Jean-Jacques Dessalines was an important figure and leader of the Haitian Revolution. He went on to rule an independent Haiti, which became the first country to abolish slavery permanently. Considered one of Haiti's founding fathers, Dessalines reigned as the emperor of Haiti from 1804 until his murder in 1806. Today, he is regarded as an icon of Haitian nationalism.
Queen Nzinga, also known as Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba, was the queen of the Kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba. Born into the family of Ndongo, Nzinga assumed power after the demise of her father and sibling, after which she fought for the stature and Independence of her kingdoms from the Portuguese. Her reign lasted 37 years.
Fulani scholar, Sunni Islamic religious teacher, philosopher and revolutionary Usman Ɗan Fodio became the founder and first Sultan of Sokoto Caliphate in West Africa after defeating the Hausa Kingdoms in the Fulani War. Usman encouraged literacy and scholarship for both men and women. He is viewed as a Mujaddid by Muslims and considered the most significant reforming leader of Africa.
Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu was a descendant of King Cetshwayo, who led the Zulu struggle for independence against the British. His 50-year rule had witnessed his efforts in preserving the Zulu culture and traditions such as the Reed Dance ceremony. However, his comments were blamed for attacks against foreigners.
Former Haitian president Henry Christophe also declared himself the king of northern Haiti as Henry I. Apart from spending lavishly on building palaces for himself, he also restored soldier peasants and gifted plantations to military leaders. He eventually committed suicide by shooting himself, fearing a coup against him.
Zewditu, a 20th-century Ethiopian empress and the eldest daughter of King Menelik of Shewa, scripted history as the first female head of an internationally recognized African state. She was also the first and last empress regnant of Ethiopia. It’s widely believed, she died of shock 2 days after her husband’s death in battle.
Menen Asfaw ruled as an empress consort of Ethiopia, as the wife of Emperor Haile Selassie. Born into the noble family of Asfaw, Jantirar of Ambassel, she apparently had 3 marriages before she got married to Haile Selassie. She proved to be a trusted advisor to Selassie till her death.
Known as one of the most influential emperors of Ethiopia, Yohannes IV spent most of his reign in conflict with invaders from Egypt, Italy, and Sudan. He also had a political agreement with Menilek II, his most significant rival. He died in the Battle of Metema, while invading Sudan.
Askia Mohammad I, or Askia the Great, established the Askia Dynasty of the Songhai Empire and reigned as its first ruler. Known for his efficient administration, than his fighting prowess, he introduced provinces and provincial governors in his kingdom. He also developed trade with Asia and Europe.
Taytu Betul reigned as the Empress of Ethiopia from 10 May 1889 to 12 December 1913. She is credited with co-founding the city of Addis Ababa along with her husband in 1886. As the wife of Emperor Menelik II, Taytu Betul wielded considerable political power. In fact, the emperor always consulted Taytu Betul before making important decisions.
Eleni of Ethiopia was an empress by her marriage to Emperor Zara Yaqob of Ethiopia. She was also a skilled political strategist and diplomat who largely led to the arrival of the Portuguese in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian-Portuguese military cooperation against the Turks. She repaired many churches and oversaw many religious translations.