Guinea Bissau Substates

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Substate of the Republic of Guinea Bissau
(Female suffrage 1973/77) A former Portuguese colony became independent in 1974

Also see Guinea Bissau Heads of State and Guinea Bissau Ministers

Bijagos Islands
A matriarchal society, where Queens succeeded Queens and the religious leaders were women too.

Island of Orango Grande

Around 1830-1874/1879 Reigning Okinka Aurelia Correia
Her kinship relations with ruling Bijago lineages and her supposedly “queenly” status led contemporary chroniclers to put her in league of her own. The sources refer to her as "Queen", but the position of Monarch was reserved for men. But it seems that she reigned in the absence of as a male ruler by the virtue of her office as Okina, the Pristess charged with the protection of the ancestral spirits, and as such she was supported in her reign by a Council of Elders. Some have suggested that she was of Pepel descent, captured in a Bijago raid and raised on Orango. A colonial reference suggests that her mother was an Okinka from Orango and her father was a Cape Verdean trader.  She married Governor Caetano Jose Nozolin.

Circa 1910-30 Reiging Okinka Pampa Kanyimpa
Also known as Kanjimpa, she succeeded her father Bankajapa, abolished slavery, extended women’s rights, and brought reunification to the Orango Grande islands. She was greatly loved by the Bijagos and respected by the Portuguese colonisers during the war of pacification to subjugate the native tribes. It was she who reached a peace agreement. (d. 1930).

1930-? Reigning Okina Imaguey
A descendant of Pampa Kanyimpa, who reigned from 1910.

19.. Eugenia Andanga,

19.. Carlhota Jaquen Guen

19..Julia Comenpe
It was always the Baloberras, the women who speaks with spirits, whose task it was to choose the queen.

Island of Kanabak (Roxa)

Early 1900s Reigning Okinka Juliana
The rules of succession on the islands of Bubak, Rubane, Orango and Kanabak (Roxa) provide for it being assumed on a temporary basis by a woman. In some recorded cases women, whether the eldest daughters of an Olono who left no male siblings, or widows, assumed their role as “queens” by succession or election. If no suitable male successor could be found from within the ruling matrilineage after the death of an olono, an “okinka” or priestess already charged with the protection of the ancestral spirits of the ruling matriclan could function as regent.

Until 1920s Reigning Okinka Idiana Ibop of the island of Kanabak (Roxa)
Elected queen in succession to her husband and tenaciously fought the Portuguese until the mid 1920s.



Last update 27.04.09