Black Magic of Africa: Military Commander Hannibal Barca and Queen Ana Nzinga
Two African warriors fought to protect their country from invading European forces during their respective centuries.
Hannibal Barca (274-183 BC) is one of the greatest military strategists to have ever lived. He was born in 274 B.C. in Carthage (modern-day Tunisia), which is in North Africa.
Carthage was settled by the Phoenicians, and their cultural influence was found throughout Mediterranean Sea nations. The Carthaginians were skilled and masters of merchant trading, and they ruled during the pre-Roman era, according to Black History Heroes.
Hannibal Barca Ancient Coins
Unfortunately, there is no image available of Hannibal, but ancient coins that are said to be dated 2,000 years ago by historians is the best representation of him and his legacy of taming elephants and using them while in warfare.
French Historian Gabriel Audisio said:
“Hannibal to be neither a Phoenician, nor a Carthaginian, nor a Punic, but a North African... The majority of the Punic populace seems to have had African, indeed Negroid, ancestry.”
Both Carthage and Rome were at war during the First Punic War from 264-241 B.C. Both empires were fighting over the Mediterranean Sea to have control over trade routes.
Hannibal’s father, Hamilcar Barca was a general of Carthaginian mercenaries, and was enraged by the loses to Sicily and Sardina. Hannibal was 17-years-old when his father was ambushed and killed in Spain, which was under North African rule. This is when Hannibal’s legacy of being a great military commander began.
Hannibal's Carthaginian Army with Warrior Elephants Invading Rome
During the second Punic War in 218 B.C., Hannibal brought the fight to the Romans by traveling through the Alps with his soldiers and tamed military elephants. Hannibal had an army of 100,000 men that included Numidians, and North Africans from Algeria.
One of Hannibal’s speeches:
"Why are you afraid?... The greater part of our journey is accomplished. We have surmounted the Pyrenees; we have crossed the Rhone, that mighty river, in spite of the opposition of thousands of Gauls and the fury of the river itself. Now we have the Alps in sight. On the other side of those mountains lies Italy.... Does anyone imagine the Alps to be anything but what they are—lofty mountains. No part of the earth reaches the sky, or is insurmountable to mankind. The Alps produce and support living things. If they are passable by a few men, they are passable to armies."
The Carthaginians believed Rome was considering an invasion of Africa, and Hannibal acted fast to save Carthage from Roman invading forces.
On the way to bring the fight to the Romans, Hannibal and his men were met with treacherous terrain from the Alps where 2,000 men died in just two weeks. They also had battles with tribesmen, and disease and starvation also had an impact on Hannibal’s men.
Hannibal won the battle, but lost the war.
At the end, Hannibal was unable to fulfill his father's wishes because he couldn’t conquer Rome. When the second Punic War was over, Hannibal retreated to Carthage with his army because they were defeated by Roman General Scipio Africanus. When Hannibal was 64-years-old, he was taken prisoner by Rome, and before committing suicide by poison, he said:
"Let us now put an end to the great anxiety of the Romans who have thought it too lengthy and too heavy a task to wait for the death of a hated old man." - Hannibal Barca
Queen Ana Nzinga of Angola
Queen Ana Nzinga (1583-1663) was a 17th century queen of Ndongo (Angola), located in lower West Africa. The Portuguese were looking to conquer Ndongo, but Queen Nzinga was a foe they weren’t ready for because she did everything she could to defend her country from foreign invaders, according to Author Chancellor Williams of The Destruction of Black Civilization.
The Portuguese manipulated different African tribes by dividing them and having them fight amongst each other. This system spread around the country, and some chiefs participated in the transatlantic slave trade and paid their taxes to the Europeans with slaves. The slaves sold to the Europeans were prisoners of war, which means the captives were from rival tribes, and not family members or neighbors. Unfortunately, a lot of the chiefs themselves were eventually enslaved if they didn’t meet their quota.
During a peace conference, Queen Nzinga, not yet queen because her brother was king, but he was weak. Queen Nzinga was working in the background on behalf of her brother, but the experience groomed her because she was ready when it was time for her to take the throne as the official queen of Ndongo in 1623.
Her people believed in her because her claim to fame was being the greatest abolitionist. She never owned slaves and didn’t believe in owning human beings.
Queen Nzinga Meeting the Portuguese
In 1622, a treaty was supposed to end all fighting in the whole West-Central Africa region. The Portuguese had to admit defeat to Queen Nzinga, and she gave the Portuguese an ultimatum demanding an immediate execution of the terms or war would be declared.
Queen Nzinga selected a group of her soldiers to infiltrate the Portuguese Black armies and allowed themselves to be inducted into the Portuguese army by recruiting agents in order to join their forces. Queen Nzinga’s ability to infiltrate the Portuguese army was one of the most unsung historical events that happened in Africa.
Her army got stronger when runaway slaves escaped into her safe haven. Queen Nzinga was also able to influence chiefs to rebel and join forces with her in order to save the African race and their motherland.
This was too much for the Portuguese to handle, so Queen Nzinga had to be destroyed.
The Portuguese sent Queen Nzinga another ultimatum demanding the return of the chiefs, soldiers, and slaves back to Portuguese territory in Africa, and her refusal would mean war. The Portuguese were afraid to move against Queen Nzinga because of her stronger army.
In 1641, Queen Nzinga allied with the Dutch to help fend off the Portuguese, and the Dutch were interested in reducing Portugal’s power off the west coast of Africa. With the help of the Dutch, Queen Nzinga was looking to recover land that was stolen from her and her people.
Queen Nzinga eventually dropped “Ana” from her name when she found out baptizing Black people into Christianity meant surrendering her body and soul to the white man, and not to Christ.
The Portuguese did everything they could to discredit Queen Nzinga by saying she was never legally the queen of Ndongo. The Portuguese also captured one of Queen Nzinga’s sisters, who was working as a spy and revealed Portuguese plans. When the Portuguese found out, they drowned Queen Nzinga’s sister in the Kwanza River.
The Portuguese were doing all they could to conquer Queen Nzinga and her people, but at the same time they were amazed at the display of “Black Unity,” which is now known as “Black Power” or "Black Magic." Since the 17th century, European governments have been familiar with the power that comes from Black people uniting because they know Black people would become unconquerable.
Desperate to conquer Queen Nzinga and Ndongo, the Portuguese began offering rewards for her capture dead or alive. Queen Nzinga knew many of her people would die if they fought the Portuguese, so she left the country and told her lieutenants to spread the word that the queen fled the country. She also told her lieutenants to tell people she mistakenly entered enemy territory and was killed.
Queen Nzinga Leading Troops Against Portuguese Armies
The Portuguese believed the story about Queen Nzinga's death, which was her masterful plan.
In 1629, from beyond the grave Queen Nzinga battled the Portuguese with help from her Jaga tribe allies who also wanted to defeat the Europeans.
The defeated Portuguese had to retreat, and Queen Nzinga retook not only her country, but also became queen of Matamba, which meant she became the empress of two countries.
Queen Nzinga made her countries safe havens for Africans who escaped slavery by the Europeans. There were more wars between Queen Nzinga and the Portuguese because the Portuguese couldn’t understand why they were losing to an African warrior queen for many years.
In 1657, Queen Nzinga signed a peace treaty with Portugal. Year after year of Portuguese ruthless, relentless, and manipulative tactics to invade and conquer Ndongo eventually took its toll on the queen.
She was one for the first Africans to notice that Portuguese conquest, slave trade, and the church were all working together to fulfill their own personal agenda.
Queen Nzinga died a peaceful death at 80-years-old in 1663.
Black Magic of Black People
Both Hannibal Barca and Queen Ana Nzinga were willing to fight and die for their country and people. Their pride, determination, and bravery they displayed during their time on earth can only be matched by a select few of people.
"Black Magic" displayed by Black people unifying for a common goal has to be a serious threat to the European government power structure. What other explanation is there for one group of people to constantly oppress another group of people for centuries?