Nwando Achebe, "Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa" (Ohio UP, 2020)

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In this unapologetically African-centered monograph, Nwando Achebe considers the diverse forms and systems of female leadership in both the physical and spiritual worlds, as well as the complexities of female power in a multiplicity of distinct African societies. From Amma to the goddess inkosazana, Sobekneferu to Nzingha, Nehanda to Ahebi Ugbabe, Omu Okwei, and the daughters or umuada of Igboland, Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa (Ohio University Press, 2020) documents the worlds and life histories of elite African females, female principles, and (wo)men of privilege.

Chronologically and by theme, Nwando Achebe pieces together the worlds and experiences of African females from African-derived sources, especially language. Achebe explores the meaning and significance of names, metaphors, symbolism, cosmology, chronicles, songs, folktales, proverbs, oral traditions, traditions of creation, and more. From centralized to small-scale egalitarian societies, patrilineal to matrilineal systems, North Africa to sub-Saharan lands, Female Monarchs and Merchant Queens in Africa offers an unparalleled history of the remarkable African women who occupied positions of power, authority, and influence.

Madina Thiam is a PhD candidate in history at UCLA.

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