7 Most Influential Queens in African History

Published on: August 19, 2021 (Updated on: April 22, 2024)

Most influential Queens in African history
Most influential Queens in African history

Africa, the first cradle to civilization had had many great leaders who made impact in Africa during their reign. This post highlights 7 of the most influential Queens in African history.

At first, it was unheard of for women to rule because women were considered to be weak creatures. Several instances disproved this as women played significant roles in African history. This was especially during the pre and post British colonial era. Some women however, were more influential than others.

Below are 7 of the Most Influential Queens in African History:

Black Queen

1. Queen Amina of Zaria

Born in the mid-sixteenth century, Amina Mohamud was a Muslim and Hausa warrior Queen of the state Zazzau. Her grandfather discovered her leadership skills early and so allowed her to attend state meetings. There she learned the craft of statesmanship.

Around 1566, her parents died and her brother became the king. By this time, she had become known as a deadly warrior. In fact, she was said to be more capable than men. When her brother died in 1576, she ascended the throne. Although the Zazzau Kingdom was a powerful one at the time, she wished to expand it and she did.

Under the rule of Queen Amina of Zaria, Zazzau acquired and controlled more territory than it ever had before. However, as very little is known about the exact date of her birth, her death is also shrouded in mystery. According to Muslim scholar Dan Tafa, she died her natural death in Attaagar, near the northern frontier of Zazzau.

2. Amanirenas - Empress of Ethiopia

Candace or Kandake was the name given to Queens of Ethiopia by Europeans. Amanirenas was regarded as one of the most dreaded war generals of her time. Fierce and tactical, she became a uniting military leader. Although she was blind in one eye which was a result of a battle with the Romans, she was relentless.

When the Romans tried to conquer Amanirenas' lands in 332 B.C., she arranged her armies strategically to meet them. Seeing the position and strength of her armies, the Romans let them be showing that she definitely knew her onions.

3. Makeda - Queen of Sheba

Makeda was known to be a Queen of incredible strength after surviving a battle with the serpent King Awre. She was energetic and took great interest in the commerce of her kingdom.

Makeda expanded her commerce to Palestine and India through sea and land routes. Her story has been narrated throughout history for various reasons. Although, the most famous one is her meeting with King Solomon. Till the Ethiopian people’s revolution in 1974, the Ethiopian emperors of the Solomonic line traced their lineage to the Menelik, son of the Queen of Sheba.

4. Moremi - Queen of Ile-Ife

Moremi was a Queen fabled to have contributed to the deliverance of the Yoruba tribe from oppression. In fact, Moremi is worshipped as a goddess among some tribes in the Yoruba race. Although much of her story isn’t clear, the fact remains that Moremi was a courageous woman.

5. Nandi - Queen of Zulu

Nnadi was the resilient mother of one of the Zulu Kingdom’s greatest kings, Shaka Zulu. She had significant influence over the affairs of the kingdom even during the reign of her son.

6. Nefertiti - Queen of Ancient Kemet

Nefertiti was an Egyptian Queen and Great Royal Wife to Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh. She reigned during what most regard as the wealthiest period of ancient Egyptian history.

7. Yaa Asantewa - Queen of Ashanti

She became Queen when her son was exiled to Seychelles. Also a warrior Queen, she led the War of the Golden Stool against British colonials in 1900. This was because the British demanded the Golden stool which was very significant to the Ashanti.

As seen above, the African continent owes much to its men as well as its women. These women were known for their sagacity and strength of character. They faced many threatening situations with dire consequences throughout their rules. Most times, they triumphed. This shows that women are capable of ruling like their male counterparts.