Nzinga

Queen Nzinga Mbande (1583-1663), sometimes referred to as Anna Nzinga, was ruler of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people in what is now Angola.

As the favoured daughter of King Kiluanji of the Ndongo, Nzinga Mbande was brought up witnessing her father’s governance of the kingdom first-hand. He even took her with him when he went to war. Kiluanji made deals with the Portuguese who were expanding their slave trading operations in South West Africa, and this relationship was maintained when her brother Ngola Hari became king. However in 1617 the Portuguese Governor Correia de Sousa launched attacks against the Ndongo kingdom that captured thousands of Mbundu people.

In 1621 when the Portuguese invited the Ndongo king to take part in peace talks, he sent his sister Nzinga Mbande in his place. At her famous first meeting with De Sousa chairs were only provided for the Portuguese, and Mbande was expected to sit on the floor. Instead she commanded one of her servants to go down on all fours and act as her chair. During the negotiations Mbande walked a fine line between preventing the Portuguese from controlling the kingdom as they had done in Kongo, while keeping options open to trade for firearms to strengthen her armies. In this she was successful, although as a condition of the agreement she had to convert to Christianity and was baptised as Anna de Sousa, with the Governor becoming her Godfather.

In 1626 Mbande became Queen of the Ndongo following the death of her brother. Her reign began in peril as the Portuguese went back on their deal with her and declared war, as did other neighbouring tribes. Forced into retreat from her own lands, Mbande led her people south to the kingdom of Matamba, which she attacked, capturing Matamba’s Queen and routing her army. Mbande then installed herself as the new ruler of Matamba, from where she launched a prolonged campaign of guerrilla warfare against the Portuguese which would last for the next 30 years.

Mbande developed a legendary reputation as a warrior, although claims that that she took part in human sacrifice are likely the result of European propaganda and gossip. Accounts that she maintained a personal harem of more than 50 men are also unproven. What is known is that Mbande assembling a diverse army to oppose the Portuguese that included runaway slaves, defecting soldiers, and women. Exploiting European rivalries she made an alliance with the Dutch, which included acquiring her own personal bodyguard of 60 Dutch elite soldiers armed with rifles. Working with the Dutch, Mbande successfully defeated Portuguese armies in 1644, 1646, and 1647. However the Dutch were eventually pushed out of the region in 1648 and Mbanda was forced to carry on the fight alone. While she was never able to completely defeat them, she successfully resisted Portuguese invasion for decades.

Mbande continued personally leading her troops into battle until she was in her sixties, but the long war eventually wore both sides down. In 1657 she finally signed a peace treaty with Portugal. She then spent the rest of her life focused on rebuilding a nation which had been devastated by conflict and over-farming. She died of natural causes in 1663, aged 81. Today Nzinga Mbande is a symbol of Angolan independence, memorialised by numerous statues.

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Costume Porn + Women Warriors/Women in Armor Part 2 (x)

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Top 10 Favorite Historical Female Figures in History: (Requested by Anonymous & Not in Order).

1. Artemisia I of Caria: She was the ruler of Helicarnassus and Cos, and was a commander of 5 ships during a naval battle (Battle of Salamis) in 480 B.C during the 2nd Persian Invasion of Greece. She was famous enough to warrant the Greeks ordering her capture which did not occur.

2. Philippa of Hainault: She was the Queen of England as consort to Edward III. She was a wise and competent Queen, serving as regent on behalf of her husband during his war campaigns. She also famously pleaded for mercy in 1347 for the lives of the Burghers of Calais and was successful.

3. Margaret I of Denmark: She ruled as regent on behalf of her son Denmark, and then later Norway and Sweden. Margaret was a successful ruler and was in power even after her son came of age. Her political maneuverings and warfare lead to the Kalmar Union in 1397 which bound the three countries together until the early 16th century.

4. Margaret of Anjou: She was the Queen of England as consort to Henry VI. With the decline of her husband, her power increase and when he was deposed she fought on behalf of him and her son, Edward of Westminster, successfully re-installing them in 1470 though they were deposed the following year. Margaret was a ruthless yet formidable foe even though in the end, she suffered defeat.

5. Isabella I of Castile: She was the Queen Regnant of Castile and Leon and consort in Aragon as the wife of Ferdinand II of Aragon. She was a successfully ruler, establishing a joint rule with her husband in which she shares the accomplishments which included the end of the Reconquista when Granada fell in 1492, and sending Christopher Columbus to the New World.

6. Caterina Sforza: A ruthless and powerful Italian Noblewoman and through marriage the Countess of Forli and the Lady of Imola. She also served as regent on behalf of her son. A passionate war woman, she even once attacked a fortress, while she was heavily pregnant. She is infamous for her defiance against Cesare Borgia at the Siege of Forli.

7. Katherine of Aragon: The Queen of England as the consort and 1st wife of Henry VIII of England. She served as regent in England in 1513 and was the first female ambassador in Europe. When her husband proceeded with trying to obtain and annulment, Katherine defied him every step of the way until the very end of her life.

8. Mary I of England: She was the only child of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon that survived into adulthood. During her parents troubles, she sided with her mother, refusing to give up until after her mother’s death in 1536. She was the first Queen Regnant in England, and she was able to hold her position until her death. She is most widely known for restoring the Catholic Church during her reign.

9. Anna Nzinga: Anna Nzinga also known by her full name of Ana de Sousa Nzingha Mbande, was Queen of Ndongo and Matamba. Her reign was long, and during it she engaged in conflict with the Portuguese. She is known for her political acumen, and military prowess, dying at the age of 80 in 1663.

10. Catherine the Great: The 18th century Empress of Russia, who continued the modernization of Russia. She came to power after a coup in which her husband was deposed. Under her reign, the border of Russia expanded, arts, education, and literature was supported, and her reign was known as the Golden Age of Russia. 

Note: I made this post on my old account, so this is a repost, but I have changed the gifs.

Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamb was a 17th century queen of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people in southwestern Africa.

A legendary figure in history, Nzinga was born with her umbilical cord around her neck and survived. It was a belief that these children would grow up to be proud, haughty, and headstrong individuals. It was predicted by a wise woman that Nzinga would one day become a queen. She was favored by her father and he would let her observe the workings of his kingdom and how to govern his people. He would bring her along into battle to learn war, politics, and defense first hand. 

Once she had come to power she met face-to-face with European invaders and worked tirelessly to stop the slave trades in her kingdom and was successful on some occasions. Being such a bold and no-nonsense “heathen” woman, she struck fear into the hearts of her enemies at the time. 

One of the most famous stories involves a Portuguese governor insisting she sit on a mat at his feet rather than in a chair to discuss a treaty. She would not tolerate being treated like a subordinate, so she ordered one of her servants to get down on all fours so she could sit down on his back and be eye-to-eye, thus equal to the governor. 

This story led to more stories of her owning a large male harem, watching the men fight to the death to spend the night with her, only to have the winner killed the next morning. Lastly, she supposedly indulged in cannibalism to intimidate neighboring tribes and potential enemies.

As she fell from power without an heir to her throne, she still worked to resettle former slaves and give women back the right to bear children. Though many had attempted to dethrone her, she died peacefully at age 80 and her legacy still lives on.

Today, she is remembered in Angola for her political and diplomatic acumen, great wit and intelligence, as well as her brilliant military tactics. In time, Portugal and most of Europe would come to respect her. A major street in Luanda is named after her, and a statue of her was placed in Kinaxixi on an impressive square. Angolan women are often married near the statue, especially on Thursdays and Fridays.

The Nzinga Effect, (is) a digital platform and annual gathering to celebrate African women’s stories. Named after Nzinga Mbandi, a 17th-century queen in what is now Angola, who managed to escape the “warrior queen” box that African women leaders in history are traditionally put in. Here was a woman who was fierce, yes, but she was also multilingual, a strategist and a diplomat. Reading Nzinga’s story inspired me and I began to wonder: how would the narrative about Africa and its place in the world change if we knew more Nzingas? How would knowing our stories change us as women? We’ll soon find out – the site goes live in June.
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NZINGHA AMAZON QUEEN OF MATAMBA, Angola WEST AFRICA (1582-1663)

One of the great women rulers of Africa, Queen Anna Nzinga of Angola fought against the slave trade and European influence in the seventeenth century.Known for being an astute diplomat and visionary military leader, she resisted Portuguese invasion and slave raids for 30 years. Nzingha was of Angolan descent and is known as a symbol of inspiration for people everywhere.  She was a member of the ethnic Jagas a militant group that formed a human shield against the Portuguese slave traders. As a visionary political leader, competent, and self sacrificing she was completely devoted to the resistance movement. She formed alliances with other foreign powers pitting them against one another to free Angola of European influence. She possessed both masculine hardness and feminine charm and used them both depending on the situation. She even used religion as a political tool when it suited her. Her death on December 17, 1663 helped open the door for the massive Portuguese slave trade. Yet her struggle helped awaken others that followed her and forced them to mount offensives against the invaders. These include Madame Tinubu of Nigeria; Nandi, the mother of the great Zulu warrior Chaka; Kaipkire of the Herero people of South West Africa; and the female army that followed the Dahomian King, Behanzin Bowelle.

McKissack, P, C. (2000)  Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595. Scholastic Inc.

Nzinga, Warrior Queen of Angola (1583-1663)

It was 1618.  The Portuguese were in the middle of trying to take over what is now Angola.  Nzinga’s brother, King of the Mbundu people, sent her to negotiate a treaty with the Portuguese.  When she arrived, all of the Portuguese delegates were seated on chairs, and they had only provided a mat for her.  She perceived this as a great insult and summoned one of her servants to her; he got down on his hands and knees and she sat on him instead.  The Portuguese signed the treaty on the spot.  Unfortunately, they didn’t honor it, and a humiliating defeat by the Portuguese drove her brother the king to commit suicide.  Nzinga immediately took his place.  She dressed in men’s clothes, forbade her subjects to call her “Queen” and took the strongest, fittest young men as wives.  (Yes.  Wives.)  One of her sisters was captured by the Portuguese, but was kept alive, and provided Nzinga with inside information for years before she was discovered and killed.  Nzinga used this information to raise merry hell for the Portuguese well into her 60s.  It was widely agreed that she had no fear.  Finally, though, she began to tire of the endless bloodshed, and to prevent further death to her people, she signed a peace treaty with Portugal in 1657.  She remained King until her death at age 80.

 

Further reading:

Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles, and the Making of the Americas, 1580-1660 by John K. Thornton and Linda Heywood

West Central Africa: Kongo, Ndongo (African Kingdoms of the Past) by Kenny Mann

trolls, gender identities & gender presentations

I mentioned this to @mirkstrolls, so I thought I’d write a post on it! I have thoughts on my trolls gender identities, and why they identify and present in the ways they do, and a great deal of it’s based off of the society that I imagine they’ve grown up in, so: here’s a quick explanation of the reasonings behind each one!

For context, I headcanon that trolls are a monosexed species - biologically speaking, if you cut out the mothergrub, they’re monosexual egg-laying broodparasites, and sexual dimorphism is just natural variation in the species that, like most other aspects of one’s appearance, is consistent throughout one’s bloodline. Gender, as a construct, is something that spread widescale as a result of jadebloods and tyrians: it probably popped up initially as an easy means of distinguishing features, like castes in themselves, and then the existence of almost mono-gendered castes resulted in certain behaviours and temperaments being normalised, then stereotyped.

So, the general headcanons I’m running with towards gender stereotypes in trolls are based off of the Peixes and the Maryam lines! Which is to say: female trolls are expected to have a certain amount of attention towards their appearance, they’re expected to be hyper-aggressive, and they’re not terribly associated with romance in themselves. Women tend to be seen as leaders, both socially and politically! They’re not followers. They’re certainly the center of their social circles. They might even see themselves as above their social circles. Things that are associated with traditional ‘femininity’ - things that might be seen or treated as hazardous in combat, like dresses, heels, long hair - are all signs of social status, because they’re not signs of weakness: they’re a sign of overconfidence, and a guarantee that this troll, at least, believes they can disadvantage themselves, and still kick your ass easily in a fight.

Sipara is fairly feminine by these standards! Her lusus is male, but she doesn’t identify as such, and she doesn’t present herself as such: her hair used to be almost floor-length before it got lopped off as an insult to her, and she’d be actively aggravated if anyone ever mistook her for a dude. Her identity as a girl, and one who fits the social standards and norms for her culture, is pretty fucking strong, and they’re both something she’s aggressively proud of. She’s a girl, she likes being a girl, she will fuck anyone up that tries to say she’s anything less than the top model of femininity.

Pheres is deliberately androgynous! He identifies as male, despite having had an all-female bloodline, because his behaviour had him sorted as one by his hivemates early on: Sipara was bouncy and aggressive, he was complacent and sweet, they both got assigned genders by Simoom and Alsike accordingly pretty much straight out of the caverns just based on that. In Pheres’s case, it worked out fairly well: he doesn’t particularly understand what it means to identify, explicitly, one way or another, or to actually give a shit about what your gender is. He thinks it’s funny when people mistake him as a girl, because he doesn’t really give a damn, and as far as he’s concerned, he doesn’t fit his social expectations of what women should be, in terms of appearance or demeanour.. but he doesn’t also strongly identify as male. He is what he is. What does it matter?

Riccin’s gender has always been ambivalent for them! They have strong opinions: they just can’t decide what those opinions are, and they’re still in the process of sorting it the fuck out. As a kid, swapping pronouns was their means of dealing with this in Standard, and choosing an explicitly non-gendered pronoun set - over the “she/her” that is standardised in their native dialect - was their secondary solution. As a teenager, after they’d been with the IEP for several years and internalised their new role as a helmsman, they decided that their gender woes, and their dysphoria, had been prescient.

If they were going to become a ship, then no wonder they were uncomfortable with their body: it was half of a whole, with the other set inaccessible. It’d always feel incomplete, until they were a proper helm. And if they were a ship, then what were they worrying about? Ships didn’t have genders. They didn’t need to swap from he to she, and back again - they could just use they, which was a kinder alternative to the it‘s that occasionally got levied around. And in both of those cases, they now had a neat reason to avoid ever having to think about it at all.

(If they hadn’t joined the IEP, they’d likely still be nonbinary, but deliberately present in ways that they feel are more feminine, with a higher comfort with being addressed as she/her. This fits in with their lusus, for them, who’s mothmom. But the neat escape of HELMING means that they haven’t thought about it, and are unlikely to do so in the future.)

Carissima persona omosessuale, bisessuale, transessuale o asessuale,

è molto probabile che tu non sappia di essere speciale o magico, né di avere sangue reale, eppure è così. Fai parte di una famiglia adottiva che vive fin dalle origini dell'umanità.

Molto tempo prima che nascessi tu, la gente come noi ha scoperto cose incredibili. Menti dotate come l'inventore del computer, Alan Turing, e il pioniere della moderna aviazione, Alberto Santos-Dumont, continuano a vivere in te. Il segno che hanno lasciato individui forti ed eccezionali come Lynn Conway e Martine Rothblatt (donne transessuali tuttora in vita) sulla tecnologia moderna è impossibile da ignorare, e le loro scoperte sulla creazione di robot e microprocessori sono tuttora utili agli ingegneri. In tempi più recenti, uno dei co-fondatori di Facebook si è pubblicamente dichiarato omosessuale, e insieme a lui anche l'attuale amministratore delegato di Apple.

Molto spesso, durante i secoli, siamo stati dei e dee, come Ermafrodito (il figlio di Ermes e Afrodite), o Atene e Zeus - che avevano entrambi amanti dello stesso sesso. In Giappone dicono che sia stata la coppia composta da Shinu No Hafuri ed Ama No Hafuri a “presentare” l'omosessualità al mondo intero. L'abilità di avere un genere che va oltre i classici “maschio e femmina” conosciuti è cosa comune fra le divinità indù. Si dice, inoltre, che il Dahomey (un regno che sorgeva nell'attuale Repubblica del Benin, in Africa) sia stato creato da una coppia di gemelli, fratello e sorella (ossia sole e luna) che, unendosi, diedero origine ad un individuo che al giorno d'oggi sarebbe definito “intersessuale”. Allo stesso modo, le divinità-serpenti degli aborigeni australiani, Ungud e Angamunggi, possiedono diverse caratteristiche che al giorno d'oggi ricondurrebbero ad un'identità transgender.

La nostra abilità di trascendere dai due generi ed oltrepassarne i confini veniva vista come un dono speciale. Abbiamo ricevuto diversi ruoli importanti in tante culture, siamo spesso diventati sciamani, guaritori o capi di società e tribù in tutto il mondo. I nativi americani della regione di Santa Barbara ci chiamavano “gioielli”. I diari dei due europei che narrano l'incontro con le persone Doppio Spirito, inoltre, ci dicono che il sesso omosessuale e le identità transgender facevano parte della cultura di circa ottantotto tribù nativo-americane fra cui gli Apache, i Cheyenne, i Crow, i Maya e i Navajo. Senza ulteriori testimonianze scritte non conosciamo altri dettagli, ma sappiamo di aver fatto parte della maggioranza dei popoli americani - se non di tutti.

Fra i tuoi antenati troviamo reali come la regina Cristina di Svezia, la quale non solo rifiutò di sposare un uomo (perdendo così la possibilità di salire al trono), ma adottò anche un nome maschile e cominciò un viaggio da sola per tutta Europa in sella al suo cavallo. Il suo tutor una volta disse che la regina non era “affatto come una donna”. Sappi che discendi anche dall'imperatore Nzinga dei regni di Ndongo e Matamba (oggi conosciuti come Angola), il quale era, biologicamente, una donna, ma si vestiva da maschio, si circondava di uomini vestiti in abiti tradizionalmente femminili e si faceva chiamare “re”. Fanno parte del tuo albero genealogico anche imperatori come Elagalabus. Quest'ultimo celebrava matrimoni sia fra uomini che fra donne che si identificavano trasngender e, truccato da donna, corteggiava gli uomini. Califfi di Cordoba come Hisham II, Abd-ar-Rahman III e Al-Hakam II avevano spesso rapporti sessuali di gruppo con uomini (che qualche volta erano in aggiunta a quelli con donne, altre volte li sostituivano proprio). E’ grazie all'imperatore Ai della dinastia cinese degli Han, inoltre, che è nata la frase “passione della manica tagliata”, perché sappiamo che, quando era a letto col suo Dong Xian e doveva svegliarsi per andar via, decise di tagliar via la manica della sua veste pur di evitare di svegliare il suo amato.

Discendi da individui il cui contributo alle arti è impossibile da ignorare. Fra queste grandi personalità ricordiamo compositori come Tchaikovsky, pittori come Leonardo da Vinci e attrici come Greta Garbo. I tuoi avi hanno dipinto la Cappella Sistina, hanno inciso la prima canzone blues e vinto numerosissimi Oscar. Sono stati poeti, ballerini e fotografi. Persone LGBTQIA+ hanno contribuito così tanto all'arte che oggi c'è un intero tour guidato dedicato esclusivamente a loro nel Museum of Modern Art di New York.

Nelle tue vene scorre sangue di veri guerrieri, come le Amazzoni, le famose donne-lottatrici che si occupavano di proteggere gli altri e non avevano né il tempo né l'interesse, fra un atto coraggioso e l'altro, di soddisfare i bisogni degli uomini. Il tuo cuore batte con audacia, come quello degli uomini del battaglione sacro, un gruppo di centocinquanta coppie omosessuali che, nel quarto secolo a.C., erano considerati guerrieri valorosi perché ognuno di loro, combattendo, pensava di star salvando la vita del proprio amato (cosa che accadeva davvero). Discendi anche da portatori di pace come Bayard Rustin, architetto gay che era per la non violenza e che si batté per i diritti dei neri negli Stati Uniti d'America.

Abbiamo dato un nuovo significato a parole come orso, camionista, otter - lontra -, checca (per gli uomini) e femminile (per le donne), nonché coniato nuovi termini come drag queen, twink e genderqueer, ma il fatto che omosessuale, bisessuale, transgender, intersessuale e asessuale siano stati creati di recente non deve farci pensare che esprimano un concetto nuovo. Prima che si cominciassero ad usare questi termini moderni, infatti, in giro per il mondo eravamo Winkte dagli Ogala, Chippewa dagli A-go-kwe , Ko'thalama dagli Zuni, Machi dai Mapuchi, Tsecats dai Manghabei, Omasenge dagli Ambo e Achnutschik dai Konyaga. Sebbene nessuno di questi termini rispecchi perfettamente il significato di quelli che usiamo oggi, si riferiscono tutti ad aspetti dell'amore omosessuale o del cambiamento di genere.

Tu sei normale. Non sei una creazione dell'età moderna, e la tua identità non è una moda passeggera. Quasi ogni nazione del mondo ha, nella propria storia, persone le cui identità e comportamenti ricordano quelli che oggi chiameremmo bisessualità, omosessualità, transgenderismo, intersessualità, asessualità e tanti altri.  Ricorda che non è sempre stato tutto come la cultura occidentale l'ha costruito.

Tante culture, dalla Papua Nuova Guinea al Perù, accettavano intercorsi omosessuali fra maschi come parte di rituali e routine; alcune di queste società credevano che, con la trasmissione del seme da un uomo all'altro, il destinatario ne avrebbe giovato e sarebbe diventato più forte. In passato non c'è quasi mai stato il bisogno di coniare parole per coloro che erano attratti dallo stesso sesso, per coloro che non riconoscevano la propria identità biologica o semplicemente non si adeguavano a ciò che era comune nelle loro culture, perché  cose del genere non erano rare come oggi potremmo pensare fossero.

Essere tanto unici e speciali ha spesso fatto sì che gli altri avessero paura di noi. Siamo stati arrestati, torturati e uccisi. Ancora oggi ci sono governi che ci ammazzano e individui che non ci accettano in società che, in passato, ci consideravano membri importanti e al pari di tutti gli altri. Oggi ci dicono che “l'omosessualità non è africana”, o che “non esistono omosessuali in Iran”. Tu sai, noi sappiamo che questi commenti sono falsi, ma ci feriscono lo stesso. Quindi, quando qualcuno ha coniato termini come “gay” o “lesbica”, noi li abbiamo fatti nostri. Quando hanno detto che deviamo i bambini, noi abbiamo sorriso e abbiamo detto “no, io sono qui per deviare te!”.  Quando hanno messo dei triangoli rosa e neri sulle nostre uniformi nei campi di concentramento, noi li abbiamo resi i nostri simboli, dei simboli d'orgoglio.

Coloro che vanno contro la nostra ferma e decisa presenza nelle culture di oggi, coloro che cercano di privarci dei nostri diritti e che commettono atti di violenza contro di noi, non capiscono che sono loro le anomalie storiche, non noi. Per la maggior parte della storia dell'umanità, perseguitare individui che trasgredivano le norme della propria cultura riguardo orientamenti sessuali e di genere veniva considerato assurdo - nella peggiore delle ipotesi - oppure era semplicemente e completamente sconosciuto, nella migliore. Oggi, le persone che continuano a tormentarci provano a giustificare le loro campagne di odio dicendoci che “difendono” i valori tradizionali. Ma non potrebbero essere più lontani dalla verità.

Adesso sai che si sbagliano. Prova a immaginare un mondo senza il primo computer, senza il soffitto della Cappella Sistina o senza la maggior parte della musica che abbiamo oggi - dalla musica classica, come Appalachian Spring, a motivetti sempiterni come YMCA (insomma, siamo stati dichiarati “genitori del blues” e “Re del pop latino”!). Hai idea di quanto sarebbe più buio il mondo senza di noi? Sono felice che tu sia qui per aiutare a mandare avanti le nostre tradizioni.

Con lesbismo,
Sarah Prager

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Qui l’articolo originale di Sarah Prager per Huffington Post.

La traduzione è mia, non togliete la fonte.