For centuries in the matrilineal kingdom of Waalo, located in present-day Senegal and Gambia, Lingueres - a title given to royal women - were trained to run the kingdom, politically and militarily, in the Brak (king) and his male army’s absence.
Upon the death of her cousin in 1816, the training Linguere Fatim Yamar received would soon be put to great use with the assistance of her army of women warriors.
Once crowned Lingeer, or queen, Fatim ruled the kingdom alongside her husband. It was in 1820, when he and his male army were away on business, that the kingdom was attacked by their traitorous neighbors, dissident Moors.
They didn’t know Lingeer Fatim had an army ready for battle.
Though small in number, the Waalo warriors won the fight. And only at the battle’s end did they reveal they were women!
Embarrassed to be defeated by women, the Moors later returned with a vengeance - and bigger numbers. The warriors could not extinguish their fury a second time.
Instead of submitting to invaders, legend has it, the Waalo women set themselves aflame, loyal to their kingdom to the very end. But their story doesn’t end there.
Queen Fatim’s daughter grew up to become a fierce Lingeer - and under her rule, she and her army of women Waalo warriors fought colonizers until 1860 - to the very end.