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by Farida Dawkins, at 12:00 pm, June 29, 2018, History

The story of the Kongo princess who led 10,000 men into battle and was later enslaved by the Portuguese

Princess Aqualtune Ezgondidu Mahamud da Silva Santos

In 1665, Princess Aqualtune Ezgondidu Mahamud da Silva Santos led 10,000 men into the Battle of Mbwila; between the Kingdom of Kongo and the Kingdom of Portugal.  It is estimated that 5,000 men died in the war.

The surviving members of the Kongo army were captured and sold as slaves in Brazil amongst other places. Those captured included the King of Kongo, his two sons, his two nephews, four governors, various court officials, 95 workers in the kingdom and 400 other aristocrats.

The princess later founded the Palmares or the Quilombo dos Palmares, a community in Alagoas, Brazil comprised of runaway slaves.  The princess was the mother of Ganga Zumba and maternal grandmother of Ganga Zumbi.

Princess Mahamud was the daughter of an unknown King of Kongo. Kongo was located in modern-day northern Angola, the Republic of Congo, the western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and southern Gabon.  From 1891 to 1914, Kongo was a vassal state of Portugal.

After the Battle of Mbwila, the princess was transported to the Port of Recife, a warehouse and sugar mill.

It is documented that the princess was purchased solely for the purpose of reproduction with other slaves.  When she became pregnant, the princess was sold to a mill in Porto Calvo, Brazil.

In her second to last month of pregnancy, the princess formulated the Palmares. She later gave birth to Ganga Zone, Ganga Zumba, Sabina and Zona. Zumba was the first leader of the Palmares.

Thereafter, the whereabouts and fate of the princess are unknown.

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