During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Portuguese were involved in several wars in Angola. One such war was against the Dutch and their allies in the kingdoms of Ndongo and Kongo. On October 29, 1647, the Battle of Kombi would be one significant battle in this ongoing war.
Prior to this, the Dutch managed to halt Portuguese expansion and take Angola in 1641. As a sign of appreciation and goodwill, the kingdoms of Kongo and Ndongo formed alliances with the Dutch in a bid to run Portugal out of the region entirely. While the alliance ran the Portuguese further and further away, eventually the Dutch-backed off on the pursuit.
The Battle of Kombi
With wars on different fronts, the Dutch decided that the war with England was the most important and pulled back support and resources on the war against Portugal. Queen Njinga of Ndongo opted to keep up the fight against Portugal in 1643. The Dutch would return to the war in 1646 after Queen Njinga’s forces took severe losses.
On October 29, 1647, the allied Ndongo, Dutch, and Kongo forces of over 8,000 men manage to halt the Portuguese force of over 30,000 near Masangano in Angola. The death toll saw around 3,000 of the Portuguese forces wiped out or injured. The Battle of Kombi was a victory for the allied Ndongo-Kongo-Dutch forces.
Feeling confident with the victory, the alliance under Queen Njinga pressed their momentum. The targets are several Portuguese forts in Angola, Massangano, Ambaca, and Muxima. While the Dutch-Kongo-Ndongo alliance had several times the numbers of the Portuguese, they didn’t have the massive firepower for assaults on forts.
Eventually, in 1648, the attacks were called off and Queen Njinga retreated. Elsewhere, the Dutch would lose important economic footholds to the Portuguese–particularly Brazil.