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The Battle of Kombi
was a decisive battle in the war between Ndongo-Matamba and Portugal during the Dutch period of Angolan
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...
When the Dutch
The Dutch Empire consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Dutch Republic and later, the modern Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, but based on military conquest of already-existing...
forces occupied Luanda
Luanda, formerly named São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda, is the capital and largest city of Angola. Located on Angola's coast with the Atlantic Ocean, Luanda is both Angola's chief seaport and its administrative center. It has a population of at least 5 million...
in 1641, capital of the Portuguese colony of Angola, the neighboring countries of Kongo and Ndongo had welcomed them, sending embassies and receiving promises of assistance in driving Portuguese out of the colony and central Africa. However, following the initial Dutch success, the Portuguese had fallen back into their interior positions, first at Bengo, where they were driven out, and then to the fortress of Massangano. In 1643, deciding it was not worthwhile to continue the war with Portugal, the Dutch signed a truce agreement which effectively left Portugal in command of the interior presidios. However, the kingdom of Ndongo, long time enemy of Portuguese ambitions, then led by Queen Njinga
Nzinga Mbande , also known as Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande, was a 17th century queen of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people in southwestern Africa.-Early life:...
fought on against the Portuguese without Dutch help. Following her defeat at Kavanga in 1646, however, the situation was sufficiently grave that the Dutch commander decided to commit forces to her support.
Thus, in 1647 a combined force from Kongo, Njinga's army and a Dutch contingent of over 8,000 men met the Portuguese field army of some 30,000 men somewhere north of Masangano (the battlefield has not yet been located). The Portuguese were routed by the Kongo-Ndongo-Dutch alliance and over 3,000 Portuguese and their African allies were killed or wounded.
As a result of this victory, Njinga and her army was able to lay siege to three of the Portuguese presidios in Angola, Ambaca, Masangano and Muxima. These sieges were not successful, largely because neither she nor her Dutch allies possessed sufficient artillery to effect an attack. When the forces of Salvador de Sá e Benevides arrived in 1648, Njinga was forced to abandon the siege and return to her headquarters in Matamba.
- António Oliveira de Cadornega, História geral das guerras angolanas (1680) 3 vols. Lisbon: Agencia geral do Ultramar, 1940-42 (reprinted 1972)
- Anonymous, "Extract van seekeren brief, gheschreven uyt Loando..." in S. P. L'Honoré Naber, "Nota van Pieter Moortamer over het gewest Angola..." Bijdragen en Medeelingen van het Historisch Genootschap 54 (1933): 41-42.