool became a sacred symbol of the nation? soul, which was especially appropriate since gold was the prime source of Asante wealth.

Under Osei Tutu, the loose knit coalition was unified not only by this common throne but also by a common capital city (Kumase), a common festival celebrating the yam harvest and a common enemy - the Denkyeras, powerful rivals and an ever-present threat to Asante survival. By defeating them in a four-year campaign, the Asantes gained access to the rich coastal trade.

During Osei Tutu reign, the geographic area of Asante tripled in size. The kingdom became a significant, power that with his military and political prowess as an example, would endure for two centuries.
Yaa Asantewa of the Ashanti Empire
Her fight against British colonialists is a story that is woven throughout the history of Ghana.
One evening the chiefs held a secret meeting at Kumasi. Yaa Asantewa, the Queen Mother of Ejisu, was at the meeting. The chiefs were discussing how they should make war on the white men and force them to bring back the Asantehene. Yaa Asantewa noticed that some of the chiefs were afraid. Some said that there should be no war. They should rather go to beg the Governor to bring back the Asantehene King Prempeh. Then suddenly Yaa Asantewa stood up and spoke. This was what she said: "Now I have seen that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our king. If it were in the brave days of, the days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opolu Ware, chiefs would not sit down to see thief king taken away without firing a shot. No white man could have dared to speak to chief of the Ashanti in the way the Governor spoke to you chiefs this morning. Is it true that the bravery of the Ashanti is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this, if you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields." This speech stirred up the men who took an oath to fight the white men until they released the Asantehene. For months the Ashantis led by Yaa Asantewa fought very bravely and kept the white men in the fort. Yet British reinforcements totaling 1,400 soldiers arrived at Kumasi. Yaa Asantewa and other leaders were captured and sent into exile. Yaa Asantewa's war was the last of the major war in Africa led by a woman.

Queen Nzinga

In the sixteenth century, the Portugese position in the slave trade was threatened by England and France. As a result, the Portugese shifted their slave-trading activities to the Congo and South West Africa. Mistaking the title of the ruler (ngola) for the name of the country, the Portugese called the land of the Mbundu people Angola—the name by which it is still known today.

Here, the Portugese encountered the brilliant and courageous Queen Nzinga, who was determined never to accept the Portugese conquest of her country. An exceptional stateswoman and military strategist, she harassed the Portugese until her death, at age eighty.

Her meeting with the Portugese governor, recorded by a Dutch artist, is legendary in the history of Africa's confrontations with Europe: Representing her brother, the ngola, Nzinga arrived at Luanda in royal splendor. Upon entering the room, Nzinga observed that the only seat in the room belonged to the governor. She promptly summoned one of her women, who fell on her hands and knees and became Nzinga's "seat". Outwitted from the start, the governor never gained the advantage at the meeting, which resulted in a treaty on equal terms.

Converting to Christianity for reasons more political than religious (primarily to forge links with the governor) she adopted the name Dona Anna de Souza. However, the governor could not honor the treaty as Portugal's rapacious appetite for black slaves had to be satisfied. She appealed to her brother to repel the Portugese, but he proved to be a weakling and Nzinga decided to take matters into her own hands.

Subsequently, Nzinga formed an alliance with the Jaga. She fashioned an organized army out of disparate elements, strengthened the alliance by marrying the Jaga chief, and ultimately created a land for her people by conquering the kingdom of Matamba. The fragile alliance with the Jaga chief ended when he betrayed her and attacked Matamba. Fortunately, dissension among the Europeans—the Dutch were encroaching on Portugal's share of the slave trade—created an opportunity for Nzinga. She established a strategic alliance with the Dutch, pitting them against the Portugese. After the Portugese routed the Dutch, Nzinga retreated to the hills of Matamba, where she established a formidable resistance movement against the Portugese regime.

She became renowned for the guerilla tactics she employed for resisting the technologically superior Portugese army. She was a brilliant strategist and, although past sixty, led her warriors herself.

Never surrendering, she died on December 17, 1663.

Her death accelerated the Portugese occupation of the interior of South West Africa, fueled by the massive expansion of the Portugese slave trade.


Nandi (c. 1760 – October 10, 1827) was a daughter of Bhebhe, a past chief of the Langeni tribe and the mother of the legendary Shaka, King of the Zulus.

Shaka's father was Senzangakhona kaJama, chieftain of the Zulu clan, which was small and insignificant at the time. After giving birth to her illegitimate son, Nandi spent many hard years being shuffled back and forth between the Zulus and her own tribe. During that time she also had to protect her son from famine, assassination attempts, and his own destructive temper.

The estimated year of Shaka's birth was 1785. He was born to Nandi, daughter of a previous chief of the eLangeni tribe. His father, Senzangakona was the chief of the then small Zulu tribe. The marriage of his parents, after his conception, did not last, and although Nandi returned to her tribe, she was made to feel unwelcome. She returned to the Zulus, who tolerated her, but was nevertheless not treated well. Shaka was teased and ridiculed and made to feel like an outsider.

He understandably grew up to be bitter and angry, hating his tormentors and listening carefully to his mother's tales about his royal blood on both sides. He was a young man in his early twenties when he became a warrior for the Mtetwa tribe, fighting for his people and for six years he proved to be an outstanding soldier. He firmly believed in being the conqueror, never the conquered and would hate it when another, weaker tribe surrendered before war could take place. He created a dangerous weapon called the iKlwa.

Dingiswayo, the chief of the Mtetwas saw Shaka's potential and decided to train him as a future chief of the Zulus, a tribe that the Mtetwas had conquered during Shaka's first battle. Dingiswayo reasoned that Shaka and the Zulus would act as a buffer against invading forces. Shaka rose through the ranks of the Mtetwa army and soon became the leader. He carefully and meticulously planned and formatted brilliant battle strategies and altered, where needed, the weapons used during battle. When the Zulu chief, Senzangakona died, Shaka became the new chief.

The era of Shaka, Zulu king had started. Shaka started to build up a mighty army of Zulu warriors. He demanded total loyalty and obedience. Death was the reward for those who hesitated in carrying out his commands. He drilled his warriors, fine-tuning them into a slick warring machine. He devised new, unheard of till then, battle tactics. He built up divisions within his army - certain divisions concentrated on making weapons. He was one of the warriors, living as they did without the trappings that he was entitled to as a chief. Shaka, king of the Zulus and his warriors, called "impis" were invincible. He believed in total annihilation and only spared those tribes and people who had shown kindness to Nandi, his mother and the young Shaka.

He never married but had over 1200 concubines. In 1817 Shaka and Dingiswayo decided to move in the Southeast of Africa. Dingiswayo died and the different tribes warred against each other to dominate the Mtetwa Empire. Shaka Zulu won the battles and was king of all the territories in Natal and Southeast Africa in 1820.


Sunni Ali Ber
(d. 1492)

In the sixteenth century the Songhay land awoke. A marvelous growth of civilization mounted there in the heart of the Black Continent. And this civilization was not imposed by circumstances, nor by an invader, as is often the case even in our day. It was desired, called forth, introduced and propagated by a man of the Negro race.

—Félix Dubois, Tombouctou, la mystérieuse

Gao was established by the Songhai people at about the same time as the Soninke established Ghana. Gao never flourished as Ghana did and, after the fall of Ghana, Gao became a vassal state of Mali. In 1335, Gao became independent of Mali.

It was not until Sunni Ali Ber, a member of the Sunni dynasty, ascended to the throne in 1464, that the rulers of Gao looked beyond the confines of the Niger valley. In 28 years he turned the kingdom of Gao into the Songhai empire, which stretched from the Niger in the east to Jenne in the west and from Timbuktu in the north to Hombori, the wide arch formed by the Northern Niger bend, in the south. Songhai ultimately developed into the greatest of the Sudanic empires and, like Mali and Ghana, was strategically located along trans-Saharan trade routes.

Sunni Ali Ber's reign was one military campaign after another, extending the frontiers of his kingdom through conquest. Sunni Ali Ber built a well-organized army, which consisted of infantry, cavalry and a powerful navy—a fleet of ships manned by Sorko fishermen—which patrolled the Niger. Sunni Ali Ber cut a wide swath across the Western Sudan and punished his enemies mercilessly.

In 1468, supposedly invited by the people of Timbuktu, Sunni Ali Ber embarked on his military career by invading Timbuktu to oust the Tuaregs, who had wrested control from Mali in 1434. Timbuktu fell easily as Akil, the Tuareg chief, fled to Walata. Sunni Ali Ber looted and burned the city and is said to have murdered most of the priests and scholars there. Sunni Ali Ber then headed south and, in 1473, captured Jenne after a siege reputed to have lasted seven years, seven months and seven days. By contrast, Sunni Ali Ber was merciful at Jenne.

Sunni Ali Ber regarded the Mossi as a serious threat to his burgeoning power. In 1480, he encountered them after they had sacked Walata. He hounded them throughout the Western Sudan and succeeded in driving them back to their home. Next, he defeated the Fulani of Massina. Sunni Ali Ber had an intense hatred for them as he did all foreigners. In 1483, he went to war with the Mossi, repulsing them again and finally ending the Mossi threat in 1486.

In 1492, Sunni Ali drowned while returning home after a victory against the Fulani of Gurma.

In the same year Christopher Columbus, harbinger of the Atlantic slave trade, set sail for the New World.


The country of Ghana reach the height of its greatness during the reign of Tenkamenin. Through his careful management of the gold trade across the Sahara desert into West Africa, Tenkamenin's empire flourished economically. But his greatest strength was in government. Each day he would ride out on horseback and listen to the problems and concerns of his people. He insisted that no one be denied an audience and that they be allowed to remain in his presence until satisfied that justice had been done. His principles of democratic monarchy and religious tolerance make Tenkamenin's reign one of the great models of African rule.


Behanzin was the most powerful ruler in West Africa during the end of the nineteenth century. He strongly resisted European intervention into his country. This was done with a physically fit army which included a division of five thousands female warriors. He is often referred to as the King Shark, a Dahomeyan surname which symbolized strength and wisdom. He was also fond of humanities and is credited with the creation of some of the finest song and poetry ever produced in Dahomey


Affonso I was a visionary, a man who saw his country not as a group of separate cultures, but as a unified nation fully equipped with advance knowledge and technology. He was also known as the first ruler to resist the most despicable act ever known to man, the European slave trade.
In 730 B.C.E. Kashta's son and successor Piye (Piankhi) conquered Upper and Lower Kmt but chose to govern from Kush (Upper Nubia between the third and sixth cataracts). Finally, about 715 B.C.E., Shabaka, Piye's brother and successor, completed the total reunification of Kmt, ruled from Waset and became the head of a stupendous Kushite empire that extended from the Mediterranean Sea southwards to the confluence of the Blue and White Niles deep in Inner Africa. It was during this same period that the ancient creation story currently known as the Memphite Theology was recopied for eternity on a massive granite slab


He was the founder and leader of the territory of Opobo an area near the Eastern Nigeria River. This area was very favorable to trading. This trading route soon attracted the greedy Europeans who seek to capture this trading route. Ja Ja put up fierce resistance to this outside intervention. This resistance lasted for many years until at an older age of 70 he was finally captured by the British and sent into exile to the West Indies. The greatest Ibo leader of the nineteenth century never saw his kingdom again.

Samory Toure "Black Napoleon of the Sudan" (1830-1900)
Samory Toure, who was a conqueror from West Africa, fought the French from taking possession of his homeland for over 18 years. He fought with such mastery, that the French military leaders referred to him as "The Black Napoleon." He frustrated the Europeans to the degree that they suffered large losses of manpower and money. Samory's expert military strategy and tactics caused even greater insecurity for the French.
Samory was born of humble means, the son of a poor Black merchant and a Senegalese female slave.

Samory had become an idol of the other soldiers. Being provoked by jealousy, the king demanded Samory be removed from the army and sent back to his homeland, Bissandugu, where he became king of the tribe.

Samory's homeland was attacked by the neighboring King Sori Bourama. His mother was captured during this raid. Samory was unable to pay his mother's ransom, so he freed her by taking her place.

Samory, always desiring to be a free man, became a favorite of the king because of his splendid physique, his ability to throw a spear, and his knowledge of the Arabic language. Soon he became a bodyguard for the king, and later advanced to counselor of the tribe.

Samory defied all of his opponents and even conquered his former capturer, King Sori Bourama. Samory expanded his empire to an area of over 100,000 sq. miles or more, making him the most powerful native ruler in West Africa.

On September 29, 1898, while Samory was on his knees, outside of his tent praying. A French sergeant, and a French scout, crept upon him from behind, captured and exiled him to an island for life.


During the nineteenth Dynasty a queen by the name of Nefertari was in power with Ramesses the Great. She was one of many wives, but continued to remain one of his favorites. Her birth parents remain a mystery, but it’s determined she is of royal heritage. It’s however known that she had a brother by the name of Amenmose who was the mayor of Thebes during her rule as queen. She had two sons, Amonhirwonmef, Prehirwonmef and two daughters named Merytamon, and Mertatum.

Looking at all the monuments constructed it’s pretty evident she was of high importance. She must’ve played an important role in her time. Most depictions of the queen stand with Ramesses II, which might mean she might’ve had a major political influence on Egypt. Ramesses II also dedicated a temple to her called Abu Simbel. This temple is located south of Aswan near the second Cataract of the Nile. This temple was designed with four large statues of Ramesses II with several small figures at his side. The temple was dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Queen Nefertari.

Nefertari was not the only Queen present during the rule of Ramesses II. In fact, Ramesses had a harem filled with many queens. His children were estimated at one hundred or more. Ramesses refers to her as the most beautiful one.

Her disappearance remains a mystery. Experts aren’t sure if she died, or just remained part of the great harem. Her tomb has been found and it remains a precious treasure to Egypt. Her tomb is said to be one of the more extraordinary tombs found to date. It’s located in The Valley of the Queens.

Hatshepsut (reigned 1503-1482 B.C.) was an Egyptian queen of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Usurping the throne after her husband's death, she held effective power for over 20 years.

The daughter of Thutmose I by his queen Ahmose, Hatshepsut was married to her half brother Thutmose II, a son of Thutmose I by a lesser queen named Mutnofre. During Thutmose II's lifetime Hatshepsut was merely a principal queen bearing the titles King's Daughter, King's Sister, God's Wife, and King's Great Wife.

On the death of Thutmose II the youthful Thutmose III, a son of Thutmose II by a concubine named Ese (Isis), came to the throne but under the tutelage of Hatshepsut, who for a number of years thereafter succeeded in keeping him in the background. At the beginning she had only queenly status but soon assumed the double crown of Egypt and, after some initial hesitation, had herself depicted in male dress.

Although both she, and later Thutmose III, counted their reigns from the beginning of their partnership, Hatshepsut was the dominant ruler until Year Twenty. Thutmose III was also shown as a king but only as a junior coregent. In an inscription of Year Twenty in Sinai, however, Thutmose III is shown on an equal footing with his aunt.

For obvious reasons warlike activities were barred even to so virile a woman as Hatshepsut, and with the exception of a minor expedition into Nubia, her reign was devoid of military undertakings. But an inscription on the facade of a small rock temple in Middle Egypt, known to the Greeks as Speos Artemidos, records her pride in having restored the sanctuaries in that part of Egypt, which she claimed had been neglected since the time of the alien Hyksos rulers.

Among the many officials on whose support Hatshepsut must have depended at least initially was one Senmut, whom she entrusted with the guardianship of the heir to the throne, the princess Ranefru, her daughter by her marriage to Thutmose II. According to Senmut himself, he was responsible for the many buildings erected by the Queen at Thebes. Among these was her splendid terraced temple at Deir el-Bahri, which was inspired by the earlier structure there of the Eleventh Dynasty king Mentuhotpe I.

Apart from the customary ritual ceremonies, the colored reliefs on the walls of this temple depicted the two main events of Hatshepsut's reign, the transport of two great red granite obelisks from Elephantine to Karnak and the famous expedition of Year Nine to the land of Punt, an unidentified locality which probably lay somewhere on the African Red Sea littoral.

Once having proclaimed herself king, Hatshepsut had a tomb excavated for herself in the Valley of the Kings. How she died is unknown, but after her death her memory was execrated by Thutmose III, who caused her name to be erased from the monuments wherever it could be found

Tuthmosis III
by Jimmy Dunn

For different reasons, to different people, Egypt's 18th Dynasty is probably one of Egypt's most interesting periods. For the general public, This was the Dynasty of Tutankhamun, probably the best known, though certainly not the most powerful pharaoh of all time. To others, Akhenaten, the heretic king, will provide an everlasting curiosity. Closer to the beginning of this Dynasty, Hatshepsut ruled as perhaps the most powerful of all Egyptian queens, even though she often disguised and promoted herself though inscriptions as a man, and even though her predecessor, Tuthmosis II named his young son to succeed him upon his death. But upon Tuthmosis' death, his son, Tuthmosis III was still a young child, so there was little choice but for his stepmother and aunt Hatshepsut to initially act as his regent. His birth name was probably Djehutymes III in Egyptian, but he is frequently referred to by his Greek name of Tuthmosis (Born of the god Thoth). He is also known as Thutmose III, Thutmosis, and his Throne name was Men-kheper-re (Lasting is the Manifestation of Re).
By the second year of the young king's rule, Hatshepsut had usurped her stepson's position and so inscriptions and other art began to show her with all the regalia of kingship, even down to the official royal false beard. Yet, at the same time, she did little to really diminish Tuthmosis' rule, dating her own rule by his regnal years, and representing him frequently upon her monuments.

It is likely that Tuthmosis III, was lucky to have survived her rule, though there is some debate on this issue. He obviously stayed well in the background, and perhaps even demonstrated some amount of cunning in order to simply keep his life. Because of the prowess he would later demonstrate on the battlefield, we assume he probably spent much of Hatshepsut's rule in a military position. To an extent, they did rule together, he in a foreign military position, and her taking care of the homeland. When Hatshepsut finally died, outliving her powerful ministers, Tuthmosis III was at last able to truly inherit the thrown of Egypt, and in doing so, proved to be a very able ruler.

Interestingly, it was not until the last years of his reign that he demonstrated what must have been some anger with his stepmother by destroying as much of her memory as possible. Her images were expunged from monuments throughout Egypt. This is obvious to most visitors of Egypt because one of the most effected monuments was her temple at Deir el-Bahari, today a primary tourist site. There, Tuthmosis III destroyed her reliefs and smashed numerous statues into a quarry just in front of the temple. He even went so far as to attack the tombs of her courtiers. Yet if this was over the frustration of his youth when she ruled, why did he wait until such a late date to begin the destruction?

Military Exploits

In any event, Tuthmosis III became a great pharaoh in his own right, and has been referred to as the Napoleon of ancient Egypt (by the Egyptologists, James Henry Breasted). But perhaps is reputation is due to the fact that his battles were recorded in great detail by the archivist, royal scribe and army commander, Thanuny. The battles were recorded on the inside walls surrounding the granite sanctuary at Karnak, and inscriptions on Thanuny's tomb on the west bank state that, "I recorded the victories he won in every land, putting them into writing according to the facts". Referred to as the Annals, the inscriptions were done during Tuthmosis' 42nd year as pharaoh, and describe both the battles and the booty that was taken. These events were recorded at Karnak because Tuthmosis's army marched under the banner of the god, Amun, and Amun's temples and estates would largely be the beneficiary of the spoils of Tuthmosis' wars.

Queen Tiye:
Hereditary Princess (iryt-p`t)
Great of Praises (wrt-hzwt)
Sweet of Love (bnrt-mrwt)
Lady of The Two Lands (nbt-t3wy)
King’s Wife (hmt-nisw)
Great King’s Wife (hmt-niswt-wrt),
King’s Wife, his beloved (hmt-nisw meryt.f),
Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt (hnwt-Shm’w-mhw)
Mistress of the Two Lands (hnwt-t3wy)

Queen Tiye from the tomb of Userhat (Brussels)
Photo by Yuti

Daughter of Yuya and Tuya and wife of Amenhotep III.
Mother of Tuthmosis, Amenhotep (later to be called Akhenaten), Sitamen, Henuttaneb, Isis, Nebetah, and Baketaten

Yuya and Tuya were the non royal parents of Queen Tiye.
Yuya was commander of the Chariotry, God's Father and High Priest of Min.
Tuya was Chief of the Harem of Amun and Min.

Tiye was the daughter of Yuya, the High Priest of Min from Akhmin and his wife , the chief of the Harem Tuya. Tiye had at least one brother Anen who later rose to the position of Second Priest of Amun in Karnak. Tiye must have been quite young herself when she was married of to the young Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Tiye is mentioned on several marriage scarabs and other documents from early in the reign. Later during the reign of Amenhotep III she became a very iinfluential lady at court. It is interesting for instance to note that several large statues exist that show Tiye depicted at the same size as her husband. The dyad that is now in the Cairo Museum is a good example.

A temple was dedicated to Queen Tiye in Sedeinga, Nubia during the latter part of Amenhotep's reign. Tiye represents the "eye of Re" and her temple is the female counterpart to a larger temple dedicated to Amenhotep III nearby. Some see these dual temples as a fore runner of the double temple complex of Ramesses II and his wife Nefertari at Abu Simbel.

Tiye gave birts to several children during her marriage to Amenhotep III. She is depicted with several daughters in for instance the temple at Soleb. Two royal princesses, Sitamen and Isis, are among the royal princesses thought to be her daughters. These two royal women would later be elevated to the rank of great royal wife by their father.



Written by Legrand H. Clegg II


"I am black but comely,
O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
As the tents of Kedar,
As the curtains of Solomon,
Look not upon me because I am black
Because the sun hath scorched me."

(Song of Solomon)
Although most of Black history is suppressed, distorted or ignored by an ungrateful modern world, some African traditions are so persistent that all of the power and deception of the Western academic establishment have failed to stamp them out. One such story is that of Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon of Israel.

Black women of antiquity were legendary for their beauty, power and lover affairs. 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.

Ethiopia was also known as Nubia, Kush, Aksum, Abyssinia and Sheba. One thousand years before Christ, Ethiopia was ruled by a line of virgin queens. The one whose story has survived into our time was known as Makeda, "the Queen of Sheba." Her remarkable tradition was recorded in the Kebra Nagast, or the Book of the Glory of the Kings [of Ethiopia], has been held in the highest esteem and honour throughout the length and breadth of Abyssinia for a thousand years at least, and even to-day it is believed by every educated man in that country to contain the true history of the origin of the Solomonic line of kings in Ethiopia, and is regarded as the final authority on the history of the conversion of the Ethiopians from the worship of the sun, moon, and stars to that of the Lord God of Israel.

The Bible tells us that, during his reign, King Solomon of Israel decided to build a magnificent temple. To announce this endeavor, the king sent forth messengers to various foreign countries to invite merchants from abroad to come to Jerusalem with their caravans so that they might engage in trade there.

At this time, Ethiopia was second only to Egypt in power and fame. Hence, King Solomon was enthralled by Ethiopia's beautiful people, rich history, deep spiritual tradition and wealth. He was especially interested in engaging in commerce with one of Queen Makeda's subjects, an important merchant by the name of Tamrin.

Solomon sent for Tamrin who "packed up stores of valuables including ebony, sapphires and red gold, which he took to Jerusalem to sell to the king."(2) It turns out that Tamrin's visit was momentous. Although accustomed to the grandeur and luxury of Egypt and Ethiopia, Tamrin was still impressed by King Solomon and his young nation. During a prolonged stay in Israel, Tamrin observed the magnificent buildings and was intrigued by the Jewish people and their culture. But above all else, he was deeply moved by Solomon's wisdom and compassion for his subjects.

Upon returning to his country, Tamrin poured forth elaborate details about his trip to Queen Makeda. She was so impressed by the exciting story that the great queen decided to visit King Solomon herself.

Queen Mother Amanirenas

About 27-25 BC
From Meroe, Sudan

This head was once part of a statue of the emperor Augustus (ruled 27 BC-AD 14). It was taken during a Kushite raid on Roman-occupied Egypt as a symbol of their defiance of Roman might. It was buried in front of the steps of a Kushite temple of Victory at Meroe in Upper Nubia and was probably placed there so as to be permanently underneath the feet of its captors. Height: 447 mm. - Courtesy the British Museum

The Classical authors credit a Candake as the leader of the Meroites. As one has seen earlier, they had mistaken the title, kdke, for the personal name of the female ruler of kingdom of Meroe. Her identity remains unknown, although there are attempts to identify her with the Queen Mother Amanirenas, who is suggested to have ruled during this period of time. She apparently shared power with the pqr, Akinidad. If one's reading of the monuments is correct, Akinidad continued to rule after her demise with another kdke, Amanishakheto by name. Akinidad exercised personal control over both Upper and Lower Nubia, as his titles attest. He is to date the only Meroite known to have held the office of pqr and pesato, "viceroy [of Lower Nubia]," simultaneously.

A number of Meroitic queens called Ka'andakes (Candaces) ruled Nubia-Kush just before the birth of Christ. Candace Amanirenas and her son Prince Akinidad along with the Meroitic Army kept the Romans out of Nubia-Kush. In this scene, they are witnessing the burning of the Roman Garrison in Aswan. Meroitic-Kush never became part of the Roman empire. The formidable leader greatly impressed classical writers, who mistook the royal title of Candace for a personal name. - Reference and photo from Splendors of the Past: Lost Cities of the Ancient World, National Geographic Society, 1981, page 171-173

Hannibal of Carthage despoiler of Rome and military genius whose tactics is still being studied in war collages across the world to this day.





For the forty-seven years between the time of the death of his grandfather's brother, Sundiata, and Mansa Musa's accession to the throne, Mali endured a period of political instability. Mansa Musa ruled for 25 years, bringing prosperity and stability to Mali and expanding the empire he inherited.

Mali achieved the apex of its territorial expansion under Mansa Musa. The Mali Empire extended from the Atlantic coast in the west to Songhai far down the Niger bend to the east: from the salt mines of Taghaza in the north to the legendary gold mines of Wangara in the south.

Mansa Musa died in 1337. He had brought stability and good government to Mali, spreading its fame abroad and making it truly "remarkable both for its extent and for its wealth and a striking example of the capacity of the Negro for political organization" (E.W. Bovill, 1958, The Golden Trade of the Moors).

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