Queen Kambasa

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Queen Kambasa of Bonny was a Nigerian ruler who was the first queen of Bonny and considered the first queen from the Niger Delta.

Kambasa was a successor of King Edimini, her father, while her grandfather, King Asimini, was a famous amanyanabo or ruler in Bonny. Asimini introduced the trade with Europeans in Bonny and is thought to have created Bonny's first royal line. Prior to Asimini, kingship in Bonny was given to the oldest man, a priest or very important person.

As a queen, kambasa was quite successful due in part to the inherited structure she and her father were handed. King Asimini who introduced trade with the Europeans controlled the trade with the Europeans and the chiefs traded through his influence. During the time of his influence, Bonny depended on goods from up the Imo River in Ndoki and Ogoni land. When Kambass grew up, she was betrothed to Opoli of Azuogu from Ndokiland, partly to enhance the trade relationship between Ndoki and Bonny. While married, Kambasa was fairly liberated in disposition, and she took to a lover, Biriye. Before her father's death, she returned to Bonny to take care of him. After his death, she was crowned king when she seized the symbol of kingship, the ivory tusk and was able to make the king makers crown her. Demonstrating her knowledge of survival politics, she surrounded herself with loyal palace guards

As queen, she created a military unit and served as an arts patron. She is also associated with the cult of the war god, Ikuba.

Some historians have disputed her role as a queen mostly because it is an anomaly to have a queen during her period.


  • Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa. Nigerian Women in Historical Perspective.