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HomeINSPIRATIONOn the Shoulders of Giants: The Candaces

On the Shoulders of Giants: The Candaces

When we study history and the great people who contributed to our world, our African women who were warriors and rulers are often overlooked. From the third century BCE to the second century CE, the Empire of Kush (Ethiopia) was ruled by a line of independent female rulers called the Candace’s, or in the traditional language of Kush, Kendake. Amanerinas, Amanishakhete, Nawidemak and Maleqereabar were the four queens, well known as the Candace’s. Different from their Egyptian counterparts, the Candace’s had absolute rule instead of the power coming from their husbands.

During the period known as the Meroitic period Kush thrived, it was often thought of as a nation never ruled by a male. The word Kendake means “Queen Mother” so the title was not taken lightly. If a woman was a Candace she was able to influence the line of succession and consolidate her power. The Candace often played a role in the coronation of a new King. They are well known for refusing Alexander’s entry into Kush and deterring him on one of his military campaigns, causing him to overtake a weaker Egypt. The strength of the Candace rulers also appeared in history as they were able to thwart the roman conquest of Kush. Using brilliant battle tactics, Amanerinas attacked Petronius during Rome’s punitive invasions of Napata. They waited until most of his troops were gone off to battle then Amanerinas attacked the army. When Petronius returned he found his “mighty” army in a standoff with a Nation they considered weaker. The standoff lasted until Augustus Caesar and Amanerinas were able to settle on signing a peace treaty.

Over a period of 1,250 years, the kingdom of Kush was certainly one of the greatest, if not the greatest, civilization of its time and all time. The title of Candace lasted for 500 years allowing Kush to become the great civilization it was under female rule. The Candace’s set a standard for excellence and stability. A female dominated society with a female warrior class is not talked about much in the pages of history, especially a purely African civilization. The Candace’s were brave, brilliant, and influential; they were an example of how a strong spirit will not be held back by sexism and male domination. Women, no matter their race or creed, can learn a lot from the Candace’s, women who successfully ruled a kingdom and inspired Egyptian culture and prestige. To all of the Candace’s, and all the female rulers of Kush, thank you for your brilliance and courage which helped create greatness in the form of a Kingdom. To all the Candace’s, we stand on your shoulders.

J.A. Ward.


Joseph Ward is the founder of Live Skilled Live Fulfilled, a life skills training and sexual and domestic violence Prevention Company. Mr. Ward has dedicated himself to studying the history and the culture of the African diaspora. His studies have led to founding On the Shoulders of Giants, Inc., authoring On the Shoulders of Giants Vol: 1 North America, and On the Shoulders of Giants Vol: 2 Central America. Mr. Ward is the host of The Fix Sports Podcast, co-host The Freedom Train Podcast Series, and co-founder of the Freedom Train Network.

Click here to visit my On the Shoulders of Giants website!!



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