In no particular order, these are top ten “greatest” African rulers of all time, they are also the Most Influential Ancient African Rulers Of All Time.
10. Shaka kaSenzangakhona (c. 1787 – c. 22 September 1828)
Shaka Zulu is said to be one of the greatest military leaders in African history, and perhaps all of history. There is controversy around the brutality of his methods, and the strictness with which he trained his troops, but in many ways, he improved warfare methods forever. His efforts to unify the Zulu Kingdom mark him as one of the greatest Zulu kings. He is most widely recognized as participating in a military revolution of sorts with regards to weapons and tactics used by Zulu warriors, particularly their effective use of special spears and shields during combat.
9. King Scorpion II (c. 3100 BC)
The so-called Scorpion King ruled Upper Egypt prior to Egypt unification. Although a man, his name may be derived from that of the scorpion goddess Serket. He is a likely father of Narmer, the first pharaoh of a unified Egypt, and founder of Egypt’s First Dynasty. He has been the subject of televised documentaries and has recently received widespread attention due to an adapted version of his life that started within The Mummy series, but has spun off into a three film series called The Scorpion King.
8. Askia the Great (ca. 1443 – 1538)
Askia is one of only a handful of African rulers known as “the Great”. He reigned over Songhai as its emperor during its height of power and supported scholars working in Timbuktu. Songhai flourished as the political, military, and culture super-state in Western Africa during his reign, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Niger River. His tomb is currently a world heritage site and books produced by his scholars are critical resources for historians of Medieval Africa.
7. Nefertiti (ca. 1370 BC – ca. 1330 BC)
Nefertiti and her husband Pharaoh Akhenaten unarguably are among the most notable pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Her and her husband’s historic claim to fame, however, concerns a religious revolution that they undertook in which they emphasized monotheistic worship of the sun disk, Aten.
She may have even ruled in her own right as Neferneferuaten after her husband’s death and before the rise of Tutankhamun , probably Egypt’s most famous pharaoh, but whose historic significance stems from rejecting Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s monotheism in favor of a restoration of polytheism.
6. Haile Selassie I (23 July 1892 – 27 August 1975)
Haile selassie reigned as conquering lion of the tribe of judah, elect of god, and emperor of ethiopia from 2 november 1930 to twelve september 1974, with a brief, but significant break during his reign because of an italian invasion that positioned italy’s king as ethiopia’s emperor from 9 may 1936 to 5 may 1941.
Although Hailie Selassie was ultimately deposed and is thus the last official Emperor of Ethiopia, he is still This man who claimed descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba is today revered by anywhere from 200,000 to 800,000 members of the Rastafari movement as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate
5. Ramesses II the Great (c. 1303 BC – July or August 1213 BC)
Ramesses is also one of the few African-born rulers who turned out to be great, councidentally as with Askia he was also known as “the Great”. He reigned as Egypt’s pharaoh from 1279 to 1213 BC. During his time on the throne, he fought the epic Battle of Kadesh (c. 1274) against the Hittite Empire. Although both sides claimed victory, the battle is well-known from Ramesses’s account of his campaign. In addition to his military fame, Ramesses also undertook major building programs, particularly at Abu Simbel, in addition to the creation of a colossal statue of him.
4. Thutmose III
Known as “the Napoleon of Egypt”,This pharaoh reigned prior to Ramesses from 1479 to 1425 BCE. Thutmose’s greatest claim to fame is significant to military, history and eschatology. Thutmose’s victory at the Battle of Megiddo (15th century BC), resulted in perhaps ancient Egypt’s greatest expanse during its imperial phase.
3. Hatshepsut (1508–1458 BC)
Her name means “Foremost of Noble Ladies” and she ranks alongside Nefertiti and Cleopatra as Egypt’s three most important queens ever. She reigned longer than any indigenous female ruler of Egypt and laid the foundations for the successful Egyptian state that her co-ruler and successor Thutmose III inherited.
2. Mansa Musa I (c. 1280 – c. 1337)
A century before Songhai claimed Timbuktu as its key city, Mali was the dominant empire of which Timbuktu belong. The most important leader of Mali was Mansa Musa. He ruled as King of Kings or Emperor of the Malian Empire, Emir of Melle, Lord of the Mines of Wangara, and Conqueror of Ghanat. He is known for his great wealth, as especially seen during his pilgrimage to Mecca, and his influence on Timbuktu. He is one of the few non-Egyptian African leaders to be a playable character in the Civilization video game series.
1. Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator the Great (Late 69 BC – 12 August 30 BC)
Cleopatra is the most notable African ruler to be named “the Great” and a major aspect of modern popular culture. Her life has been depicted in many plays and films produced in Hollywood despite her being an Egyptian pharaoh. Unlike the other women on this list, her descent comes from the Greco-Macedonian armies of Alexander the Great that captured Egypt from the Persian Empire nearly three centuries before her birth. Her personality and ambition are legendary. ., even though she ultimately failed and her death meant the end of the Egypt of the Pharaohs, her intelligence and cunning in a male-dominated world remain admirable.
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