Black History Month is known for highlighting the African Americans who have done amazing things and impacted our society. We share their stories and celebrate them for the amazing things they have done even as they faced the oppression of racism. But it is not very often that we travel back a little farther to the times before slavery in America and share the stories of the African nations and their leaders that were the first to rule the world. Although the first full-blooded African slaves may have been aware of just who they were the great lands that they came from, after years of cruelty and trying to survive the history of these Africans were lost in the goal of just trying to survive and not upset there masters or trying to be free again. The slaves had to deal with what it was like to be considered closer to the value of an animal than to be considered a human being. The stories of great African nations and their rulers weren’t often passed down from generation to generation or told in our history books. Thankfully now we have the ability to discover this black history that is not often told.
Here are a few African Rulers and their nations:
Tenkamenin was the King of Ghana from 1037 to 1075 AD and Ghana was considered to be at its height during his rule. King Tenkamenin with his careful management of the gold trade from the Sahara into West Africa caused Ghana to flourish economically. His greatest strength as a ruler was government in that he would go around and listen to the problems and concerns that his citizens faced.
Amina of Zaria, Nigeria
Queen Amina ruled Zaria, Nigeria during the 15th century and was known for being a fierce warrior. She led her first military in battle just months after being crowned queen. She fought and expanded her kingdom during her 34 year reign. Because of her many battles it helped to make neighboring countries be in allegiance so that her trade partners would have safe passages to travel which increased the nation’s wealth. Lastly, because her people were skilled metal workers she was able to introduce metal armor, and helmets to her army.
Yaa Asantewaa the Queen Mother of Ejisu
Yaa Asantewaa was a queen from Ghana and is known best for helping to lead the fight against the British colonist. During a meeting with some of the Ashanti chief on how to fight the British, Yaa Asantewaa gave a stirring speech to encourage the chief. “Now I have seen that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our king. If it were in the brave days of, the days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opoku Ware, chiefs would not sit down to see thier king taken away without firing a shot. No white man could have dared to speak to chief of the Ashanti in the way the Governor spoke to you chiefs this morning. Is it true that the bravery of the Ashanti is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this: if you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.” Though Yaa Asantewaa and other leaders were captured and sent into exile, this war was the last major war led by a woman.
If only I could go back to remind the slaves who they were and that they came from places known for greatness that even in the face of oppression they could still feel proud of where they came from and who they were. Also, I would educate those that stole them away from their home that they were not savages or animals, and just because their way of living was different their own didn’t make them inferior. I hope that in reading this it inspires you to dig deeper to learn more about black history and even your own history as it has inspired me.
diasporicroots.tumblr.com. 2013. AFRICAN, BLACK and DIASPORIC HISTORY. January 13. http://diasporicroots.tumblr.com/post/40467035260/tenkamenin-king-of-the…
History and Women. 2010. Amina of Zaria. August 13. http://www.historyandwomen.com/2010/08/amina-of-zaria.html
Ghana Web. 1994-2017. Yaa Asantewaa. http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/people/person.php?ID=175