Dahia al-Kahina, in what’s now Algeria, at the top of the seventh century, was extraordinarily active within the North African resistance to the Arab invasions of Africa. Round the year 690, she took personal command of the African armies. Under her vigilant direction and leadership, the Arab legions were forced to retreat, regroup, and reassess their strategy and tactics for the invasion of North Africa. The Arabs were bent occupying Africa, however, and because the military situation of the Africans deteriorated, the determined Kahina instituted a scorched earth policy of destruction. Her posture was that she would rather see the destruction of the land instead of ceding it to invaders. Sadly, the consequences of the devastation can still be seen today within the North African countryside.
Based on tradition, Dahia al-Kahina eventually took her own life instead of accepting defeat at the hands of the Arabs. Her sons went on to assist lead the Moorish invasion of Spain. But with the death of this bold African woman ended what was perhaps the first determined and galvanizing chapter within the effort to preserve Africa for the Africans.