History : Jul-Aug 2019
80 JULY/AUGUST 2019 groups into themselves. The vast ethnic, lin- guistic, and religious diversity in these king- doms allowed for easily identifiable differences among groups, making it easier for kingdoms to sell their enemies in exchange for weapons and goods to expand and protect their territories. Grand empires, such as the Kongo, Dahomey, Yoruba, Benin, and Asante, were vying for wealth and power in their regions, and Europeans were in need of laborers to build their colonies. It was the ideal circumstance to bring about the largest forced migration in human history. In just two years, 1618 and 1619, the Portuguese- Imbangala alliance resulted in the capture and enslavement of thousands of Ndongo people, filling at least 36 ships with human cargo. These captives would be sent to the Spanish and Por- tuguese colonies in Central and South America to work as laborers. It was through this arrange- ment that slavery would spread to British North America in 1619, when chaos intervened and the destiny of those “20 and odd” Africans was re- directed to a place called the Colony of Virginia on the Atlantic coast. L.RICCIARINI/PRISMA QUEEN ANA NZINGA was born in 1583, and in 1624, at the age of 42, she became the Queen of Ndongo, just five years after the Angolans arrived in Virginia. Her reign came amidst the ongoing war between the Portuguese, and her people of Ndongo. She attempted to shift the political partnership between the states, offering herself as a convert to Catholicism in return for the termination of slave raids that were devastating her people. Portugal’s colonial Governor agreed, and acted as her godfather for the conversion. Queen Nzinga main- tained a strong political relationship with the Portuguese for two years, but in 1626 they betrayed her and began taking Ndongo captives again. As a result, she established a nearby state, Mat- amba, which acted as a refuge for victims of the trade, meanwhile ordering her militia to attack the Portuguese who had taken over her former state of Ndongo. Queen Nzinga ruled until her death at the age of 81. LONG LIVE THE QUEEN QUEEN NZINGA, ARMED WITH A BOW AND ARROW, LEADS A MILITARY BAND IN THIS ILLUSTRATION CREATED BY ITALIAN MISSIONARIES IN THE MID-1600S. ALBUM MICHAEL RUNKEL/AGE FOTOSTOCK PRISON WALLS First built in 1583, the Massangano fortress in Angola, Africa, was once used as a base for Portuguese slave- capturing operations. Captured Africans were held here, forcibly baptized, and then sent to Luanda, where they were forced aboard ships to the Americas.