I first came across these phenomenal warriors when researching pre-colonial matriarchal societies in West Africa. Ordered to protect the Oba ( King) in the area of Yorubaland which is now Benin, and under the rule of Queen Idia, the Kings mother, these all female armies are thought to have consisted of up to 600 women from the 1760's to the 1840's when they were taken out by French Colonial rule.
I have been dumbfounded by the beauty of the Benin Bronze of Queen Idia in the British Museum so many times, and will always be fascinated by this part of history, partly because of the mind-blowing art that it produced, and mainly because I love the idea of matriarchy in any form!
The Dahomey have been getting a lot of shine recently, as it has been revealed that the Dora Milaje fictional army in Black Panther were based around them. Time has written a great piece on this- read more here: http://time.com/5171219/black-panther-women-true-history/
As the article states, the existence of Queen Idia, and the Dahomey Amazons prove that women were not ruling in a negative emasculating way that is often the narrative of matriarchal societies, but rather that , "Africans had produced a way of life where men were secure enough to let women advance as far as their talents would take them.”
Sounds like we could do with some of that in 2018.