Their Stories


Fierce, respected, and unwavering, Queen Amina, was an extraordinary strategist and leader throughout her 34 year reign of the North African Zazzau Kingdom during the 16th century. Commonly known as the warrior Queen, she expanded the territories of the Hausa people of North Africa to the largest borders in history. Her successful leadership of the Zassau military and the death of her brother Karama, the previous ruler led to Amina’s rise to the throne as its 24th ruler and first Queen of a male-dominated society. The remarkable story of Amina inspired the TV series Xena: The Warrior Princess.

Mansa Musa

Reigning during the 13th century, Mansa Musa the 1st is recorded to be the wealthiest figure in history with a net worth equivalent to $400 billion. As King of the Mali Empire in West Africa, Mansa Musa the 1st took advantage of various natural resources such as gold and salt as well as trade routes to ensure the prospering of the empire. A devout Muslim, Mansa Musa the 1st embarked on a pilgrimage to Mecca accompanied by a total of 60,000 followers. Along the way, the ruler along with his caravan circulated so much gold in Cairo, Egypt that they diluted the value of the currency by 10 to 25 percent leaving a 12-year impact on Cairo’s economy.

Sarraounia Mangou

At age 20, Sarraounia Mangou became Queen of the Azna people in Lougou, Niger during the 19th century. Born with yellow eyes, like those of a panther, the feline predator became the symbol of Sarraounia Mangou and the Azna people. The Queen was said to have mystical powers which some say helped her fend off enemies such as the Tuareg people, who attempted to raid her village often, as well as the Fulani people, who attempted to convert Azna to Islam. Sarraounia is most notably known for her guerilla warfare tactics against French forces of the Voulet–Chanoine Mission, which launched a fierce attack on her fortress known as the Battle of Lougou in 1899. During the three-month-long battle, she utilized the brush of the surrounding wilderness to conduct nightly attacks on the French forces.