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Battle of Kombi
Part of Dutch-Portuguese War
DateOctober 29, 1647
LocationMasangano, Angola
Result Decisive Ndongo-Matamba/Dutch allied victory
 Dutch Republic
Kingdom of Ndongo
Portugal Portuguese Empire
8,000 Njinga Archers
400 Dutch soldiers
30,000 African Archers
600 Portuguese Soldiers
Casualties and losses
Unknown 3,000 killed or wounded

The Battle of Kombi was a decisive battle in the war between Ndongo-Matamba and Portugal during the Dutch period of Angolan history.


When the Dutch forces occupied Luanda in 1641, capital of the Portuguese colony of Angola, the neighboring countries of Kongo and Ndongo had welcomed them, sending embassies and receiving promises of assistance in driving Portuguese out of the colony and central Africa. However, following the initial Dutch success, the Portuguese had fallen back into their interior positions, first at Bengo, where they were driven out, and then to the fortress of Massangano. In 1643, deciding it was not worthwhile to continue the war with Portugal, the Dutch signed a truce agreement which effectively left Portugal in command of the interior presidios. However, the kingdom of Ndongo, longtime enemy of Portuguese ambitions, then led by Queen Njinga fought on against the Portuguese without Dutch help. Following her defeat at Kavanga in 1646, however, the situation was sufficiently grave that the Dutch commander decided to commit forces to her support.

Thus, in 1647 a combined force from Kongo, Njinga's army and a Dutch contingent of over 8,000 men met the Portuguese and their African allies with a field army of some 30,000 men somewhere north of Masangano (the battlefield has not yet been located). The Portuguese were routed by the Kongo-Ndongo-Dutch alliance and over 3,000 Portuguese and their African allies were killed or wounded.[1]

As a result of this victory, Njinga and her army was able to lay siege to three of the Portuguese presidios in Angola, Ambaca, Masangano and Muxima. These sieges were not successful, largely because neither she nor her Dutch allies possessed sufficient artillery to effect an attack. When the forces of Salvador de Sá e Benevides arrived in 1648, Njinga was forced to abandon the siege and return to her headquarters in Matamba.[2]


  • António Oliveira de Cadornega, História geral das guerras angolanas (1680) 3 vols. Lisbon: Agencia geral do Ultramar, 1940-42 (reprinted 1972)
  • Anonymous, "Extract van seekeren brief, gheschreven uyt Loando..." in S. P. L'Honoré Naber, "Nota van Pieter Moortamer over het gewest Angola..." Bijdragen en Medeelingen van het Historisch Genootschap 54 (1933): 41-42.


  1. Linda Heywood and John Thornton, Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of the Americas, 1585-1665 (London and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 151.
  2. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, p. 152.

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