The Nubian or Kushite Kingdom of Meroe produced a succession of African Queens called the Kandake or Candace. The Candace’s were brilliant, tactical, strong leaders of their kingdoms, and also known as fierce warriors. I previously introduced you to the four most popular Candaces Amanerinas, Amanishakhete, Nawidemak and Maleqereabar; Amanitore is the granddaughter of Amaneras and the daughter of Amanishakhete, she was the perfect woman to continue the legacy of the Candaces. Amanitore like her predecessors was the sole ruler of Meroe, a Warrior Queen, and it is said that she was accompanied by a man named Natakamni who served as the co-regent of Meroe. Amanitore’s name is depicted as Merkare in hieroglyphics or Medu Neter (words of the gods); she ruled the area we know today as Gebel Barkal located in the Sudan between the Nile and Atbara rivers. The exact time of her birth is unknown, but we do know it was before the first century BCE. Her reign as Candace begin in the first century BCE, she was known as a great builder/restorer of pyramids, a builder of reservoirs and helped to usher in a time of great prosperity for Meroe. Her restoration of temples came after they were destroyed by Romans in conflict. The most well-known temples she built was the temples of Amun at Naqa and Amara.
During Amanitore’s reign, over two-hundred temples and pyramids were built, which reflects the wealth the Kingdom of Meroe possessed. She oversaw the importation of goods and the exportation of textiles, gold, jewels and exotic animals. Her reign lasted from 1 BCE until 20 CE. She was succeeded by the Candace Amanitaraqide who helped complete the building and expansion of Meroe until 50 CE. Her name is included in several Nubian and Egyptian texts, it is even said that she is the Candace that is mentioned in Acts 8:26-40 of the Bible. During her time as Candace she not only built up the nation, she was a true Warrior Queen that led her army into battle. One thing that is important about Amanitore for our current culture is her image. She was not built or depicted as a European woman, she was full figured with wide hips; this is important because it represents an African standard of Beauty. After her death she was buried within her own temple and recognized as a true ruler of Meroe. I love to tell the stories of African Queens, and I am very fond of the stories of the Candaces. It reminds us that Europeans did not give or inspire African culture, they stole and destroyed African culture. Black women have held positions of rulership before any European Kingdom was built. To the great Warrior Candace Amanitore, we proudly stand on your shoulders.
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