Map showing the 17th century states of present-day Angola, credit to:

The country of Angola has a rich history, having two well established kingdoms prior to the arrival of Portuguese colonisers in the 15th century: the kingdom of Kongo, and the kingdom of Ndongo. After the arrival of Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão in 1484, colonisation of the two kingdoms spread, with several ports established to enable the trade of enslaved peoples in exchange for goods. Despite the attempts of the Portuguese, they were unable to make headway into interior Angola, and were signed treaties with the rulers of Kongo and Ndongo respectively to establish boundaries. Although the slave trade was abolished in Angola in 1836, in reality it was difficult to enforce and continued to a degree. The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 saw the division of the Portuguese and Angolan territories, however this continued to be an area of division for several years. The 20th century saw the continued struggles of the Angolans as they fought for independence, which culminated in conflict from 1961-1975 and resulted in Angolan independence.

This is a brief outline of the country’s history, in order to situate its rulers with further context. Please follow the links below to find out more about queens of the territory now known as Angola!


Gates, Henry Louis, and Kwame Anthony Appiah, eds. Encyclopedia of Africa, Volume 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010

Henderson, Lawrence W. Angola: Five Centuries of Conflict. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979

Thornton, John K. “Elite Women in the Kingdom of Kongo: Historical Perspectives on Women’s Political Power.” The Journal of African History 47.3 (2006): 437-460.

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