Female Warriors in African History: From Dahomey to Madagascar

TLDR From the egosi regiment in Dahomey to Queen Njinga's rule in Ndongo, female warriors played a significant role in African societies, engaging in intense military training, brutal combat, and strategic alliances. Their stories highlight the duality and dualism ideology in African culture, where women were seen as essential in all aspects of society, including politics, military, and households.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The egosi, a regiment of female warriors in the kingdom of Dahomey, underwent intense military training and engaged in brutal combat, with one recruit described as beheading a captive and drinking their blood.
05:12 Female warriors in Africa are seen as mundane and normal, as they are considered a natural part of society and reflect the ideology of duality and dualism, where male and female counterparts are needed in all aspects of society, including politics, military, and households.
09:16 After the Portuguese gained power in West Central Africa, they attempted to found a colony in Ndongo, leading to conflict with the rulers and setting the stage for Queen Njinga's rule.
13:32 Queen Njinga engages in negotiations with the Portuguese, agrees to be baptized, and displays regal behavior by sitting on an attendant during the negotiations; she becomes queen after her brother's death and attempts to make peace with the Portuguese before initiating a rebellion against them; she later makes a deal with the Ambangala leader Cassangé, which involves giving up her symbols of authority and becoming an Ambangala herself.
17:25 Queen Njinga engages in a blood oath ceremony and adopts liberal behavior by sparing the queen of Matamba and branding her, while also forming alliances with the Dutch and engaging in the slave trade.
21:40 Queen Njinga forms alliances with the Dutch and engages in various strategies, including Christianizing her state, launching attacks against Indongo, closing slave markets, and capturing her sister, in order to bring the Portuguese to the negotiating table and ultimately achieve a diplomatic conclusion.
25:47 Queen Njinga's strategy of pursuing peace with the Portuguese in the 1660s is successful, leading to a negotiated agreement that removes the requirement for her to supply slaves to the Portuguese king, and she is recognized as the queen of Natamba, but she ultimately dies of a throat infection at the age of 75.
30:30 Yaa Santewa, the Queen Mother of the Ashanti, gained fame and respect for her resistance against the British during the War of the Golden Stool in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, ultimately leading to her exile to the Seychelles.
34:47 Queen Rana Valona of Madagascar was known for her harsh and traditional rule, including the use of brutal trial by ordeal practices and the persecution of Christians, leading to a reign of terror.
39:02 Queen Rana Valona of Madagascar was known for her harsh rule and the brutal treatment of her people, including forcing them to build roads and suffering high casualties, as well as ordering the execution of suspected Christians, but she also resisted British and French attacks and demanded a fine from merchants as a form of retaliation.
43:16 The women of Dahomey were transformed into a proper fighting unit in the army by Giza, used in wars against other powers and to capture and sell slaves to Europeans, and were known for their rigorous training and effectiveness in battle.
47:22 The discussion touches on the fascination and cultural differences surrounding the idea of women fighting in African societies compared to European societies.
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