Without question, women birth nations then lead them.
We’re wrapping up Black History Month and stepping into Melanin March with an exuberant collection of powerful Black women that royally served, and fought, around the world.
1. Queen Calafia (United States)
Hailed as the mythical royal figure that inspired the name for the great U.S. state of California, Queen Califia was a master communicator that commanded everything from sea to shining sea.
2. Queen Nanny of the Maroons (Jamaica)
Before Harriett Tubman or Sojourner Truth, Queen Nanny of the Maroons is confirmed to be the ‘FIRST black freedom fighter in the Americas.’ Watch the movie made about her successes here.
3. Candaces of Meroe (Ethiopia)
There were as many as eight Queens in Ethiopia also know as Candaces (Kandake). The meaning of Candace for this country and during that era was “Queen Mother” or “Royal Woman.” These Candaces were warriors and did not reign with men. Take your pick on the Candace your daughter will best represent.
4. Queen Hangbe (Benin)
Ruler of the Dahomey kingdom in present-day Benin, this Queen was an amazon born into royalty with her twin brother, Akaba. Hangebe held down the war front when her brother died in battle. Her legacy lives in the story of the Dahomey Amazon women.
5. Queen Nandi (Zulu Nation, Southern Africa)
This Queen reigned the same people that mistreated her. Standing strong and maintaining care of her son Shaka, they returned to reign the Zulu people and she advised her son along the way.
6. Empress Taitu (Ethiopia)
Recalled as a loyal Queen and brilliant military strategist, Empress Taitu married to become an Ethiopian leader as she was equal to her reigning husband, Emperor Menelik. Her battle plans led to many victories for Ethiopia as they rose to freedom.
7. Queen Pokou (Ivory Coast)
Born Princess Abla Pokou, she led a breakaway group of the Ashanti Empire on a long journey to building their own tribe and nation after sacrificing her own son to reign. After creating the Baoule tribe, a subgroup of the Akan people, she passed away leaving her niece to take the throne.
8. Queen Muhumuza (Uganda)
This Queen used spiritual strength and courage to fight colonialism in the country of Uganda after her royal husband died and son was denied his right to the throne. Imprisoned in present-day Tanzania, she served two years then returned to Uganda and started a new life.
9. Queen Nzinga (present-day Angola)
Nzinga of Ndongo (and later Matamba) led many people to freedom from what is present-day Angola. Queen Nzinga fought for many in Ndongo while Portugal took control of the country. She found allies in other countries but ultimately reigned in Matamba for safety and rebuilding.
10. Madam Yoko (Sierra Leone)
Madam Yoko was well-respected as the first Paramount Chief of the Mende people and leader of the Bondo society. Women of this same society are not fighting to end female circumcision. Her grave was recently named a Sierra Leone national monument because of her strength and leadership.
11. Sarrounia Mangou (Niger)
Sarrounia, meaning queen or female chief in Hausa language, leads us to Mangou. She mobilized her Azna community against French powers unlike the men around her. The French eventually retreated from battle with the Sarrounia Mangou and her troops. Despite what has been written or not, her lineage lives on.
All of these Queens have stories of fighting wars, changing nations, and lively boldly despite their environments so many decades and centuries ago.
Tag us at @afriqueenmedia on Instagram and tell us who you would name your daughter after.