A History of West Central Africa to 1850 1107127157, 9781107127159

Based on substantial new research from primary sources and archives, this accessible interpretative history of West Cent

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Table of contents :
Contents
Maps
Preface
Introduction
1 The Development of States in West Central Africa to 1540
2 The Struggle for Ambundu and the Founding of Angola
3 Ndongo and Portugal at War
4 Queen Njinga’s Struggle for Ndongo
5 The Thirty Years War Comes to Central Africa
6 The Emergence of Lunda
7 The Weight of Lunda on the West
8 Culmination: Lunda, Luba, and the Ovimbundu
Epilogue
Index
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A History of West Central Africa to 1850

Based on substantial new research from primary sources and archives, this accessible interpretative history of West Central Africa from earliest times to 1852 gives comprehensive and in-depth coverage of the region. With equal focus given to both internal histories or interstate interactions and external dynamics and relationships, this study represents an original approach to regional histories which goes beyond the existing scholarship on the area. By contextualizing and expanding its range, to include treatment of the Portuguese colony of Angola, John K. Thornton provides new understandings of significant events, people, and interregional interactions which aid the grounding of the history of West Central Africa within a broader context. A valuable resource to students and scholars of African history.

John K. Thornton is Professor of History at Boston University, where he is a specialist in the history of pre-colonial Africa and the African diaspora. He is the author of numerous books, including Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World (1992, 2nd edition 1998), The Kongolese Saint Anthony (1998), Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles and the Foundation of the Americas (2007, co-authored with Linda Heywood), which was awarded the Herskovits Prize by the African Studies Association, and A Cultural History of the Atlantic World (2012), which was awarded the World History Association Book Prize.

New Approaches to African History Series Editor Martin Klein, University of Toronto Editorial Advisors William Beinart, University of Oxford Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University William Freund, University of KwaZulu-Natal Sandra E. Greene, Cornell University Ray Kea, University of California, Riverside David Newbury, Smith College New Approaches to African History is designed to introduce students to current findings and new ideas in African history. Although each book treats a particular case and is able to stand alone, the format allows the studies to be used as modules in general courses on African history and world history. The cases represent a wide range of topics. Each volume summarizes the state of knowledge on a particular subject for a student who is new to the field. However, the aim is not simply to present views of the literature but also to introduce debates on historiographical or substantive issues, and individual studies may argue for a particular point of view. The aim of the series is to stimulate debate and to challenge students and general readers. The series is not committed to any particular school of thought. Other Books in the Series Africa since 1940 by Frederick Cooper Muslim Societies in African History by David Robinson Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora by Michael Gomez The African City: A History by William Freund Warfare in Independent Africa by William Reno Warfare in African History by Richard J. Reid Foreign Intervention in Africa by Elizabeth Schmidt Slaving and Slavery in African History by Sean Stilwell Democracy in Africa by Nic Cheeseman Women in Twentieth-Century Africa by Iris Berger A History of African Popular Culture by Karin Barber Human Rights in Africa by Bonny Ibawoh Africa since 1940, Second Edition by Frederick Cooper Africa and the Indian Ocean World from Early Times to Circa 1900 by Gwyn Campbell 15. A History of West Central Africa to 1850 by John K. Thornton 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

A History of West Central Africa to 1850

John K. Thornton Boston University

University Printing House, Cambridge cb2 8bs, United Kingdom One Liberty Plaza, 20th Floor, New York, ny 10006, USA 477 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, vic 3207, Australia 314–321, 3rd Floor, Plot 3, Splendor Forum, Jasola District Centre, New Delhi – 110025, India 79 Anson Road, #06–04/06, Singapore 079906 Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge. It furthers the University’s mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence. www.cambridge.org Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9781107127159 doi: 10.1017/9781316411568 © John K. Thornton 2020 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press. First published 2020 Printed in the United Kingdom by TJ International Ltd, Padstow Cornwall A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data names: Thornton, John K. (John Kelly), 1949– author. title: A history of West Central Africa to 1850 / John K. Thornton. other titles: New approaches to African history. description: Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2020. | Series: New approaches to African history | Includes index. identifiers: lccn 2019042476 (print) | lccn 2019042477 (ebook) | isbn 9781107127159 (hardback) | isbn 9781107565937 (paperback) | isbn 9781316411568 (ebook) subjects: lcsh: Africa, Sub-Saharan – History – To 1884. | Africa, Central – History – To 1884. classification: lcc dt352.65 .t56 2020 (print) | lcc dt352.65 (ebook) | ddc 967.02–dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019042476 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019042477 isbn 978-1-107-12715-9 Hardback isbn 978-1-107-56593-7 Paperback Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

Contents

list of maps preface Introduction

page vi xv 1

1

The Development of States in West Central Africa to 1540

16

2

The Struggle for Ambundu and the Founding of Angola

56

3

Ndongo and Portugal at War

89

4

Queen Njinga’s Struggle for Ndongo

123

5

The Thirty Years War Comes to Central Africa

162

6

The Emergence of Lunda

217

7

The Weight of Lunda on the West

267

8

Culmination: Lunda, Luba, and the Ovimbundu

312

Epilogue

351 index

354

v

Maps

1.

Peopling and Early State Formation

2.

Economic Centers

3.

Situation 1550

4.

Situation 1650

5.

Expansion of the Lunda Empire

6.

Situation 1750

7.

Situation 1850

vi

page vii viii ix x xi xii xiii

200

300 miles

Cu

100

500 km

go

ale gu

n ba

Lu n

Sakuru

ng

C hikapa

C uando

o

L u bilash

1. Peopling and Early State Formation

3

an g Kw

0

A N O C E an

400

i

Cu

300

Catum b e lla

o

ilu Kw

200

alo mb o

B

bu ge

100

I C N T A T L Kwan a z

ba

Cuvo

kisi In

la Luka

m Wa

B eng o

K asa

4

ba Lual a

D and e

2

1

Lake Bangwela

Lake Mweru

Lake Victoria

Feti la Chuya

3

Lines of Bantu expansion

Upemba Depression

Malebo Pool

2

4

Lake Mai-Ndombe

1

Linguistic Innovation Centers

Lake Kisale

Lukus a

ia

0

go

disi Mbi

Co n

Lefi n i

Kasai

SAGHA CORRIDOR

Lulu a N kala ny i

Alim a

an

Kun ene

A nz

Zambezi

Lake T a

vii

A N O C E

300 miles

ba

200

Cu

100

500 km

GO AN O go

an

400

mb o

o

Cu

300

B Catum b e lla

a lo

Kwan a z

la Luka

PENDE

K asa i

ilu Kw

200

I C N T A T L

Cuvo

B eng o

D and e

KONGO

OKANGA

a mb Wa Lu n

KUBA

Sakuru

ng o

C hikapa ale gu

an g Kw

2. Economic Centers

C uando

bu ge

100

Co n

disi Mbi

go

MAKOKO

yi

LUNDA

LUBA

Lake Kisale

Lake Mweru

Lake Bangwela

Lukus a

Lake Victoria

Copper production

Textile belt

ia

0

0

L

Le f i ni

Kasai

Alim a

Lulu a

viii kisi In

an

Kun ene

ba Lual a

Nkalan

A nz

Zambezi

Lake T a

n

L u bilash

200

400

A N O C E

300

500 km

300 miles

a lo

mb o

Catum b e lla

B

100

Kwanza

Cu

200

C T I N A T L

Benguela Cuvo

Songo?

go

Ndongo

Lu kal a

Kisama

Suku

Matamba

Nsonso

D and e Dembos Be n go

kisi In

o

K asa i

ale gu

Lu n

C uando

C hikapa

Sakuru

ng o

3. Situation 1550

an g Kw an

100

Kongo

disi Mbi

e

Cu

0

u ng Vu go

Mw

ilu Kw

0

Ngoyo

Kakong

Ma ko k Seven Kingdom s Kongo dia Nla of za

o

Okan go

L efini

Lulu a

Alim a

Kasai

L

n

Co

o ng oa a mb Wa bu ge

Kun ene

A ji Lake Kisale

Lake Mweru

Lake Bangwela

Lukus a

an

yi

Nkalan

n

u em nz

Zambezi

Lake T a

ia

ba Lual a

n ba

o

ix

L u bilash

Za mbez i

Lake Victoria

0

200

500 km

300 miles

a lo

m

Wambu

bella konda Ka C a t u m

mb o

Be

Haku

Kwan a z

Kabeso

Sele Rimba

L

Kitatu

go

S

K asa i

Muzumbo a Kalunga

Songo

NdongoMatamba

ba

400

A N O C E Cu

300

Dembos

g ola

B

Kilenges

Benguela

Kisama

An

B eng o

D and e

KONGO

C uvo

be

100

n

disi Mbi

P

e an

200

I C N T A T L nj Cu

100

Ngoyo

go

Fungunu

a om rib Ng

Nimi a Maya

Bozanga

sa Ka

Sakuru

Lu

Karula

Kuba? (Songo)

ng o

ale gu

4. Situation 1650

C uando

u eb ng

0

go

Kakong

an

o

la Lu ka

o lo

Lo

Makoko

Le f i ni

kisi In go an

ib

Ya k a Kw

Tam bo

Co

Ibar

C hikapa

Alim a

de en

Kun ene

a mb Wa Kasai

A lu

Lunda

Donge? Lake Kisale

Lake Mweru

Lake Bangwela

Luku s a

ni

Ng ala ng i

Lulu a Nkalan yi

x i Kw go on

za

Zambezi

n Lake T a a

ba Lual a

n

Lu bilash

Za mbezi

Lake Victoria

200

200

300

400

A N O C E

100

500 km

300 miles

Catum b e lla

mb o

go

Holo

Matamba

Cu

100

a lo

Cuvo B

o

e

Sakuru

kw

Lu n

ka Songo

C uando

a

Kola

and

Kosa

Luyana

Lovale ng o

Musumba

Kanyok

Nk a lany i

Kanongesh

1795

1720

Mai

Mai Munene

Kuba

Kapende ka Mulemba1790 ka Mulemba

ale gu

n ba

5. Expansion of the Lunda Empire

V iye

Songo

1720

Kamdumba

o

1767

A

Kumbana

1730

Mwata Kumbana

Kasongo

an

0

a Luka l Kwan a z

ANGOLA

B eng o

D and e

K asa i

Bolia

Western Luba Pende

1750

Nsonso S u k u Hungu

KONGO Kongo dia Nlaza

Makoko

Ngelibuma

nje Cu

0

go

disi Mbi

Co n

Le f i ni

Lulu a

Alim a

sa d bu ge

Kun ene

I C N T A T L Ka lu n

kw

kisi In

ka C hikapa

Ya Kasai

A mb a

an g Kw

Ma

Co

Kazembe

1740

ba Lual a

Zambezi

Wa Lake Kisale

Lake Mweru

Lake Bangwela

Lukus a

an

h

ilu Kw

nz

Lu bilas

Lake T a ia

xi

Textile belt

Za mbez i

Lake Victoria

0

500 km

300 miles

Viye

ba

400

A N O C E Cu

200

Kilenje

K

u

Bo

go

o

K asa i

Ka

L u n d a

Muzumbu a Kalunga

a S o n go

Kasanje

mb

Bondo

lo Ho

MatambaNdongo

bo

Hanya

Wa mb u

o

Hungu

Sa m

300

lom bo

Gando

Ba

Haku

Kwan a z

Libolo

Cuvo la Che l

200

Kisama

W an

ka l a A n g Lu ola

B eng o

D and e

i Sumb du

100

C

i Mbid i s

Kongo

go on

An

Cu

100

I C N T A T L

Catumbella

yo So

nda alu M

0

Ngoyo

Kakon go

Nsundi

an g Kw

Mbailu ndu

Loango

Le f i ni

Makoko Ngiriboma

du

Mb wil a Kalundula

kisi In Ns on s

go Konia d a Nlaz

Lu

nda wa Ak

Kuba

Sakuru

ng o

Kasai

Bolia

Lulua Kanyok Nkalan yi

Alim a

a mb Wa ya

C hikapa

ale gu an

6. Situation 1750

C uando

u eb ng

Kun ene

Lake Kisale

Kazembe (Lunda)

Luba

ba Lual a

Ngala ngi

e nd Pe

Luyana

A Lake Mweru

Lake Bangwela

Luku s a

ni

Zambezi

xii ilu Kw

za

dwe

Kalun

n Lake T a a

tu ita

n

uela Beng

Lu bilash

Za mbezi

Lake Victoria

200

300

400

500 km

300 miles

Kisama

Kilenje

Be nguela

Haku

Kwan a z

o

Wambo S am

go

Banda

o

Suku

K asa i

Ambuela

a Songo

Kasanje

mb

Kakingi

Viye

Bo

Bondo

lo Ho

Matamba

du Hungu

OLA

Cu vo

Li b o l

ANG

GO

ba

200

N

B eng o

Mupinda

Catumbella

i

Dan de

ila Mbi d i s

O

Kongo dia Nlaza

Boma

Cu

100

A N O C E Cu

100

ut

K

o ng

Balombo

Mf

Co

Makoko

U

0

S.

Zinga

t An

on

Kakong o

Ngoyo

io

n di

N su

Loango

bi Sum bo

N

C hikapa

Lu n

A

ale gu an

ng o

7. Situation 1850

C uando

Bunda (Luchazi)

D

Sakuru

Kuba

bu ge

0

I C N T A T L Mbailu ndu

o sol Mu Selle

s

la Luk a

Ci

W an

Nsons o

Bolia

L u bilash

yi

e

Sebitwane

Lulu a

Le f i ni

Kasai

Alim a

kisi In

an g Kw

anj i

a mb Wa

Kun ene

L

Nga lan gi

de len Pe Ndul u

K

A

Z

LUBA

ba Lual a

Nkalan

ilu Kw

E

M

Lake Kisale

Lake Mweru

Lake Bangwela

B E

Lukus a

an

Zambezi

A nz

Kalundw

Lake T a ia

n

xiii

Za mbez i

Lake Victoria

Preface

I remember distinctly the day I saw Jan Vansina’s Kingdoms of the Savanna, in 1969 when I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. I had been interested in African history for some time, but had confined myself mostly to West Africa. Vansina’s book changed my mind, it offered the amazing swirl of Central Africa, and although I would not have a copy of my own for many more years, it was one of those books that I loved. Many years have elapsed since then, and in 2014, two years before Vansina passed away, I took up the task of writing my own general survey of Central African history, cajoled by Martin Klein to undertake the project. I had then been working for nearly forty years on the history of the region and had accumulated a vast store of documentation. I knew that these years of gathering material and archival visits in many countries needed to have an outlet, and I was persuaded that I should use all this store of material for my own version, or perhaps update, of Vansina’s classic. Vansina had written Kingdoms early in his career, and more as a side project among his many more detailed works or as an attempt to demonstrate that oral tradition could be used successfully to produce a regional history, as it was to be a fully researched presentation. Vansina’s research was extensive, but it was far from exhaustive even of published literature of the day. Even so, it became his best-known work, and a classic statement of the history of Central Africa. I was now

xv

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PREFACE

considerably further along in my own career, and I had a better chance at being more exhaustive. The 1970s, the decade in which I entered graduate school, was in many ways the “golden age” of pre-colonial African history. The pioneers of the 1960s had established the discipline and set some parameters, and a number of young historians like myself had taken up the challenge. Many Ph.D. projects, some supervised by Vansina, others simply inspired by him, sought to expand and deepen our understanding of the region, to flesh out, challenge, and expand what Vansina had begun. But the golden age ended by the 1980s, and aside from a few earlier projects that came to fruition or to print in the first years in the decade, the output of new analytical work on the history of pre-colonial African history, in West Central and more generally, declined precipitously. In some ways the publication of the pre-colonial volumes of the Cambridge History of Africa and the UNESCO General History of Africa, completed in the early 1980s, summed up what had been done, almost as a final report. A few of the historians of my generation held on and continued to push forward; but on the whole, this work was not as inspiring for the scholars entering African history after 1980. Sometimes years went by without a new Ph.D. in pre-colonial history being defended, and often it was a matter of only one or two. Journal output took on a similar decline, many issues of the Journal of African History, our flagship journal, were printed without any contributions on pre-colonial history. The reasons for this are multiple, and one could argue at length about it; for now it should just be regarded as a fact. And the ultimate result was that the project started by Vansina was not fully followed up, enriched, and carried by many hands into the future. This situation presented me with a dilemma as I thought about how to frame this book. It would not make sense to attempt a simple survey of the literature, as there had been little new literature since the general histories had been published. Beyond that, I had collected a substantial quantity of original material, manuscript and printed, that had not been fully explored by the 1980s, and that material would alter materially the lines of research that had already been opened, but also would allow the filling in of quite a number of blanks in the 1980s prospect of the field. What I realized I needed to do was essentially to reargue the history of the region, not necessarily overturning what had been done, and sometimes making few changes, but rather to start from scratch, so to speak, from the primary sources either of contemporary documentation or oral

PREFACE

tradition, and look at the whole again, region by region over the long period I chose. A second dilemma was to decide how best to write it up. One option was to make it an accessible and interesting interpretative history, focusing on the best stories and the best-developed analytical angles, making a big-picture analysis that might suit a general reading public or a textbook. But to do this would also leave out the unexplored regions, or areas for which my contribution might be only to correct chronology or add a few new events. This approach would require more source analysis, more argument shaping about minor details or potential interpretations, and that would add layers of difficult and frankly boring material for the general reader. My eventual solution was to try to find a middle ground between those two, attempting to find big themes and good stories and to push as much of the tedious argument and source criticism as possible into footnotes. In the end, I hope this book will be a framing resource, providing the basic historical–chronological outline of each of the countries within the larger region, to play with interregional issues that were often missed, to fill in blanks in this story where there was material to fill them with. While my goal is to be as comprehensive as possible, the scope and content of the various primary sources which I am using from archaeology, linguistics, oral tradition or written documents, sharply defines how much I am able to say about many of those societies in the zone. In the western end, there is a vast quantity of first-hand eyewitness documentation to assist the historian, and for those regions the coverage is both more detailed and more reliable, whatever might be said about bias in that record. The overwhelming bulk of the best written testimony has been from missionaries, and the cream of that stream are the letters, reports, and book-length descriptions that the Capuchin missionaries wrote between 1645 and 1720. Their work in turn was confined fairly much to the Kingdom of Kongo, their principal target, and to Queen Njinga’s combined kingdom of Ndongo-Matamba, and this book has favored those two regions in volume and nature of its coverage. The written record for most of the region east of the Kwango River, however, has a very slender documentary base, even at the end of the period (1852), and what we know is largely based on oral traditions recorded years, and often centuries after the events. As important as oral tradition has been – and indeed, one of Vansina’s purposes in Kingdoms of the Savana was a demonstration of what could be done with oral tradition –

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still the region’s history is knowable in a much more limited and less reliable way when one employs first-hand written documentation. Likewise the study of the areas south of the Kwanza River, while the subject of some thread of documentation, is still largely the domain of oral tradition, particularly the kingdoms of Viye and Mbailundu, for which there is the basis for conducting a model exercise in working with well-established oral tradition and written documentation to enrich both sources. In the course of research, I had the good fortune to gain access at the University of Washington to the papers of Gladwin Murray Childs, a missionary in this region in the early to middle twentieth century, who systematically collected oral traditions that were highly relevant to the reconstruction of these two kingdoms. Transcription summaries of these traditions, taken in the original Umbundu, have been invaluable in that section. This documentation imbalance is reflected in the book itself, as readers will see. The best-quality written materials are highly concentrated in the period 1580–1710, and I have not resisted the temptation to use those fully to tell a history that can be told only with the benefit of eyewitness testimony. While the Portuguese and Angolan archives have abundant material for the later periods, their scope is largely concerned with the affairs of the twin colonies of Angola and Benguela, and even there mostly with administrative matters. While still of value in understanding the societies outside the scope of their primary concern (the areas controlled by the Portuguese colony), the light they shed the surrounding African communities is intermittent and limited. Oral traditions, in spite of their ability to provide important though mostly political information on regions without their own written records, or at least the written observations of contemporary foreigners, still provide pose problems. Vansina’s initial enthusiasm for oral tradition to provide a straightforward record of the past waned as the real problems of the source emerged. In particular, that the central problem of oral tradition is not in locating or reconstructing a text; nor is it in remembering or forgetting information passed on from one generation to the next. Rather, it is that oral traditions were recalled and transmitted for practical reasons, typically to record rights and powers. But scholars had to recognize that because they had real-life implications they were especially prone to political manipulation. My own research in Kongo illustrates the problem well, because Kongo has both an independent stream of observer testimony and frequent recordings of tradition at specific times. Thus, we have

PREFACE

documents about the sixteenth century there, but also records of the traditions about the sixteenth century as they were left in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The disconnect between these versions of traditions demonstrates quite clearly (as the text to follow will show) how tradition came to be manipulated several times along the way. We can check these manipulations for Kongo; but for other areas, for which traditions about events two or three centuries older cannot be checked, we must always have a higher level of doubt. I have not hesitated to use oral tradition, but I have signaled its use, and must regard statements based on traditions to be provisional and approximate rather than definitive. It is a significant challenge to acknowledge those many people who have assisted my journey to this project, since a journey of nearly forty years’ duration has more debts than I can mention here. For that reason, with a few special exceptions I thank those who have helped and encouraged me on this particular project. To those who have provided me with assistance at earlier times, or even more recently and I have not acknowledged, my apologies. I must thank my financial benefactors on this particular project, primarily Boston University, through the granting of leave to finish the work and a faculty assistance account along with occasional supplements to meet research costs. I must also acknowledge the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, and particularly its director Henry Louis Gates, for their substantial financial support, and to Professor Gates himself for being a party to my work. My greatest intellectual debt is to Linda Heywood, who was with me on this journey from almost the beginning, from our meeting in the archives in Lisbon when we were both researching our Ph.D.s, to the lengthy correspondence on all matters from theory to documentation, and our continued collaboration that includes a book, several articles, many consulting stints, and two daughters. Although I have published a good deal in my own name, there is nothing I have written in which Linda has not had a hand through conversation, discussion, or mutually assisted translation in many languages. I also owe much to my colleagues in that small but tight band of researchers on pre-colonial Angola, including especially (in no particular order), Wyatt MacGaffey, José Curto, Roquinaldo Ferreira, Mariana Candido, Cécile Fromont, Jessica Krug, Daniel Domingues da Silva, Kalle Kanonoja, Ariane Carvalho, and others. Among those no longer with us, I must mention Jan Vansina, François Bontinck, Joseph

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PREFACE

Roosen, and Joseph C. Miller, with whom I had many discussions and much correspondence. I am particularly appreciative of the willingness everyone within this group has had to share documentation, research problems and strategies, discussions of tough problems as well saving many hundreds of hours in the archives. Similarly, I want to thank my colleagues in the KongoKing research project at the Universities of Ghent and Paris, for our multi-year collaboration using linguistic, archaeological, and historical data to probe the origins and early history of Kongo. Particularly, I want to thank Bernard Clist, Pierre de Maret, Koen Bostoen, Hein Vanhee, Igor Matonda Sakala, Gilles-Maurice de Schryver, and Inge Brinkman. Beyond the group in Ghent, I owe a special thanks for commentary and discussion to Giacomo Macola, Annelike Vandamme, and David Gordon. I have benefited from my participation in the Angolan project for the elevation of Mbanza Kongo to a World Heritage Site, and especially acknowledge Rosa Cruz e Silva, former director of the National Archives of Angola and subsequently Angola’s Minister of Culture, for our long friendship, her intellectual encouragement, and support for me and so many other scholars working in Angolan history. Thanks to Tito Chiamba for translating Childe’s invaluable oral traditions from Umbundu to Portuguese for me. Also thanks to Alexandra Aparício, current director of the National Archives of Angola, and to the staff there for their support while doing archival research. Also in Angola I owe a special thanks to Father Gabriele Bortolami, whose own knowledge of the ethnography of modern Kikongospeaking people in Angola, his command of the older documentary tradition, resulting in a fine dissertation, was of infinite help to me. I remain grateful to him and his colleagues at the Capuchin monastery at Nossa Senhora da Fátima, for hosting Linda and me: and for his willingness to drive me through many of the former provinces of Kongo in 2011.

Introduction

For the purposes of this study I am defining West Central Africa largely by the watershed of the Congo River. If the region has a hydrographic center, it is the Lunda Plateau in eastern Angola, a relatively flat region at roughly 1,000 meters elevation, origin of many of the largest effluents of the Congo. This highland continues eastward until it reaches the great range of mountains that define the Rift Valley, and separate it from the Nile system. Because human geography is not always identical to natural geography, there are additions to this defined space. An important addition is the rivers that drain from the low mountains that define the western end of the Congo watershed that flow westward into the Atlantic Ocean which are included in the study because many political units had borders that straddled the two, such as the Kingdoms of Ndongo and Kasanje, which were regularly engaged on both sides of the Kwango watershed, or the Luyana Kingdom, which lay squarely in the Zambezi River watershed but was in substantial communication with the Lunda Empire. I have also left out the river systems that flow southward into the Congo from the Central African Republic, and the great northern bend of the Congo that they nourish, because there was very little engagement with them by areas lying south of that, or at least very little that is identified in the present historiography. The area includes the northern two-thirds of Angola, most of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the southern half of the Republic of Congo, and a small part of Zambia’s northern and western territory. It is distinctly tropical; the northern part lies almost on the Equator, its southern extension above the Tropic of Capricorn. However, this tropical climate is moderated by its elevation: aside from the very northern part of the Congo basin and the coastal lowlands along the Atlantic, the average elevation circles around 1,000 meters. 1

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West Central Africa was, if not the origin point of humanity, close to it. From the early hominid species that preceded our own to the emergence of modern humans around 200,000 years ago, West Central Africa was part of that transformation. As the Early Stone Age developed and humans started their remarkable advances in tool making, entering new habitats, developing artistic expression, and showing signs of planning and strategizing, people in West Central Africa were in the forefront. Those ancient people lived for millennia through foraging; essentially hunting wild animals and collecting wild plant foods. Their residential groups were small and they were nomadic, though usually within a relatively constrained area. They had much larger gatherings sporadically where neighboring groups would meet and choose mates from outside their small group, preserving some genetic diversity.1 We know relatively little about their lives, but we do know that their population did not grow by very much, if at all. In fact, low or non-existent population growth is characteristic of populations following that subsistence strategy. Of those earliest humans who occupied West Central Africa for thousands of years, however, very little trace remains. Virtually all the inhabitants of the present-day region descend from immigrants from farther north, usually called Bantu speakers, who entered the region about 1500 BCE. Originating in the border between Cameroon and Nigeria, these immigrants exploited a complex environment and cultivated tree crops as well as grains. They especially favored riverine or coastal environments, and were making pottery, though not yet producing iron tools and weapons, as they entered. A climatic shift that took place around 2000–1500 BCE opened up new stretches of their favored environment, especially along the valley of the Sangha River, and they began to move into what had once been – for their way of life – the uninviting rain forest, which was now available. Their settlements were constructed along the banks of rivers, and they moved southward until they emerged on the southern side of the Equatorial Rainforest.2

1

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A classic study of one well-preserved archaeological site is Creighton Gabel, Stone Age Hunters on the Kafue: The Gwisho A Site (Boston, 1965). Koen Bostoen, Bernard Clist, Charles Doumenge, et al., “Middle to Late Holocene Paleoclimatic Change and the Early Bantu Expansion in the Rain Forests of Western Central Africa,” Current Anthropology 56 (2015): 354–367 (with commentary 367–379); Rebecca Grollemund, Simon Bradford, Koen Bostoen et al., “Bantu Expansion Shows that Habitat Alters the Route and Space of Human Dispersals,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (US) 112 (2015): 13296–13301.

INTRODUCTION

Since rivers throughout the region flow uniformly from south to north to join the Congo River, the Bantu speakers’ movement was remarkably unilineal, proceeding southward up the rivers and staying close to their banks where rich aquatic, forest, and farming opportunities prevailed.3 Because of this peculiarity of geography, their expansion was remarkably rapid: they moved south of the forest by 500 BCE and then began the occupation of what is today the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.4 Although archaeological evidence shows that there was a longestablished human population in the area, their ancient subsistence strategy gave them a scattered population, which Bantu speakers replaced.5 Genetic studies show this replacement, since all the currently studied populations in West Central Africa today show no trace of the genetic signature of the older population. Only in areas south of this region did the genetic characteristics of the original population survive, either as independent groups or as a component of the larger gene-pool.6 The group of Bantu speakers who came into the savannas of West Central Africa were farmers, and they brought a different economy from the one that had prevailed since the time of human origins. Farming requires more work than foraging, and to minimize the effort, farming populations have tended to have

3

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Cesare de Filippo, Koen Bostoen, Mark Stoneking, et al., “Bringing Together Linguistic and Genetic Evidence to Test the Bantu Expansion,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279 (2012): 3256–3263. Much of the debate about specific routes of the larger Bantu Migration in literature concerns the timing and direction of the eastern division of the language, which does not concern us here, and so this straightforward account is justified: see models in Sen Li, Carina Schlebusch, and Mattias Jakobsson, “Genetic Variation Reveals Large Scale population Expansion and Migration during the Expansion of Bantu-Speaking Peoples,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281 (2014), https://royalsocietypublishing .org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2014.1448. Genetic research in West Central Africa is still too limited to be definitive, but as a parallel, consider the very low impact of European foragers on the genetic signature of modern Europeans, where a similar migration took place: Mark Lipson, Anna Szécsény-Nagy et al., “Parallel Paleogenomic Transects Reveal Complex Generic History of Early European Farmers,” Nature 551 (2017): 368–372. Pontus Skoglund, Jessica Thompson, Mary Prendergast, et al., “Reconstructing African Prehistoric Population Structure,” Cell 171 (2017): 59–71. This study covers the Bantu Migration as relates to Eastern and Southern Africa, but is likely to also apply to West Central. For a study confirming these results for modern population in West Central Africa using only modern DNA, see Sandra Beleza, L. Gusmão et al., “The Genetic Legacy of Western Bantu Migrations,” Human Genetics 117 (2005): 366–375.

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populations that expand.7 The work of farming is also highly productive, and therefore the potential for long-lasting and very substantial population growth to take place is given with such populations.8 In fact, simulation models propose that as few as 2,000 people came into West Central Africa, and then grew rapidly.9 However, even rapid population growth, by the standards of pioneering farmers, did not fill the land quickly, as they entered this region after about 500 BCE, a much shorter period than the thousands of years that farming populations had been living north of the rainforest, or in many other continents. Hence their population by 1000 CE or so was still very low by the standards of regions that had practiced agriculture for much longer periods of time. Indeed, low relative population density has been characteristic of West Central Africa throughout the period in this study. It is difficult to estimate populations with any certainty on archaeological evidence alone, but later data support the finding of low densities. There is scattered quantitative data in the seventeenth century, mostly from the Kingdom of Kongo, which, thanks to an early conversion to Christianity, had baptismal records. Although most records are lost, those that survive suggest that rural densities of population along the coast were often as low as four or five persons per square kilometer where scarce rainfall and infertile soil made supporting larger populations difficult.10 Inland, in better-watered 7

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Ricardo Andrés Guzman and Jacob Weisdorf, “The Neolithic Revolution from a Price-Theoretic Perspective,” Journal of Development Economics 96 (2011): 209–219, and the more empirical literature cited therein. See the example of the Indo-European expansion into Western Europe which offers a useful parallel: Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel et al., “Understanding the Rates of Expansion of the Farming System in Europe,” Journal of Archaeological Science 39 (2012): 531–546. Indeed, the time frame is too short for the “boom and bust” population expansion in Europe: Stephen Shennan, Sean Downey, et al., “Regional Population Collapse Followed Initial Agriculture Booms in Mid-Holocene Europe,” Nature Communications 4 (2013): 1–8. Li, Schlebusch and Jakobsson, “Genetic Variation.” John Thornton, “Demography and History in the Kingdom of Kongo, 1550–1750,” Journal of African History 18 (1977): 507–530. For an important critique of this work, see Igor Matonda Sakala, “Nouveau regards sur la démographie du bassin de l’Inkisi à la époque du royaume Kongo, XVI du XVIIIeme siècles,” Cahiers d’études africaines 56 (204) (2016): 845–873. Matonda Sakala (p. 850) mistakenly assumes that Francesco da Troyna made one voyage to Savanna and Kiowa instead of two, thus wrongly giving a much denser population for that region than I proposed. However, his critique (esp. pp. 852–860) for the Inkisi Valley, does suggest that higher densities prevailed there than my original work supposed.

INTRODUCTION

environments it was probably a good deal higher, but surely rarely over ten people per square kilometer.11 Other examples come from the late eighteenth century, where village counts make it possible to estimate population in the broad highland plains west of the Kwango River, in the Kingdoms of Viye and Mbailundu where rural population densities ran around four people per square kilometer.12 Low population density was just as visible in the lands of the Lunda Empire in the mid-nineteenth century. The Hungarian merchant Lázló Magyar visited the empire in the 1850s, when it was at its height, and estimated that in spite of its vast expanse, the country held scarcely a million souls, which would be a density of somewhere around three per square kilometer.13 The long-term participation in the Atlantic slave trade also restricted the capacity of countries to increase their populations where density was low even in the early years of the trade, like Kongo in the seventeenth century. The slave trade took some 7 million people, more than 4 million of whom left in the last century-and-a-half of the trade – a very large number by any standards, and, when considered along with the secondary depopulating effects of warfare, famine, and other byproducts of enslavement, this probably restricted or even reversed the natural tendency of populations to grow.14 While the impact of this loss 11

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It is possible to make a less specific estimation of the population of Kongo using a survey of annual baptisms produced by a Jesuit missionary in about 1624, IHGB (Instituto Histórico e Geografico Brasileiro) DL848,16, “Descrição das necessidades do reino do Congo sobre assuntos religiosos,” fol. 2. His estimates were that 40,000 people were baptized annually in six core provinces, yielding a total population of 1,140,000 if all children were baptized in the year of their birth. However, the same report notes that each large province-sized parish had only one curate, and if Capuchin activity later is a guide, no priest could visit all the areas in one year. Assuming a bi-annual visit, the population would be 655,000. This would allow an overall rural density of 6.6 people per square kilometer, probably closer to 5 on the coast and perhaps 8 in the interior. Linda Heywood and John Thornton, “African Fiscal Systems as Sources for Demographic History: The Case of Central Angola, 1799–1920,” Journal of African History 29 (1988): 213–228. Heywood and Thornton, “Fiscal Systems,” pp. 226–227. We are assuming that Lunda accounted for its population through a tax-collection system that was probably based on village counts (as Magyar used them for the Ovimbundu region); Joaquim Rodrigues Graça was able to construct a table of tributes during his diplomatic visit in 1847. Based in part on the estimate column in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (www .slavevoyages.org), but augmented by my belief that the absence of crucial records makes the period before 1700 subject to serious undercounting which has not been fully considered in the database. For the post 1701 period, Daniel Domingues da Silva, “The Atlantic Slave Trade from Angola: A Port-by-Port Estimate of Slaves Embarked, 1701–1867,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 46 (2013): 105–122.

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was in some ways offset by the specifics of the demand for adult males in particular, which left a larger female population behind who preserved their fertility, the export of people nevertheless had an impact. However, given what we know of the impact in Kongo and Angola, it is fairly clear that the population in the fifteenth century was still low.15 Low population densities made the region appear practically empty. Travelers often had to camp for a night or even several nights because there were no villages on their route. Empty country in Kongo left ample space for wild animals, both potential game animals such as antelopes, but also dangerous animals like lions and leopards.16 Similarly, travelers en route from Viye in Angola’s central highlands to the Lunda Empire in the nineteenth century often recorded camping along the way, often for several days, between settled areas.17 These rural regions with their low densities were studded with considerably more populated areas, which were typically around political capitals. The region around São Salvador in Kongo had a density of about fifty people per square kilometer in the early seventeenth century, ten times the rural average, and resulted in nearly 100,000 people being concentrated within a 10-kilometer radius of the capital, close to 20 percent of the kingdom’s total population.18 Mbanza Soyo also enjoyed densities near that level at the end of the eighteenth century, allowing its capital region to house some 30,000 people.19 As elsewhere, Musumba, 15

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On the impact on sex ratios, and its role in limiting population decline, see John Thornton, “The Slave Trade in Eighteenth-Century Angola: Effects on Demographic Structures,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 14 (1980): 417–427. John Thornton, The Kingdom of Kongo: Civil War and Transition, 1641–1718 (Madison, 1983), pp. 12–14. For example, see the route to the Lunda capital by the Angolan pombeiros in the early nineteenth century: Pedro João Baptista, “Lembrança de partida do Muata-Yamvo para a terra do Cazembe Caquinhata . . . 1810,” Annaes Marítimos e Coloniaes (henceforth AMC) 3 (1843):427, and 437–438 (English translation in Richard Burton, The Lands of Cazembe: Lacerda’s Journey to Cazembe in 1798 [London, 1873], pp. 221–222 and 438). IHGB DL848, 16 “Descrição das necessidades do reino do Congo sobre assuntos religiosos,” fol. 2. The number refers to the whole parish of São Salvador, 4,500 baptisms, and not just the city (on top of the mountain, Mongo dia Kongo) which held perhaps 30,000. The number 100,000 is derived by multiplying the population under age one by the multiplier established in Thornton, “Demography and History” as modified in John Thornton, “An Eighteenth Century Baptismal Register and the Demography of Manguenzo,” in Christopher Fyfe and David McMaster (eds.), African Historical Demography: Proceedings of a Seminar Held in the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh 29th and 30th April 1977 (Edinburgh, 1977), pp. 405–415. Thornton, “Demography and History,” p. 520.

INTRODUCTION

the capital region of Lunda, maintained a much higher density than the nearly empty countryside. However that may be, the historical record does show that towns were often the destination of people enslaved in military campaigns. In a letter of 1514, Kongo’s king, Afonso I, describes how people enslaved in a campaign in the Mbundu region were returned to the capital city rather than to elsewhere within the country, and one can thus imagine that repeated campaigns would swell the city considerably.20 Royal estates, worked by slave labor, surrounded São Salvador, for example, and slaves worked around Mbanza Soyo as well.21 It would hardly be surprising that in an area of low overall population density, people wishing to maximize surplus production, increase the availability of personal service, and provide military forces strong enough to defend their position would do so by concentrating population. It is likely therefore that town formation throughout the region took the form of concentrating population, not so much in tightly enclosed centers, as in cities elsewhere in the world, but rather in nodes of high population density, surrounding a relatively small area of elite dwellings. This is more or less precisely what the archaeological work at Kindoki, the site of Mbanza Nsundi in Kongo, demonstrated: a cluster of elite graves in the center of a fairly substantial region of dense settlement. Mbanza Mbata, the most important town in Kongo’s eastern region, not yet located archaeologically, was described by Antonio de Teruel in around 1650 as “not very large, because only some of these lords and their servants live here, and a few fidalgos and their families.”22 The smaller population of this important place might have been diminished by the existence of a very substantial town, located on a trading hub and not a political center at Ngongo Mbata, which has been studied by archaeologists.23 Like its political counterpart, it was more a population cluster than a densely settled center, and served as a staging area for the trade route that connected Luanda to the rich cloth-producing regions of the area south and east of the Malebo Pool. 20

21 22 23

Afonso I to Manuel I, 5 October 1514, in António Brásio (ed.), Monumenta Missionaria Africana, 1st series, 15 vols. (Lisbon, 1952–1988; henceforth MMA), 1: 312–314. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 19–20. BN Madrid, MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripcion narrativa,” p. 78. Bernard Clist, Pierre de Maret, and Koen Bostoen (eds.), Une archéologie des provinces septentrionales du royaume Kongo (Oxford, 2018), pp. 71–132.

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The longstanding practice of forcibly moving populations from sparsely inhabited rural regions to political centers helps to explain the capacity of West Central Africa to participate in the slave trade. The military and economic infrastructure to force people to move, and the legal distinctions to define their role in the new centers, also fit with the capacity to transfer them to foreigners for export. Afonso’s letter of 1514 is prime testimony on how that process took place from the very dawn of the external slave trade. He, or generals in the field, divided captives between those given to him and taken to the capital and those that he assigned to Portuguese mercenaries in his army as payment for their service, to be exported to sugarproducing estates on the island of São Tomé. Moving populations, especially given the general mobility of people, allowed towns to appear rapidly if the circumstances allowed. King Pedro IV of Kongo, rebuilding the abandoned São Salvador in 1705–1709, did so by gradually moving people loyal to him toward the city. While they appeared as armies under their commanders advancing on a target, in fact they constituted a steady population movement. Later kings or would-be kings followed a similar course during the long period of intermittent civil war that followed Pedro IV’s reign, where victors tended to bring their supporters with them when they reoccupied São Salvador, thus continuing the tradition of population clumps around important political centers. Likewise, the losers in these struggles were not just politically displaced, but their followers were often the ones exported. If the unsuccessful were from rural areas, the depletion of the male population in war might well have prevented them from making another attempt at capturing the capital.24 At a much later date, it also probably reflects one goal in Lunda’s westward expansion in the eighteenth century, in which tributaries were acquired, while also capturing slaves both to concentrate around their settlements and to sell to merchants working in the Atlantic slave trade. West Central Africa today is a poor region, usually considered among the more underdeveloped in the world. But it is wrong to assume that it was always poor and underdeveloped; in fact, West Central Africa was as prosperous and productive as any other large region in the world during the period before 1852. Population data show that West Central Africa did not lack resources to feed, clothe, and protect 24

John Thornton, “As guerras civeis no Congo e o tráfico de escravos: a história e a demografia de 1718 a 1844 revisitadas,” Estudos Afro-Asiaticos (Rio de Janeiro) 32 (1997): 55–74.

INTRODUCTION

its population from challenges of weather or disease. Precious data from a baptismal register of 1773 in Manguenzo, a Kongolese community living in the interior of Kakongo near the Atlantic coast, allow us to calculate vital rates for the region. Average life expectancy at birth of thirty years seems low, and infant mortality rates around 250 per thousand seems very high by today’s expectations, higher even than contemporary Angola, and less than half that of the developed world of today. But it was comparable to other parts of the world, including Western Europe, at the time where similar apparently dismal vital rates prevailed.25 These positive demographic results were not indicative of poverty, and were achieved in a disease-heavy tropical environment. Kongo was routinely visited by major epidemics of peste in the mid-seventeenth century, and probably all the time.26 But such deadly epidemics were common in the world as a whole in those days, and go a long way to explaining why human population growth was slow and average life expectancy low until the late nineteenth century. This population structure challenges the frequent statements of travelers and missionaries that the country was in “miserable poverty.” Rather, their impressions were formed not by the idea that widespread adequate human health was a good measure of the wealth of a society, but rather by the absence of many of the markers of prosperity that they – and, often, modern interpreters – hold. In those days, national wealth tended to be measured by concentration of wealth in the hands of the elite, and manifested in physical structures and artistic works that they commissioned, rather than by the total capacity of a society to provide for its members. Villages throughout the region were typically quite small, a few hundred residents at most. Low density often made it important to fence the villages around to prevent predatory animals from attacking villagers at night. They were mostly engaged in agriculture, though some villages engaged in specialized production as well, for example, in seventeenth-century Kongo, villages of salt producers, ceramic production at the village level, or metal workers blended this specialized production into an agricultural regime.27

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Thornton, “Eighteenth Century Baptismal Register”; Thornton, “Demography and History.” Thornton, “Demography and History,” p. 529; Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, p. 12. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 12–14.

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Villagers practiced long fallow cultivation (or “slash and burn”) meaning that they invested little time and energy in retaining soil fertility, but simply moved their fields when yields began to fall. When abandoned, the fields were left to go on a long fallow, perhaps several years or longer, before they were planted again, and by that time they had recovered their fertility.28 Fields were cleared by burning before the start of cultivation; hoed by groups of women, and planted. Kongo dominates our knowledge, but late eighteenth-century observers in Viye in the Central Highlands region of central Angola noted more or less the same regime there as was found in the classic observers of the seventeenth century.29 Their demography suggests that they were as good as any other society of the time in feeding themselves, and the agriculture, entrusted mostly to women, provided the backbone of that livelihood. It was efficient in terms of labor input and product output when compared with other world regions of the time. Capuchin missionaries in Kongo and Ndongo believed that the agricultural labor involved little intensive work but yielded “most abundantly.”30 Long fallow agriculture meant that villages moved frequently, a product of the absence of smallholding property, and in fact of the legal principle of landholding altogether. Rare descriptions of village life present a situation in which cultivation was done in common by the women of the village, and at harvest divided up among the cultivators by families, according to the number of people in each.31 Without having invested in fertilizer or other improvements, and using a long fallow

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Agricultural strategies are described in Giovanni Francesco da Roma, Breve Relatione del successo della missione de’ Frati minori Capuccini. . .al Regno del Congo (Rome, 1648), pp. 68–70; Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, Istorica Descrizione de tre regni Congo, Matamba ed Angola (Bassano, 1687), Book 1, no. 50–53 as well as in other Capuchin sources; Cavazzi had experience in several areas, and is thus broader in his knowledge. IHGB DL29, 17, Nepomuceno Correia, “Customes do Bihe,” fols. 7v–8. John Thornton, “Precolonial African Industry and the Atlantic Trade,” African Economic History 19 (1990–91): 1–19; and see the replies and my own response in the rest of the journal. The impressionistic character of the observers’ comments is not, of course, statistical in nature (there are no production statistics) but they do form a comparison with what they knew from their homes. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, p. 29. The precious primary source for this statement, virtually unique, is Dionigo Carli da Piacenza, Viaggio nel Regno de Congo (Venice, 1679), p. 98, and repeated in Dionigo Carli da Piacenza, Il Moro trasportato nel inclita città di Venetia (Bassano, 1687), p. 67.

INTRODUCTION

system in any case, no one had an interest in maintaining control over a single bounded piece of land. This absence of legal attachment to land also meant that moving families and whole villages would not face a legal impediment, as it might in Europe or other parts of the world where peasants owned or cultivated distinct pieces of private property. In Central Africa the elite was financed by taxation brought up by the state and its officials, though plantations whose whole product went to the elite existed in a few places as well, as we know they did around São Salvador and Soyo in Kongo.32 Income was anchored on the producers themselves (or, as anthropologists have called it, “wealth in people”), wherever they were, and not on control of one or another part of the process of production. High village mobility also meant that villagers did not invest very much in housing, so that their homes were small, built of perishable materials, and easily constructed and just as easily abandoned, making them appear flimsy and thus poor. Houses were normally constructed of simple frames of wood, covered with various sorts of natural fibers such as palm leaves or tough grasses. They could be constructed in a day or a few days with materials that were readily at hand, and without many tools. These houses, deliberately temporary, could easily be burned and rebuilt in a new location, which allowed the people to move their residence regularly – indeed, a whole village could move together, and most villages gradually drifted over years around a circumscribed but ample area. Houses, flimsy as they might appear, were strong enough to resist the rains, which could be very heavy, although they rarely needed to resist bitter cold of winter in temperate zones.33 Land lying at higher altitude, such as the mountain areas of eastern Kongo, or the core region of Ndongo and most of the regions in the Central Highlands, did have quite cold evenings, but even there, there were not the sub-freezing temperatures of Europe. In a tropical environment, housing made of natural materials such as grasses and leaves decays fairly rapidly, and also becomes a natural housing for various snakes, insects, and rodents. It was potentially important simply to burn a house when it became infested or rotting and rebuild elsewhere. Thus building strategies focused on creating quickly built, relatively impermanent buildings with the understanding that they would soon be replaced, rather than more substantial 32 33

Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 17–19. Da Roma, Breve Relatione, pp. 88–90.

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structures that would last a long time, but required considerable energy and material to construct. In addition to a solid base in agriculture, Central Africa had sizable industrial capacity. Perhaps the leading sector in this regard was textiles. Central African textile production relied on manipulating grasses and tree leaves and barks as their essential material. Bark, stripped carefully from trees in such a way as not to kill them, was then disaggregated into its fibrous vein system, and then those long fibers were woven into textiles. Likewise, tough grasses were worked or processed and then worked into fibers that were eventually woven into cloth. As important as bark cloth was for daily life, true luxury was also reflected in the fine textiles made for the elite, or even as money. The most important and luxurious cloth was made from the leaves of the raffia palm, which, properly worked, could produce fine cloth of high value.34 Weaving, which was largely men’s work, was done with very simple tools. Indeed, the weaver often simply gathered sticks of the requisite size and shape with a minimum of reshaping with a knife to create a frame on which all the weaving was done. The Portuguese had long admired Central African luxury cloth; European visitors to the area, such as Duarte Pacheco Pereira in 1506, compared the best Central African cloth to “velvet” and “velvetized satin” and swore that one could find “no better cloth in Italy.”35 This was for good reason: museum samples from the seventeenth century show amazingly tightly woven cloth for the high-quality varieties, though accounts also speak of tough cloth like burlap for bags and other products where durability counted.36 But as much as they admired Central African cloth, they had not been exporting it in any quantities to Europe or other markets outside Africa. Cloth was not just used for clothing, it was also used lavishly for wall hangings and carpets in houses, and so the demand for it went far beyond simply covering the body. Central African cloth was handmade, typically a peasant activity rather than an urbanized and concentrated industry as it might be in Europe. Tools were simple; an illustration of 34

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Production techniques specifically used in this zone are described in Filippo Pigafetta, Relatione del reame di Congo e delle circonvincini contrade (Rome, 1591), pp. 17–18. Duarte Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis, ed. Augusto Epiphânia de Silva Dias (Lisbon, 1905), Book 3, chap. 2, p. 134. Alisa Lagamma with Christine Giuntini, “Out of Kongo and into the Kunstkammer,” in Alisa Lagamma (ed.), Kongo: Power and Majesty (New Haven and London, 2015), pp. 130–159.

INTRODUCTION

the later seventeenth century shows a loom that required little more than a few sticks of wood, and the quality of the product was largely a result of the skill of the producer.37 Using these techniques, but working in rural areas and probably part time, the people of a broad band just south of the rainforest, and stretching from the Kingdom of Loango to the Kuba and Luba regions, passing through the regions just south of the Malebo Pool, produced vast quantities of textiles. A statistical glance comes from Pedro Saldanha’s 1611 record of annual customs payments of cloth arriving in Portuguese Angola from eastern Kongo: a total of over 100,000 meters of cloth for export to Angola and perhaps even abroad in a year. The data is partially confirmed by the accounts of the governor of Angola a bit earlier. But the incoming cloth trade to Luanda must only have been a fraction of the total.38 The 100,000 meters of cloth items that were imported to Luanda alone from the Seven Kingdoms area represented a level of production that rivals equivalent clothproducing regions in Europe or India. Loango, another major importer, also reexported up to 80,000 meters to Angola.39 There was a substantial interregional trade, with varying qualities and types circulating widely. Cloth made in Kongo’s eastern provinces and further east – for example, Songo on the Kasai River – also figured in the burial wrappings of the king of Loango who died in 1624, even though Loango was known as a textile-producing region itself. Cloth made in Loango and Kongo, and even in Ijebu (in today’s Nigeria) also wrapped the body of Queen Njinga in her burial in 1663. In the early modern world textiles were a fine-grained way of displaying wealth. People only slightly better off than their neighbors could show off that wealth by wearing slightly more expensive or esthetically appealing clothing. The quantity and perceived quality of textiles increased as one went up the prestige ladder, and it was relatively easy to determine by this factor alone who was richer or better positioned. 37

38

39

Found in the Parma codex studied by Cécile Fromont. The codex has since been broken up and the location of this particular painting is unknown, while this loom may have been to work cotton fibers in Angola (Cécile Fromont, personal communication, 2 July 2018), there are similar descriptions from Kongo: see Lagamma and Ciuntini, “Out of Kongo,” p. 135. Jan Vansina, “Raffia Cloth in West Central African, 1500–1800,” in Maureen Fennell Mazzaoui (ed.), Textiles: Production, Trade and Demand (Aldershot, 1998), pp. 263–281. Vansina, “Raffia Cloth,” pp. 279–280. Vansina does not call it an industry as the actual production was done over a wide area, presumably in the spare time of the rural inhabitants, much as took place in Europe under the “putting out” system.

13

14

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1850

Beyond the universal possibilities of clothing, Central Africans also used textiles as a visible demonstration of wealth in buildings. Given that the common style of housing was intended to be temporary and that even elite buildings might be moved regularly, having rich textile adornments that could be transported or would be accommodated in structures made of perishable materials served the same prestige-generating functions as more elaborate stone buildings might have done elsewhere. Textile wall hangings and carpets were the most noticeable feature in palaces, as visitors who met with elites noted. Textile products that were of the highest quality were worth a considerable amount of money, and some actually circulated as money, the makutas of Angola or libongos of Kongo. And of course, they had the advantage of being eminently portable, and thus in perfect accord with the general approach to housing. Enough of the high-end textile products have survived in collections outside Africa to assure us that the Central African producers were capable of high-quality products, if one uses a measurable quality such as density as an indication of value.40 The industrial zone of textile production did not monopolize production, and lower-quality cloth was produced for daily purposes everywhere in West Central Africa; the production of the great industrial belt was intended for higher purposes, such as elite use or as money. West Central Africa also hosted a substantial metallurgy. Iron was being mined and smelted to steel and other ferrous produces as early as the fifth century BCE, although it arrived later in the more southern zones.41 Iron works have been excavated along the south bank of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo dating to the sixth century CE, probably an end of the Kiova district that was noted, along with Kongo’s province of Nsundi, in eighteenth-century sources. Copper was also an important metal resource, and it was one of Kongo’s earliest exports when it came into contact with Europe. In West Central Africa copper was the equivalent of gold and silver in other areas of the world, a precious metal used for jewelry and other elite products. Mining regions could be found north of the Congo in Mindouli, in Bembe in the southern part of Kongo, and of course, the

40 41

Lagamma and Giuntini, “Out of Kongo.” Bernard Clist, “Our Iron Smelting 14C Dates from Central Africa: From a Plain Appointment to a Full Blown Relationship,” in Clist, de Maret, and Bostoen (eds.), Une archéologie, pp. 231–242.

INTRODUCTION

Copperbelt, a very extensive mining district along the “pedicle” between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Excavations determine its earliest working by the fifth century as well as the extensive circulation through trade routes, where it was traded in the form of manillas horseshoe-shaped ingots.42 The Copperbelt’s production covered much of the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo at least as far as the Kasai region.

42

For copper in general, Eugenia W. Herbert, Red Gold of Africa: Copper in Pre-colonial History and Culture (Madison, 2003); Nicolas Nikis and Louis Champion, “Fouilles, prospections, et prélevements archéobotaniques dans les zones cuprifrères de Mindouli et Boko-Songho en République du Congo,” Nyame Akuma 82 (2014): 73–83; Nicolas Nikis and T. de Putter, “Recherches géo-archéologiques dans les zones cuprifrère du Bassin du Niari en République du Congo,” Nyame Akuma 84 (2014): 142–153.

15

1

The Development of States in West Central Africa to 1540

When the first literate witnesses described West Central Africa, starting with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1483, it was dominated by stratified societies with centralized decision making, though on widely different scales, with several fairly large states such as Kongo and Ndongo, and a much larger number of smaller polities, of which perhaps a dozen were named by 1530. Jan Vansina has described such social arrangements as “societies” though elsewhere other terminologies, such as “social complexity” and in older literature “civilization,” also define them.1 For purposes of definition, I believe that one of the great and fundamental changes in human societies was the transition from small-scale egalitarian societies, which I have called elsewhere “free associations” or “egalitarian democracies,” to stratified societies with inequalities in decision making and income. Oftentimes this transformation is called “social complexity” with variations, and I will also employ this term, although with the proviso that societies that are described as complex may well include those that have high levels of specialization and exchange without engendering inequality; similarly such societies are often called heterarchies to distinguish them from hierarchies.2 However, the crucial transformation that concerns us here is not one anchored in specialization or efficiency, but in hierarchy and inequality: socially stratified societies whether on a larger or small scale, simple or complex in settlement pattern or organization.

1

2

16

Jan Vansina, How Societies are Born: Governance in West Central Africa before 1600 (Madison, 2004). Ann Stahl, “Political Economy Mosaics: Archaeology of the Last Two Millennia in Tropical Sub-Saharan Africa,” Annual Review of Anthroplogy 33 (2004): 145–172; J. Cameron Monroe, “Power and Agency in Pre-Colonial African States,” Annual Review of Anthropology 42 (2013): 17–35.

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1540

Stratified societies required a form of governance that supported their hierarchies which I am calling a “state” while recognizing that stratified societies are widely different in their size and the degree of inequality. For our purposes, a state is simply a polity with bounded territory, a permanent decision-making community, and the capacity to obtain revenue or service from its people and to adjudicate their disputes.3 While it is common to distinguish between smaller, less centralized entities as “chiefdoms” and reserve the term state for larger more centralized entities, I use the term “mini-state” (rather than “chiefdom”) to describe those operating on a smaller scale.4 Precisely when the transition from small-scale egalitarian societies with democratic decision making to stratified societies with decision making concentrated in the hands of a smaller subset of people took place is unclear, given the limited and scattered level of archaeological exploration in the region. At present, we can only say provisionally, based on limited archaeology, that the period of state and class formation seems to have started around 700 CE, a late date by world standards, where it was already underway by 3500 BCE in the Nile Valley, Mesopotamia, or China. Jan Vansina, making use of changing vocabulary that deployed terms referring to hierarchy and social complexity, defined a number of sites of innovations marking the appearance of those traits. Assuming that the diffusion of similar terms implies that as this system emerged elsewhere it derived its terminology from existing already complex societies, it is possible to identify early centers. Vansina proposed dating based on the rate of language change, which, while imprecise, does match the limited archaeology. Using these and other criteria, we can define several such centers. One is found in an area in the rainforest centered around Lake Mai Ndombe and surrounding northward flowing rivers (especially the Kasai). It was probably associated with a mysterious polity that first appears in written records in 1561, called Mwene Muji. A second 3

4

This definition is anchored primarily on the rather minimalist definition of Max Weber; for a contention that states did not exist in pre-colonial Central Africa, see Joseph C. Miller, “Central Africa during the Era of the Slave Trade, 1490s to 1850,” in Linda Heywood (ed.), Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in American Diaspora (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 38–42. For this terminology and its wider use, see John Thornton, A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1350–1830 (Cambridge, 2012), pp. 100–104, with specific reference to pre-Columbian American cultures, because all these types of societies were found in the Americas at that time, and can be described by literate eyewitnesses.

17

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adjacent area westward from the region around the Malebo Pool, along both sides of the lower Congo River and adjacent coastline from which the predecessors of the Kingdom of Kongo emerged. A third center is found in the central highlands of Angola, origin point of such kingdoms as Ndongo on the north and Ngalangi on the south. Finally a fourth, centered around the Upemba Depression in eastern Congo, gave birth to an early Luba state.5 Any verification of these centers would have to be done through archaeology, but few of them have been the subject of extensive archaeological work. The least well served of the centers is the region around the Upper Kasai and Lake Mai Ndombe. There has been initial and tentative archaeology in the other centers. Of these the best documented is in the Upemba Depression in the modern-day Democratic Republic of Congo. Thanks to a coincidence of dense population and a willingness of the existing population to allow excavation of cemetery spaces, archaeologists have obtained a sequence of dated sites that shows the evolution of wealth and perhaps authority from simple uniform material culture to more elaborate forms. The Kambilambian culture, dated to before 700 CE, shows very few evidences of any social stratification, while the early Kisalian that follows includes a number of axes which were used by later, clearly stratified Luba-speaking societies as symbols of power. Likewise, the substantial number of objects, especially special-use objects made of copper, also creates an impression of concentrations of wealth. In the Classic Kisalian that follows beginning around 900 CE, even greater quantities of precious items, with ever-finer workmanship, suggest a much greater increase in the wealth of a few people.6 Linguistic data analyzed by Vansina supports the same chronology, and also points to social stratification and governance developing after about 1000 and before 1200. However, neither source can tell us the size 5

6

I have defined these regions paying close attention to the evidence and arguments in Jan Vansina, Paths in the Rainforests: Toward a History of Political Tradition in Equatorial Africa (Madison, 1990), pp. 120–128, 146–158, and 162–164; and Vansina, Societies, pp. 160–182 and 255–274. I have excluded some areas, such as those forming collective governance, from the regional divisions because they did not produce the larger entities found in the hearth regions. Pierre de Maret, Fouilles archéologiques dans la Vallée de Haut-Lualaba, Zaire II – Kamilanba, Kikulu et Malemba-Nkulu (Terverun, 1992); an updated survey in Pierre de Maret, “The Power of Symbols and the Symbols of Power through Time: Probing the Luba Past,” in Susan Keech McIntosh (ed.), Beyond Chiefdoms: Pathways to Complexity in Africa (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 151–165.

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of these stratified societies.7 The Upemba Depression would eventually be the heartland of the Luba Empire which emerged in the eighteenth century, but there is no reason to believe that the society of the Upemba Depression was imperial in scope, and probably it and most of West Central Africa was dotted by mini-states, characterized by social stratification and governance in the hands of a relatively small elite, but probably not controlling much territory, and organized around a pattern of a capital and associated villages. Such a unit might not be larger than an average county in the United States, and would probably not have more than a few thousand residents. In 1,000 and for some time afterward, units like these were probably scattered all over the region, with perhaps a few centers managing to capture, conquer, or integrate larger groups of mini-states.8 The Umbundu-speaking Central Highlands of Angola shows more promise for exploring early state formation because there are many stone-built walls, enclosures, or tombs that are readily visible on the surface and have thus excited the curiosity of both visitors and residents. Often local people interviewed in the twentieth century had no knowledge from tradition who had built them – in fact, it was not uncommon, as the anthropologist Augusto Guilhermo Mesquitela Lima noted, for local people to “affirm that the walled spaces were built by Suku (God)” or that they were actually naturally occurring rocks, or perhaps made by the predecessors of their own ancestors.9 The tendency among the earlier investigators was to link them to the best-known ruins in Southern Africa, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, although direct evidence of such a connection is absent and seems unlikely.10 One site, however, has been more fully investigated than others, though not professionally excavated, and this was Feti la Choya, located at the headwaters of the Cunene River. Traditions of the Ovimbundu kingdom of Ngalangi which controlled the area after about 1600 7 8

9

10

This work is elaborated in Vansina, Paths, and Vansina, Societies. For a detailed explanation of the origins of the Luba, from its start in the Umpemba Depression and its traditional history of the early dynasty, see Thomas Reefe, The Rainbow and the Kings: A History of the Luba Empire to 1891 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1981), pp. 10–64; for chronology, established by genealogical reckoning, see pp. 60–61. The most notable tradition-based study of Luba, by Edmond Verhulpen, Baluba et Balubaïsés du Katanga (Antwerp, 1936), posited an early Luba empire which has been quite successfully challenged by Reefe. Augusto Guilhermo Mesquitela Lima, Os Kyaka de Angola, 3 vols. (Lisbon, 1988), 1: 98. Vansina, Societies, pp. 160–182.

19

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linked this site in particular to their own ancestors, and the amateur investigator of the site obtained stratigraphy and samples of material that could be dated by radiocarbon processes.11 The dates for the extensive site, including many walls, enclosures, and other indications that people of high status lived and were buried there, pointed to a period of around 1200 CE for its flourishing period. Unfortunately recent development and vandalism have destroyed much of the site, so it cannot be further investigated. There has not been sufficient sophisticated archaeology elsewhere in the highlands to either link Feti la Choya to other sites (another one, also poorly investigated, at Ossi, is equally large and impressive) or to provide a better-founded chronology.12 Linguistic work suggests that this center also gave rise to the Ndongo Kingdom noted since the early sixteenth century in the highlands around the Kwanza River.13 Finally, there has been some archaeological work and a great deal of historical research on the Kingdom of Kongo, a representative of the center around Lake Malebo. Feti la Choya was investigated mostly because it had visible and impressive ruins, but most of the elite architecture of West Central Africa did not employ stone even in the period covered by written records, and moreover, known capitals and other large settlements moved fairly frequently and thus left very little evidence on the ground of their existence. The KongoKing project, an extensive, multi-year study of historical sites in the Inkisi Valley in modern-day Democratic Republic of Congo, potentially relevant to the Malebo Pool center, was able to locate the capitals of two of the provinces of the Kingdom of Kongo, which was a large and wellintegrated state in the 1480s. They were able to find them because they had detailed geographical information about their locations from written records, and because local traditions about them were fairly abundant. However, even with all these hints, an extensive search did not locate a third well-documented site, Mbanza Mbata.14 11

12 13 14

Gladwyn Murray Childs, “The Chronology of the Ovimbundu Kingdoms,” Journal of African History 11 (1970): 241–248, 241–242. However, his comments on Feti appear to be related only to Ngalangi and not the whole complex of kingdoms, whose own individual origin stories related to a wide range of founders: see University of Washington Library (UWL), Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 11, “Efetikilo lio Ombala yo Galangue,” a text in the Umbundu language, from which he translated his quotes directly. Summary and analysis of the existing literature in Vansina, Societies, pp. 171–174. Vansina, Societies, pp. 200–205. The results of the first seasons of the projects were published in Clist, de Maret, and Bostoen (eds.), Une archéologie.

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1540

KongoKing’s research has made two facts fairly clear. First, the settlements themselves were not visible on the ground in such a way that they might be discovered by chance or through a simple walking survey. Instead, these important capitals were in fact not highly concentrated settlements, but part of a complex of settlements spread out over several dozen square kilometers, and even locating housing structures proved very difficult, though grave sites could be found. Furthermore, unlike the Central Highlands, people in Kongo built their structures, even elaborate elite palaces, from perishable materials rather than stone, so ruins are not visible on the surface (though following European contact churches, and for a time, the royal palace, were of stone). Second, when the findings on the site were radiocarbon dated, they found that they only came into existence in about 1300 and were probably not the earliest sites to be found in the larger area. Finding earlier sites without having historical knowledge of the region will be much harder, and in fact throughout the region of the Kingdom of Kongo there is a large gap in dated excavated sites between about 500 and 1000 CE.15 This same problem has bedeviled the archaeological team investigating the origins of Mbanza Kongo, the capital of the Kingdom of Kongo since its founding. Although it has been highly disturbed by continuous occupation, there are still opportunities to explore the site archaeologically. For all that, recent test excavations date settlement on this site only to about the same period as the sites in the Inkisi Valley.16 For all its apparent archaeological invisibility, though, the Kingdom of Kongo was a centralized and bureaucratic state in the late fifteenth century. It controlled an area larger than Portugal, close to 100,000 square kilometers; and probably had as many as half a million subjects at that time.17 Thanks to early written descriptions and especially to those of Kongo’s rulers and elite, who became literate in the late fifteenth century (the first document of Kongo origin dates from 1491) and left

15

16

17

Bernard Clist, Els Cranshof, Gilles-Maurice de Schryver, et al., “The Elusive Archaeology of Kongo Urbanism: The Case of Kindoki, Mbanza Nsundi (Lower Congo, DRC),” African Archaeological Review 32 (3) (forthcoming); Clist, de Maret, and Bostoen (eds.), Une archaéologie, pp. 241–259. Reports and communications from the Angolan–Cameroonian–Portuguese team excavating there, 2013–2015; for issues of chronology and ceramics, see Clist, de Maret and Bostoen (eds.), Une archaeologie, pp. 253–279. Basic demography from Thornton, “Demography and History.” I have made allowances in these estimates for a smaller size and lower population.

21

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a stream of further documentation, we can show that it possessed all the attributes of an integrated state. Thus, even if complexity was attained there only around 1000 as it had been elsewhere in the region, the institutional growth of its characteristics was quite rapid. Perhaps the polity associated with the site of Feti la Choya in the Central Highlands had by 1200 achieved elements of the political integration that Kongo had attained in the 1480s. Less well-described neighboring areas probably had institutions of a similar nature, though we cannot document them in detail at the present state of research. Our first glimpses of political organization elsewhere in sixteenthcentury West Central Africa come from descriptions of Kongo’s neighbors, made by geographically oriented European visitors, but especially by Kongo’s own King Afonso I Mvemba a Nzinga (r. 1506–1542). He named (but did not describe) a wide range of polities around Kongo. In the north, he named three small polities when stating his titles in 1535: Kakongo, Ngoyo, and Vungu. These three were part of the original federation from which Kongo emerged. To the northeast he and other witnesses spoke of a major kingdom called Great Makoko, Anziko, or Teke (as early as 1506), with which Kongo was frequently at war.18 Following Vansina’s list of centers of political development, it was Great Makoko that formed a center from which Kongo and the polities north of the Congo River emerged. Afonso also named Nsuku, which lay directly to Kongo’s east, probably ultimately linked to the same center. A Portuguese map of 1561 places a polity called Mwene Muji to Kongo’s northeast.19 There is no more description, though the 18

19

Afonso called the kingdom Ansico in his correspondence, but he may also have called it Mundequetes, a term used by João de Barros (Decadas de India [Lisbon, 1552], Decade 1, book 3, chapter 9 in MMA 1: 84) probably on the basis of early sixteenthcentury writing, possibly by Afonso himself. The earliest description is Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis, Book 3, chap. 2. “Moenhemugi” on the manuscript map of Bartolemeu Velho, of 1561, illustrated in Armando Cortesão, Avelina Teixeira da Mota, and Alfredo Pinheiro Marques (eds.), Portugaliae Monumenta Cartographica, 6 vols. (Lisbon, 1960; hereafter PMC) 2: 204. Toponyms on maps of this period tend to be at least twenty years behind their appearance in documents, and so it is probably safe to say that it reflects Portuguese knowledge of the polity as early as 1540. On its location and probable ethnic origins, see Erika Sulzmann, “Oral Traditione und Chronologie: Die Fall Baboma-Bolia (Northwest Zaire),” in C. Faïk Nzuji and Erika Sulzmann (eds), Mélanges de culture et de linguistique africaines publier à la memoire de Leo Stappers (Berlin, 1983), pp. 525–586, pp. 527 and 571 n. 10; Vansina, Paths, p. 163.

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1540

toponym remained in use until the mid-seventeenth century. It seems an excellent candidate for the Upper Kasai–Lake Mai Ndombe center, although our knowledge of its structure and government is limited to say the least, thanks to a lack of decisive archaeology. To Kongo’s south was an emerging and powerful kingdom called Ndongo, but known in Kongo by the title of its ruler, Ngola (spelled Angola), which by 1520 had already sent an ambassador to Portugal. Ndongo’s neighbor Matamba, also a larger kingdom, sent tribute to Kongo in 1530.20 Both Matamba and Ndongo were already consolidating neighboring mini-states into a larger polity. These two as well as other polities that are named in later records, for example Bembe and Muzumbu a Kalungu, located at the headwaters of the Kwanza and Kwango Rivers on the broad high plains, and only identified in writing in the seventeenth century, might have also already been in existence. Vansina’s linguistic studies suggest that all were related to the region associated with Feti la Choya and Ossi at the root of the Cunene and Kwango Rivers.21 Expansive and centralized states were not the only polities in West Central Africa. South of Angola across the Kwanza River in Afonso’s list was the province of Kisama, which at that point was a confederation of smaller polities that was not and would not become centrally integrated, as there is no reason to believe that Kongo exercised any control over them.22 Indeed, throughout West Central Africa clusters of small polities like Kisama put up spirited and frequently successful resistance to being either consolidated from within by more aggressive components, or domination and integration from without. Jessica Krug, taking Kisama as a classic locus for this sort of sustained resistance, calls this the “Kisama meme.”23 Likewise, within the region called “Ambundu” (meaning largely Kimbundu speaking) there was another batch of small, clustered polities which resisted centralized integration. This area, eventually called the Dembos, included a large number, perhaps as many as fifteen, smaller units which often united into federations under the leadership of one or another of their number, as Mbwila and Nambu a Ngongo were to do, to defend themselves against outsiders, but also resisted any 20 21 22 23

Afonso I to João III, 28 January 1530, MMA 1: 540. Vansina, Societies, pp. 160–184. Afonso I to Pope Paulo III, 21 February 1535, MMA 2: 38. Jessica Krug, Fugitive Modernities: Kisama and the Politics of Freedom (Durham and London, 2018), pp. 44–57.

23

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further integration. Other regions, such as the Luba-speaking people between the Kwilu and Lulua Rivers, showed a similar spirit against both the Luba and Lunda Empires.

THE ORIGIN AND STRUCTURE OF KONGO Thanks to Kongo’s early embrace of literacy, it is possible to glean historical information about its governance and structure, and when these are combined with recording of oral traditions about Kongo’s earlier history, starting with hints in royal letters in 1514 and continuing through the 1680s, it is possible to glean a fairly full understanding how this large kingdom evolved from a starting point around 1280. Although Kongo’s unique documentary record makes it easy to imagine that it was heir to an ancient tradition, the record points to several large political entities that preceded it, whose roots would seem to point back to at least 1300, and probably much before that. At that point there was no Kingdom of Kongo; instead, the future core region was controlled by three distinct polities, whose own origins would be likely to put them in the same period as the ruins of Feti la Choya. These polities were probably federations with several related “kingdoms” that were at least partially self-governing. The most important of these was the Seven Kingdoms of Kongo dia Nlaza (the name suggests such a federation), whose capital district lay on the Kwale River, an affluent of the Kwango near the border between modern Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Vansina’s linguistic center, around the Malebo Pool, of the linguistic innovations in Kongo, would also be located within the Seven Kingdoms. To the east the Seven Kingdoms controlled lands up to the Kwango River, northwards up to the Malebo Pool, and westward as far as the valley of the Inkisi River and the highlands north of the Kwilu River up to where it joined the Congo River.24 It was the oldest and probably at

24

John Thornton, “The Origins of Kongo: A Revised Vision,” in Koen Bostoen and Inge Brinkman (eds.), The Kongo Kingdom: The Origins, Dynamics and Cosmopolitan Culture of an African Polity (Cambridge, 2018), pp. 17–41. But I must add that my claim that the later term for this region “Momboares” was based on the number seven is in error. “Sambwadi” means seven in Kikongo, but Moboares is based on bwadi, a word that later dictionaries by Bentley and Laman define as referring to people living south of the Malebo Pool. My thanks to Annenieke Van Damme for pointing out this error.

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least at some point the most powerful of all the polities, since in later times components of it were regarded as symbolic grandparents of the Kingdom of Kongo.25 Indeed, traditions recorded within its domains in the seventeenth century credited the Seven Kingdoms as the origin point of the later Kingdom of Kongo.26 Mpemba, the second important political unit, stretched northward 150 kilometers from its capital on the headwaters of the Loze River in Angola to the Congo River. Mpemba included a number of sub-units and was sufficiently complex for at least one of these sub-units, Vunda, to also control its own sub-units, including one called Mpangala, located near where Mbanza Kongo would be built.27 Finally, on the north bank of the Congo River, a federation of three small states led by Vungu extended inland some 200 kilometers. Ngoyo was at the mouth of the Congo River, and Kakongo was on the coast to the north of it, while Vungu was farther inland. It was this federation that the Kongo royal family regarded as their ancestral home in the seventeenth century.28 The formation of Kongo began around the end of the thirteenth century (perhaps 1280) when the ancestor of Kongo’s royal family, known to tradition only as “Ntinu Wene” (a title which means “King of the Kingdom”), crossed over the Congo River and conquered Mpemba Kasi (“Spouse of Mpemba”), Mpemba’s northernmost territory.29 Such a tradition, with a descriptive title in lieu of a personal name, is likely to be 25

26

27

28

29

Mbata, one of the provinces, was considered a grandfather of Kongo; the fact that Elemba, another part of the Seven Kingdoms, was also held to be a grandfather in the 1650s suggests that the whole of the Seven Kingdoms was probably considered senior in prestige if not in power. António de Oliveira de Cadornega, História geral das guerras angolanas (1680–1681), ed. José Matias Delgado and Manuel Alves da Cunha, 3 vols. (Lisbon, 1940–1942; repr. 1972), 3: 186. On Mpemba’s antiquity, see the testimony of Duarte Lopes, Kongo’s ambassador to Rome, written about 1585 and recorded in Pigafetta, Relatione, p. 38; for the subdivisions of Vunda, see testimony in the trial of Pedro Nkanga a Mvemba, in 1550, published and edited by Linda Heywood and John Thornton in “The Treason of Dom Pedro Nkanga a Mvemba against Dom Diogo, King of Kongo, 1550,” in Kathryn McKnight and Leo Garofalo (eds.), Afro-Latino Voices: Translations of Early Modern Afro-Atlantic Narratives (Indianapolis and Cambridge, 2014), pp. 2–29. The Jesuit priest Mateus Cardoso recorded this tradition, probably following his witnessing of the coronation of Pedro II in 1624: in António Brásio (ed.), História do Reino do Congo (Lisbon, 1972 [1624]). Girolamo da Montesarchio, “Viaggio al Gongo,” fol. 20, published in Calogero Piazza (ed.), La prefettura apostolica del Congo alla metà del secolo XVII: la relazione inedita di P. Girolamo da Montesarchio (Milan, 1976), with original foliation marked.

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more representative of rights of rulership or symbolic relationships within society than of events that actually took place.30 Seventeenth-century tradition regarded Mpemba Kasi as the symbolic “Mother of the Kingdom of Kongo” even as it was the symbolic spouse of Mpemba.31 Mpemba Kasi was a part of Nsi a Kwilu (“Essiquilu” in the original text), or the land of Kwilu, a valley defined by the sharp escarpment which marks the valley’s northern limit and the southern side by a region of lower hills and sharp-sided ridges. Its northern and eastern ends formed the western border of the Seven Kingdoms. Ntinu Wene’s descendants made their headquarters in the rocky outcrops south of the Kwilu, probably in the area called Lovo today near the modern town of Kimpese. Lovo is the site of a large number of rock engravings found on outcrops and within caves, the earliest of which date back to the sixth century. A significant cluster date to this period, suggesting that it formed a religious center.32 Tradition in the seventeenth century said that Nsi a Kwilu contained a place so sacred that just to look at it would cause death.33 Nsi a Kwilu was an important place because the arrangements of highlands made it a natural corridor from northern regions, which produced Central Africa’s famous raffia textiles, to consumers to the south who could not produce the same quality and quantity of textiles. The region also linked copper-producing regions in the north (and copper was, in Central Africa, as precious as gold in other areas) with consumers in the south. The region itself was a center of iron and steel production.34 30

31 32

33 34

For example, a literal reading of this tradition, or at least the portion relating to its earliest stages, is challenged on the basis of its symbolic nature in Marshall Sahlins, “The Atemporal Dimensions of History: In the Old Kingdom of Kongo, for Example,” in David Graeber and Marshall Sahlins (eds.), On Kings (Chicago, 2017), pp. 139–221, specifically the use I made of this tradition by failing to recognize that origin traditions are atemporal and that such stories cannot be made to fit into a chronological narrative. It is not always clear where an origin tradition ends, and a chronicle, typically anchored on a list of kings and deeds, begins, and my choice here is somewhat arbitrary and subject to negotiation. In Kikongo, ngudi can mean mother, but also source or origin. For a radiocarbon-dating based chronology and stylistic analysis of many of the caves, see Geoffroy Heimlich, Le massif de Lovo, sur les traces du royaume de Congo (Oxford, 2017). This is volume 1, but volume 2 has not appeared as yet. Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 1, para. 234, on the spot. F. W. Rademakers, N. Nikis, et al., “Copper Production and Trade in the Niari Basin (Republic of Congo) during the 13th to 19th centuries CE: Chemical and Lead Isotope Characterization,” Archeometry 60 (2018): 1251–1270; Clist, de Maret, and Bostoen (eds.), Une archéologie, pp. 197–198. The dates for these sites relate to this period, but iron and steel working was still being practiced there as late as 1697.

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The geography of Nsi a Kwilu helped to shape this area as a good center for a newly emerging kingdom. The valley was located at the intersection of the three regional powers, marginal in many ways to each of them, but closest of all to that of Vungu. When Vungu took over Mpemba Kasi, it took over Mpemba’s most remote province, at the opposite end of Mpemba, almost 200 kilometers to the south. Perhaps a generation of two later, around the 1350s, Nimi a Nzima became the ruler of Mpemba Kasi, and saw an opportunity to expand his influence in Nsi a Kwilu further when Nsaku Elau, ruler of Mbata, looked to break away from his one-time overlord in the Seven Kingdoms of Kongo dia Nlaza. Mbata bordered directly on eastern Nsi a Kwilu, and thus was in immediate contact, but was distant from the core of the Seven Kingdoms. Seeking security for its ruling house from rival families, Nsaku Elau established an alliance with Nimi a Nzima, giving his daughter Lukeni lua Nsanzi to him in marriage. The arrangement was mutually assuring for each partner: the leader of Mbata would participate in the election of Nimi a Nzima’s lineage, and protect it should no heir be produced, while Nimi a Nzima in turn would guarantee the continuation of Nsaku Elau’s descendants in Mbata. Thanks to the antiquity of the Seven Kingdoms, and perhaps also to greater resources in Mbata, Nsaku Elau became known as “grandfather” to future kings of Kongo.35 Initially, at least, the government would be something of a co-dominion, each one sovereign in their own state, but united to the outside world. Nimi a Nzima’s son by his marriage to Lukeni lua Nsanzi, named Lukeni lua Nimi, was described in tradition some two centuries later as leading a martial life: wishing to “aggrandize himself, he signed up under his flag whatever people he could persuade to follow him,” and over time “saw himself raised up and thrown down alternately.” Eventually, “favored by fortune, and with the goal of taking the surrounding country in hand, he fortified himself in some high rocks . . . which were naturally impregnable.” While tradition has this as Lukeni lua Nimi’s own work, it seems more likely that his father had assigned him that spot, and he began his career there. The fortress, located on the mountains that formed the south side of Nsi a Kwilu, was probably the same feature that included the rock engravings of Lovo and the burial ground of Mpemba Kasi’s kings. From this fortress, Lukeni lua Nimi blocked and taxed passing commerce. One day, the story 35

Thornton, “Origins.”

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continued, his pregnant aunt refused to pay the toll, claiming to be a senior family member, and in a rage Lukeni killed her and the unborn baby. This atrocity, which might seem to make people abhor him, only proved his determination and valor, and so it gained him followers and allowed him to embark on conquests.36 We need not imagine the story to be true, but rather as a political metaphor claiming the ultimate power to kill anyone, a characteristic of a sovereign ruler. With a firm relationship with Mbata, Lukeni lua Nimi looked southward into Mpemba’s territory and followed the trade routes to the market town of Mpangala, situated at the foot of the Mountain of Kongo.37 This mountain had steep sides and a broad plain on top, large enough to hold a substantial population. Archaeological work, while far from conclusive, has failed to find evidence of a particularly ancient settlement there (the oldest dates coming from around 1350), and Lukeni lua Nimi and his followers may have been the first to settle on it in numbers. Tradition claims that he drained a lake in order to make it habitable, and that it became his capital. Lukeni lua Nimi’s absorption of Mpangala was perhaps peaceful, for he made a generous concession to Mpangala, allowing the district to govern itself, and to protest annually against his seizure of the region, a celebration still noted some 200 years later by the missionary visitor Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi.38 Mpangala, along with at least four other districts, was itself subordinate to the Mwene Vunda, lord of a large province of Mpemba, whose capital lay across the Mbidizi River, some fifty kilometers further south. Lukeni lua Nimi also made what was perhaps at least initially a peaceful alliance with Vunda, for, like Mbata, the ruler of Vunda was later styled as his “grandfather” and played a role in the election of his successor.39 Eventually, Mpemba itself, perhaps because its subordinates to the north had been absorbed, was conquered and integrated into

36 37

38

39

Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 2, para. 86. Mpangala is the name of one of the days of Kongo’s four-day week; markets are typically named after the days on which they are held, and there was a market named Mpangala in the valley below Mbanza Kongo in the late sixteenth century: ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, 766, Visita a Angola, fol. 23, Testimony of 26 August 1596. John Thornton, “The Origins and Early History of the Kingdom of Kongo, c 1350– 1550,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 34 (2001): 89–120, 108–110. Vunda’s subordinate role is clear in testimony in the treason inquest of 1550; its role as elector, however, is only noted explicitly by Cavazzi, though Vunda shared with Mbata the title of grandfather.

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Kongo, but without either the status or autonomy accorded Vunda and Mpangala. In addition to advancing against Mpemba, Lukeni lua Nimi also moved westward and took on the lands of the Mwene Kabunga, who was regarded as a regional religious leader, like “the Pope among us” according the Jesuit Mateus Cardoso in 1624. Later traditions call such religious authorities kitomi and relate to their role as priests of territorial spirits, called nkita. Even in the seventeenth century, and after Christianity was well established, such authorities continued to hold sway, the best known being the kitomi of Nzimbe a Mbudi in Nsundi.40 The spiritual authority in Kabunga continued to have such a hold on the immediate vicinity of Mbanza Kongo even in the seventeenth century. But the position was not simply a religious one, for Kabunga was an important territory in its own right, stretching westward from Mbanza Kongo and to the south for an undetermined distance. Kabunga’s ruler’s descendants were “greatly honored” even 200 years later. Kabunga was an important military leader in the sixteenth century, and it seems likely that the ultimate conquest of the western provinces of Kongo, Mbamba in the southwest and Soyo in the west were started from Kabunga. In earlier times Kabunga may have been the northern or northeastern neighbor of Musulu, and perhaps Nsi a Ngala (a territory north of Luanda up to the Mbidizi River) which was not fully absorbed into Kongo as late as 1535, for its rights extended far into that region later. The power and resources available to Kongo following the founding of Mbanza Kongo and conquest of at least part of Mpemba allowed it to expand northward from the Nsi a Kwilu, into the escarpments north of the valley that Nsundi had held on behalf of the Seven Kingdoms. Tradition in the seventeenth century held that the kitomi of Nzimbe a Mbudi, a minor ruler on Nsundi’s western border, held authority and would not allow the king’s governor to enter until they had fought a symbolic battle, suggesting that in Nsundi, as in Kabunga, the assent of a small but religiously significant segment was the first step into 40

Montesarchio, “Viaggio,” fols. 32v–35, and another in Nsevo (fol. 26). Da Montesarchio wrote “Ngimbe Amburi,” which I have modernized by recognizing that Ngi in Italian read in the Sansala dialect would be pronounced Nji, but is usually written as Nzi. A more general statement about their power to confirm office holders is in Serafino da Cortona, “Breve relatione de i riti gentiliche e cerimonei diaboliche . . .,” in Piazza (ed.), Prefettura apostolica, pp. 319–200; Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 1, no. 175 for a general description.

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integration.41 Nsundi was conquered and governed as a royal province, perhaps the first major province to be directly governed by the king’s family. The first holders of the title of Mwene Nsundi for Kongo expanded the territory primarily to the north and east. Territories conquered by Nsundi were added to it, so that its governor controlled an ever larger province with a greater income as it grew. Nsundi took over land on the north bank of the Congo River, incorporating Nsanga and Masinga and governing them from Nsundi. As Nsundi advanced eastward it entered into conflict with the Kingdom of the Great Makoko that controlled north bank of the Congo River, as well as the region around Malebo Pool (modern-day Kinshasa). It would be one of Kongo’s most redoubtable enemies by the time the Portuguese described the country in the early sixteenth century.42 By the late fifteenth century, Kongo had grown to be larger than any of the preexisting polities in the region. It had also developed an administrative system that would increase its power and centralization. While earlier expansion had often been by co-optation and alliance with regional neighbors, once the new capital was established and the integration of Vunda accomplished, the later additions were all conquered, being sufficiently overwhelmed to become royal provinces, ruled on short terms by members of the royal family or by appointees selected by the king.43 Nsundi’s importance and wealth was notable, since it was held to be the province given to the heir apparent. The governance of Nsundi would be the model for later conquests. Tradition does not mention this feature, but early sixteenth-century sources noted that King Nzinga a Nkuwu removed his son and heir apparent, Afonso, from the province and deprived him of revenues from it twice before 1506.44

41 42

43

44

Montesarchio, “Viaggio,” fols. 32v–35, and another in Nsevo, fol. 26. Francisco de Santa Maria, O ceu aberto na terra (Lisbon, 1697), Book 1, cap 20, in MMA 1: 95–96 (early campaigns of Nsundi); Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis, Book 3, chap. 2, p. 134, giving the name “Emcuquaazico” or e Nkuk’a Nziko. The name Anzkio and variants of it are also used. The word Makoko is probably an older form of the Kiteke word koko, meaning “king”. Substantial proof of the administration system is only available after about 1600, but in this case there is clear evidence that the system applied earlier as well in comments that King João III of Portugal made to Afonso I of Kongo concerning Kongo’s governance: letter of about 1529, MMA 1: 530. This fate was described by Afonso on 5 October 1514: MMA 1: 295–296; de Barros, Decadas (from Afonso’s 1506 letter). Decade I, book 3, chapter 10. (MMA 1: 142–143).

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Thus, unlike Mbata, Mpangala, or Vunda, these provinces were not self-governing, and they had none of even the symbolic privileges that those earlier alliances held. Mbamba, probably added at this time, was a royal province just as Nsundi was, as well as Mpangu, which lay between Nsundi and Mbata and was similarly annexed as a royal territory. When the former kingdoms of Wembo and Wandu were integrated into Kongo, before or early in the sixteenth century, they were also given to royal supporters for limited terms. Mbamba’s capital lay between the Loze and Mbidizi River valleys as it left the hills and mountains that gave way to the broad coastal plain.45 It seems likely that it was conquered through expansion from Mpemba of perhaps Kabunga, and, like Nsundi, it was placed under the shortterm control of a member of the royal family, as Afonso noted that it was ruled by his son in 1514. Its expansion was directed southward, more or less following the trade routes down the Island of Luanda, source of nzimbu shells, Kongo’s money, which was already under Kongo’s control by 1506 when Duarte Pacheco Pereira attested to it.46 The other early western province was Soyo. Soyo’s center was near the mouth of the Congo River, and it gave access to salt, the sea, and marine resources. Documents reveal the pattern of Soyo’s expansion. Like Nsundi, Soyo was placed in the hands of members of the royal family, so that the Mwene Soyo who was baptized as Manuel in 1491 was the uncle of ruling king, Nzinga a Nkuwu, through his mother. Soyo was probably the last major province, and it was still developing when eyewitness records are available. Shortly after his baptism, the king granted Mwene Soyo Manuel a substantial quantity of land along the coast south of his domains, including its rights and incomes.47 The grant may have been taken from lands already held by the king, but what seems more likely is that the territory was to be taken from lands as yet outside Kongo. In 1535 one of the territories that was regarded as being part of Kongo’s lordship (rather than within the kingdom) was Musulu, located on the coast south of the Mbidizi River.48 In the late 1540s Musulu was part of a region called “Chamgalla,” which can be glossed as Nsi a Ngala, or a regional rather than a political name, and which

45 46 47 48

Pigafetta, Relatione, p. 26. Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis, Book 3, chap. 2, p. 135. Rui de Pina, Chronica del Rei D. João II (Lisbon, 1790), chap. 58, in MMA 1: 68. Afonso I to Pope Paulo III, 21 February 1535, MMA 2: 38.

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included additional territories down to the Loze River at least.49 Quite possibly, the Mwene Soyo was expected to take these lands over and add them to his province, and it was probably the same model that was used to expand Mbamba and Nsundi. Neither Kongo nor Soyo controlled all the land along the south bank of the Congo River between them at the time either. A stretch near the islands in the river and the adjacent southern coast formed a district called Mpanzalumbu was outside Kongo’s control. Some Portuguese made alliances with Mpanzalumbu, to the consternation of Afonso I, and they raided his lands, stealing gifts from Portugal in 1517. It was not until 1526 that Afonso claimed it as a “conquest” in his titles.50 Kongo’s early dynastic history, again as described in tradition, involved the selection of Lukeni lua Nimi’s successors by election, although in the earlier years the process by which the ruler was elected is unclear. The early alliance with Mbata gave the ruler of that province, either Nsaku Elau or his successor, the role as an elector, and Vunda also joined as an elector, perhaps during Lukeni lua Nimi’s lifetime. Unlike Mbata, Vunda was given by the king, as a royal province, to the person of his choice for a limited term. Soyo was a third elector, like Vunda a conquered territory, but not one with which there had been any other special role. Instead, Soyo was held by a branch of the royal family, which had hereditary control of the province – if not from the time of its conquest, at least at the time of the Portuguese arrival in 1483, when it was held by King Nzinga a Nkuwu’s uncle, the son of his mother, and the Mwene Soyo, baptized as Manuel, had passed it on to his son Antonio by 1520, who was still in possession of it in 1535.51

49

50

51

“Chamgalla” is first mentioned in 1546: Diogo I to Diego Mirón, 1546, MMA 2: 147 as a capital enemy; Jean Cuvelier and Louis Jadin glossed it as “Kiangala” (see L’ancien Congo d’après les archives romaines (1518–1640) [Brussels, 1954], p. 21), but my interpretation is Nsi a Ngala (nsi is pronounced nshi in the Sansala dialect), as it represents the initial “ch” sound in Portuguese better. The Portuguese considered building a fort on its part of the coast in the 1550s: “Apontamentos de Sebastião de Souto, 1561,” MMA 2: 477. It appears on a sixteenth-century coastal map, PMC 2, plate 398, Sebastião Lopes, ca. 1565, between the Mbidisi and Loje Rivers. Inquest of Afonso, 22 April 1517, MMA 1: 393–397; the conquest is recorded in Afonso’s letter of 18 March 1526, MMA 1: 459. Rui de Pina, untitled Italian chronicle, 1492, fol. 89rb, in Carmen Radulet, O Cronista Rui de Pina e a “Relação do Reino do Congo”: Manuscrito inédito do “Códice Riccardiano 1910” (Lisbon, 1992); John Thornton, “Soyo and Kongo: The Undoing of the Kingdom’s Centralization,” in Koen Bostoen and Inge Brinkman (eds.), The Kongo Kingdom: The Origins, Dynamics and Cosmopolitan Culture of an African Polity (Cambridge, 2018), pp. 103–122. For the extension to 1535, ANTT CC II/199/11, Gabriel Fernandes report, 13 March 1535.

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These electors played an important role in successions, for Lukeni lua Nimi’s son Nkuwu a Lukeni did not succeed him at first, but rather two of his nephews, one named Kinanga and the other Nlaza, were chosen as king, since the electors held that his son was too young to bear the responsibilities of the throne. Nkuwu a Lukeni, for his part, passed the throne on to his own son, Nzinga a Nkuwu, who was ruling when the Portuguese arrived in 1483.52 When the first documents describe Kongo it was already a fully integrated and centralized state. The degree of centralization of authority and income was remarkable, both within the larger world of West Central Africa and in the world in general. The sixteenth-century rulers of Kongo collected taxes throughout their realm, in which many officials were appointed on terms of royal pleasure to collect revenue and administer the domain. These domains, called rendas in Portugueselanguage official documents in Kongo, tied income to administration. Royal appointees, easily dismissible, controlled a substantial chain of provinces and sub-provinces down to a basic unit of a small town and surrounding villages.53 King Afonso I (r. 1506–1542),54 in a biographical statement written in 1514, spoke of receiving the renda of a province called Nsundi, and then having it taken away by his father, the king, and thus being “blown 52

53

54

Thornton, “Origins and Early History,” p. 106. For more elaboration on the names, see John Thornton, “Elite Women in the Kingdom of Kongo: Historical Perspectives on Women’s Political Power,” Journal of African History 47 (2006): 437–460. This structure is visible in the machinations of provincial officers in Diogo I’s inquest into a plot against him in 1550: see Thornton and Heywood, “The Treason of Dom Pedro Nkanga a Mvemba,” pp. 10–21. In 1946 Cuvelier dated Afonso’s accession to power to 1506 ( Jean Cuvelier, L’ancien royaume de Congo [Bruges, 1946], n. 39, pp. 286–287), based on Afonso’s letter of 5 October 1514 saying that he had come to power just before an armada commanded by Gonçalo Rodrigues arrived. An inquest into Rodrigues’ behavior (MMA 1: 215) said he had come to São Tomé twice, first in 1506 and then in 1509, and Cuvelier assumed that his first voyage went to Kongo, which was accepted as fact by scholars for years. But in 1979 François Bontinck argued in “Ndoadidiki Ne-Kinu a Mubemba, premier évêque kongo (c. 1495–1531),” Revue africaine de Théologie 3 (1979): 149–169, 154–155 that as the inquest had not specified that Rodrigues went to Kongo in 1506, Afonso’s reign began in 1509, a date which I have accepted since then. My return to Cuvelier’s date derived from a document published more recently (Antonio Carneiro to Antam Soarez, 10 November 1508, Luís de Albuquerque, Maria Emília Madeira Santos, and Maria Luísa Esteves [eds.], Portugalia Monumenta Africana, 5 vols. [Lisbon, 1993–2000], 5: 334–335), which dates the sale of slaves by Gonçalo Pires, a client of de Melo’s who had been sent to Kongo to reply to some of Afonso’s requests that Rodrigues had delivered, and returned with slaves before 1509, thus confirming that Rodrigues had visited Kongo in 1506.

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like the wind” without resources.55 Rendas were based on tax revenues and not only on landholding, and could be held even by residents of the capital: for example, a number of powerful royal women held rendas in their own names. Sometimes such women also held official positions, such as the queen, who at times might govern the kingdom while the king was at war.56 The king of Kongo gave out many offices at his pleasure every three years, requiring payment of tribute without fixing the amount, but judging competence by the quantity paid. João III of Portugal, aware of this practice, suggested in 1529 that Kongolese officials collect taxes annually and create “books of rent” to standardize taxation and prevent the nobles from oppressing the common people.57 Nobles, who could be moved or dismissed easily, frequently supplemented their incomes by taking arbitrary and at times excessive taxation by seizing goods, which the first Portuguese travelers to Mbanza Kongo noted in 1491.58 João III’s advice recognized the fundamental difference between Kongo and Portugual’s income structure. In Portugal, nobles owned their incomes (through land) and could not be easily detached from it; in Kongo they did not, provoking João to claim that fixing rents would allow the nobles to “know their own.” His ideas could not be implemented, of course, because royal centralism in Kongo was anchored precisely on the insecurity of noble income and authority. Kongo used a general purpose money, in the form of seashells called nzimbu, which the first Portuguese visitors in 1491 received from government officials to cover their expenses in traveling from the coast to the capital; surely a regular and well established practice.59 The king paid officials in this money; as early as 1506, Portuguese official Duarte Pacheco Pereira wrote of Kongo, “if the king wants to give grants to some of his nobles or pay for some service that they do for him, he gives them a certain number of these zimbos, in the same way as our princes make grants of money.”60

55 56 57 58

59

60

Afonso I to Manuel I, 5 October 1514, MMA 1: 295. Thornton, “Elite Women,” 442. João III to Afonso I, end of 1529, MMA 1: 530. Rui de Pina, untitled Italian account, fol. 93rb, published with original pagination in Radulet, O Cronista Rui de Pina. Rui de Pina, untitled Italian account, 1492, fol. 93rb, in Radulet, O Cronista Rui de Pina. Pacheco Pereira, Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis, Book 3, chap. 2, pp. 134–135.

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While the earliest documents do not explain how taxes were collected or give details about how officials moved around under royal supervision, the king did exercise judicial and oversight functions. One of the earliest reports from the 1490s observed that Kongo’s king was “exercising greatest justice” especially in cases of adultery, theft, and treason, and could order “death and the confiscation of all goods” for anyone who failed to obey the kingdom’s laws.61 In 1517 Afonso I sent a royal inquisitor to conduct an investigation with sworn testimony into the theft of gifts he had received.62 This text, written very early in the period of contact, shows that Afonso had borrowed the form of inquest from a Portuguese model, but it seems unlikely, given the relatively small presence of Portuguese, that he could not have exercised this sort of power without having institutional arrangements to do so already in place, the keeping of a written record being the only innovation. The Kikongo term mucano, which appears on another inquiry document of Kongo authorship in 1550, refers precisely to a legal inquest then being conducted by a royal judge in one of the provinces.63 Kongo’s rise to the status of regional power from being a vulnerable outpost of Vungu in Nsi a Kwilu was surely the product of skillful timing, good diplomacy, and some luck. The military skill of Kongo’s early leaders may also have been a factor, too. Kongo was famous for its “heavy infantry,” skilled professional and specially trained soldiers who fought with swords and used large shields, whose members were also considered nobility.64 Their professionalism was probably underwritten by the taxes the king could collect for their support. But the capacity of Kongo to maintain its momentum was also a product of its population policy. West Central Africa had low population densities when viewed from a regional level, as we have seen, at this point probably as low as three or four per square kilometer, and, while perhaps twice as much in the eastern areas, still barely exceeded ten persons per square kilometer, a density which meant that villages were small and far apart. It would be difficult to support a large or wealthy elite, or to create armies, with such

61

62 63 64

Milanese Ambassador, 6 November 1491 in Adriano Capelli, “A Proposito di Conquiste Africane,” Archivo Storico Lombardo, series 3, 5 (1896): 416; Rui de Pina, untitled Italian account, 1491, fol. 93rb–93va, in Radulet, O Cronista Rui de Pina, pp. 116–117. Auto de inquirição de rei de Congo, 22 April 1517, MMA 1: 393–97. “Auto de devassa de D. Diogo,” 1550, MMA 2: 248–262. John Thornton, “The Art of War in Angola, 1575–1680,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 30 (1988): 362–365.

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a scattered population, as there were relatively few people to generate the necessary revenue in any one spot, and while political authorities may well have had the legal right to collect considerable tribute, a good deal of time and income would have had to be spent moving it long distances from producers to elite consumers. Ultimately such movements operated on the concept that wealth, especially reproducing wealth, was anchored on “wealth in people” and not necessarily in other productive components.65 Therefore, the expansion also involved the movement of population from small, scattered villages to much larger agglomerations.66 Kongo’s military campaigns not only conquered territory, but also forcibly moved people from their scattered villages to the Mbanza Kongo region, which was already a densely settled area, capped by a town described by witnesses in 1491 as the size of Portugal’s second largest city of Évora (perhaps 15,000).67 The build-up of population in the region could not have been fueled by natural growth alone, but was sustained by the constant movement of people from conquered territories and bordering regions to the capital. Afonso provides a first-hand description of the process in a letter he wrote about a campaign waged by royal armies against Munza, a local leader in the Ambundu region around 1512 or 1513. Afonso wrote of the capture and relocation of hundreds of people to the capital as a result of the war, and his report did not include all the people taken captive in the war, which was probably typical of earlier campaigns as well as those waged by his armies later.68 The concentration of people was not just about building cities, as in very densely populated areas, but rather densely settled regions, perhaps capped by a more traditional concentrated urban population. The density in the surrounding areas within 65

66 67

68

For the idea of wealth in people as driving economies and politics rather than wealth in things, see Jane Guyer, “Wealth in People and Self-Realization in Equatorial Africa,” Man 28 (1993): 243–265; Jane Guyer and Eno Belinga, “Wealth in People as Wealth in Knowledge: Accumulation and Composition in Equatorial Africa,” Journal of African History 36 (1995): 91–120; For a specific application to slavery, see Ann Stahl, “The Transactional Dynamics of Surplus in Landscapes of Enslavement: Scalar Perspectives from Interstitial West Africa,” in Christopher Morehart and Kristin De Luca (eds.), Surplus (Boulder, 2015), pp. 267–306. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 38–48. Letter of the Milanese ambassador, November 1491, in Capelli, “A Proposito di Conquiste Africane,” p. 461. Afonso to Manuel I, 5 October 1514, MMA 1: 312–314. The letter, which contains many complaints about Portuguese in the country, primarily deals with slaves who would eventually be sold abroad, but the idea of transfer and retention underlies it.

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a 10-kilometer radius of Mbanza Kongo (besides the some 15,000 people in the city), was well over ten per square kilometer.69 Archaeology in the Inkisi Valley points to the same process going on at a local level, where the mbanzas or capitals were not so much tightly settled towns as settlement clusters gathered around the somewhat larger capital of the local ruler.70

CONTACT WITH PORTUGAL AND THE REIGN OF AFONSO I The Portuguese came into contact with the greater Gulf of Guinea region that stretched from today’s Côte d’Ivoire to Angola in the 1470s. In 1469 the Portuguese Crown granted the rich Lisbon merchant Fernão Gomes substantial rights to trade and settle in the region in exchange for agreeing to explore 100 leagues of coast a year. In the next few years his ships explored the coast at least as far as Cameroon, contacted the powerful Kingdom of Benin, and located the island of São Tomé.71 It is not impossible that at some point in the 1470s they may have made at least initial contact with Kongo.72 Gomes’s most important discovery, however, was the gold-selling mini-states of modern-day Ghana, soon called the Coast of the Mine and subsequently the Gold Coast. When word of this discovery got out, ships from other countries in Europe started visiting the region, and, to protect its monopoly on the gold trade, in 1482 Portugal took the radical step of building a fort called São Jorge da Mina in the gold-selling area.73 The Portuguese fleet in the Gulf included one Captain Diogo Cão, who was commissioned to sail further south, and it was on this voyage that Cão came into official contact with the Kingdom of Kongo in 1483.74 69

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71 72

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Thornton, “Demography and History,” p. 523. The actual density was likely much higher as it did not include many people who had been baptized in Afonso’s reign. Reports from the KongoKing project’s fieldwork and discussion of this at a workshop in Ghent. John Blake, Europeans in West Africa, 2 vols. (London, 1937), 1: 40–63. François Bontinck, “Le Zaïre ‘decouvert’ avant Diogo Cão?” Africa (Roma) 31 (1976): 347–366. The documentation of the founding of the fort as well as an interpretive essay is found in P. E. H. Hair, The Founding of the Castelo de São Jorge da Mina: An Analysis of the Sources (Madison, 1994). The primary sources are not straightforward about the various voyages of Diogo Cão; this account relies on the reconstruction of Carmen Radulet, “As viagens de Diogo Cão: ainda uma problema em aberta,” Revista da Universidade de Coimbra. 34 (1988): 105–119.

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He took hostages for the purposes of teaching them Portuguese, and a Franciscan priest accompanying Cão named João da Costa also learned their language.75 Determined to make alliances with the most powerful African kingdoms in the gulf, the Portuguese invited diplomats to come to Portugal. Benin sent their ambassador in 1486; Kongo, after a number of exchanges and voyages, sent theirs, led by Cão, in 1487. Kongo’s delegation was led by “a very high-ranking (mui principal) man” named Kala ka Mfusu76 (eventually baptized as João da Silva), which arrived in Lisbon at the end of 1487 or early 1488. When the party, including both adults and children (moços), reached Lisbon they were hosted at the Convent of São João Evangelista (usually called St. Eloy or even the Lóios), where the prelate assigned a choirmaster and priest named Vicente dos Anjos to manage their interactions in Portugal. Dos Anjos learned Kikongo and taught the Kongolese to speak Portuguese, and even served as an interpreter for them. Dos Anjos “came quickly to understand their language to such a degree that the Ethiopians themselves admired the facility and fluency with which he spoke,” earning him the nickname “Manicongo.” Dos Anjos’s biography in the archives of St. Eloy says that he used “the science of language, and learned and instructed the Ethiopians in the truths of the Faith and the prayers of the Church.” To do this he would have to work with the ambassadors on their concepts of religion to develop an appropriate Kikongo spiritual vocabulary.77 He also went to Kongo himself and served as a missionary, undoubtedly using his linguistic skills. It was out of these mutual investigations that, ultimately, the specific character of the Kongo Church was born.

75

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Vicente Salgado, Origem e Progresso das Linguas Orientaes na Congregação da Terceira de Portugal (Lisbon, 1790), p. 10. While this chronicle was only written in the late eighteenth century, it made use of archival material. The name was written in Rui de Pina’s chronicle as “Crachanfusus” in the Italian MS of 1491 (fol. 87ra), and “Caçuta” in the Portuguese text of 1515 (cap. 58). My reading is an attempt to make it conform to Kikongo. Cuvelier, L’ancien royaume, p. 16, relying on the spelling “Zacuta,” found in de Santa Maria, Ceu aberto, a chronicle of 1697 (MMA 1: 91), decided that the person was named Nsaku, which he then linked to the twentieth-century clan of Nsaku Ne Vunda, followed by Anne Hilton, The Kingdom of Kongo (Oxford, 1985), p. 51. As the earliest and best sources, especially Rui de Pina, spell it Caçuta, Cuvelier’s interpretation even of Zacuta seems far-fetched, requiring an unlikely addition of –“ta.” De Santa Maria, Ceu aberto, Book 4, chap. 2, p. 895. De Santa Maria’s original source is no longer extant, but he states that he used data from the Church’s archive.

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Late in 1490 the Kongo embassy, with Franciscan priests who probably also included the original translator João da Costa and Portuguese representatives, returned to Kongo.78 In addition to the returning Kongolese ambassador and noble students, the mission encompassed a sort of cultural sample of Portuguese life. This included several Portuguese peasant families whose mission it was to introduce European farming techniques into Kongo (including baking bread), some masons and carpenters, and of course priests. There were also people with military experience on the vessel who could serve as demonstrators of European technology and methods of warfare. As a result of the mission, the Mwene Soyo was baptized as Manuel, and King Nzinga a Nkuwu was baptized as João, along with their courts and families. A small Portuguese community was established both at the port of Soyo (at Chela then, but later Mpinda) and Mbanza Kongo. In addition, the returning nobles became teachers of the new religion and of literacy; in fact, one of them wrote two letters to Portugal on behalf of their king. Literacy would soon become widespread among the Kongo elite, and Christianity was established as the religion of state, and would remain so for the rest of the kingdom’s existence.79 We know very little about the remainder of João Nzinga a Nkuwu’s reign, and what we do know comes almost entirely from the testimony of his son and successor Afonso. In fact, Afonso’s large correspondence with Portugal is the single most important source not just for Kongo’s relations with Europe, but also as testimony for Kongo’s institutions and culture for most of his reign. This remarkable correspondence makes Kongo in this period one of a very few African kingdoms (Songhai, Kanem-Bornu, and Ethiopia being others) whose history is documented by its own people. While having an inside view of Kongo life is very helpful, Afonso’s letters are also political statements and present matters as he viewed them, not necessarily fully or completely.80 Afonso described the last years of his father’s reign as fraught with religious conflict, though the country received a religious mission in

78

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The identity and timing of the arrival of missionaries was a hotly contested issue in the mid- to late seventeenth century, with various orders claiming primacy: see the relevant primary documents in MMA 1 and António Brásio’s analysis in “Os Proto-Missionarios do Congo,” Portugal em Africa 1 (1944): 99–112. John Thornton, “Afro-Christian Syncretism in the Kingdom of Kongo,” Journal of African History 54 (2013): 53–77, 57–59. John Thornton, “Early Kongo–Portuguese Relations: A New Interpretation,” History in Africa 8 (1981): 183–204.

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1504 and again in 1508 without apparent overt resistance. However that may be, Afonso maintained that an anti-Christian faction developed at court and in the country led by his half-brother Mpanzu a Nzinga, also known by the nickname Mpanzu a Kitemu, or “the furious.”81 As a result of schemes and plots by this hostile faction, Afonso claimed he was alternately in and out of court favor, largely occasioned by his militant adherence to Christianity. While governing Nsundi, he declared a law that anyone possessing idols would be punished by death, a harsh measure he was forced to revoke. His enemies charged him with witchcraft for allegedly causing rivers to dry up and droughts to strike using Christian magical techniques, ostensibly in order to create rebellions, and he was accused of flying through the night from Nsundi to the court to seduce royal wives. At the end of his father’s life in 1506, Afonso was back in favor and ruling Nsundi. When his father died, his mother Leonor Nzinga a Nlaza sent him a secret message informing him, thus giving him time to move quickly to the city. Leonor held an important role, not only as a person who controlled wealth through rendas (revenue assignments) held in her own right, but also as a daughter and mother of a king, for such a position was very important, as according to a 1530 document such a woman “by that custom commands everything in Congo.”82 While the action might be simply the machinations of his mother, she also had institutional functions, and, not surprisingly, given Afonso’s stance in this regard, was a very strong supporter of the Church.83 At this point in its history, while elite women had considerable power and influence, it tended to be indirect. With Leonor’s support, Afonso was able to sneak his supporters and weapons into the city disguised as food deliveries and was positioned to take up the throne when his father’s death was announced. Mpanzu a Nzinga, caught off guard by this maneuver, quickly mobilized an army to attack him. The battle, described by Afonso’s letters soon after, was won thanks to the miraculous intervention of the Virgin Mary and 81

82 83

No contemporary source translates this name, but in the Kikongo dictionary of 1648 (Biblioteca Nazionale da Roma, MS Fundo Minori 1896, MS Varia 274, fol. 106v) the stem – tema appears in the Latin entry “taúritas” reglossed in Spanish as “taúri ferocia” or ferocious bull, and in Kikongo as “utéma üangonbe” (actually “the fury of a bull”). In this definition the stem is in a noun class appropriate to abstract principles, and in the noun class defined by ki- it becomes specific to names. I have chosen to respell Barros’ term with an “e” rather than an “i”. João III to Afonso I, ca. 1529, MMA 1: 535. Thornton, “Elite Women,” pp. 442–443.

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St. James the Greater, whose spectral appearance caused Mpanzu a Nzinga’s men to flee in terror.84 While Afonso’s tale of pious Christian against heathen rival was good for international politics, the factionalism behind it was most likely real, as Kongo’s later history would reveal. João’s reign had been a long one, at the very least twenty-three years. The choice of a successor was elective, and factions formed behind the most likely candidates. Afonso’s description of his rival as a half-brother reflects a knowledge that European politics accepted hereditary succession, and ignores the fact that the status of his brother’s parents’ marriage was probably irrelevant to the electors. Afonso’s most important statement concerned the attempts of partisans to influence Jorge, the Mwene Mbata, whom he described as the “head of the country.” Given the role of Mbata in the early constitution of Kongo, and particularly the agreement that Mbata would support the ruling family, it is fairly clear that Mbata played a larger role than any other elector in the decision. Duarte Lopes, Kongo’s ambassador to Rome in 1583, in describing the same events, based probably on secondgeneration testimony (a fifteen-year-old eyewitness would be in his mid-nineties in Lopes’s day) claimed that Mpanzu a Nzinga was fighting “Mozombos” before challenging Afonso. If this claim has any merit, it would suggest that his base was in the east, perhaps Mpangu, certainly close enough to Mbata to be able to influence him.85 Resistance to Afonso from the remnants of Mpanzu a Nzinga’s faction probably continued, perhaps on religious grounds, though just as likely on purely political ones.86 Thus when Afonso wrote to explain that he needed “cannons and muskets” to defend himself against a rebellion when he decided to burn idols a few years after his succession, it is most likely that the rebellion would be led by that faction, which he identified as anti-Christian.87

84

85 86

87

John Thornton, “King Afonso I of Kongo: The Making of an African Christian King and his Kingdom,” in Dana L. Robert (ed.), African Christian Biography (Pietermaritzburg, 2018), pp. 107–111. For its mythical character, see Cécile Fromont, The Art of Conversion: Christian Visual Culture in the Kingdom of Kongo (Chapel Hill, 2014), pp. 26–32. Pigafetta, Relatione, pp. 26–33. Igor Matonda has argued that Mpanzalumbu, notable “rebel” against Afonso, might have been a stronghold of a rival dynasty that took its name from Mpanzu’s name: see Igor Matonda, “Le bassin de l’Inkisi à la époch de le royaume kongo; confrontasion de les donées historiques, archéologiques, et linguistique” (Ph.D. thesis, University of Ghent, 2017), pp. 178–82. Afonso to Manuel I, 5 October 1514, MMA 1: 196.

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KONGO’S EXPANSION Once he was secure on the throne, Afonso turned to expanding his domain and to consolidating centralized control. He distributed control of the major provinces among his close family. His son was ruling Mbamba in 1512, and in 1526 Afonso noted that his sons were in charge of all the major provinces. Because Mbata had a special arrangement based in Kongo’s early history, it was the only major province not in royal hands.88 Initially, Afonso hoped that the Portuguese could assist him militarily and aid the expansion of his kingdom. The Portuguese mission of 1512 included a military component, but one that Afonso found less than helpful. In 1514 he complained that the Portuguese had been reluctant to engage in battle, and had mismanaged tasks assigned to them. At one point they allowed slaves captured in the war to escape, and the slaves in turn laid waste to the countryside, “as if there had been some army passing.” Afonso’s queen was forced to round up and eventually execute the rebellious slaves.89 While Portuguese soldiers and their mixedrace descendants did form a part of the Kongo army, there was no further demand for soldiers from Portugal for over half a century. The Portuguese did offer some novel weapons, primarily crossbows (in 1491) and muskets (in 1509), and while these weapons would certainly have been interesting and surprising, they were also quite limited. They were designed primarily as armor-piercing weapons to combat heavily armored heavy cavalry in European warfare, but they had very slow rates of discharge, and thus did not act as a “force multiplier,” as rapid-firing weapons might have. Since warfare in Central Africa was not anchored on armor, the armor-piercing capacity was wasted, and the slow rate of discharge made them less useful once enemies were accustomed to the novel features of smoke and fire.90 Afonso waged many wars, according to Portuguese priests who often accompanied his armies, which “lasted many years with some rebel vassals, the principal motive of these being their rebellion against the Faith.”91 His correspondence allows some details, the earliest being the war against Munza in 1512, and he clearly experienced trouble with 88 89 90 91

Afonso to João III, 18 March 1526, MMA 1: 461. Afonso to Manuel I, 5 October 1514, MMA 1: 312–313. Thornton, Cultural History, pp. 34–35, 42, 159–161. De Santa Maria, Ceo aberto, Book 4, chap. 2, p. 897.

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Mpanzalumbu in 1516. He was at war in 1515 or 1516 against “some lords his neighbors who had risen up.”92 At least one war was waged against Great Makoko, as in the course of this war one of Afonso’s generals went over to the enemy and turned the Portuguese priests over to them, who in turn, “quartered and ate them,” the cannibalism presuming a northeastern campaign.93 Undoubtedly there were more, for Afonso claimed a wide range of domains when he revealed his full titles in 1535. By that time he claimed to have conquered Mpanzalumbu, as in 1526 he was proud enough of that to add the “conquest of Panzalumbu” to his titles. As for the titles over which he claimed lordship, it included a whole series of states in the Kwango Valley, such as Suku and Matamba, and even Great Makoko (Anziko), the long-term enemy of his father and his early reign. His domains to the south were weaker as one approached Luanda: for example, Musulu (Mussuru), on the south coast below the Mbidizi River, part of the Nsi a Ngala, was only a lordship, even if Mbamba’s directly governed domain stretched to the Island of Luanda and its “mine” of nzimbu shells south of Musulu. They gave him dominion over not only the Ambundus and Angola (Ndongo in this case) but even Kisama, a notoriously independent territory south of the Kwanza River. How firmly he controlled those areas is certainly difficult to ascertain; in 1530 he did note receiving tribute in the form of silver manilhas, horseshoe-shaped metal ingots, from Matamba. But it would not seem that he exercised real governance over them as he did his home territories, the provinces ruled by royal appointees or close allies like Mbata.94

THE BIRTH OF CHRISTIAN KONGO Afonso’s claims to Christianity may well have been more strategic than religious, but there is no doubt that his efforts in spreading the faith had long-term effects. From the start of his reign, Afonso set about immediately enlarging the existing educated Christian elite by sending high-ranking nobles to Portugal to study, who upon their return opened schools. The schools in turn produced graduates capable of serving as 92 93 94

Damião de Gois, part 4, chap. 3, MMA 1: 373. De Santa Maria, Ceu aberto, Book 4, chap. 2, pp. 897–898. Afonso to João III, 28 January 1530, MMA 1: 540–541.

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teachers themselves. Afonso worked with these graduates as well as the resident Portuguese clergy (especially the priests of St. Eloy, who had been with him from the start) to sharpen the level of education, which eventually resulted in the publication of the Kikongo catechisms of 1557 and 1624.95 By 1530 if not before there was a network of schools throughout the country.96 It is safe to say that the creation of this network of schools, with its local teachers drawn from the elite, was the surest guarantee of Christianity’s success right down to the dawn of the twentieth century.97 Foreign missionaries would certainly never have been able to accomplish as much as quickly, and moreover, the schools promoted a fairly rapid emergence of a literate elite. Indeed, Afonso was already making use of literate documentation as early as an inquest conducted in 1517, and elite literacy would remain in the kingdom throughout its independent existence.98 Afonso himself took the lead in teaching the new doctrine, and also in integrating it into the kingdom’s own religious tradition. In 1516 Rui d’Aguiar, a Portuguese priest who had served as a royal chaplain in Portugal, wrote of Afonso absorbed in the study of books of religion, soon possessing sophisticated knowledge of Christianity, and dubbed him “the apostle of Congo.” Afonso built on the existing understanding of the early students, including the first group that worked with Vicente dos Anjos, who also worked with Afonso in person, to fit the two theologies together to construct a theological basis for understanding Christianity in terms comprehensible to Kongo’s existing religious life. Kongo’s original religion probably fitted into a region-wide religious system, although the textual evidence from Afonso’s time is very limited. But using a somewhat later, mostly seventeenth-century, body of texts from Kongo, Loango (a Kikongo-speaking but not Christian neighbor) and the Kimbundu-speaking areas to Kongo’s south, it is 95

96 97

98

On Afonso’s intellectual role, see Meno Kikokula, “La politique intellectuel de Mvemba N’zinga (roi Afonso Ier) Mani Kongo, 1506–1543,” Annales Aequatoria 23 (2002): 197–216; on the catechism, Thornton, “Afro-Christian Syncretism,” pp. 59–64. Thornton, “Afro-Christian Syncretism,” pp. 61–62. Inge Brinkman, “Kongo Interpreters, Traveling Priests and Political Leaders in the Kongo Kingdom (15th to 19th Century),” International Journal of African Historical Studies 49 (2016): 255–276. For the continuation of the original synthesis into the late nineteenth century, see John Thornton, “The Kingdom of Kongo and Palo Monte: Reflections on an African American Religion,” Slavery and Abolition 37 (2016): 1–22. Act of Inquiry of the King of Congo, 22 April 1517, MMA 1: 393–399.

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possible to create an understanding of this regional worldview.99 Other regions, farther inland and farther south, show great similarities, though reported at a still later date. From this information we can see that Central Africans on the whole were not terribly concerned about uniformity in their beliefs, the idea of orthodox or heretical not being a part of religious life. Rather, they were instrumental in their outlook and in their interactions with the Other World, assuming that demonstrations of existence and power were proof enough, for any constellation of Other Worldly beings. Thus, they were not concerned with substituting one system of thought or cosmology for another and were happy to take on elements of one or another, religious beliefs being tested against results of spiritual activity as much as conforming to fixed rituals and patterns. Still, their beliefs did conform broadly to a cosmology that included a high God, usually a creator, who the Kongolese called Nzambi a Mpungu, who was, however, not viewed as being particularly active in the world. Because of the high God’s relative disengagement, Kongolese people, like other Central Africans, paid more attention to three other categories of Other Worldly beings. The first were the ancestors of the living people. The second were supernatural entities who resided in, protected, and ruled over territorial units. Because not all ancestors were equal, ancestors of kings and nobles might be significant to a larger range of people than those of ordinary people, and at times the concept of a powerful ancestor blended with that of a regional deity. The third type of spiritual entities were minor and might not be easily traced to a single ancestor or a territorial spirit, but could be malicious. The whole was held together by nkisi, which was a transcendent spiritual force that connected all the Other Worldly entities and inhabited human souls while living, and when dead, continued them as ancestors. This nkisi force could be enticed or captured into physical objects that were specially designed for them, called iteke (sing. kiteke) in Kikongo, but usually called “fetishes” by European travelers.100 Such items often made use of the lesser, non-ancestral spirits. Central Africans believed in an afterlife, of course, given the centrality of ancestral spirits, but they were not oriented around salvation as 99

100

John Thornton, “Religious and Ceremonial Life in the Mbundu and Kongo Areas, 1500–1700,” in Linda Heywood (ed.), Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 71–90. The significance of –kis- is discussed more fully with the documentation in Thornton, “Afro-Christian Syncretism,” pp. 71–73.

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Christianity was. For them a satisfactory afterlife was more or less guaranteed, and only extreme wickedness warranted its denial. As the Jesuit Cristovão Ribeiro reported in 1548, it was a terrible thing to say that “your father is dead, your mother is dead” because they believed “that when they die they are raised up,” and no one dies “except through war or witchcraft.”101 That is, when European Christians spoke of death of the soul (as in condemnation to Hell) they were deprived of “life” and for that reason it was a rare and terrible event. Central Africans in general accepted the idea that people could work evil on others by means of witchcraft, and the idea of witchcraft was as important to them as it was to sixteenth-century European Christians, though there was a significant difference in the mechanics of witchcraft. In Europe it had come to be defined as using evil or diabolic powers to achieve ends on this earth, even if the ends were benevolent and helpful; in Central Africa any supernatural power could be used for beneficial and good purposes, but might also be persuaded to work for evil ends. It was only the intentions and aim of the user that determined whether a supplication to the spiritual world was witchcraft or not.102 The early priests from Europe interpreted the entire Kongo religion as witchcraft, frequently performing exorcisms and teaching that any religious activity not properly overseen by a priest constituted it. Thus they saw that the “devil was much the land” in the kingdom, and the priest of St. Eloy, João de Portalegre, was notable for casting out devils.103 Afonso’s conception was probably different, seeing witchcraft as what was done rather than which spirit was doing it; his account of the accusations against him spoke of his enemies seeing him using Other Worldly powers to do harm, and when he put an “idol” on his crest (designed in 1512) he chose an image that is a distinctively aggressive spirit, the type that might be used to cause harm.104 Study and theological melding at the intellectual level was accompanied by co-revelation. Co-revelation takes place when an Other Worldly being in one religious tradition appears to witnesses in

101 102

103 104

Christovão Ribeiro letter, 1 August 1548, MMA 15: 163. Thornton, “Afro-Christian Syncretism,” pp. 65–67; see also Thornton, Cultural History, pp. 396–407 for a more generalized explanation of the diverging ideas about the Other World and witchcraft. De Santa Maria, Ceu aberto, Book 4, chap. 2, p. 893. Cécile Fromont, “Dance, Image, Myth and Conversion in the Kingdom of Kongo, 1500–1800,” African Arts 44 (2011): 52–63, 60–62; Thornton, “Afro-Christian Syncretism,” pp. 65–67.

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another tradition in a convincing way, allowing believers to see the two as the same. Thus, when Nzinga a Nkuwu was baptized, two of his courtiers dreamed simultaneously of the Virgin Mary, while a third found a cross-shaped stone on his way to court. Then again, Afonso witnessed the appearance of St. James and his soldiers in the battlefield, all of which counted as confirmation of the existence of these forces. Over the years, locations became associated with saints, probably through the same process, so that churches and provinces were dedicated to patron saints who manifested the eternal reality of the Kongo spirits that had inhabited the regions before Christianity came. The whole of this was then cemented by translating the word “holy” with nkisi, thus allowing this transcendent term to be applied to all manner of holy Christian things, such as the Church or the Bible.105 Although most of this sort of matching was done from Kongo, Europeans also found reasons to connect Kongo to an appropriately Christian past, using what Cécile Fromont has called the “space of correlation.”106 These were places where Christian iconography or terminology correlated, even if they were not strongly connected by cosmology. Some priests also held to the idea of Kongo having had an original Christianity or some Christian beliefs that predated Portuguese contact. At some point in the sixteenth century, European clergy believed that they had found signs that the first-century apostle St. Thomas had visited Kongo in ancient times. St. Thomas, who was said to have gone “east” from Jerusalem, was widely believed to have traveled to India. But in the sixteenth century he was associated with America as well, and in Brazil, Mexico, and Peru various traditions originating in both Spanish and indigenous communities had created a web of these stories connecting him with sacred figures of their past.107 In the case of Kongo, the bishop of São Tomé told Carmelite missionaries on their way to Kongo in 1583 that St. Thomas had visited Kongo, and as proof he said “he had left letters on a rock which no one 105 106

107

Thornton, “Afro-Christian Syncretism,” pp. 71–77. Cécile Fromont, “Under the Sign of the Cross in the Kingdom of Kongo: Religious Conversion and Visual Correlation in Early Modern Central Africa,” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 59 (60) (2011): 109–123, 111–113; Fromont, The Art of Conversion, pp. 15–18. For a variety of these St. Thomas stories, see Thornton, Cultural History, pp. 423, 430, 434, 437, 438.

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could understand,” and this had passed in tradition with the inscription as proof; possibly the well-known rock paintings of Lovo, likely of considerable interest within Kongo, were the letters he had seen.108

CHRISTIAN KONGO AND INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIONS Afonso also saw Christianity as a link to a much larger world, and quickly sought to exploit the possibilities of adding his own country to Christendom. In 1513 he sent an ambassador to Europe with the intention of paying homage to the Pope, a normal way in Europe to be recognized as a sovereign Christian state.109 It seems likely that the embassy did not reach Rome, although a Portuguese ambassador did render homage on his behalf.110 An important part of Afonso’s connection with Rome was also to establish an independent relationship for his Church. To that end, he worked to have Rome to authorize him to appoint his own bishop with the powers to ordain priests in order to make the Church self-sustaining. He sent his son Henrique to Europe to study with the aim of having him ordained as a bishop. The Holy See obliged this request by ordaining Henrique as a bishop in 1521 “in partibus infidelem” – that is, as a sort of roving bishop serving the See of Utica in North Africa, a region that had not been Christian for centuries, but which the Vatican used to elevate bishops without official Sees.111 In 1526 Afonso then asked Rome to allow Kongo two bishops, “natives and our close relatives,” not only to spread the faith, but also so that these bishops could “give Holy Orders to our native fathers.”112 Henrique, who would have counted as the first such bishop, served until his death in 1531, but Afonso’s idea that Kongo could use the episcopal appointment to create its own Church was thwarted in Portugal. Perhaps Portuguese strategists, seeing the progress that the faith had 108

109 110

111 112

BNM MS 2711, fol. 100, Diego de Santo Sacramento, “Relacion del viage a Guinea que hiço el Padre . . . ” (1586). Its connection to Lovo is proposed by Heimlich, Massif de Lovo, pp. 104–105. Pedro, ambassador of Kongo, 1515, MMA 1: 349–350. For a summary and analysis of a long series of debates about this mission, see Meno Kikokula, “Autour de l’ambassade de Mbanza Kongo 1514,” Annales Aequatoria 18 (1997): 471–488. Bontinck, “Ndoadidiki Ne-Kinu a Mubemba,” 154–156. Afonso I to João III, ca. 1526, MMA 4: 141.

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taken in Kongo and its impressive organization, thought that they could use the Church’s influence to expand their own through controlling it. But whatever their motive, the Portuguese stepped in diplomatically and, working in Rome, got the Holy See to place Kongo under the authority of the newly organized episcopal See of São Tomé in 1534. In the end this decision would determine the shape of the Kongo Church and its organization. The struggle to control the Church and its ordained members would continue for 200 more years. The conversion of Kongo was quickly known in Europe, first appearing in a published version in 1519. It came about just as Rome and Portugal were reaching out to expand Christianity and to ally with Christian powers from Africa. A series of embassies from Ethiopia starting in 1402 had alerted the Papacy to the reality of a Christian kingdom in Africa, which they quickly identified as the lands of the semi-legendary Prester John. Reports from visitors to Ethiopia as well as Ethiopian missions to Rome followed, and Ethiopian monks attended the Council of Florence in 1443.113 Rome turned to Portugal once Portuguese fleets began operating in the Indian Ocean, and around 1500 Pedro Corvilhão, a Portuguese ambassador, arrived in Ethiopia. This would eventually lead to a second Portuguese embassy from its newly acquired Indian possessions in 1520.114 It was not surprising, then, that the idea of reaching Ethiopia through Central Africa emerged, as it did when the Dominican Gregorio de Quadra returned to Lisbon from a long journey in the Indian Ocean in 1520. The idea of such a voyage was anchored on a profound misunderstanding in Portugal of African geography: Portuguese geographers believed that the southwestern borderlands of Ethiopia were quite close to Kongo’s eastern border. The first diplomatic mission to Kongo in 1491 involved some exploration of the interior and learned of a great lake in the interior, a subject which was still being pursued in 1512 when instructions issued to the mission of Simão da Silva asked him to attempt to explore the Congo River, if possible to its sources; he was also instructed to ask about a lake that was said to border Kongo to 113

114

Matteo Salvadore, “Encounters between Ethiopia and Europe, 1400–1660,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Africa (26 July 2018), DOI 10.1093/acrefore/ 9780190277734.013.187. Richard Gray, “The African Origins of the Missio Antiqua,” in Richard Gray, Christianity, the Papacy and Mission in Africa, ed. Lamin Sanneh (Maryknoll, 2012), pp. 27–47.

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the east.115 When de Quadra arrived in Kongo, however, the Portuguese councilors who advised Afonso argued strongly against his being allowed to continue, claiming that the mission would threaten Kongo’s independence.116 While the Portuguese councilors’ motive may well have been to protect their own position in Kongo against interference from Portugal, Afonso did hold back from continuing. However, he took sufficient interest in the idea to continue it, proposing in 1526 that Baltasar de Castro, a Portuguese official he had rescued from captivity in Ndongo, undertake it, and in 1536 Afonso detained Manuel Pacheco so that he could build two brigantines to sail from “above the break which the river has [falls at Yelala?], to investigate if the Lake could be discovered.”117 European maps include this mysterious lake, which they believed was the source of the Nile, Congo, and Zambezi Rivers, and thus near to Prester John, and in 1546 the Portuguese king wrote to his subjects serving in Ethiopia that a route there from Kongo could be found.118 Afonso may have believed that, but he might also have considered the much closer and very real Lake Mai Ndombe, which could be exploited as a major center in the textile belt. In any case, a half a century later the Spanish priest Diego de Santo Sacramento, who understood that the Congo River was one of the four that emerged from the Garden of Eden (which was in turn associated with the lake), also heard of an expedition up the river. While he attributed it only to an earlier king, it seems likely that he was hearing a version of this expedition. The explorers went on a ship, and after three months of travel abandoned further inquiries when they spied “very different sorts of people and monsters” on the banks.119

115

116 117

118

119

João de Barros, Decadas de India (Lisbon, 1552), Book 3, chap. 9, MMA 1: 85; Regimento to Simão da Silva, 1512, MMA 1: 240–242. De Góis, Chronica, part 4, chap. 54, MMA 15: 59. Baltasar de Castro to João III, 15 October 1526, MMA 1: 486–487 (first plan); Manuel Pacheco to João III, 28 March 1536, MMA 2: 58, 60 (ready to go). Gastaldi’s map of 1554, used to illustrate the 2nd edition of Ramusio, Paesi nouamenti retrovati shows this lake, in Afriterra. See http://catalog.afriterra.org/viewMap.cmd? number=648; see also João III to João de Castro, 13 March 1546, in Jacinto Freire de Andrade, Vida de D João de Castro Quarto Viso-rei da India (Lisbon, 1651), p. 440. BNM MS 2711, fol. 101, de Santo Sacramento, “Relacion,” as related to him by the bishop of São Tomé in 1583.

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PORTUGUESE IN KONGO The Portuguese Crown intended to establish a monopoly of trade in the Gulf of Guinea, and sought to enlist Kongo in the project. Essentially, the idea was to have a royal factor who would direct all trade and insure taxation so that the Crown’s fiscal net was secure. Part of this involved the creation of a major settlement at São Tomé, starting in 1493, but really taking shape after 1499 when Fernão de Melo became its donatory captain. De Melo used his position to monopolize trade, but also to benefit personally from it, often stealing from the merchants in one way or another. At the same time, the Crown also approached Kongo with regard to allowing a factor to live there, in exchange for enforcing Kongo’s own monopoly on its external trade. However, de Melo’s ideas collided with those of the Crown, and his clients and agents often cheated Afonso, and Portuguese loyal to him as well. De Melo also controlled the clergy on São Tomé, and they also acted as his agents and clients. In 1512 Portugal sent a mission to Kongo to install a factor there, and the attempts of the royal factor to discipline de Melo’s agents and the priests loyal to him came to violence when the factor killed one of de Melo’s clients and Afonso had to extradite him to Lisbon.120 As de Melo became more aggressive, and particularly after São Tomé began to show potential as a major producer of sugar, the Crown began to question him, beginning with a hostile inquest in 1506 and continuing in 1514.121 Afonso, for his part, complained at length of de Melo’s interference in 1514, and in 1516, when de Melo died (yet another inquest was underway at that time), the Crown took action to revoke his hereditary claims on the captaincy, eventually winning it away from his son and heir in 1522 through criminal charges.122 While there is no reason to doubt that de Melo did the things he was accused 120

121

122

Afonso to Manuel I, 5 October 1514 and 4 March 1516, MMA 1: 308–314 and 355–358. On sugar production, see Arlindo Caldeira, “Learning the Ropes in the Tropics: Slavery and the Plantation System on the Island of São Tomé,” African Economic History 39 (2011): 35–71. On inquests, see, for 1506, Bastião Fernandes to Manuel I, ca. 1506, PMC 5, 60–65; and on 1514, ANTT Chancelleria D Manuel I, livro 15, fol. 23, letter of introduction, 7 February 1514. The 1516 inquest is in Pedro Segura to João III, 15 March 1517, MMA 1: 377–392. The lawsuit that deprived de Melo’s son of his inheritance was settled by Sentence against João de Melo, 19 December 1522: see Antonio da Silva Rego (ed.), As Gavetas de Torre de Tombo, 12 vols. (Lisbon, 1960–1975), 3: 6–19.

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of, the Crown often used such inquests to wrest rights they had granted to pioneers away, once the areas they had settled were successful. Although the factor in Kongo was restored in 1520, there was constant friction between the new governors of São Tomé and Kongo over the question of monopoly, especially when it came to trading in areas that Afonso claimed as part of his monopoly but did not control politically. Initially that was Mpanzalumbu, but when Afonso conquered that in the 1520s the attention shifted to “Angola,” the area that was being served by the emerging power of Ndongo.123 Many of the clergy in Kongo continued to be clients of whoever controlled São Tomé.124 De Melo’s priests actively collaborated with his secular agents and against Afonso or the Portuguese factor in Kongo. The fact that the slave trade was the only effective way to obtain income meant that priests were inevitably drawn to São Tomé, as that is where their commerce went. Even the priests of St. Eloy, who came as a group in 1508, with the intention of being the principal religious advisors to Afonso, were drawn into this commerce. Ultimately their divided loyalty caused them problems, and when a scandal concerning their trade through São Tomé, where they had their own factor, came to a head in 1532 and 1535, the home order disciplined two priests for this scandalous behavior.125

KONGO AND THE SLAVE TRADE While the diplomatic and religious relations that Kongo established with Portugal in João’s reign were dramatic, the commercial relationship was probably more important at the time. Afonso’s correspondence reveals some of the products that were being exported to buy Portuguese merchandize at that time, including exotic animals, ivory, and copper.126 But the most lucrative and important trade was in slaves. Portugal had been dealing in slaves for the production of sugar for many years, starting in southern Portugal, and moving to the islands in the 123 124 125

126

On the role of the Portuguese, see Thornton, “Early Kongo–Portuguese Relations.” Thornton, “Early Kongo–Portuguese Relations,” pp. 193–194. Biblioteca Pública de Braga, MS 924, Jorge de São Paulo, “Epilogo e compendio da origem de congregação de S João Evangelista . . . & outros memorias” (1658), p. 229 (making use of Church documents that are no longer extant). On the ivory trade, see Mariza da Carvalho Soares, “‘Por conto e peso’: O comércio de marfim no Congo e Loango,” Anais do Museu Paulista 25 (2017): 59–86.

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Atlantic, and by 1500 included São Tomé, off the coast of modern Nigeria. Substantial numbers of West African slaves were already being exported to the Atlantic islands and Europe as Kongo and Portugal entered into diplomatic relations. The slave trade from Kongo is first mentioned in 1502, and São Tomé was the principal destination.127 Afonso’s correspondence reveals a well-developed system of buying and selling such captives in a market which Portuguese merchants could use as well, and he included slaves in gifts to Portuguese officials and to the Crown.128 Slaves were available in Kongo largely because of the strategy of moving people to densely settled areas from the more sparsely settled regions to make their product more accessible and to have the concentrated resources needed to staff professional armies and to provide government officials and personal servants. The people moved to these places were called mubika in sixteenth-century Kikongo, a term readily translated as “slave,” and most likely what Afonso thought in Kikongo as he wrote in Portuguese of war captives as “peças” or “escravos” and distinguished them from free people.129 Of course there was a substantial difference, in that those taken to Mbanza Kongo or other populated areas were in all probability simply settled in agricultural villages and expected to produce a surplus in the same way as free people might be through taxes. Those taken by the Portuguese to São Tomé and later to Brazil and then farther afield by other European buyers were enslaved in plantations that used intensive labor to produce an export crop. The conditions of labor and the closeness of supervision were quite substantially different for those caught up in the export trade. The slave trade grew rapidly, especially since Afonso was still expanding the country and could sell off prisoners of war while still enlarging his capital region’s population. But he was also anxious to keep control of his claims to a monopoly on selling slaves, especially as the trade grew in volume to as many as 2,000 per year.130 127

128

129

130

Slaves being sold to São Tomé are mentioned in a legend on the Cantino Atlas (see PMC, plate 5), produced in 1502, in which the wording suggests that the trade was already established and beyond the pioneering stage at that point. John Thornton, “African Political Ethics and the Slave Trade,” in D. R. Peterson (ed.), Abolitionism and Imperialism in Britain, Africa and the Atlantic (Oxford, OH, 2009), pp. 58–93. Linda Heywood, “Slavery and its Transformation in the Kingdom of Kongo: 1491–1800,” Journal of African History 50 (2009): 1–22. Any estimate of the volume of the trade in this period is speculative, as no useful statistical runs are available. For a thorough investigation of the sources, problems,

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Afonso was concerned about violations of his claim to a monopoly of exports from his country, especially in areas over which he claimed to exercise sovereignty. Because the Portuguese Crown accepted his claims, in theory at least, he felt justified in writing harshly to the captain of the Portuguese colony on Príncipe (in the Gulf of Guinea) in 1516 to make him desist from trading with then-unconquered Mpanzalumbu.131 To prevent further incursions on what he felt were his sovereign rights, Afonso asked Portugal to give him his own ship with which to exercise his exclusive rights to trade with São Tomé, although Portugal refused on the grounds that he was already using Portuguese shipping as his own.132 Indeed, there were some Kongolese settled in São Tomé, and they may well have had their own shipping.133 Beyond the trade of Mpanzalumbu, though, Afonso was clearly concerned with his rights in Ambundu, and there clandestine Portuguese trading was a problem. The Portuguese began trading around Luanda Island, probably at the very beginning of the sixteenth century. They discovered that the Kwanza River could be navigated far into the interior in barks, probably as far as Cambambe, where falls prevent further penetration. It was in that way that they came into contact with the ruler of Ndongo, Ngola Kiluanje, and began to offer him assistance. This aided him materially, they believed, in establishing his overlordship over many neighboring areas.134 It seems likely that two large provinces, Ilamba and Kisama, between the highlands and the coast north and south of the Kwanza River, were added to Ndongo’s domains at this time. That Afonso was obliged to fight wars in 1513 against a lord of Ambundu named Munza and in 1516 against “neighboring lands” suggests that he was reacting to that expansion. The problem became more difficult when Ndongo, working through these clandestine merchants, decided to enter into diplomatic relations with Portugal. In 1520 a Portuguese mission arrived in Ndongo, and in 1525 Afonso managed to thwart the mission, and took up its members, ostensibly to protect them, in lands he claimed as his own. Soon after

131 132 133 134

and estimates, see Ivana Elbl, “The Volume of the Early Atlantic Slave Trade, 1450–1521,” Journal of African History 38 (1997): 31–75, 72 for Central Africa. Afonso to António Carneiro, 5 March 1516, MMA 1: 359–360. Afonso to João III, 26 May 1517, MMA 1: 404–405. Thornton, “Early Kongo–Portuguese Relations,” pp. 191–192. Pierre du Jarric, Seconde Partie de l’Histoire des choses plvs memorables advenves tantez Indies Orientales, que autres païs de la descouuerte des Portugais, 3 vols. (Bordeaux, 1608–12), 2: 82.

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stopping the Portuguese mission to Ndongo, Afonso wrote to the Portuguese Crown, complaining that [Portuguese] merchants who are allowed to come to this Kingdom and set up shops with goods and many things which have been prohibited by us and which they spread throughout our kingdoms and domains [Reynos e Senhorjos] in such an abundance that many of our vassals, whom we had in obedience, do not comply because they have the things in greater abundance than we ourselves; and it was with these things that we had them content and subjected under our vassalage and jurisdiction.

He also claimed that the Portuguese trade had caused challenges to his authority, including seizing “our natives, sons of the land and the sons of our noblemen and vassals and our relatives.”135 He then asserted the right to examine all slaves to determine whether they were legally enslaved or alternatively if they had been acquired outside his zone of control, and established a board of three officials to undertake the task.136 The language makes it clear that he intended this complaint to apply to Ndongo and the relationship that the Portuguese had established there against his own claims, and moreover that their military assistance had probably impeded his own military efforts in that direction. However, Ndongo and its Portuguese allies were not to be thwarted so easily. The trade through the Kwanza continued quite strongly in the years following the correspondence of 1526. In 1548, after Afonso had died, Diogo, his successor, conducted an extensive inquest at Mpinda, the port of departure for slaves from Kongo, to determine the loss of shipping that the Angola trade entailed, and found it to be extensive.137 It is then to the emergence of Ndongo that we turn.

135 136

137

Afonso to João III, 6 July 1526, MMA 1: 470–471. Thornton, “Early Kongo–Portuguese Relations,” pp. 193–194; Thornton, “African Political Ethics.” This incident, elaborated in particular by Basil Davidson, Black Mother: The Years of the African Slave Trade (Boston, 1961), is often seen as either evidence of Portuguese subversion in Kongo or of Kongo’s resistance to the slave trade. Inquirição sobre o comercio de S. Tomé com Angola, 12 November 1548, MMA 2: 197–206.

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The Struggle for Ambundu and the Founding of Angola

Afonso’s claims over the territory of Ndongo and Portugal’s interference, a violation of their earlier agreements with him, would lead to a long conflict over control of the Kimbundu-speaking kingdoms to the south of Kongo. The end of the sixteenth century saw Portugal become directly involved in the affairs of West Central Africa, eventually founding a colony under its direct control in what would be called the Kingdom of Angola, and the early seventeenth century would witness massive all-out war in the region.

AMBUNDU AND NDONGO “Ambundo” was a large region that corresponded to some degree to the Kimbundu language, to which was related, but distinct from Kikongo, the language that Kongo, the lands north of the Congo River, and the Seven Kingdoms all spoke.1 Jesuit priests wrote down traditions of Ambundu in the 1570s and 80s, which maintained that originally Ambundu was divided into some 736 small mini-states called murindas. Making reasonable allowances for the size of the area, this large number of murindas must have equated

1

56

For the rise of Ndongo, see Beatrix Heintze, “Unbekantes Angola: Der Staat Ndongo im 16. Jahrhundert,” Anthropos 72 (1977): 749–805 (a revised, but difficult of access, Portuguese translation as “O Estado do Ndongo no século XVI” in Beatrix Heintze, Angola nos séculos XVI e XVII, ed. Virgilio Coelho [Luanda, 2007], pp. 169–242); Linda Heywood and John Thornton, Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles and the Foundations of the Americas, 1585–1665 (Cambridge, 2007).

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

to quite small units, perhaps a small town surrounded by a handful of villages.2 According to traditions recorded by the Jesuits, the murindas were initially independent of each other, under “particular lords” called sobas, “who did not recognize anyone as being over them.” They made war on each other in order to extend their boundaries, and in this constant struggle, the tradition asserted, “Angola Inene,” ruler of a murinda called Ndongo, emerged as the most powerful. Angola was actually a title: Angola Inene (or Ngola Inene in Kimbundu) simply meant “great Ngola,” and this title was used as a place name by both Afonso and the Portuguese.3 The traditions of the ruling family of Ndongo that were recorded by Capuchin missionaries in the mid-seventeenth century locate an ancestry for “Angola Inene,” going back to a blacksmith (named either Angola Mussuri or Angola Bumbambula) who came from Kongo and was elected king because of his benevolence. As is often the case, the founder of the dynasty was alleged to have been a stranger from somewhere else, in this case the older and more prestigious Kingdom of Kongo. His children succeeded him, and his grandchild, named Ngola Kiluanje, was the one that the Jesuits heard was the founder of the larger kingdom and the first ruler to have contact with Portugal, and thus the “Ngola Inene” who came to power around 1515.4 Ngola Kiluanje’s prime domain, the Kingdom of Ndongo, also included a number of provinces surrounding it, which the genealogy placed in the hands of Ngola Kiluanje’s brothers, not as governors serving on limited terms (as was the case with royal provinces in Kongo) but as hereditary rulers. The Capuchins named the provinces of Hari, Lembo, and Ambaca, all located north of the Kwanza River and south of the Lutete River, a zone of about 60 by 120 kilometers in extent (7,500 square kilometers) on a high plateau. The core of Ndongo was 2

3

4

The original account was probably written around 1582 by Baltasar Barreira, but it is only known from a variety of quotations, some by Barreira himself, others copied out in different documents. Du Jarric, Histoire, 2: 76–93 used this text and other documents from Jesuit archives, some now lost, to write an account which is more detailed than any one of the components. It is first used by Portuguese in Regimento to Manuel Pacheco and Baltasar de Castro, 16 February 1520, MMA 3: 432; Afonso used it in 1526. The traditions were recorded by Antonio da Gaeta, La maravigliosa conversione . . . della Regina Singa . . . (Naples, 1669), pp. 134–145; and MSS Araldi, Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, “Missione Evangelica,” (1665–1668), Book 2, chap. 1; published with variations in Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione Book 2, no. 129.

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the town of Kabasa, some distance south of the modern day town of N’dalatando.5 In Ambundu, both Kongo’s claims to overrule and Ndongo’s local supremacy still allowed the murindas considerable authority, including making war on each other and accepting no other obligation except payment of tribute in goods and military service to Ndongo. As Ndongo rose it simultaneously usurped Kongo’s claims and created an apparatus of greater central control.6 It was probably because he was still at least nominally subordinate to Kongo that Ngola Kiluanje sent ambassadors to Afonso around 1518 asking to become Christian, before sending them on to Portugal.7

KONGO AFTER AFONSO In the 1540s Afonso was getting older and the question of his succession was becoming more important. He had reigned for a long time, and was probably in his eighties, and there were several attempts to kill him, as he reported in a letter to Portugal to complain about the participation of several Portuguese priests in the plot.8 Thanks to his longevity, Afonso had both children and grandchildren old enough to be king when he died in 1542. The struggle that ensued postponed any further expansion that Kongo might envision. Two factions quickly formed. One, which called itself Kibala (or “court”), supported his son Pedro, who managed to win the throne immediately; but in 1545, after just three years on the throne, Afonso’s grandson Diogo, who led the other, unnamed, faction, overthrew him. Armed resistance against Diogo came most notably from Nsi a Ngala along the south coast, which included the route through which nzimbu shells from Luanda Island would reach the capital. He had recourse to the Mwene Kabunga and Mwene Kiowa, whose lands were west and

5

6 7

8

Gaeta, Conversione, p. 144; MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, Book 2, chap. 1, p. 10. Both authors do not make the list of provinces exhaustive. The exact location of this town is not known today, when Linda Heywood and I traveled to N’dalatando in August 2004, we were shown a general direction where it was believed to lie. Du Jarric, Histoire, 2: 78. Regimento to Manuel Pacheco and Baltasar de Castro, 16 February 1520, MMA 3: 432. Afonso to João III, 17 December 1540, MMA 2: 104–105.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

southwest of the capital, and he launched a successful attack on them in 1548.9 Just as Afonso had claimed that his battle with his brother matched pagans against Christians, Diogo characterized his opponents as pagan, that the “enemy of the human race,” in order to destroy Afonso’s Christianity, had caused “bad Christians, and many infidel heathens, great princes and great lords to rise up against this new Church” and return Kongo to its “ancient idolatry.” His victory was because God had “miraculously favored and aided us,” by giving him victory in “many battles which the infidels and bad Christians” opposed him.10 While this victory had given Diogo the throne, Pedro managed to take refuge in a church and claimed the right of asylum. That Pedro sought sanctuary in a church and was accepted strongly suggests that Diogo’s complaint about his pagan opposition was a political contrivance. That Diogo did not simply walk into the church and arrest his rival speaks to the degree to which the Christian custom of sanctuary was already highly regarded in Kongo. With Pedro at least diminished, Diogo then turned to bringing the provincial nobility under his control, exercising his right to remove officials from most provinces, but also proceeding slowly, since a rapid purge might cause the officials appointed by Pedro (who was still at large, albeit trapped in a church) to unite against him. By 1550, as Diogo made more progress, Pedro decided to organize a revolt. His plan was to unite a variety of discontented lower nobles from provinces where Diogo had replaced the governor with a member of his faction or from former officials who had lost their provinces and districts or feared they soon would as Diogo’s purge continued. Pedro’s plot would begin by going to Mbata, hoping that a sympathetic Mwene Mbata, who held considerable power as a result of its important position as co-regent and elector in the kingdom, would support him. His military forces would come from the eastern provinces, Nsundi, Mpangu, Mpemba, Wembo, and Vunda, either by enticing the lower nobles to revolt against Diogo’s appointees or to get the few governors who were loyal to him to mobilize armies. The eastern

9

10

Letter of Cristovão Ribeiro, 31 July 1548; Letter of Jacome Dias, 1 August 1548, MMA 15: 148–149, 154. Diogo I to Paulo III, 1547, in MMA 15: 146. Brásio dated this undated fragment of a letter to 1547, as he regarded it as a second draft of a letter he proposed for his ambassador. The victory reported here makes it more consistent with 1548.

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provinces would then provide a military shield for his position in Mbata.11 Beyond the ideological and constitutional support that the Mwene Mbata might offer him, Pedro also hoped to work outside Kongo to support his claim. For many years, Antonio Vieira, a Konglese married to Margarita da Silva, a member of the Portuguese royal household, served as Kongo’s ambassador to Lisbon, first for Afonso, and then, sticking by Pedro, he worked to undo Diogo.12 Pedro also maintained relations with Rodrigo de Santa Maria, another ally who lived in São Tomé, who he hoped could use connections in Rome to get the Pope to recognize Pedro as the legitimate ruler. The plot failed probably because Diogo had played his hand carefully and held the considerable powers of kingship, so that the plotters ultimately betrayed Pedro rather than risk defeat and death. Francisco, the governor of Mpangu, an appointee of Afonso, remained loyal, he was still ruling it in the 1580s, having served fifty years and had “never been recalled by the king.”13 In this way, a junction between Nsundi and Mbata would be blocked by loyal forces in Mpangu. In addition, Diogo had conducted a visibly successful campaign in the west against Nsi a Ngala, the first set of rebels to oppose him. He finally finished the task on 1 April 1554 when he conducted a sudden mass arrest of “principal knights and relatives” and their families the Sunday after Easter, and on Monday they were executed, without trial and including even eleven women.14 As Diogo was winning the uncontested right to rule the country he had seized from his uncle, he was also interested in increasing royal power. One part of this plan was to gain better control of the Church, which, thanks to Afonso’s network of schools, had loyal servants around the country. The Portuguese Crown had thwarted Afonso’s plan to create his own self-sustaining Church that would use the educational 11

12

13 14

Diogo discovered the plot, and the intricacies are worked out in the sworn testimony of witnesses in a judicial inquiry, which was sent to Portugal to support demands for extradition of some of the plotters: Judicial Inquiry of D. Diogo (10 April 1550) modern ed. and English translation in Heywood and Thornton, “The Treason of Dom Pedro Nkanga Mvemba.” The external go-between, Rodrigo de Santa Maria, was arrested and extradited in 1560: “Papel avulso de noticiaz muito antigas de resoluções que tomavaõ os Senhores Reys de Portugal,” fol. 26v, MMA 2:465. António Vieira to D. Catarina, 18 April 1566, MMA 2: 543–544; and same to King, n.d. [1566], MMA 2: 545–546. Pigafetta, Relatione, p. 36. Cornelio Gomes to Diego Mirón, 10 April 1554, MMA 15: 190.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

establishment to train priests. But without a bishop of his own to ordain these priests, and João Bautista, a bishop in São Tomé, beholden to the captain’s interests, Diogo would have to try another strategy. In 1546 Diogo sent Diogo Gomes, a man born in Kongo around 1520 to “a Portuguese mother and father,” as his ambassador to Portugal, hoping to bring advanced teachers and more clergy.15 Gomes’s mission was successful, and he returned to Kongo with a group of the newly founded Jesuit order in 1548. Diogo may have hoped that he could use the Jesuits to advance education in Kongo, but soon discovered that they had political ambitions and were for all intents and purposes as much agents of the Portuguese Crown as the bishop was, as they took up the bishop’s cause as their own. His own ambassador, Diogo Gomes, already a priest, decided himself to join the Jesuits, and turned on his king – even insulting him in public – and Diogo felt obliged to expel him. Not only did the Jesuits denounce Diogo for having mistresses, they also interfered with the Portuguese community in Kongo that was loyal to Diogo. They even took a dangerous interest in Pedro’s plotting, and hoped they could use him to promote Portuguese (and Jesuit) interests.16 They tried to work with Pedro’s supporter Rodrigo de Santa Maria, who participated in the plot against Diogo of 1550, to damage the king. Diogo asked for de Santa Maria to be arrested in São Tomé after the plot failed, and in 1560 King Sebastião of Portugal did so.17 Diogo struck back by cutting off their support, and when the priests began trading in slaves with São Tomé, the order itself sanctioned them, so that by 1550 there were no Jesuits remaining. Diogo Gomes, now Cornélio Gomes, Jesuit, returned at the request of the king of Portugal with another Jesuit, Fructoso de Nogeira, in 1552, but his companion died, leaving only Gomes, a man Diogo considered a traitor, to carry on. Diogo effectively isolated Gomes, not allowing him to preach or teach,

15

16 17

Baltazar Telles, Chronica da Companhia de Iesu na prouincia de Portugal (Lisbon, 1645), Part 2, Book 5, chap. 5, pp. 273–274 (on his background); see also Antonio da Cruz, “A missão de Cornelio Gomes, embaxador do Rei D Diogo de Congo (1545–48),” in IV Congresso do Mundo Portugues (Lisbon, 1940), part 2. Thornton, “Early Kongo–Portuguese Relations,” pp. 195–196. “Papel avulso de noticiaz muito antigas de resoluções que tomavaõ os Senhores Reys de Portugal,” fol. 26v, MMA 2: 465. This important document only summarizes royal orders of various types, and was compiled much later from documents that are no longer extant. It contains many different items, but fols. 26v–33 include a dossier of documents on the Angola mission.

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so that he eventually abandoned Kongo, feeling there was no fruit for him there anymore.18 Diogo worked hard to protect his loyal Portuguese community from being exploited or manipulated by São Tomé’s clients. In this he succeeded for in 1553, King João III issued an order granting the Portuguese community in Kongo self-government under Kongo authority.19 The law made it possible for Portuguese to accept, in effect, Kongolese nationality and not be claimed as subjects by the Portuguese Crown. Diogo’s claim over the Portuguese community was clear, for that same year merchants in the island were requesting Diogo’s permission before sailing to Angola.20 Portuguese resident in Kongo became naturalized culturally; Jesuits complained that their adherence to what they thought was Kongo’s imperfect Christianity made them “worse than the natives.”21 Diogo also faced difficulties with the bishops of São Tomé, who had their own partisan interests in Kongo. In 1554 Gaspar Cão arrived as bishop of São Tomé, and continued the practice of using the Church in Kongo for his interests. Priests that the bishop sent to Kongo as vicars worked as his commercial agents, just as the priests of St. Eloy had done earlier. They collected tithes for the Church for the bishop, and used those funds to purchase and export slaves on his behalf.22 When Cão made a personal visit to Kongo, Diogo’s agents, beginning with the Mwene Soyo, blocked his efforts, which ultimately prevented him from exerting the influence he desired. As Diogo sought to gain more control over the Church from Portugal, he was using it for his own aims in expansion. He sent his own missionaries, “chapel boys,” to evangelize neighboring countries over which he claimed some authority, but probably exercised little real control. Among them was the “Great Queen” of Matamba, which was first revealed in Afonso’s correspondence when it was paying him tribute in 1530.23 While this tribute may have been only symbolic (Afonso claimed Matamba as part of his lordship in 1535), traditions 18 19 20

21 22 23

Diego Mirón to Ignatius Loyola, 5 September 1555, MMA 2: 277–278. Alvará of João III to Diogo, 1553, MMA 2: 321–322. Jacome Leite to João III, 8 August 1553, MMA 2: 294; confirmed in Alvará of João III, 1553, MMA 2: 323–324, fixing Soyo as the only point where Portuguese were to trade on the Central African coast. “Informação das cousas do Congo, MMA 2: 329. Thornton, “Early Kongo–Portuguese Relations,” pp. 195–196. De Souto, “Apuntamentos,” MMA 3: 478; on the earlier notice, Afonso to João III, 28 January 1530, MMA 1: 540.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

recorded in the 1660s in Matamba noted that the country had shaken off Kongo’s control at some point in the past, and the king responsible for that had handed power to his daughter after his death. The Great Queen who received Diogo’s mission was perhaps this woman, and it was recognition that the country had regained its independence.24 Diogo felt obliged to send missionaries to the Seven Kingdoms of Kongo dia Nlaza, strongly suggesting that the portion of the Seven Kingdoms that remained following the secession of Mbata, Nsundi, and Mpangu in the fourteenth century had successfully resisted attempts by Kongo to absorb them. Indeed, Diogo recognized the ruler as an “emperor.” Along with the Seven Kingdoms, Diogo’s missionaries also reported success in “Chiquoquo,” the Great Makoko, ruler of the Anziko region.25

THE EMPIRE OF MWENE MUJI One reason why both Afonso and Diogo had pressed to the east, beyond the fact that their historic relationship with the Seven Kingdoms gave them an interest in the area, was that the center of Central Africa’s textile-producing region lay to the northeast of Kongo. This may explain why Afonso took an interest in getting Portuguese help for the exploration of the route to Prester John in the 1520s, and supported an attempt in 1536, which perhaps even took place, as this involved exploration precisely in that direction. He may also have imagined that he could enlist Portuguese assistance for projects aimed at contacting or even conquering eastern lands by encouraging this interest. The textile belt beyond the eastern borders of Great Makoko and the Seven Kingdoms was controlled by Mwene Muji, sometimes styled an empire, which first appeared on a map in 1561 as “Moenhemugi.”26 This substantial polity lay to the northeast of Makoko, and probably 24 25

26

MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione evangelica,” Book 1, pp. 5–6 and Book 2, pp. 42–43 Do Souto, “Apontamentos,” MMA 3: 478 (the first mention of this ruler, but all readings are uncertain). The text, a nineteenth-century copy of what might have been a worn or hard-to-read original, is now in BNL MS 3767, fols. 9–12. “Moenhemugi” on the manuscript map of Bartolemeu Velho, of 1561, illustrated in PMC 2: 204. Toponyms on maps of this period tend to be at least twenty years behind their appearance in documents, and so it is probably safe to say that it reflects Portuguese knowledge of the polity as early as 1540. On its location and probable ethnic origins, see Sulzmann, “Oral Traditione und Chronologie,” pp. 527 and 571 n. 10; Vansina Paths, p. 163.

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controlled an area stretching from Makoko’s eastern border on the Congo River to Lake Mai Ndombe (it was said to border on or contain a large lake) and southwards along the Kwango River to the borders of Kongo’s province of Mbata, and probably some area east of that. Like Makoko, it produced fine cloth that was exported.27 Vansina contended, on linguistic grounds, that it represented a political tradition that differed from the one that produced Kongo, Makoko, and the Seven Kingdoms, and that the modern town of Mushie probably represents its sixteenth-century capital. Linguistic analysis of political terms from this region shows a substantial diffusion of terms relating both to politics and to decision making shared within the area, from north of the Kwa to the Kwango and the Kasai, which share unique common innovations that suggest a political consolidation sometime after 1200.28 Mwene Muji was possibly as old a polity as the Seven Kingdoms, or at least as old as Kongo was.

EMERGENCE OF LOANGO Diogo’s reign also witnessed a political transformation of the lands north of the Congo River, from those small polities of Kakongo, Ngoyo, and Vungu over which Kongo kings claimed power. Early geographical accounts, including Duarte Pacheco Pereira’s fairly extensive description of 1506, do not mention any great coastal power north of the Congo River. However, around the start of his reign, perhaps in the 1550s, Diogo sent missionaries to the large and powerful kingdom of Loango north of the Congo River.29 According to traditions recorded in the 1630s or 1640s from the “oldest and most experienced blacks,” the Kingdom of Loango emerged in an area that was “divided into a variety of countries and regions such as Majumba [Mayumba], Kylongo [Kilongo], Piri, Wansi 27

28

29

Pigafetta, Relatione, pp. 18, 37, 59, 76 gives it the title of “Empire,” suggests that it borders on Prester John, notes the lake and other geographical details. There would be a long tradition of thinking that the lakes in the Upper Nile (e.g. Lake Tana) were equivalent to Lake Mai Ndombe. Vansina, Paths, p. 162–163, linguistic data on p. 349 n. 105. Vansina’s chronology is based on both linguistic and documentary data, and is therefore more equivocal as to when the innovations took place, or how to separate linguistic manifestations of state and class formation (which seems to be the earlier nkumu phase, pp. 120–127) from the development of larger political units. De Souto, “Apuntomentos,” MMA 3: 478.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

and Lovango,” and each was “ruled by separate leaders, who continually made war on each other.” The description is consistent with the fact that no early Portuguese account notes any significant power north of the Congo River. Tradition gave credit to Njimbe, a noble from the district of “Zerri” (Nzadi) in Kakongo on the banks of the Congo River, for forming the kingdom of Loango.30 Since Kongo rulers claimed to be the kings of Kakongo as part of the original federation, Loango’s subject areas would presumably also be vassals of Kongo, though indirectly. However, as Kongo developed its kingdom in the south and east, regions of its original federation north of the Congo had pulled away to be more independent. Njimbe built his kingdom of Loango through the skillful use of force and alliances as he moved north from Nzadi. Resistance was powerful at first; Wansi was conquered quickly but it took two wars each to defeat Kilongo and Piri. However, once Njimbe had exhibited his power and mustered the resources of the conquered regions, the more northern petty states, notably Docke and Sette, surrendered without fighting. As Njimbe moved northward, he transferred his capital that direction, finally building permanently at Buali in Piri, the last of the provinces he conquered. In Kikongo, a person from Piri would be called a Muvili, and thus the term Muvili (often written Mobili in Portuguese-language sources) became an ethnic name for people from the Kingdom of Loango.31 As Loango became more powerful, Diogo took notice, especially as the new kingdom was clearly challenging Kongo’s authority north of the Congo River. Diogo’s attempt at missionizing Loango, like those in Matamba or the Seven Kingdoms of Kongo dia Nlaza, were undoubtedly at least partially connected to attempts

30

31

In 1610 Njimbe was noted as the predecessor of the king then ruling ( Andrew Battell, The Strange Adventures of Andrew Battell of Leigh, ed. E. G. Ravenstein [Oxford, 1901], pp. 44 [Gembe] and 45 [Gymbe]). The king ruling in 1610 died in 1625 after a sixty-year reign; it would seem that Njimbe was ruling in the 1550s ( Nicholas van Wassenaer, Historisch verhael aller gedenckwaerdiger geschiedenissen die en Europe . . ., eighth part (Amsterdam, 20 May 1625), article of October 1624 to April 1625, fols. 27 (length of reign) and 28 (death). Loango traditions in the 1870s also named Njimbe as the founder: Adolph Bastian, Deutsche Expedition an der Loango-Küste, 2 vols. (Jena, 1874), 1: 265; for the 1890s, see R. E. Dennett, At the Back of the Black Man’s Mind (London, 1906), pp. 5–6. Olfert Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche Gewesten (Amsterdam, 1668), p. 518.

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to establish or reestablish his authority. According to an account by a priest in Diogo’s court, the king of Loango and “all of his people” converted, as did the king’s brother “Manilembo,” a priest of “pagan idols,” as a result of this missionary effort.32 This “idol,” called Lemba, was the cult that attended to the health of the king, as Dapper understood it nearly a century later.33 This reported success, however, did not result in the establishment of Christianity in Loango, and over the following centuries intermittent reports of conversions, usually short-lived, would continue. Kongo’s rulers acknowledged the independence of Loango and the north bank of the Congo River in spite of the potential claims through Kakongo. Álvaro I changed Kongo’s royal titles in 1583, making himself only “lord” of “Guyu and the River Zaire” rather than “king” of Ngoyo, Kakongo and Vungu; and by 1604 his son Álvaro II did not mention the whole region in his titles.34 Kongo’s official view of the status of the north bank was probably best reflected in a statement made by Duarte Lopes, Kongo’s ambassador to Rome in 1584. He stated that Loango had once been a vassal of Kongo, but at that time was just a “friend.”35 The vestiges of the former vassalage relationships were retained symbolically, so the English sailor Andrew Battell, who visited Loango around 1610, was told that the ruler of Kakongo had to marry a woman from Kongo, while the king of Loango married into Kakongo’s family, reflecting the ancient connections of Loango to Kakongo and Kakongo to Kongo. Loango’s real dominance in the relationship with Kakongo was acknowledged, since Loango was claimed to be the elder to Kakongo, which was held to be his “spouse.”36 In the early seventeenth century, the third region over which Kongo was “king,” Vungu, appears to have been considered free from Kongo in fact as well as in the conception of Álvaro II.37 The kings of Kakongo and Vungu were

32 33

34

35 36 37

Sebastiao de Souto, “Apontamentos,” MMA 3: 478. For the early manifestation of this cult, then associated with royalty and the kingdom, see Jan Janzen, Lemba, 1650 to 1930: A Drum of Affliction in Africa and the New World (New York and London, 1982), pp. 51–52. Alvaro I, Donation of his kingdom to the Holy See, 20 January 1583, in MMA 3: 238; Alvaro II to Pope, 13 July 1604, MMA 5: 121. Pigafetta, Relatione, p. 14. Battell, Strange Adventures, p. 104. Lembranças de Manuel Baptista, bishop do Congo, 7 September 1619, MMA 6: 361; Fernão Guerreiro, Relaçam, MMA 5: 241–242.

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both engaged independently with Portugal for the trade in metals in 1627, apparently as sovereign states.38

NDONGO AND PORTUGAL Loango’s emergence was of some significance in Kongo, though it is more likely that Diogo saw a greater threat from Ndongo. Retaining control of the trade of Ambundu was also high on his priorities, and Diogo was concerned that the Portuguese merchants who had been assisting Ndongo were draining profits from that region away. He conducted an investigation into their trade in 1548 which revealed the extent of the commerce and, more important, the effect it had on both Kongo’s and Portugal’s revenues.39 Not only were they diverting trade, but Angola-based Portuguese supported Nsi a Ngala as it opposed Diogo’s campaigns to integrate the southern coast north of Luanda, which was probably the area containing Musulu, a province over which Afonso only claimed power as “lord” in 1535. Diogo took Portuguese prisoners when his army campaigned there in 1548 and 1549.40 As a result of the convergence of interests between Kongo and the Portuguese Crown, residents of São Tomé were required to obtain licenses to trade in Angola with Diogo’s permission, and were allowed to send exports out only through Kongo’s port of Mpinda.41 It was, however, a paper victory, as it would be impossible for either Portugal or Kongo to enforce the policy effectively. The continuing threat of revolts against Diogo during the early years of his reign would surely have been known outside Kongo, even if the specifics of the plots that Pedro was discussing were not. It was possibly for this reason that Ngola Kiluanje decided in 1549 to send a new mission to Portugal to seek an alliance, and perhaps to sever Kongo’s claim to exclusive rights to trade outside his coast. 38

39

40 41

Domingos Vaz Tisnado to Fernão de Sousa, 9 March 1627, quoted in de Sousa’s letter to his sons of 1630, in Beatrix Heintze (ed.), Fontes para a história de Angola do século XVII, 2 vols. (Stuttgart, 1985–1988; hereafterFHA), 1: 278. Inquest into trade of Angola, 7 May 1548 (transmitted to Portugal 12 November 1548), in MMA 2: 197–205. The Portuguese royal factor in São Tomé also complained about the trade to Ndongo: Jerónimo Coutinho to João III, 1551, MMA 2: 268–269. Diogo I to João III, 10 March 1550, MMA 2: 243. Jacome Leite to João III, 8 August 1553, MMA 2: 294; confirmed in Alvará of João III, 1553, MMA 2: 323–324.

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If Ngola Kiluanje hoped to capitalize on Diogo’s weakness, though, it might have been undone by the long delay caused by the authorities in São Tomé, who detained the mission for no less than nine years, perhaps because they feared that the Portuguese resident there, many of whom were connected to the island, would be poorly served if he established direct relations with Portugal.42 As a result, it was only in 1560 when the mission, led by Paulo Dias de Novais, the grandson of the famous explorer Bartolmeu Dias, arrived on the coast. They discovered that Ngola Kiluanje had died in the interim and had been replaced by a new ruler named Ndambe a Ngola.43 Ndambe a Ngola was disappointed that they came only with Jesuit priests to baptize him and evangelize the country, and not with soldiers who might assist him in wars. Nevertheless, he received them courteously and sent his chief religious official to meet them to discuss religious matters. However, Ndambe a Ngola died not long after the mission arrived, and his young son and successor, Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe, was less interested in missionary work.44 Both Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe and the Portuguese mission enjoyed a certain boost from the fact that Diogo, who would probably have vigorously opposed any alliance between them, died in 1561. There was a brief succession dispute between Diogo’s sons upon his death: one son, crowned as Afonso II, took office immediately, and had enjoyed support from the Portuguese community (though now more a local faction than representatives of Portugal); but his brother Bernardo, claiming that Afonso was illegitimate, dethroned his brother “after a few days” and became king.45 The queen of Portugal wrote to Bernardo with congratulations, ruefully adding a wish that the Portuguese “would be as loyal to the kings there as they are obliged to me.”46 Another contender, Francisco, although remembered as an “ordinary nobleman” later, may have been 42

43

44 45 46

Antonio Mendes to Jesuit General, 9 May 1563, in MMA 2: 497; on potential motives for the long delay, Graziano Saccardo, Congo e Angola con la storia dell’antica missioni cappuccino, 3 vols. (Venice, 1982–1983), 1: 77. Du Jarric, Histoire, 2: 83; Ngola Kiluanje was reported as having recently died in 1558: Inácio de Azevedo to Diego Laínez, 19 August 1558, MMA 2: 415. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 80–82. Cristóvão de Sousa to D. Catarina, 4 November 1561, MMA 2: 474. Catarina to Bernardo I (26 June 1562), MMA 2: 483. This letter is completely cordial, hardly suggesting any tension between Lisbon and Mbanza Kongo at this point, as is a subsequent letter from King Sebastião to Cardinal Henrique (2 October 1564), in MMA 2: 524–525.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

one of Diogo’s brothers. He left the capital and killed the Mwene Mpangu and the Mwene Nsundi, but Bernardo defeated him in open battle when he tried to retake the capital.47 Now secure on his throne, Bernardo sent a warning to Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe in 1562 that the Portuguese were only there “to see if [Ndongo] had silver or gold in order for the King of Portugal to take the land” and warning that he “would not suffer that [the Portuguese] were in Angola and that he alone would send presents of things which he got from Portugal before they came there.” Aside from wishing to dominate trade with the country, Bernardo was also attentive to the fact the Ndongo produced livestock, which did not flourish in Kongo, and did not want that trade disrupted or diminished.48 Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe appears to have heeded the advice of Bernardo and stopped the missionary work, if for no other reason than that the Portuguese mission provided him no military support to defy Kongo. Ngola Kiluanje then imprisoned Dias de Novais as well as the Jesuits, only allowing Dias de Novais to return to Portugal in 1565, according to later accounts, to organize military assistance against rebels threatening the king. They left just one Jesuit priest, Francisco de Gouveia, at Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe’s court, where he would remain until his death in 1575.49 A romantic tale of Dias de Novais’s time in Ndongo was set to writing a few decades later. According to this account, which was hardly based on historical sources, one of Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe’s daughters fell in love with the Portuguese adventurer, who, according to the story, had been sent, along with thirty Portuguese soldiers, from the king of Kongo to assist Ndongo in repelling “Jagas.” When she learned of the Ngola’s plan to kill him and the other Portuguese in his company, she arranged for Dias de Novais and a few surviving companions to flee to the lands of Kilonga kia Bungu, a soba whose lands lay along the Mucoso River near Cambambe. There, she arranged for a large canoe to transport them to the mouth of the Kwanza, and then they braved the ocean

47

48 49

[Cardoso], “Relação do alevamento,” MMA 15: 537. Cardoso, writing in 1622, does not assign a date or the relative point in chronology of this rebellion, given by Kongolese as an example of revolt; this seems a likely time. Pigafetta notes that one of Afonso’s successors, named Francesco, was Diogo’s brother, but as his account leaves Bernardo’s reign out altogether, it seems likely that it is this man he means: Pigafetta, Relatione, p. 56. Antonio Mendes to Jesuit General, 9 May 1562, in MMA 2: 502. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, p. 81.

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waves in their river boat to journey north along the coast to Kongo’s port of Mpinda, where they found Portuguese merchant ships which carried them to safety.50 As might be expected from his circumstances, Father Francisco had very little luck in winning a mass conversion of Ndongo’s people. Unlike the early rulers of Kongo, Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe was not interested in embracing Christianity for religious or political reasons. De Gouveia managed to serve the needs of the Luso-African and Kongo merchants in Ndongo’s court, and also served as a tutor to Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe himself. In so doing, he was eventually accorded honor and respect, so that when he died in 1575 he was greatly honored; the king sent his personal band of musicians to play for his former teacher before he was buried at the small chapel he had built.51 Since the unarmed Portuguese followers of Dias de Novais offered Ndongo little help, later legends notwithstanding, Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe fought on by himself. Ndongo had achieved considerable power by this time, and was waging expansionist wars, generally to the south and east, where it would not have to tangle with Kongo. One of Ndambe a Ngola’s capital enemies, Benguela, lay to the south of the Kwanza on the northern edge of the Central Highlands of Angola at the headwaters of the Longa River. On its northern and western sides this plateau was cut off from the lands below by a formidable escarpment, and its people spoke Umbundu, a different language from Kimbundu, spoken to the south.52 Despite their similar names the two languages are quite different.53 The Kingdom of Benguela was the earliest highland society to appear in written documents, then known as a source of copper in 1546 when a Portuguese mission was sent there.54 The kingdom, whose dimensions are unclear, was first mentioned as a major enemy of the emerging 50

51 52

53

54

MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica”, Book 1, chap. 3, see annotation 53 on the Thornton online edition and translation for sources; the fullest version is found in Gaeta, Conversione, pp. 156–172; but other details are found in Cadornega, História, 1: 14–18. Gaeta (149) says he had the story from manuscripts at Massangano and testimony of old Portuguese veterans. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 81–82. Beatrix Heintze, “Wer war der ‘König von Banguela’,” in In Memoriam António Jorge Dias (Lisbon, 1974), pp. 185–202. This has been the author’s experience in attempting to leap from a knowledge of Kikongo and Kimbundu (which he perceives as closely related) to Umbundu, which was more difficult. Native speakers or linguists might not detect as great a difference. Regimento ao Diogo do Soveral, 7 June 1546, MMA 2: 138.

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kingdom of Ndongo in 1563.55 In this encounter, the ruler of Ndongo defeated Benguela, killed the king and divided the kingdom between two of his sons, who were then required to pay him tribute. But they soon rose against Ndongo, occasioning another war.56 However that may have been, Benguela remained powerful, and had apparently recovered its independence by 1586, when the king entered into negotiations with the Portuguese who had established themselves in Angola.57 Ndongo also fought with a place called “Quitango,” which cannot be identified even by direction. Allowing for a misreading of the “t” as an “s” it might be Songo, a large region southeast of Ndongo between the Kwanza and Kwango Rivers. Like Benguela, Quitango also seemed to be fairly powerful, but apparently it had disappeared, or been absorbed into another kingdom, before more detailed records of the later period might refine it. There is no question that Ndongo was now a powerful and increasingly centralized kingdom. Like the Kingdom of Kongo, Ndongo was notable for having a densely populated central domain. In Kongo this was the city of Mbanza Kongo and its immediate region, which might have held as much as 20 percent of the country’s total population. In Ndongo it was a larger central district which was densely populated but had several towns within it. In 1564 the Jesuit priest Francisco de Gouveia witnessed an immense fire, which destroyed the city of Ngolomene. Such fires would be characteristic of a region where virtually all building was done with natural materials and where an extended dry season reduced all dwellings to fire hazards. This town had some 5,000 households, perhaps 25,000 people, but it was not even the capital, though the king was in the town at the time. When the fire broke out the king in fact removed himself to Kabasa, another town probably of equal size, that was only 2 leagues (10 kilometers more or less) away.58 This prodigious population buildup in the core of Ndongo was probably, as in Kongo, achieved by the forced removal of people from more sparsely populated hinterlands to the capital district as captives. Ndongo had a large class of special dependent people, whose ancestors 55

56 57 58

For a thorough investigation of the historiography of this place, see Heintze, “Wer War der ‘König von Banguela’?” esp. pp. 185–189. Antonio Mendes to Jesuit General, 9 May 1563, MMA 2: 509. Diogo da Costa to Provincial of Portugal, 31 May 1586, MMA 4: 611. Francisco de Gouveia to Mirão, 1 November 1564, MMA 15: 232–233.

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had been captured, but held a status of dependents who could not be alienated by sale. Such dependent people who might be correctly called “serfs” were called kijiko (pl. ijiko) and lived in their own villages. Kijiko populations were more dependent on the people who held rights over them than the taxable but free population, called ana murinda or “children of the murinda.”59 The kings of Ndongo also used kijikos to expand their scope and revenue by establishing villages of kijikos dependent on them in other provinces outside the royal domain, thus providing them with revenue they controlled in those provinces beyond tribute payments.60 Slaves who were more recently captured had a different name, mubika (pl. abika), and could be sold. As early as the 1520s and probably before that, the mubikas were being sold in large quantities to Portuguese buyers.61 It was Ndongo’s potential to generate large numbers of mubikas that drew the Portuguese there, and it was primarily desire to gain a share of the trade that drove their interest in political involvement. Ndongo developed an institutional structure as it expanded and took in territory, which is revealed primarily in Jesuit descriptions from the 1570s and 1580s; but some components were visible in reports of the mission to Ndongo in the 1560s. According to these accounts, the larger sobas in Ambundu had bureaucracies that carried out their actions, which included a judicial position, and the positions in the larger Kingdom of Ndongo were expanded to include jurisdiction over the whole of the kingdom. The most important was the Tendala, who had judicial and administrative functions and could stand in for the king in those. The Kiambole, who exercised military functions and stood in as an operational commander in wartime, was drawn from non-noble, if not servile classes, for the traditions of Ndongo noted that an early Tendala was a slave. The king of Ndongo was also served by makotas, who were “the gentlemen of the land, and by consequence of a free condition.”62 Though noble in origin, they served household functions that were expanded to work on a kingdom-wide level: the Mwene Kudya’s original role was to obtain food for the royal household, but that charge was

59 60 61 62

Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 77–78. Du Jarric, Histoire, 2: 79–80. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 78–79. Du Jarric, Histoire, 2: 79.

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expanded to include all forms of taxation and accounting, the Mwene Lumbo was supposed to supervise the household and thus was responsible for carrying out administrative responsibilities for the kingdom, and the Mwene Misete, a religious leader, was in charge of religious activities that affected Ndongo, and was sometimes called the Mwene Ndongo, as was the official who treated with the Jesuits when they arrived in 1560, whom they called “great priest.”63 Ndongo’s administration had two levels: the core central provinces located in the highlands between the Kwanza and Lukala Rivers, and a larger periphery located primarily to the west on both sides of the Kwanza River up to the Bengo River, where Kongo’s central authority reached. At the center of the state were the murindas of the central region, which were tributaries of the king with full local sovereignty, but they were led by members of the royal family, descended from different branches that had separated a generation or two earlier. They could claim the throne, since Ndongo’s succession was hereditary – at least in theory – and the throne could thus be inherited from the most senior branch, in whichever of the several (at least four, and probably more) murindas the royal family held. The sobas of the western regions or south of the Kwanza continued to act more or less as sovereign rulers within their own territories. They owed the king tribute in commodities or money and were required to appear with soldiers ready to fight when summoned; sometimes sobas would bring thousands of followers. There were court officials assigned to the sobas to serve as liaison with the Crown, and to collect taxes.64 In this regard, Ndongo and Kongo differed substantially. While Kongo, like Ndongo, included a central core region surrounded by a corona of tributaries which were locally sovereign, Kongo’s core region included several substantial provinces that were held at the king’s pleasure, readily revocable in case of disloyalty or just royal whim, although as was clear in Diogo’s lengthy succession process, the theory and actual practice varied widely. Taken together these 63

64

Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 75–79. The “great priest [sacerdote]” of Ndongo is noted in Pedro Mendes to Jesuit General, 9 May 1563, MMA 2: 499. Conceding the title of priest rather that “fetisher” (feitiçeiro) is a mark of respect in this context. Jesuit Annual Letter, 1602–1603, in Fernão Guerreiro, Relação Annual das Coisas que fizeram os Padres da Companhia de Jesus . . ., MMA 5: 51, relating to what was an “ancient custom”: Garcia Simões, 20 October 1575, MMA 3: 138.

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provinces held a very large population and vast revenue. Only a few provinces, notably Mbata, were held by inheritance, as a result of its historical connection to the original alliance that created Kongo, which had given it a role in king-making that Pedro had hoped to exploit. While in both Kongo and Ndongo heritability was significant in royal succession, in Kongo the contenders might hold a province from which to attack other contenders, but their goal was far more to control the center than to hold on to this or that province, as was clear in the plotting around Diogo’s succession, where the giving and taking of rendas was the primary concern of the nobles. In Ndongo, on the other hand, provincial holders might be more concerned to protect their interest in the province than to pursue the crown. Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe, like his predecessors, hoped to increase his power, expand his revenue, and do so at the expense of various noble groups that ruled provinces or held hereditary office. He surely hoped that Dias de Novais would return to him with an army so that he could continue expanding and perhaps centralizing his domains, but he still had to contend with Kongo’s claims against him.

THE “JAGA” INVASION AND THE FOUNDING OF ANGOLA Diogo’s successor Bernardo, having warned Ndongo not to deal independently with the Portuguese, did not try to thwart Portugal’s interest in Ndongo, but instead continued Diogo’s strategy elsewhere, primarily looking to bring the rich textile-producing lands of the east into his domains. Kongo’s eastern thrust, however, was blocked when in 1567 Bernardo met his death in an eastern campaign, “killed by the Jaguas, rebel blacks.”65 These “Jaguas,” who would later strike back at Kongo, lived in a province of Mwene Muji, and bordered on Mbata, probably along the Kwango.66 Bernardo was succeeded by Diogo’s brother Henrique (his uncle), who continued the campaigns to the east, this time against Makoko, but this war was a disaster that cost him his life. 65

66

Antonio da Silva, Duke of Mbamba, to Manuel Bautista, 15 December 1617, MMA 6: 295; ANTT Inquisicão Lisboa, Processo 2522, fol. 144, Testimony of Francisco de Medeiros, 4 June 1584. Pigafetta, Relazione, pp. 18, 36, 59, 76, has them come from a province of Mwene Muji, which seems to have stretched south along the river along the border of the Seven Kingdoms. The extent of Mwene Muji in the sixteenth century is uncertain.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

When Henrique went to fight Makoko he left Álvaro Nimi a Lukeni, a young man of some twenty-five years, to govern the capital in his absence. Álvaro was the son of Henrique’s wife, Izabel Lukeni lua Mvemba, but by another husband, and upon the death of his stepfather he was acclaimed as King Álvaro I “by common consent.”67 Since Izabel was the daughter of Afonso I, she had fulfilled half the requirements to be the “daughter and mother of a king,” and perhaps her ambition as well as that of the electors had led to Álvaro’s succession.68 Such an acclamation meant little in Kongo, at least until all disappointed other candidates had been either mollified or defeated, and this process could take years, as it took Diogo five years to guarantee his place on the throne. According to Duarte Lopes, a Portuguese New Christian sent as ambassador from Álvaro to Rome, Henrique’s death “exhausted the dynasty” of Diogo and thus left the throne open to a new dynasty. This official story, probably derived from Álvaro’s proponents in the court, was certainly not true, and was probably created for Rome’s consumption. It may have suited the Papacy or the court and his partisans, but not many other people of royal descent holding positions in the provinces, who might also claim the throne, would accept it. In any case, the eastern thrust came back on Kongo. The “Jagas” who had killed Bernardo in battle, defending “the fatherland and Christianity” as António da Silva, an early seventeenth-century Kongolese chronicler wrote, now launched a ferocious attack on Kongo.69 Lopes’s account described them as being like shepherds or the Arabians, who had come from deep in the interior, living without fixed residence, moving endlessly from place to place, and great eaters of human flesh.70 The term “Jaga” (probably Yaka in Kikongo)71 was subsequently applied widely in

67 68 69

70

71

Pigafetta, Relatione, pp. 57–58. Thornton, “Elite Women,” p. 446. Duke António da Silva of Mbamba to Manuel Bautista, 15 December 1617, MMA 6: 296. The fullest account of the invasion was given in Pigafetta, Relatione, pp. 59–61. The long footnote by Michel Chandeigne in his French translation of Pigafetta (Paris, 2002, pp. 291–295) provides an excellent summary of the older historiography by David Birmingham, Jan Vansina, Joseph C. Miller, John Thornton, François Bontinck, and Anne Hilton, but see also the thorough examination by Paulo Jorge de Sousa Pinto, “Em torno de um problema de identidade: os ‘Jaga’na história do Congo e Angola,”Mare Liberum 18–19 (1999–2000): 193–243. By long tradition the word was naturalized in Angolan Portuguese as “Jaga” (and Pigafetta’s spelling was simply an Italian respelling), but in ANTT Inquisição Lisboa,

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Central Africa to mean any apparently rootless fighters who allegedly ate human flesh and lived by pillage, from the Central Highlands of Angola to the lands north of the Congo River.72 Lopes noted that the campaign was launched directly from Mwene Muji, a counterattack to the threat posed by Bernardo’s campaigns, or perhaps in league with the Seven Kingdoms of Kongo dia Nlaza. Since Álvaro considered the invasion the work of “rebels,” it seems most likely that they were allied with the Seven Kingdoms (which as a nominal subject could then be considered a rebel) and sought to use the military push to reassert claims on Kongo.73 However planned, the Jaga attack was not simply a raid. They ravaged Mbata before proceeding to Mbanza Kongo. Unable to stop them, Álvaro, having lost an initial engagement with them near Mbanza Kongo, abandoned his capital and fled to the islands on the Congo River. Thousands of people were displaced, and many were sold as slaves, ending up in São Tomé, and even in Portugal. Álvaro sent a desperate message asking Portugal to help him. Sebastião I of Portugal, one of Portugal’s most aggressive monarchs, gladly took up Álvaro’s request for aid, and sent him 600 soldiers under

72

73

Processo 2522, fol. 144, Testimony of Francisco de Medeiros, 4 June 1584, one of the earliest accounts and written by a person conversant in Kikongo and resident in the kingdom, it was spelled “Jaqua,” probably pronounced “Jaka” (as Pigafetta who heard it from Lopes spelled it “Giaga”). Pigafetta claimed that the people of the Jaga homeland called themselves “Agag,” but considering the tendency for eliding southwestern Ethiopian geography and northeastern Kongo, it seems more likely that it represented Agau, an Ethiopian province that was placed close to Mwene Muji; Pigafetta’s map of Africa in Relatione has “Agag” comfortably situated east of Goyam = Gojjam. ANTT Inquisição Lisboa, Processo 2522, fol. 144, Testimony of Francisco de Medeiros, 4 June 1584; Archivo General de Simancas, Secretarias Provinciales, Libro 1551, fols. 413–413v, João Ribeiro Gaio to Filipe II, Malaca, 31–12-1588 (quoted in Sousa Pinto, “‘Jaga’,” pp. 211–212; both called them “levandados” [rebels]). François Bontinck in “Un mausolée pour les Jagas,” Cahiers d’études africaines 20 (1980): 187–189, suggested that the attack was an assertion on Mbata’s part of the right to participate in elections or rejection of Álvaro’s claims, but this fails to explain why it began by ravaging Mbata. Jan Vansina and Téophile Obenga proposed that exploited peasants played a role as well: “The Kongo Kingdom and its Neighbors,” in B. A. Ogot (ed.), Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century (Paris, 1992 [vol. 5 of the UNESCO General History of Africa, 8 vols. (1988–1995)]), pp. 546–587, 558, an idea more fully developed in Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells: West African from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (Chicago, 2019), pp. 217–219. Aside from the use of the term “rebels,” which certainly applied to territorial domains as well as ordinary people, there is no evidence that this was a popular uprising, and Lopes specifically gives its origin in Mwene Muji, which suggests a geopolitical root.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

the command of Francisco Gouveia Sottomaior, governor of São Tomé. Sebastião clearly saw a chance to at least regain control of the Portuguese community in Kongo, if not to obtain a fuller share in the country’s governance, and moreover the chance to extract repayment. The terms under which Gouveia Sottomaior went to Kongo included building a fort in Mbanza Kongo to “protect the king and gather the Portuguese so that they would not be insulted as in the past,” a ploy that was probably intended to bring Kongo’s Portuguese community under royal control.74 To this end, Gouveia Sottomaior was to bring exiled Portuguese criminals to Kongo, and remove the Portuguese in Kongo altogether.75 He was similarly instructed to have his efforts paid for by Kongo, “in a separate, secure rent-bearing property, separate and of good quality, and in which there cannot be any shortfall,” possibly by revenues from mines of precious metals that might be discovered there.76 After a year and a half of fighting, Álvaro was restored to the throne.77 Sebastião would later boast that Gouveia de Sottomaior had “reduced this kingdom to my obedience,” while Álavro signed formal papers of vassalage and referred to Sebastião as “my lord and brother.”78 Álvaro gave Portugal the right to collect some revenue from the “mines” of nzimbu shells on Luanda Island for some period of time “for the great expense which the king my brother had when he ordered the Jagas expelled from my kingdoms and put me in possession of them.”79 This concession, probably considered the secure, rich, income-bearing property conceived of in Gouveia Sottomaior’s instructions, was subsequently used in many exaggerated variations to support Angola’s claim to sovereign control of Kongo. As Portuguese presence 74

75 76 77

78

79

Alvará of Sebastião, 27 February 1571, MMA 2: 122 (Gouveia Sottomaior’s instructions); Pigafetta, Relatione, p. 61 (local Portuguese resistance). Alvara to the Casa da Suplicação, 18 February 1575, MMA 3: 125. Garcia Simoes to Luis Perpinhão, 7 November 1576, MMA 3: 145. Pigafetta, Relatione, pp. 60–61. The dating of the event is uncertain; certainly the events occurred after 1568, when Henrique was ruling, but before 1571, when Gouveia Sottomaior’s instructions were executed. Sebastião I to Gouveia de Sottomaior (19 March 1574), MMA 3: 120; Garcia Simões to Luis Perpinhão, 7 November 1576, MMA 3: 145–146; Álvaro I to Garcia Simões (27 August 1575), MMA 3: 127. Regimento to governor Manoel Pereira, 26 March 1607, MMA 5: 277, and quoting a provisão of Álvaro I (but asking for a copy from the archives in Luanda); Garcia Mendes Castelo Branco claimed that he had personally seen documents concerning the working of the shell mines in the records of the Luanda factor: “Relação que faz o Capitão Garçia Mendez Castelobranco . . . ” 16 January 1620, MMA 6: 438–439.

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in Luanda increased, the Portuguese began to extort revenue from the mines, presumably beyond what was granted.80 Possessing extraordinary access to the shell mines, even if they did not control them completely, could certainly boost Portuguese purchasing power in the textile-producing areas and elsewhere.81 As part of his humiliating submission to Portugal, Álvaro also agreed to assist in Sebastião’s second adventure, the conquest of Ndongo and the planting of a Portuguese colony in the area south of the Kwanza. This is clear enough in that Sebastião gave Dias de Novais a formal charter to found a colony in 1571, just six months after he gave Gouveia Sottomaior his instructions.82 The earlier kings of Portugal had thought of evangelization and commerce with Ndongo; Sebastião was not interested in that. The charter stated starkly that the primary purpose of Dias de Novais’s mission was to “subjugate and to conquer the Kingdom of Angola.” When this was accomplished, Dias de Novais was to receive a grant of land south of the Kwanza as a hereditary fief, and was to administer, fortify, and defend the main colony which was to be between the Dande and Kwanza Rivers, and as far inland as possible. Dias de Novais had to bring soldiers (he brought 600), pay the expenses, build fortifications, and colonize the area, including establishing an ecclesiastical infrastructure.83 Numerous delays held Dias de Novais back, and he did not actually reach the intended colony until 1575. Earlier expeditions had gone to the mouth of the Kwanza River with the intention of using it as an avenue to Ndongo, but Dias de

80

81

82

83

“Summario dell’Instruttione che portò à Roma Don Antonio Manoele . . ., ” 29 June 1604, MMA 5: 114. Portuguese privileged access to the mine, if not control of it, has caused some scholars to argue that they were able to deflate Kongo currency, both by using nzimbus to their advantage and by importing cheaper shells from Brazil and India. This theory, hinted at by Cuvelier, L’ancien Congo, pp. 306–310 (with considerable documentary detail) and developed more fully by Hilton, Kingdom of Kongo, p. 106, has also been taken up by Green, A Fistful of Shells, pp. 227–232. The case is difficult to make (see Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 33 and 147 fn. 49). While an increase in money supply might lead to inflation (if we knew the stock of shells in circulation and the volume of imports), and Kongo rulers did claim that Portuguese imports caused the value of their currency to drop, the changes are only in relation to exchanges with European currency, and as Cuvelier’s list of citations shows, there was considerable fluctuation, and these scattered quotes cannot substitute for real serial data. Alvará, 27 February 1571 (Gouveia); and Carta da doação a Paulo Dias de Novais, 19 September 1571, MMA 3: 36–51. Carta da doação, 19 September 1571, MMA 3: 36–38.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

Novais landed at Luanda, a good port, and also on Kongo’s territory near the nzimbu mines that he hoped to exploit through Álvaro’s concession. Dias de Novais could not have been happy to learn that Gouveia de Sottomaior, whose forces had been operating in Kongo, was on the verge of leaving to return to São Tomé, in part because they had accomplished their mission of expelling the Jagas, but also because they were not nearly as welcome in Kongo as they had been at first.84 It was also clear that Gouveia Sottomaior could not actually rule Kongo, vassalage treaty or not. However, some of his men did remain, and they, as well as some Kongo nobles, now more or less allied with Portugal, joined Dias de Novais’s band.85 Álvaro was certainly glad to have Gouveia Sottomaior out of the country, and now needed to regain sovereignty over Kongo. The fact that his rise to power disappointed other potential kings from other branches of the royal family and might make him vulnerable to revolt was important, but his most serious internal threat came not from a distant branch of the family, but from his own nephew, whom he had appointed as the Mwene Mbamba. This nephew was plotting against him with the support of Francisco Barbuda d’Aguiar, a Portuguese cleric who had resided in Kongo since around 1561 as a vicar of the bishop of São Tomé. The plot was discovered, however, before it came to fruition.86 Álvaro then made a counteroffensive against those eastern regions from which the Jagas had originally come. Some Dominican priests who came to Kongo, probably with Gouveia Sottomaior, encouraged the ruler of Nsundi in a battle against a “heathen” opponent, perhaps residual Jagas, but more likely later operations in the east.87 However that may be, when Álvaro presented his formal titles to Rome in 1583 he claimed a welter of new territories in the Kwango Valley and its vicinity: Lulo, Nsonso, and Kongo dia Nlaza were among the most important, as 84

85 86

87

He was still in Kongo when Garcia Simões wrote to Portugal from Angola on 20 October 1575 (MMA 3: 142) and had left when Simões wrote his next letter on 7 November 1576 (MMA 3: 146). Garcia Simões to Jesuit Provincial, 20 October 1575, MMA 3: 140–141. ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Processo 2522, fol. 138, Testimony of Francisco de Medeiros, 2 July 1584. Luís de Sousa, História de S. Domingos (Lisbon, 1662), part II, book IV, chap. XI, MMA 4: 274–275. The author says they came with Dias de Novais, but as his priests, were not Dominicans, as is well known, it seems more likely that they came with Gouveia Sottomaior.

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well as “Anzico,” which had been claimed for Kongo since Afonso’s time.88 Álvaro’s “Anzicos” (probably an ethnic name), were ruled by the king of Makoko, who asked the newly arrived Carmelite missionaries to come and baptize him, perhaps as a part of a submission to Kongo.89 If the Jagas had come from Mwene Muji through the Seven Kingdoms of Kongo dia Nlaza, it seems most likely that Álvaro’s armies, perhaps initially assisted by Gouveia Sottomaior, had counterattacked the sources of the Jaga invasion as well as dealing with the problem itself. Aside from the relief of the Jaga threat, and perhaps the fuller integration of one of Kongo’s ancestral polities, Álvaro could claim the rich resources of the region, which produced some of the finest cloth in West Central Africa. Gouveia Sottomaior’s brief to gain control over Kongo’s LusoAfrican community indirectly included reasserting the interests of São Tomé, where he served as governor. Such a reassertion would require more power over Kongo’s Church, which under Bishop Gaspar Cão had been particularly aggressive in pushing the prelate’s São Tomé-based clients. But Álvaro moved to alter that arrangement, and he hoped to revive Afonso’s dream of having his own bishop and control over this Church. As a first measure Álvaro closed the port of Mpinda to Cão when he came for an ecclesiastical visit in 1584–1585, forcing the bishop to operate from an island in the Congo River.90 There Cão engaged in a campaign of excommunication to have his way. Priests supporting Álvaro, or at least hostile to the São Tomé interests that had come with Gouveia Sottomaior, told Álvaro that “a king was vicar in his own kingdom,” claiming that this was true in Portugal and Castile, so that he should have the power to ordain his own clergy. But the bishop still had the upper hand in this, for Álvaro’s strongest supporters, Francisco de Medeiros and Gaspar da Graça, were eventually imprisoned in São Tomé and accused of heresy for

88 89

90

Álvaro I to Pope, 20 January 1583, MMA 3: 238. Diego de Santissimo Sacramento, “Relación,” 1583, MMA 4: 369; “Relatione de quello che occorse . . ., ” 1584, MMA 4: 403. “Relatione di quello che occorse . . ., ” 1584, MMA 4: 408. ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Processo 2522, fols. 138–142 (concerning Francisco de Medeiros), July 1584, and Processo 2507, fols. 8–10, 37 and passim; Processo 2938, September 1584, fols. 26–34.

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trying to convince Álvaro that he could appoint his own bishops and curates so de Medeiros could be bishop.91 Álvaro’s wish to have control of his Church found support in a remarkable story about an attempt to create a Divine pathway for the king to go forward. According to the story, God carried a virtuous Kongo nobleman to heaven, where “he discovered many secrets” and God gave him “a letter for the king of Congo in which he gave much advice.” The letter was written on a half folio of paper which Álvaro’s secretary, Pedro Antonio, showed to others, although Álvaro himself laughed it off.92 Álvaro chose a more direct and less theologically driven course by taking his case directly to Rome. Although Kongo had occasionally made overtures for a direct connection with Rome before, the situation was not critical. But Álvaro faced two related problems. The first one was that he needed to get beyond the Portuguese ecclesiastical apparatus and go directly to Rome to gain control of the Church, so that he could control who became priests in Kongo, how many they would have, and what non-religious interests they might serve. The second and equally pressing issue emerged with the Portuguese presence in Ndongo, a presence his vassalage agreement required him to support. He wished therefore to create political capital in Europe to counterbalance Portugal by making obedience to the Pope a first step to assuring his legitimacy as a sovereign Christian monarch. In a step in that direction, in his earliest extant letter, Álvaro signed it “written in this city of Salvador” instead of “this city of Congo” (a literal translation of Mbanza Kongo), thus following the convention widespread in Europe of referring to cities by the names of their patron saints or principal Church, in this case the Church of the Holy Savior (São Salvador), which had served as the seat for vicars from the bishop at least since São Tomé had become an episcopal See.93 It was the first in a series of steps to formally adopt the customs of the Christian countries in Europe. To this end, he dispatched Lopes to Rome as an ambassador, spokesperson, and historian early in 1583. In his instructions, he specified that Lopes should ask Rome to provide missionaries of regular 91

92 93

ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Processo 2522, fol. 170; Gaspar da Graça claimed king did not have to obey excommunication and was vicar in his own country: Processo 2938. ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Processo 2522, fol. 144. Álvaro I to Garcia Simões, 27 August 1575, MMA 3: 128.

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teaching orders and with provision to allow Kongolese eventually to enter into the orders, and other technical matters. He also carried an act “donating” Kongo to the Holy See and promising various payments for this, in effect demanding that the right of “patronage” that Portugal claimed over Kongo through the See of São Tomé be revoked and relations be established directly between Kongo and the Vatican.94 Lopes took a long time to get to Rome, having faced considerable resistance in Portugal and Spain along the way, only reaching it in 1588. But in addition to placing Álvaro’s demands at the papal throne, Lopes also arranged with the Italian Humanist Filippo Pigafetta to have a long and laudatory book written about Kongo and its Christianity.95 Much of Álvaro’s diplomatic activity was symbolic as much as material, and as soon as he was free of Gouveia Sottomaior, Álvaro was in a position to turn Dias de Novais’s adventure to his advantage, and perhaps recover some lost authority in Ambundu. Almost immediately, he refused to allow any Portuguese to extract revenue from the nzimbu mines in Luanda, one of his biggest concessions in the vassalage agreement.96 He also more or less enlisted Dias de Novais’s forces into his own, for Dias de Novais’s first military encounter was to assist Álvaro’s soldiers in an unsuccessful attack on rebels against Kongo in the marshy district of Kasanze, just north of Luanda.97 Álvaro was prepared to extend this integration, when he offered Dias de Novais 10,000 soldiers led by Sebastião Mwene Mbamba, but Dias de Novais refused his offer, saying he wished to take “all the credit” for whatever victories he might win, while not stating he also wished to avoid subsuming his force to Kongo’s.98 But by refusing Kongo’s help, it seemed quite likely that, even with the assistance he had from the residue of Gouveia Sottomaior’s men and a few Kongo nobles who volunteered to serve in his forces, he would be unlikely to take on a powerful kingdom like Ndongo. Facing the situation realistically, Dias de Novais then followed the path of his previous

94

95

96 97 98

See Álvaro’s instructions to Lopes, 1583, MMA 3: 234. The mission resulted in the publication of Lopes’ memoires with commentary by Pigafetta, Relatione. For the mission and its history see Teobaldo Filesi, Le relazione tra il Regno di Congo e la Santa Sede Apostolica nel secolo XVI (Como, 1968), pp. 153–183. Garcia Simões to Perpihão, 7 November 1576, MMA 3: 145–146. Rodrigues, “Historia,” MMA 4: 571. Paulo Dias de Novais to Sebastião, 3 January 1578, MMA 4: 295–296; Baltasar Afonso letter (9 October 1577), MMA 3: 157.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

mission and accepted a request from Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe to serve in his army, as he had a dozen years earlier. 99

NDONGO’S CRISIS Even though his task was to conquer Ndongo, an outcome which seemed extremely unlikely, political circumstances within Ndongo would help Dias de Novais, just as the Jaga episode in Kongo had given his mission its start. Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe died about the time that the Portuguese group arrived on the coast, and a political crisis followed. When Ngola Kiluanje kia Ndambe died the most powerful officials of the court took over to elect a successor (a later tradition claimed he died without an heir, even though he had many children), headed by an official called Mwene Ilunda (whom the Jesuits described as a “quartermaster”). In fact, this was an administrative coup d’état, that ultimately failed as they were overthrown by a new king, Njinga Ngola Kilombo kia Kasenda. To regain authority following the coup, the new king acted aggressively – the Jesuits thought him a ruthless ruler who “cuts off heads for nothing,” a sure sign of insecurity on the throne. Royal family members, particularly in the province of Hari, opposed him. It seems quite likely that Njinga Ngola Kilombo’s overtures to Dias de Novais and his men were to secure additional forces to counteract the resistance he faced.100 Dias de Novais accordingly worked with the new king to put down rebels here and there. As Njinga Ngola Kilombo gained more security on the throne, he decided to rid himself of his Portuguese mercenaries, and listened once again to advice that came to him from Kongo. The advisor was Francisco Barbuda d’Aguiar, who had come to Kongo before 1561 and was serving as confessor and advisor to Álvaro I when Gouveia Sottomaior’s expedition had come to expel the Jagas. He played a crucial role in persuading Álvaro to get rid of the expedition as soon as possible, but he had since fallen out of favor with Álvaro, thanks to his involvement in the plot with the king’s nephew in Mbamba, and now he was in Ndongo seeking to do more or less exactly the same.101

99 100 101

Garcia Simões to Provincial of Portugal, 20 October 1575, MMA 3: 131, 138–139. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 84–86. ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Processo 2938, fols. 30–34, 23 September 1580; Álvaro himself testified to his bad standing in Kongo in 1584: fols. 106, 117.

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In both cases, the local Luso-African communities who had thrown their lots in with the African rulers did not want to see the Portuguese Crown establish itself anywhere that might work to their detriment. Barbuda’s denunciations of the Portuguese shocked them, but it made an impression on Njinga Ngola Kilombo, though he, like Álvaro in Kongo, probably had his own reasons for wishing to limit Portuguese influence. In 1579 Njinga Ngola Kilombo sent his army out with the Portuguese to fight another rebel, but instead of engaging the rebel, they turned on the Portuguese and massacred them along with the Kongolese who had joined them, confiscating their goods and driving the survivors from Ndongo. They fell back to Dias de Novais’s base, a small fort on the coast called Nzele, which immediately came under siege. He was fortunate that his small flotilla of boats gave him naval superiority on the Kwanza River and that some of the western sobas of Ndongo offered to help him against a king they thought tyrannical. The Portuguese expedition had now become the toy of both African powers in the contest over Ambundu. Álvaro saw the opportunity he needed, and offered Kongo’s full assistance to Dias de Novais. In doing so, he effectively erased the claims on revenue and sovereignty his humiliating agreements with Gouveia Sottomaior had placed on him. He could enlist Dias de Novais as his ally and perhaps use whatever military capacity he had to further his own interests in Ambundu, and particularly against Ndongo. The Portuguese understood this clearly; Mendes de Castelo Branco, one of Dias de Novais’s soldiers, wrote that Álvaro offered assistance not so much to help the Portuguese as to conquer Ndongo on his behalf.102 Álvaro opted for a full-scale invasion, and dispatched his army southward to join with Dias de Novais. Álvaro’s army was a mighty force, said with considerable exaggeration to number 60,000 (it was probably no more than 20,000). It was built around a core of professional heavy infantry who were noble and lived at royal expense. They carried large body shields and were thus called adagueiros (shield bearers) by the Portuguese, and used a sword as their primary weapon. Fighting in an open order, without concentrating in tight formations, they specialized in individual fencing, dodging, and parrying skills. Álvaro’s army also included 120 musketeers, drawn from his LusoAfricans and veterans of Gouveia de Sottomaior’s expedition who had 102

Mendes Castelo Branco, “Relação,” MMA 6: 466–467.

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stayed behind, and who were interspersed with the heavy infantry.103 This core formation of adagueiros and musketeers, which typically numbered in the low thousands for a fully deployed army as this one was, was surrounded by at least twice their number of light infantry. Recruited en masse from the peasants, the light infantry were archers, and typically engaged their enemy for a time with volleys of arrows before fleeing.104 In its own territory, the Kongolese army was undefeatable by outside forces, but Álvaro’s army was operating far from its base at Mbanza Kongo and was difficult to maintain in the field as it moved to Ndongo in May 1580. When they reached the Bengo River in May or June, they lacked enough boats to carry all the forces across at once, and thus Ndongo troops were able to defeat them when the river divided them. Kongo’s army withdrew in disorder and the attack failed.105 Though Álvaro’s attack did not relieve Dias de Novais, it did supply him with a good deal of breathing space, by distracting Ndongo’s forces and removing the potential for being unwilling tools of Álvaro’s ambition. Dias de Novais used the resting period to mobilize an army to fight for Portugal. Njinga Ngola Kilombo’s tough policies had alienated many of the sobas in Ndongo’s western provinces of Ilamba and Kisama, and a number decided to support the Portuguese. Thus, the same rebels whom Dias de Novais had been attacking on behalf of Njinga Ngola Kilombo a few years before were now his staunch supporters on the other side of the same struggle over Ambundu. Dias de Novais’s campaigns following the Kongo intervention sought to build up forces that sobas disaffected with Ndongo offered to him around a core of his own Portuguese followers and a good number of Kongo soldiers brought to the Portuguese side by private nobles.106 Many sobas in Ilamba, and a few in Kisama, switched over to Dias de Novais, swore vassalage to the king of Portugal, and offered soldiers to the new army.107 103

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105

106 107

Baltasar Afonso to Miguel de Sousa (4 July 1581), MMA 3: 205; same to Sebastião de Morais, 31 January 1582, in MMA 3: 208; Pigafetta, Relatione, pp. 19–20. John Thornton, “The Art of War in Angola, 1575–1680,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 30 (1988): 360–378, 362–365 and John Thornton, Warfare in Atlantic Africa (London, 1998), pp. 106–110. Baltasar Afonso to Miguel de Sousa (4 July 1581), MMA 3: 205; Baltasar Afonso to Sebastião de Morais, 31 January 1582, MMA 3: 208; Pigafetta, Relatione, pp. 19–20. Memorias de Diogo de Ferreira, 1588, MMA 4: 491. For a carefully and well-documented study of this period, see Ilídio do Amaral, O Consulado de Paulo Dias de Novais. Angola no último quartel do século XVI e primeiro do século XVII (Lisbon, 2000), pp. 132–158.

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Muxima Kitangonge was among the first of these allies, an important soba who agreed in 1581 to “help the governor against the said King of Angola.” Mokumbe, who was “lord of other nobles and lands who did not obey the King of Angola and who offered his friendship,” also joined.108 The Portuguese in turn used their command of the Kwanza River to build forts and insure rapid movement and resupply into the interior. An important first step in this river strategy was the foundation of a fort at Massangano at the crucial juncture of the Kwanza and Lukala Rivers in 1582, which was to be their inland headquarters for a century. As Portugal brought more allies to itself, it insisted on their accepting Christianity and baptism as a condition for vassalage. The Christianity that the Jesuits founded in Angola was not quite that of Europe, and owed much more to Kongo. Luanda, where Dias de Novais had established his base with the permission of Álvaro of Kongo, was a part of Kongo and therefore attached to the Kongo Church. It had some schoolmasters in the area, and the local population was Christian. It was from this community, largely Kikongo and Kimbundu speaking, that the Jesuits who came with Dias de Novais drew their first converts and developed their approach to the religion. They worked rapidly on making a Kimbundu catechism, and in quoting the first line of the Lord’s Prayer in Kimbundu, they affirmed that they were preparing to operate in this new milieu. While we know relatively little of how the linguistic features of the Jesuits’ Christian approach would work, when a full-fledged catechism was developed, in 1629, it had a number of features borrowed from the Kikongo one, such as Nzambi, the Kimbundu term for “God” and it called priests nganga. Both texts likewise made reference to an ultimate human (ancestral) nature of God calling the Trinity “antu a tatu” (three people) in referring to his nature. On the other hand, the Kimbundu catechism used various form of “-zamb-” to refer to all divine things, diverging from the Kikongo favoring of forms of “-kis-” (while still reserving Nzambi as the name of God). But if the Jesuit approach to religion was a tolerant one that allowed the theology of Central Africa some play, the linking of conversion to surrender and obedience definitely limited the degree to which it could penetrate in the country. Accepting Christianity meant accepting Portuguese authority, rejecting it was always associated with self108

Baltasar Afonso to Miguel de Sousa, 4 July 1581, MMA 3: 200, 203.

THE STRUGGLE FOR AMBUNDU AND FOUNDING OF ANGOLA

assertion or rebellion in Angola, while in Kongo it had developed without a specific reference to some foreign domination. Unlike Kongo, which had a large community of locally educated schoolmasters who maintained the faith, Portuguese Angola never quite got beyond the missionary and closely controlled catechist. The Jesuits and other priests were too few to penetrate the country the way the more numerous mestres did in Kongo, and for that reason, Angola took much longer to have a Christian community outside the Portuguese settlers and their immediate supporters.109

NDONGO COUNTERATTACKS Continued defections in Ilamba led Njinga Ngola Kilombo to send his own powerful forces to take the region back. He dispatched a lukanza (major army) against the Portuguese, commanded by Ndala Kitunga, the “Captain Major of Angola.” Their camp was said to spread out over the improbable space of a “league and a half” (about 7 kilometers, probably including the supply train and other support troops). Reports by Jesuits of its apparent size were probably based on the fact that, unlike Europeans who deployed forces in tight formations, the army of Ndongo’s formations were in a more open order with space between the individual soldiers. On 24 August 1585 this army engaged the Portuguese army at Kasikola in Ilamba. Dias de Novais appointed André Ferreira Pereira to command Portugal’s forces composed of 120 musketeers and 8,000 or 10,000 allied infantry supplied by 40 sobas. Ndala Kitunga deployed his forces in three mbalus or squadrons, the center under the Captain Major, and two wings, the left commanded by Kabuku ka Mbilo and the right under Hari a Kiluanje. Unlike the Kongo army, Ndongo’s soldiers did not carry defensive arms such as shields, but instead relied largely on dodging arrows and weapons. While they carried swords, they also carried battleaxes, which were more important weapons. However, as in Kongo, the more skilled and professional soldiers were nobles while commoner archers in the thousands were deployed around them.110 The Ndongo army was 109

110

John Thornton, “Conquest and Theology: The Jesuits in Angola, 1548–1650,” Journal of Jesuit Studies 1 (2014): 245–259. Thornton, “Art of War”; Thornton, Warfare, pp. 107–110.

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also using a musketeer unit, created by a Christian African who had been in Portuguese service.111 The Portuguese deployed their forces in the same three-wing formation as their opponents, but, judging their force to be smaller, opted to fight defensively. Three times the mbalus of Ndongo fell on them, each time being repulsed, then re-forming when their officers ordered them to, but in the end they broke and ran. Quite a large number of nobles were left dead, including Sangi a Ndala, the commander of the “nobles living in the inner enclosure of the royal palace,” and Bondo a Mondo, a relative of the king. In addition, the Portuguese filled several lutetes (baskets) with severed noses to attest to the substantial losses their opponents sustained. The victory at Kasikola, and the subsequent less decisive but significant defeat of a reconstituted Ndongo army in 1586, now made Dias de Novais master of Ilamba. He had managed to construct an army from his conquests that was able to take on the best that Ndongo had to offer, and win. He felt that he was ready, in fact, to attack and conquer Ndongo and to fulfill the terms of his contract.

111

Baltisar Barreira to Provincial of Brazil, 27 August 1585, MMA 3: 323–324; Rodrigues, “Historia,” MMA 4: 568–570.

3

Ndongo and Portugal at War

The Portuguese victory at Kasikola set up an opportunity to invade Ndongo’s heartland and perhaps win control of a major African state. Kongo had been sidelined from the struggle thanks to its defeat by Ndongo forces in 1580, and its continuing troubles prevented it from intervening effectively in the south. Ndongo managed to fight on its own, however, and pushed the Portuguese back, only to be set back by new actors entering from the south.

TENSIONS IN KONGO If the defeat of 1580 in Ndongo had not created enough problems for Kongo, new ones emerged in 1587 when Álvaro died in São Salvador. The pent-up forces of other potential royal descendants who had been passed up when he was chosen were now ready to challenge the succession, a struggle which distracted Kongo enough to prevent it from intervening as the Portuguese advanced in Ambundu following their triumph at Kasikola. Álvaro had designated his son, also named Álvaro, as his successor, but this was not enough to insure that he attained power. Among his rivals was his half-brother, who claimed to be the late king’s legitimate son, and held that Álvaro was not. But beyond this family issue, there were many other contenders, among whom were “grandchildren of earlier kings” (probably Afonso, and perhaps Diogo) who “wanted to take control of the kingdom.”1

1

Anonymous Jesuit letter, 15 December 1587, MMA 3: 350; Carta annua do Provincia de Portugal, 1588, MMA 3: 378–379.

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A Jesuit priest who visited Álvaro II in July 1587 found him afraid to venture out of his palace, and his enemies were still to be found even within São Salvador. Álvaro’s half-sister, who lived in the city, had advised his rival brother, then serving as a provincial governor, to raise an army to challenge the king. But on 1 August, as his brother’s forces reached São Salvador, Álvaro gave a stirring speech to his noble subjects in the city and won them over, some of his former enemies flinging themselves at his feet. With their support he was able to defend the city, eventually getting his brother to accept single combat as a way to spare the city. In spite of fighting with wounds suffered in the earlier battle in which he had fought in “the first ranks,” Álvaro overcame his bigger and stronger brother and so won the crown, dedicating a church later on the same spot in memory of the event.2 But if Álvaro II had met the immediate threat from his brother, he was far from secure on his throne, for the “war against his uncles and brothers” was beginning.3 In 1590 or early 1591 a court official named D. Rafael and the Mwene Mbamba (probably Álvaro’s cousin Sebastião) launched an attack on the “Manipumpo” (perhaps the Mwene Mpemba). Rafael left the capital for Mbamba and joined “the majority of the nobles [who] rose up against the king.”4 These other nobles included the Mwene Nsundi Afonso and the Mwene Wembo Sebastião Mazala ma Samba, but by 1592 Álvaro managed to defeat them all.5 Soyo also played an important but problematic role in Álvaro II’s securing the throne. Soyo had been held by a branch of the royal family since the late fifteenth century as a hereditary possession. In describing his reign in sixteenth-century letters, Afonso did not mention any specific role of Soyo in his victories or government. But Kongo historians in Álvaro’s court, in presenting an official history of Kongo to the

2

3

4

5

Jesuit annual letters, 1587 and 1588, MMA 3: 350–355 and 381–382 and more fully based on other sources in du Jarric, Histoire, 2: 69–74. Summary of demands presented by Antonio Manuel, MMA 5: 291. The war was so named by Álvaro in his request for habits of the Order of Christ for those who supported him. Letter to Gaspar Dias de Beja (March 1591), MMA 3: 424; Álvaro III to Felipe II (of Spain), 24 October 1615, MMA 6: 235. [Cardoso], “Relação da morte,” MMA 15: 483 (Nsundi), 487 (Wembo). In the latter, he captured the wife of the Marquis of Wembo, who became mother of his son Álvaro (later crowned as Álvaro III). Since Álvaro III was twenty-nine years old at the time of his death in 1622, he was born in 1593, thus putting the rebellion of Wembo sometime between 1587 and 1592.

NDONGO AND PORTUGAL AT WAR

Pope through their ambassador Duarte Lopes, gave Soyo an outsized role in Afonso’s succession.6 In the now official version, Lopes described Mwene Soyo Manuel as receiving a very early baptism (presumably in the 1480s) and advising Nzinga a Nkuwu to become a Christian, supporting Afonso against his father when his father had lapsed from the Faith, and then supporting Afonso in the civil war against his pagan brother. Whatever the veracity, the new history established a firm role for Mwene Soyos as kingmakers.7 Now, Soyo was playing a role in the question of Álvaro II’s succession. On 20 December 1591, in the midst of the rebellions against Álvaro, Count Miguel swore on a Missal at the Church of the Trinity in Soyo before Father Gonçalvo da Silva Mendonça that he would “do nothing against the king,” as he “always kept His Highness in his heart as king” but that he could not say so publicly “for fear of the unquiet which his King and Lord faces,” though he “was always a loyal vassal of his king.”8 If Miguel secretly supported Álvaro in 1591, he was at war with him soon after, a war which “cost many lives” and ended in 1593 with a negotiated peace. To settle this, Álvaro had to grant Miguel many concessions; not only was he given a royal pardon for disloyalty, but he received a grant of rights to “give and take duties, rights and income bearing property [rendas]” in his county.9 Be that as it may, the “war of Alvaro 2 against his uncles” was held to have caused widespread depopulation in parts of Kongo.10

THE BATTLE FOR NDONGO’S HEARTLAND As the lengthy war between Álvaro and his uncles played out, Dias de Novais was fortunate, following his victory at Kasikola, that Kongo was not in a position to intervene in whatever plans he had for Ndongo. Thus, he had time and opportunity to gather forces, and, over the next two years, he did. If Dias de Novais had spent two years preparing for what he hoped would be the conquest of Ndongo’s core territory, he was not to see it, 6 7 8 9 10

Pigafetta, Relatione, pp. 49–50. Thornton, “Soyo and Kongo.” ASV, Arm II, vol. 91, fols. 245–245v, Provision of Visitor of Congo, 20 December 1591. ASV, Arm I, vol. 91, fol. 125, Provision of Miguel, Count of Sonho, 4 February 1593. [Cardoso], “História,” chap. 1, fol. 2, in Brásio (ed.), História do Reino do Congo.

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for he died on 9 May 1589. Not only did he die, but by January 1590 the Portuguese Crown revoked the original contract that allowed him to pass his personal grant on to his heirs, thanks to an inquest that concluded that the original donation had been faulty, and that he had failed to fulfill his obligations. The Crown resumed the territory and created what they called the “Kingdom of Angola,” to be ruled by a royally appointed governor who would serve a limited term.11 Before this radical new policy took effect, Dias de Novais was succeeded by his lieutenant Luis Serrão, a temporary appointment until the governor could be chosen. Serrão immediately executed the plan that Dias de Novais had developed for the conquest of Ndongo. In December 1589 the army advanced boldly up the Lukala River to Ngolomene a Kitambo in Ndongo’s heartland with 15,000 African archers supported by 128 Portuguese musketeers, the largest force they had assembled in Angola. From there they assaulted the capital, Kabasa, but found the city abandoned. Serrão was not aware, however, that Matamba had joined forces with Ndongo. No Portuguese or Kongolese records mention the evolution of Matamba since it broke from Kongo around 1560, and so the motives and politics of Matamba’s decision to join Ndongo is equally murky. The two allies joined their forces, but in at least some reports it was the Matamba force that did most of the fighting. On 29 December 1589 the allies approached the Portuguese along the Lukala River in such silence that they managed to achieve tactical surprise. They were formed into the usual three-squadron formation, enlarged by “another infinity of troops in a very large half-moon.” The Portuguese formed poorly and were enveloped by their opponents, who inflicted heavy losses on them. Serrão manage to disengage the Portuguese component of the army and some of its allies, but had to abandon most of the baggage. He withdrew down the river, constantly under attack until he reached the safety of Massangano on 22 January 1590. This crushing defeat led to the immediate defection of most of the sobas of Ilamba, who changed sides and renewed their allegiance to Ndongo; soon archers were harassing Portuguese shipping on the 11

“Enformaçã do doutor Jorge de Cabedo sobre Paulo Dias de Navais . . . 13 January 1590,” “Enformação de Lourenço Correa sobre o mesmo Paulo Dias . . ., ” 13 January, MMA 3: 383–388, 391–396. Even while alive, he had been charged with maladministration: see Consulta of Mesa da Consciêca e Ordens, 1 October 1588, MMA 4: 476–477.

NDONGO AND PORTUGAL AT WAR

Kwanza.12 The colony that Dias de Novais had taken a decade of fighting to build was gone, and Serrão was left with a few loyal sobas along the Kwanza, his fort at Massangano, and a settlement in Luanda, technically in lands belonging to Kongo. These positions were at least defensible, and he began to rebuild, beginning with the most vulnerable sobas of Ilamba, such as Muje a Zemba, reconquered in 1591.13

ESTABLISHING THE KINGDOM OF ANGOLA Following this debacle, the Crown started imposing its governors, and several followed in rapid succession: Francisco de Almeida (1592–1593), his brother-in-law Jerónimo de Almeida (1593–1594), and João Furtado de Mendonça (1594–1601), all holding royal instructions to accomplish less ambitious pursuits, to cease wars not intended to defend the colony or regain lost lands, and to focus on nearby and perceived vulnerable areas such as salt mines in Kisama or silver mines said to be located at Cambambe on the Kwanza River. Of course, warfare still made sense as long as it was successful, for it would result in the capture of slaves, long recognized as the primary export of the colony. Although Angola might produce other exports – and the possibility of using salt, copper, and silver as exports was actively explored, as seen in the instructions to governors – it was always clear that slaves would pay the way.14 The slave trade took on a special value, because when the Portuguese and Spanish Crowns were united in 1580, one of the results was that Portuguese slave traders acquired a vast new market in the Spanish colonies. In 1595 the Spanish Crown created a new central administration for the slave trade, replacing a system of small contracts with a master contract, the Asiento, to deliver all the slaves to the Spanish Indies, which was then subcontracted to Portuguese suppliers, and this subcontract in turn was given to the governors of Angola.15 12

13

14

15

Rodrigues, “História,” in MMA 4: 574–576; Gaspar Dias de Beja, March 1591, MMA 3: 423–424; Domingos de Abreu de Brito, “Svmario e Descripção do Reyno de Angola,” 1591, fols. 33–35v, MMA 4: 533–535 (a prejudiced and exaggerated report). “Catalogo dos Governadores” (an eighteenth-century chronicle), in da Silva Corrêa’s recension: Elias Alexandre da Silva Corrêa, História de Angola, ed. Manuel Múrias, 2 vols. (Lisbon, 1937 [1799]), 1: 209. Hints of the contents of a regimento are found in Battell’s description of João Rodrigues Coutinho’s instruction: Strange Adventures, p. 36; and in the full text of Manuel Pereira Forjaz, 26 March 1607, MMA 5: 270–272. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 39–40.

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Twenty years of experience in Angola had convinced Portuguese authorities that ultimately its success would depend on the slave trade, and so when Rodrigues Coutinho came to Angola in 1601, his pay included a right to duties on all slave exports.16 But the Crown also realized that military success was often counterbalanced by disastrous and expensive defeats, and decided that it could not simply extract slaves by warfare to pay the costs of managing the new colony. Thus it increasingly discouraged the use of warfare in favor of buying slaves from surrounding kingdoms. Given that Portugal could not offer adequate counter goods to offset the price of buying slaves, the business of purchasing slaves would require active participation in local economic activities, and that would mean substantial involvement in the massive trade in textiles from the producing areas in the north and east of Kongo, to areas to the south, such as Ndongo.17 Indeed, ten years of customs records reviewed in 1611 showed that they were importing in excess of 100,000 meters of northern cloth annually. The names of the cloth show that producers were not only Mbata and Okanga, but even Songo, as far away as the Kasai.18 Textiles played an important role in Angola’s economy, for troops were often paid in them, and cloth had monetary functions in both Kongo and Ambundu. The slave trade required vast quantities of cloth to function, apart from those slaves who could be acquired by direct capture.19 The tying of the textile trade to the slave trade had additional effects, for slaves acquired in the far northeast of Kongo could also be employed to carry the textiles that might pay for others purchased in Ndongo or other neighboring territories. The numbers of “Anzicos” (and variants of that name) that appear in inventories of slaves in the Americas testifies to the significance of northeastern slaves.20

16 17 18

19

20

Battell, Strange Adventures, p. 36; slave contract, 2 May 1601, MMA 5: 29. Hilton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 74–78. Alvitre de Pero Saldanha, 1611, MMA 6: 52–56; Vansina identifies Songo as the Tsong, on the Kasai, I identify it as the Bushong, prior to the foundation of the Kuba kingdom: see below. Vansina, “Raffia Cloth”; Beatrix Heintze, “A cultura material dos Mbundu Segundo as fontes dos séculos XVI e XVII,” in Angola, pp. 576–592. Bowser’s sample of slave ethnicities in Peru in 1600–1620 is a good baseline, where “Anchicos” make up 12 out of 466 Central Africans (or about 2.6 percent) in Peruvian notarial and church records: Frederick Bowser, The African Slave in Colonial Peru, 1524–1650 (Stanford, 1974), pp. 41–42. If one accepts an annual export of 15,000 this would be 390 per year.

NDONGO AND PORTUGAL AT WAR

Soon Angola-based merchants were traveling across Kongo to Kundi and Okanga, the northeasternmost territories claimed by Kongo, establishing communities there and at places along the way, for example, Mbumbi in Mbamba province, São Salvador, Ngongo Mbata, and Kundi.21 Kongo established customs stations along the route and charged substantial taxes on the commerce.22 As was to be expected, Portuguese merchants tried to avoid these taxes, and some chose a route through Mpemba, forcing Álvaro II in 1600 to issue an order to the Mwene Mpemba to inspect routes and insure that trade passed to Luanda or Mpinda and not an alternate route from the southeast.23 Kongo’s taxation would be a regular problem for Angola’s leaders, who often tried to demand special exemptions. The trade in textiles was in the hands of the long-established merchants of Kongo, and now of the newly arrived patrons of Angola. The new governors of Angola had been charged by the kings of Portugal with the task of overseeing the whole community of Portuguese and Luso-Africans resident in Central Africa, taking this task away from the governors of São Tomé. As a result, there was an inevitable tension between the merchants and settlers with links to São Tomé (either through older links, Gouveia Sottomaior’s followers who remained in Africa, or even clients of Dias de Novais who also had ties to São Tomé).24 To insure that Portuguese officials and particularly the governor had privileged access to markets and the capacity to tax, the Crown established special markets where Portuguese were supposed to reside and do business in the 1590s. After the defeat at the Lukala in 1590 many of these markets were seized by the sobas who revolted, and recovering them was a process that was slow and difficult, for even as late as 1606, when Manuel Pereira Forjaz arrived as governor, one of his assignments 21

22

23

24

One of the earliest outlines of the trading towns (called resgates) can be found in the investigation into the suspicious (crypto-Jewish) practices of New Christians living in Angola, investigated by the Inquisition in 1593–1596: ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Livro 766, “Visita a Angola” 1593–1596; see also Hilton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 74–78. A map representing the situation in 1641 by Johannes Blaeu, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Cartes et Plans, GE DD-2987 shows the route and lists eleven toll houses, mostly at river crossings between Angola and Okanga. ASV, Arm I, vol. 91, fol. 244, Álvaro II provision to Simão Mwene Mpemba, 22 February 1600. Inquest on Paulo Dias de Novais’s holdings in São Tomé, 16 December 1580– 31 January 1581, MMA 4: 323–334.

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was to reestablish them.25 Pereira Forjaz’s instructions required him to develop commercial relations, and he did his best to make it so, by establishing a vast range of contacts, especially in the cloth-producing areas, and his factors moved African products from one market to another.26 Where there were no regulated markets, officials established customs posts, even in Mpumbu on the Congo River near Great Makoko, where Luso-African merchants and their agents (called pombeiros from the name of the market) were established.27 An inquiry by the Inquisition, which visited Angola from 1593 to 1596 seeking to locate and punish New Christians (the descendants of Jews forced to convert in 1529) in Angola, revealed the extent of this market system. There were communities of Portuguese merchants; both Old and New Christian could be found in the Dembos area, for example at Mutemo and Nambu a Ngongo; in many parts of Kongo, Mbumbi (in Mbamba), at São Salvador, Ngongo Mbata, and even in Okanga, an independent kingdom of the east side of the Kwango River.28 The Luso-African communities that dealt in the cloth and slave trade were not at all interested in answering to the governors of Angola, or any other Portuguese authority. Their business necessarily had them operating far away from the Portuguese positions in Angola. Many had connections with elites in Kongo, the Dembos, or in Ndongo, and their ability to use these connections to further their own trade and profit put them at odds with the governors, especially as governors had orders to engage in commerce as much as or more than warfare, which was deemed too expensive and dangerous to continue.29 The fact that Kongo resumed its effective control over the Portuguese residing in its borders soon after Gouveia Sottomaior’s departure meant that many of the merchants who chafed at Crown control in Angola could benefit from travel and residence in Kongo.30 When an English captive, Andrew Battell, and some Portuguese and gypsy companions decided 25 26

27

28

29 30

Cadornega, História, 1: 77. This network was revealed in the testimony in the lawsuit that his widow launched against his various debtors in 1612: AHU, Cx. 1, doc. 17. Andrew Battell visited eastern Kongo markets around 1605, following routes that others pioneered: Strange Adventures, pp. 38–39. ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Livro 766, “Visita a Angola,” 1593–1596, fols. 23, 64, 64v, 65 (Okanga). Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 110–113. As late as 1607 there were still many settlers in Kongo from Gouveia Sottomaior’s time: Anonymous account of Guinea, 1607, MMA 5: 386.

NDONGO AND PORTUGAL AT WAR

to escape from government service at Massangano, they fled to Kongo, as did many others.31 Controlling a commercial community that had deep, century-old roots in Kongo, a country which had to be traversed to reach the clothproducing regions, and was sovereign and powerful, created its own difficulties for the governors. When approached, Álvaro reluctantly accepted the idea that the governor of Angola could appoint an official to oversee the affairs of the Portuguese in his country, though he insisted that the official be paid by him for better control.32 In 1591 the Portuguese Crown gave the governor of Angola control over a newly appointed customs official stationed at Mpinda, Kongo’s Atlantic port.33 However, in the late sixteenth century Portugal ceased having a de facto monopoly on European trade in Africa. In 1593 the first Dutch vessels called on Loango and Kongo, establishing a commercial link. The Dutch were not just commercial rivals of Portugal, they were also political – and, as Protestants, religious – enemies. In response to this perceived threat, the Crown ordered that Portuguese merchants living in Kongo were to be concentrated in Soyo’s port of Mpinda and that a fort would be constructed to hamper the operations of Dutch merchants.34 In the end, however, Portugal was in no position to compromise Kongo’s sovereignty, and in 1612, after insistent complaints from local merchants in Soyo, Álvaro expelled António Gonçalves Pita, who had been appointed to manage Portuguese affairs in Kongo.35 At the same time as the royal government in Angola was seeking to control trade, it also was tasked with regularizing the landholding practices of the colony’s resident Portuguese and Luso-African settlers. When Dias de Novais was ruling, he had made ad hoc arrangements

31 32

33

34 35

Battell, Strange Adventures, pp. 11–12. Memorial of Kongolese ambassador to Spain, 21 March 1607, MMA 5: 262–263; Appointment of Felipe I, 7 November 1607, MMA 5: 357–358; Felipe I to Council of Portugal, 11 December 1607, MMA 5: 364; Felipe I to Viceroy of Portugal, 10 July 1608, MMA 5: 444. Alvará of Felipe I to Francisco de Gouveia, 8 February 1591, 16 February 1591, MMA 3: 412–413, 419–422. Memorandum to Viceroy of Portugal, 10 March 1609, MMA 5: 518–520. Manuel Baptista to Felipe I, 10 July 1612, MMA 6: 89; Manuel Vogado Sottomaior, “Informação do Reyno de Congo e Angola,” 20 April 1620, MMA 6: 485; Bento Banha Cardoso, “Informasão,” 10 October 1611, MMA 6: 19–20; “Apuntamentos de João Salgado de Araújo,” 1615, MMA 6: 2246–2248.

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to establish landholding for his followers, typically giving soldiers and Jesuit priests grants of tribute owed by the surrendered sobas (often simply taking over tributes they had previously paid to Ndongo), or outright land grants on vacant land, using the law of sesmaria, which gave the Portuguese state power over unused land.36 Tribute was paid by the sobas, often in slaves, to an amo or patron, chosen from the colonists in order for them to be supported primarily as soldiers.37 Administration of the tribute was handled by African Christians, usually called tendala, from the Kimbundu term for an administrative official, some of whom were Kongo nobles, who brought their own soldiers to enforce the relationship.38 In 1592 the Spanish–Portuguese Crown sent Governor Francisco de Almeida to establish new arrangements, in which the sobas would swear loyalty to the Crown, while previous grants of sobas’ tribute to settlers and Jesuits were revoked. The Crown argued that it was replacing Ndongo as overlord, as well as contending that private amos (the local name for a landholder) had abused the sobas, although it continued to grant vacant lands to those settlers it deemed worthy, leaving it up to them to make the lands rentable by acquiring labor forces in the form of slaves.39 In reality, although the sobas were made legally free, in fact they continued to be more or less connected to the original holders of the sesmaria lands, so that the conquistadors writing years later might have the donation of a soba in their sesmaria grant.40 Revenues from the tributes and from other taxes (primarily on trade)41 were then to be applied to the salaries of government officials such as the governor and his officers, who would serve on fixed terms for cash incomes, and thus be directly beholden to the king or the governors. While the royal government proposed this ambitious plan,

36 37

38

39

40 41

Faculty of 11 September 1583, MMA 4: 353–354. Fernão Guerreiro, Relaçam Annal das Cousas que fizeram os Padres da Companhia de Jesus nas suas Missões, 4 vols. (Lisbon, 1603–1611; modern ed. A. Viegas, Lisbon, 1930–1952, 3 vols.), 1: 395–396; taken from the annual letter of 1602–1603. Andrew Battell, “The Strange Adventures of Andrew Battel of Leigh in Angola . . ., ” in Samuel Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas his Pilgrimes (London, 1625; modern edition of this chapter in Battell, Strange Adventures), pp. 64–65. Under terms such as those of Baltasar Rebelo de Aragão’s letter of sesmaria, 6 June 1611, MMA 6: 8–10. A list of those later obtained or donated to the Jesuits is found in “Das cousas de reis de Angolla, 1612,” MMA 6: 91–98. Mendes de Castelo Branco, “Relação,” ca. 1621, MMA 6: 459–460. A list of some of the taxes and their returns is given in Alvitre de Pedro Sardinha, ca. 1612, MMA 6: 103–115.

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they were not able to enforce it, for the plan met with strong resistance from the settlers, and the Jesuits acting as settlers excommunicated the new governor, who was forced to leave Angola in 1593.42 Jesuits, rather incongruously, blamed the policy for causing massive revolts in the later 1590s, and Governor João Rodrigues Coutinho had to re-conquer over 150 rebel sobas between 1601 and 1603, since the revolts were more likely a result of the Portuguese defeat in 1591.43 Royal pressure separated landholding under sesmaria from tribute payments, so legally at least, Portuguese landowners had only a piece of land as property with no rights to labor.44 This land was then worked by slaves, either acquired as tribute, spoils of war, or purchase on behalf of the amo.45 The landholding was called an arimo, derived from the Kimbundu verb ria, meaning “to eat.” These landholdings in turn provided a food supply for the Portuguese settlers and for the thousands of slaves awaiting export. The arimo system, while derived from Portuguese law, also incorporated the existing Kimbundu land law, which made Portuguese Angola resemble an African state.46 Indeed, the original grants of sobas followed Kimbundu law. In the 1560s the king of Ndongo had made certain grants to the Jesuit priest Francisco de Gouveia “for his subsistence,” using Ndongo law, in which officials received the right to collect income from territories under Ndongo’s control in a manner prescribed by Ndongo law. In 1583 Dias de Novais converted this grant from Ndongo into a grant using Portuguese forms.47

42

43 44

45 46 47

“Catalogo dos Governadores de Angola,” recension in da Silva Corrêa, História, 1: 211. All recensions of the “Católogo” have these accounts, probably based on a Jesuit compilation of about 1603, on this document: see Joseph C. Miller and John Thornton, “The Chronicle as Source, History, and Hagiography: The Catálogo dos Governadores de Angola,” Paideuma 33 (1987): 359–390, 375–376, 383. The first contemporary documentation of the policy is in the royal instructions to Manuel Pereira Forjaz, 26 March 1607, MMA 5: 268–269, though it probably repeats earlier instructions. Guerreiro, Relaçam (ed. Viegas), 1: 396–397. Legal aspects are visible in the earliest surviving grant of this type, given to the Jesuits, 15 August 1584, and Martim Rodrigues de Godoi, 2 April 1587, MMA 4: 433–439, 461–464. Many were given without papers, but orally attested, as with several given in the period 1582–1588 that were later donated to the Jesuits: “Das Cousas de rais de Angolla, 1612,” MMA 6: 91–98. Regimento to Manuel Pereira, 26 March 1607, MMA 5: 272–273. Guerreiro, Relaçam (ed. Viegas), 1: 396. Donation of Paulo Dias de Novais to Fr. Baltasar Barreira, 11 July 1583, MMA 15: 279.

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If the sobas owed tribute, however, they were not bound to amos by law, and so the various encomienda systems familiar to the Spanish colonies of the Americas did not develop. In part this was because the sobas were far more important for supplying soldiers for the armies. The armies that fought for Portugal were composed of a core of Portuguese soldiers with their slaves, and in the earlier years with mercenaries recruited from Kongo. They fought in tight, disciplined formations that were extremely difficult to break even when surrounded. However, these forces moved too slowly, and could be easily defeated if they fought alone, and so all Portuguese armies included thousands of African soldiers, typically equipped as archers, dubbed the guerra preta or “black army.” Although the guerra preta are often described as auxiliaries, they were the main force of the Portuguese army. As Garcia Mendes Castelo Branco pointed out in 1621, looking back on wars he had fought in since 1578, thousands of African “archers” had died in Portuguese campaigns.48 As they discovered in the wars of 1575–1590, these sobas might easily change sides if circumstances warranted it.49 The governors realized that their power was diminished by this dependence, and sought to develop their own completely loyal army.50

LIMITED WARS IN ANGOLA In spite of royal commands to limit warfare, Portuguese governors recognized that warfare would yield quick results and profits, either through conquering rich areas or capturing slaves. Francisco de Almeida decided to probe Portuguese possibilities in Kisama first. This area stretched along the south bank of the Kwanza for many miles and backed up against the ranges of the Central Highlands, whose northern and eastern flanks were marked by steep escarpments. Kisama itself, however, was arid, sparsely populated, and thus a difficult region into which to launch a military campaign. In spite of its arid and difficult terrain, Kisama was valuable, because it contained a famous salt mine at Ndemba, and thus war could be

48 49 50

Mendez Castelobranco, “Relação,” MMA 6: 465–466. For detailed description and sources, see Thornton, “Art of War.” These issues were all raised by the veteran settler Mendes Castelo Branco: see his memorial of 16 January 1620, MMA 6: 446–452.

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justified on the grounds of securing that important resource, since salt could be used both in Angola and as a commodity, and was valuable in the cloth trade of Kongo and beyond.51 Kisama was ruled a by loosely connected group of sobas who were fiercely independent though they did cooperate to resist outside attacks, rightly earning the role as the preeminent defenders of local freedom that Jessica Krug has assigned them.52 Kongo claimed that it controlled Kisama as early as 1535, when Afonso mentioned it in his titles; Ndongo had also laid claim to its territory. Dias de Novais, too, made treaties with sobas along the Kwanza, including some in Kisama. While the outside powers had relatively little real control, if any at all, there was much more to the claim that Kafuxi ka Mbari, whose lands lay at the better-watered eastern end of the district, controlled the area, or perhaps was simply regarded as its military defender.53 In 1588 the Portuguese sent a force to join his in putting down a rebellion, showing that his overlordship needed constant reinforcement.54 Following the idea that the salt mines would be lucrative and easy targets, Francisco de Almeida sent a force of 130 soldiers and some cavalry, along with troops of several allied sobas under Pedro Álvares Reballo to attack and conquer them, where he built a fortress in 1594. But to secure his position, he needed to attack Kafuxi ka Mbari as the region’s defender. The initial attack, using the cavalry, disorganized his opponents, although Kafuxi ka Mbari’s people countered the effect of cavalry by taking refuge in wooded and broken ground. Using this cover, they then drew the Portuguese force into the broken ground and surrounded it, causing heavy casualties including killing two allied sobas. The surviving Portuguese and their allies fell back to the Kwanza River, and were grateful that Kafuxi ka Mbari’s people did not follow up their attack and take back the mines.55 This notable victory showed that even the relatively small-scale and decentralized communities in Angola were capable of defeating substantial forces from outside. When João Furtado de Mendonça arrived in Angola in 1594, he abandoned his predecessor’s failed ambitions in Kisama, and sought 51 52 53 54 55

Pigafetta, Relatione, p. 10. Krug, Fugitive Modernities, pp. 36–42. Further details are in Krug, Fugitive Modernities, pp. 39–41. Anua da Provincia de Portugal, 1588, MMA 3: 75–76. Rodrigues, “História,” MMA 4: 576–577; Krug, Fugitive Modernities.

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out possibilities against Kongo, still troubled by Álvaro II’s “war against his uncles.” Some of his followers claimed that not only had Kongo given Portugal rights to Luanda Island’s nzimbu fisheries when Gouveia Sottomaior helped expel the Jagas, but also claimed, falsely, that it included lands south of the Dande River.56 When the Crown organized the Kingdom of Angola they defined it to include lands between the Kwanza and the Dande, although it is unlikely that Álvaro I’s donation had extended to a land grant.57 Furtado de Mendonça launched a campaign in 1596–1598 along the Bengo River, from which Luanda drew its water supply.58 The inhabitants of Ngombe a Mukiama, where he made a base to raid surrounding areas, spoke Kimbundu and were a part of the land that was claimed both by Kongo through the province of Mbamba and by Ndongo as a part of Ilamba. In fact, neither governed it directly. Many of the rulers in the area bore the title Ndembo, and hence the region was called “Dembos.”59 As in Kisama and the western Central Highlands to the south, local rulers sought to build loosely organized domains within the region; on the west Nambu a Ngongo and on the east Mbwila sometimes extended claims when the major powers were challenged by wars or political dissent. The region was mountainous, and contained the headwaters of the Dande and Bengo Rivers. The rugged terrain created many natural fortresses and made the petty rulers of the area bold in asserting their independence, or rather in claiming loyalty while failing to pay tribute or other service. The campaign helped to secure Luanda’s food and water supply, as the governor began giving out charters to his followers to establish arimos along the river, but it also alienated Kongo and put a final end to any pretense of an alliance between the Kingdom of Kongo and the Portuguese colony. Álvaro II, still hamstrung with his tenuous hold on 56

57 58

59

Rather baldly stated in Anonymous, untitled account of Guinea, ca. 1607, MMA 5: 384. See also Regimento to Manuel Pereira Forjaz, 2 August 1606, MMA 5: 277. What seems more likely is that some revenue from this source was to be paid to the Portuguese fisc, though it was soon dropped as Garcia Mendes Castelbranco, an old conquistador, recalled in 1620: “Relação que faz . . ., ” MMA 6: 438–439. “Treslado da confirmação da Doação desta Capitania . . ., ” 1589, MMA 4: 498–511. “Catalogo dos Governadores,” in da Silva Corrêa, História, 1: 216; better geographical details and contemporary eyewitness accounts are found in Battell, Strange Adventures, pp. 13–16. A description of the region with this definition was elaborated in Cadornega, História, 3: 200–207.

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the throne, was unable to counter the Portuguese thrust, and could only vainly protest this violation of his sovereignty.60

THE RISE OF THE IMBANGALA IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS Events to the south of the Kwanza, in the Central Highlands, would soon change the whole military and political landscape of much of West Central Africa. Following Dias de Novais’s victory over Ndongo at Kasikola in 1586, Benguela’s ruler contacted Dias de Novais, seeking to establish “friendship” and offering to “be subject to the king of Portugal.”61 This plan was upended when the sobas of Kisama defeated the Portuguese mission to Benguela in 1587, but Benguela continued as a powerful kingdom.62 At the end of the sixteenth century, the Kingdom of Benguela was a fairly large entity, which covered the northwestern part of the Central Highlands between the headwaters of the Cuvo River and the Longa River. The king of Benguela in about 1600, when the English sailor Andrew Battell stayed there, named “Hombiangymbe” (Hombi a Njimbe), was said to command some 100 “chief lords.” This simple statement reveals that a pattern that would be more visible later was already true – that is, that the larger kingdoms of the highlands were composed of groups of lesser and probably relatively stable units whose rulers were typically called soba (or for the smaller ones sobeta) by the Portuguese, from the Kimbundu term, though they were probably called osoma in Umbundu (a quite different language). At the same time, these lesser rulers probably exercised considerable local authority, and submitted to regional leaders as long as they maintained a creditable power, abandoning them for another powerful soba or to be independent when that power faded. Benguela was not the only large polity in the highlands; another substantial kingdom, named Mbala, lay some “five day march” southwest of Benguela, ruled by “Calicansamba” (Kali ka Nsamba). In 60

61 62

Consideration of demands, MMA 5: 289. A brief description of the campaign against Nambu a Ngongo, probably at this time, in the period of governor Pereira Forjaz is found in Cadornega, História, 1: 78. Diogo da Costa to Provincial, 31 May 1586, MMA 3: 339. Rodrigues, “Historia,” MMA 4: 571–572 (1578 in the text, probably a transposition); Regimento to Manuel Pereira Forjaz, 26 March 1607, MMA 5: 278.

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addition, “Mofaringosat” (Mufari Ngosato) lay to the southeast of Benguela, which was also considered powerful, though of unknown extent.63 It is reasonable to suppose that these three kingdoms controlled the western highlands, although perhaps not completely. Their capitals were like the town of “Cashil” (Kaxila?), which was “very great,” built in the midst of a “great thicket” full of trees and with a large “idol” in the middle. The streets were orderly, shaded with palm trees, and the houses built in the form of “beehives.”64 These large towns, fortified either with densely planted thickets or stone walls, taking advantage of natural outcrops, were very much in the tradition of Feti la Choya and Ossi, attested in archaeology. This part of the highlands, much like the Dembo region to the north, was sharply accented by mountain ranges and deep valleys, and thus provided ample opportunities for fortifying areas. This geography hindered the building of consolidated polities and favored the sort of local supremacy within a federation that made entities such as the Kingdom of Benguela or Mbala operate. The broad plains that stretched out beyond this district to the east were flat, high plains, which allowed much larger and probably more united territories such as Bembe and Mujumbo a Kalunga that appear in somewhat later records. The established order of sobas and kings attested in the late sixteenth century was profoundly disordered by the emergence of the Imbangala, a marauding group which the Portuguese and Kongolese called “Jaga” after the unrelated group that invaded Kongo a few years earlier.65 They were not a specifically ethnic group, nor were they a single, united group with a common ruler. Battell traveled with one group for sixteen months in the last years of the sixteenth century and wrote a detailed account of their life and activity. The leader of the group that he traveled with was named Imbe Kalandula, but he described a higher leader named Elembe, who was the “Great Jaga.”66 The Imbangala were rootless, wandering from place to place and living by pillage. They killed any children born in their camps, and

63

64 65

66

The name Mbala is found in Sumbe a Mbala, a polity that lay along the western highlands a few years later. Battell, Strange Adventures, pp. 22–26. On the distinction between “Jaga” and “Imbangala,” see Battell, Strange Adventures, p. 38. The link between the various “Jaga” groups was severed by Joseph C. Miller, “The Imbangala and the Chronology of Early Central African History,” Journal of African History 13 (1972): 549–574. Battell, Strange Adventures, pp. 16–26.

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replenished or expanded their numbers by recruiting children or younger teenagers into their group through a process of socializing that resembles that of the recruitment of child soldiers in more recent times. Among their practices was a wasteful method of obtaining palm wine, which involved simply cutting a palm tree down, letting the sap ferment for a few days and then drinking off the large quantity of wine produced this way in a wild drinking party. When the trees of one district were exhausted they moved on to the next, hence their wandering nature.67 Scholars once believed that they descended from immigrating groups from the far interior, but the evidence points to an origin in the Central Highlands, perhaps its southern fringe.68 One possible explanation for their origin is that they began as armies in wars conducted between Benguela and its enemies, armies that like the mercenary armies of the European Thirty Years War eventually broke free from discipline and lived by marauding. Battell described Imbe Kalandula as a “page” in the army of Elembe, and it suggests that lower-level commanders simply hived off with their followers.69 Kalandula’s band eventually moved northward from the Central Highlands into the borderlands of the middle and lower Kwanza and Ndongo’s territory.70 They pillaged and spoiled Axila Mbanza, one of the important sobas of Ndongo, probably around 1600, and following this they attacked Kafuxi ka Mbari, the leading soba of Kisama, whose resistance might have been made weaker by the struggle with the Portuguese in 1594–1595.71 Although the activities of Imbangala bands like that of Kalandula are visible in European records in the first years of the seventeenth century, there were many other bands that formed either at the same time as

67 68

69 70

71

Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 93–95. For a worthwhile review of the earlier theories, mostly revolving around the legendary travels of Kinguri, the Imbangala founder of nineteenth- and twentieth-century traditions, see Jan Vansina, “It Never Happened: Kinguri’s Exodus and its Consequences,” History in Africa 25 (1998): 387–403. Battell, Strange Adventures, p. 85. Vansina, Societies, pp. 196–201, proposed that their origins was in Quilengues, in the southern end of the Highlands. His further suggestion (pp. 200–201) that there was a sort of struggle of the poor against the rich also lacks supporting evidence. Finally, his argument, which sees the origin in a single band, following a coastal route northward, does not seem to align with the fragmented character of the appearance of the Imbangala in the record. Battell, Strange Adventures, pp. 26–27.

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Kalundula, from Elembe’s army or somewhat later, from other sources. Accounts written half a century afterward name a number of Imbangala bands throughout the Umbundu-speaking region of the Highlands and in the plains to the east, as far as the Kwango River.72 They would continue in one or another way as an important force well into the nineteenth century. The Portuguese found that making alliances with these groups could give them new military capacity in their war with Ndongo.

FACTIONALISM IN NDONGO Not long after Ndongo’s victory over Portugal on the Lukala, its king, Njinga Ngola Kilombo kia Kasenda, died and power passed to his son, Mbande Ngola Kiluanje, around 1592. The transition, however, was not without tension and division. Three factions, each led by people related to him by marriage, formed within the kingdom. The first of his wives was the daughter of Hango a Kakahito, whose relatives controlled murindas in the northern and eastern parts of the country, and the second was related to his second wife, Kingela kia Ngombe, whose father was soba of Dembo a Pe. Their power lay largely on the southeastern end of the kingdom on both banks of the Kwanza River.73 The third faction was represented by a wife who was the sister of Axila Mbanza, whose lands were on the southwestern side of the Kwanza River.74 Axila Mbanza’s faction was also connected to Kafuxi ka Mbari, whose victory over Portuguese forces in 1594–1596 had given him great power, which he had used to press his claim to be king of Kisama, the weakly held western province that lay south of the Kwanza between the coast and the highlands. Kafuxi ka Mbari was sufficiently powerful that “the very king of Angola feared him, because he was the one who according to their laws, would succeed him in the kingdom.” There were, in fact, a good number of sobas who “would attempt to make him king immediately, for he being so valiant that he could defend them against the Portuguese.”75 72

73 74 75

A detailed account based on long seventeenth century experience is found in Cadornega, História, 3: 249–250. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione evangelica,” Book 2, chap. 1, p. 14. Regimento to Manuel Forjaz Pereira, 1607, MMA 5: 269. Guerreiro, “Relaçam,” MMA 5: 53.

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King Mbande Ngola Kiluanje was a strong partisan of the faction from Hango a Kakahito, allegedly because he loved that wife “so much that he seemed bewitched by her Love,” so that he greatly favored her brothers and thus was at odds with the other two factions.76 Fearing threats and revolts, Mbande a Ngola Kiluanje negotiated a peace treaty with Furtado de Mendonça in 1599.77 Although it was primarily a peace treaty, it set the Portuguese against Mbande a Ngola Kiluanje’s most powerful enemies, as Portuguese and their allies attacked both Kafuxi ka Mbari and Axila Mbanza in 1600, hoping to capitalize on their weakness from the devastating attack by Kalandula’s Imbangala from the Central Highlands a year or two earlier.78 Although the initial Portuguese efforts were unsuccessful, eventually Governor João Rodrigues Coutinho, who followed Furtado de Mendonça in 1601, defeated Kafuxi ka Mbari and Axila Mbanza, and, in 1602 constructed a Portuguese fort at Cambambe. This fortress, capable of being supplied from the Kwanza as Massangano was, promised a strong Portuguese presence in the region.79 Ostensibly the attack was to take over silver mines rumored to be in the vicinity, though these never were located. Mbande a Ngola Kiluanje was so pleased with the Portuguese success that in 1603 he sent an embassy to the governor proposing that he himself become a Portuguese vassal and accept baptism.80

KONGO REACHES TO ROME As Ndongo came to terms with Portugal, Kongo was working diplomatically to strengthen its position against Angola, which had begun violating its borders in the 1590s and showed a desire to control its commercial life. For this task, Kongo looked to the strength it had in Europe brought on by its claim to be a part of Christendom. The kings

76 77 78 79 80

MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione evangelica,” Book 2, chap. 1, p. 14. Du Jarric, Histoire, 2: 103. Battell, Strange Adventures, pp. 26–28. Ibid., “Catalogo dos Governadores,” in da Silva Corrêa, História, 1: 219. “Relaçion del Gouernador d’Angola sobre el Estado en que tem Aquella Conquista . . . 28 September 1603,” MMA 5: 61; see also Guerrerio, “Relaçam,” MMA 5: 55.

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hoped in this way to gain control over their Church and stem the Portuguese progress in Angola. Frustrated by the fact that the bishop of São Tomé claimed power over the clergy of Kongo, and exploited it commercially, Álavro I decided to send a mission to Rome to lobby for a bishop of his own. Duarte Lopes, its leader, had successful talks with Vatican officials, and moreover, the description he gave to the humanist Filippo Pigafetta, published in 1591, was one of the most positive representations of Kongo as a civilized and Christian country ever written. It was a great success, translated into many languages, frequently reprinted, and often incorporated as base information into other treatises on Africa long after it was “news.”81 Álvaro sent a second embassy under António Vieira to Rome in 1595 and, thanks to the negotiations, on 20 May 1596 Pope Clement VIII erected São Salvador as an episcopal See, a province of the Church that included Portuguese Angola as well as Kongo.82 But this victory was equivocal, for the Portuguese diplomats present managed to get the Vatican to recognize the king of Portugal as patron of the new See, granting him the power to appoint the bishops.83 The first bishop, Rangel Homem, clashed with Álvaro over affairs of precedence, and his attempt to seize New Christians condemned earlier were not popular in Kongo. His successor, António de São Estevão (1605–1608), was worried that his problems with the king might lead to his being poisoned.84 Among the most irksome customs to Kongo were that the bishops pretended that Kongo was subject to Portugal and refused to refer to Kongo kings by the title “Majesty,” indicating a fully sovereign ruler, but preferred only the lower title “Highness.”85 To strengthen his claim to equal status in Europe, and protest the breaches of conduct and practices of the bishops, Álvaro dispatched António Manoel, the marquis of Funta,86 as an ambassador to Rome in 81

82 83 84

85

86

Chandeigne’s French translation includes an extensive discussion of the history and fate of the book. Bull, Super Specula, MMA 3: 431–433. Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 1: 112–113. Instructions of Álvaro II to António Manoel, Marquis of Funta (Kongolese ambassador to Rome), 29 June 1604, MMA 5: 116 and Consulta on the Bishop of Angola, 13 October 1607, MMA 5: 350. “Relação que faz Capitão Garcia Mendes Castelobranco do Reyno do Congo,” 16 January 1620, MMA 6: 438. The Pope never accepted this lowered status. Jean Cuvelier, L’ancien royaume, p. 284, argues that he was the Mwene Vunda, an important noble in the São Salvador area, based on a dubious relationship between

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1604 and demanded that the powers of the bishop to control the Portuguese community be dismantled. Specifically, he sought to insure that the chapter of the cathedral must be Kongolese or naturalized Europeans, and that his personal chaplain act as a judicial mediator of the bishop’s powers.87 Though the mission did not create an end to the impasse in Kongo between the bishop and other Portuguese Crown agents and the kings, it did establish a precedent of direct relations between Kongo and Rome that would prove to be important. In any case, Álavro’s problems with the bishop continued with António de São Estevão’s successor, Manuel Bautista Soares (1611–1619), including the arrest of several of Álvaro’s most loyal local clergy at an alleged synod held in Luanda in 1614.88 Álvaro II continued his father’s quest to have Kongo recognized as a full member of the Christian community, and in the 1590s started issuing European-style noble titles. Miguel, the Mwene Soyo, was called a count by 1591, and by the middle of the decade Nsundi, Mbamba, and Mbata were declared duchies, Mpemba, Mpangu, Wembo, and many of the lesser provinces became marquisates, while Wandu joined Soyo as a county.89 This titulature, like the earlier decision to call the capital São Salvador, were lasting changes, still in use hundreds of years later.

FACTIONAL ISSUES IN KONGO As he was reaching to Rome and claiming membership in Christendom, Álvaro II was also interested in insuring his full acceptance as king from all rivals, and beyond that to obtaining more control over the political

87 88

89

“Funta” and “Vunda,” and subsequently followed by many other writers (but the “v” in Vunda apparently is the bilabial “v” that distinguishes vutuka from vata; it is harder to justify the t/d substitution). However, it is more likely he was ruler of the small marquisate of Funta in Soyo, an exact match (see Montesarchio, “Viaggio,” fol. 3), especially since the earliest documents in António Manuel’s collection were written in Soyo in the service of Count Manuel. Instructions to António Manoel, MMA 5: 112–118. Consulta of Mesa da Consciênca, 14 October 1614, MMA 6: 184; Royal letter to the Cardinal de Broja, 28 August 1618, MMA 6: 324. Many of these maneuvers were subsequently blamed on New Christians: Testimony of Diogo Rodrigues Pestana in Memorias of Pedro Sardinha to Conselho do Estado, ca. 1612, MMA 6: 109. This titulature was first formally used by António Vieira, Álvaro’s ambassador to Rome, in 1595: “Interrogatoria de Statu Regni Congensis Facta Ulissibone. Anno Domini 1595,” MMA 3: 501. See Martinho de Ulhoa, bishop of São Tomé, MMA 3: 506.

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organization of the kingdom. One important problem lay with the “House of Soyo,” a descent group represented in the late sixteenth century by Count Miguel of Soyo. Soyo was one of the electoral provinces, held as a hereditary fief by the descendants of Manuel, the first Kongolese to be baptized, who bore the surname “da Silva,” but were ineligible to be kings.90 Álvaro hoped that he could place Soyo more firmly under royal control, especially considering its role in his own succession. When Miguel died, around 1610, a “party of his enemies” led by a certain Fernando, but backed in all probability by Álvaro, prevented Miguel’s son Daniel da Silva from succeeding him. They proved to be “too strong” for him, and forced Daniel to flee “to the Duke of Bamba.”91 The Dutch presence in Soyo, encouraged by Miguel, who negotiated with them almost as a sovereign in 1607, probably encouraged Álvaro to cooperate in at least the initial stages of the Portuguese plan to fortify Mpinda to keep the Dutch out. Continuing his own cooperation with Angola, Álvaro hired Portuguese troops from Angola to assist him in reasserting himself in Soyo, and Dutch visitors thought that the two represented pro- and anti-Portuguese positions, in which a royal partisan like Fernando “let himself be used against the king,” while Miguel and presumably Daniel resisted Álvaro because he “placed too much trust in the Portuguese.”92 Fernando, however, was not particularly pro-Portuguese, for in 1612 he provided the Dutch with vigorous help when a Portuguese fleet threatened their factories at Mpinda.93 But the situation in Soyo was more complicated than the Dutch understood it, and if Álvaro had put his own client in Soyo, it was to allow the House of Soyo to move to Mbamba. The House of Soyo had wide-ranging family connections in Kongo, and they might counterbalance royal attempts to integrate Soyo. When Daniel arrived in Mbamba the duke was named António da Silva, and in all likelihood was also a member of the House of Soyo.94 While Álvaro was anxious to get control of Soyo, the House of Soyo was still valuable since they had

90

91 92

93 94

For Soyo’s relationships and a history of the da Silva family, see Thornton, “Soyo and Kongo.” Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 584; Thornton, “Soyo and Kongo.” Samuel Brun, Schiffarten, ed. S. P. L’Honoré Naber (The Hague, 1913 [1624]), p. 27 (original pagination marked in the modern edition); see also Thornton, “Soyo and Kongo.” Brun, Schiffarten, pp. 23–24. Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 584.

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traditionally eschewed kingship, making an alliance with them safe. So he found it expedient to give his son Álvaro Nimi a Mpanzu in matrimony to Duke António’s daughter.95 When António da Silva’s daughter died, Álvaro Nimi a Mpanzu remarried to another woman from the House of Soyo, probably a relative of Miguel and his refugee son Daniel.96 The House of Soyo’s widespread connections were not limited to Álvaro’s family, as the da Silvas had significant connections among people who were hostile to Álvaro. A notable one was Afonso, the duke of Nsundi, who had revolted against Álvaro but was also married to a woman from the House of Soyo.97 Álvaro hoped that he could avoid the problems he had faced on his succession, when disappointed senior relatives who had been displaced by Álvaro I’s election revolted and waged the “war of his uncles and brothers.” His strategy was to see if he could insure succession in his own family by designating a successor, and included a request to have the Pope accept this decision in the instructions he gave to António Manoel in 1604. He wanted one of his illegitimate sons to be legitimated and designated as successor, and also to have the right to change the designation in future, a condition which the Pope granted.98 Thus, Álvaro, even as he dealt with domestic revolts, the problems of Soyo and Mbamba, and his struggle for control of the Church, also expanded the kingdom eastwards again where the wealth of the textile industry drew him. In 1604 Álvaro’s titles included a number of new eastern territories: Kundi, Kaala, Okanga, and a northern one, Nzari a Kakongo, a move to extend Kongo’s authority into the loose group of northern districts that had formed Kongo’s original federation.99 Okanga, on the west side of the Kwango, and stretching to the

95 96 97 98 99

[Cardoso], “Relação da morte,” MMA 15: 487. [Cardoso], “Relação da morte,” MMA 15: 487. [Cardoso], “Relação da morte,” MMA 15: 493. Instructions to António Manoel, 29 June 1604, MMA 5: 116. Instructions to António Manoel, 29 June 1604, MMA 5: 118. This northern district remained in Kongo’s hands; in 1640 it was called “Zarry a Congo” (OWIC 56, no. 33, [Frans Capelle], “Corte beschrijvynge vant gepassiert in Rio Congo,” March 1641, 1st (unnumbered) folio. A French translation is found in Louis Jadin (ed and trans.), “Rivaltées luso-néernandaise au Soyo, Congo, 1600–1675,” Bulletin, Institut Historique Belge de Rome 37 (1966): 137–359, 216 (Jadin ascribed the authorship to this document, which is not signed).

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Wamba River, was a major textile market, and the commercial community there had established a church.100 Álvaro’s diplomacy corresponded with ideas in Rome about the possibility of connections between Kongo and Ethiopia. In 1520 Diogo de Quatra had already sought to do this, and in 1584 Pietro Duodo claimed that some Venetian navigators had actually sailed up the Congo River to Dambea, an Ethiopian province (and an impossible voyage). Carmelite missionaries in Kongo in 1584 brought back the ideas, and recalled the expedition that Afonso had sent up the river a half century earlier. In 1607 one of Kongo’s representatives in Rome suggested that they might be able to make a journey to Ethiopia.101 The establishment of the Angolan trade in textiles, and the creation of Portuguese communities in Kongo’s far northeast, surely contributed to renewed Portuguese interest in establishing a link to that area. To this was also added the Portuguese Jesuit mission to Ethiopia, established in 1555. Around 1600 Jesuits in Angola encouraged Rafael de Castro, a Spanish-American priest, to go from the Portuguese community in Okanga in search of a route to Prester John’s realm. He claimed to have traveled some 200 leagues eastward where he met people wearing crosses who told him, or at least he believed, that they were from Prester John.102 He could not understand the language at that point and so returned to São Salvador, where he informed Álvaro of his journey. Álvaro was sufficiently interested that he consulted with his council about supporting what they thought would be a very expensive journey, and hoped they could get papal assistance for the task; indeed, they charged as a “principal goal” to António Manoel in 1604 in his mission to Rome to work on opening the road to Prester John.103 In the end, the effort was doomed to failure. It was much more than 200 leagues from Kongo to the westernmost province of Ethiopia, even if the explorations might have added some additional knowledge, and the Jesuits ceased their efforts. In 1630 the Vatican would try again to enlist Jesuit support for opening a route, and the college in Luanda 100 101 102

103

Cácegas and de Sousa, História de S. Domingos, MMA 5: 611. Gray, “African Origins,” pp. 37–39. This is clearly the source for Girolamo Veccietti’s letter to the Pope in 1609: C. Beccari, Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales, 15 vols. (Rome, 1903–1915), 11: 180. “Relazione a Monsignore Acorambono, collettore de Portogallo circa la strada che si pretende del Regno di Congo a quello del Prete Giani” (undated, by Acorambono, who was collector between 4 July 1614 and 4 July 1620), MMA 6: 492.

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roundly rejected the effort, maintaining, rightly, that the distance was too great and the obstacles insurmountable.104

ANGOLA AND THE SLAVE TRADE By the 1590s some 5,000 slaves were exported from Angola every year, the product of the wars against Ndongo, bolstered as well from civil war in Kongo and other conflicts deeper in the interior. Even when the Portuguese lost wars and their subjects and allies were enslaved by the winners, the resulting captives ended up in the American trade, albeit with different beneficiaries. In the following years the slave trade fluctuated between about 9,000 and 12,000 per year, thus becoming an “Angola Wave” in which the share of slaves originating in Angola went from about half of the supply of Africans to the Americas at the beginning of the Asiento to over 80 percent by 1620. The Crown’s focus on acquiring slaves commercially, for fear of the expense of warfare, had provided quite a few slaves, though the necessities of maintaining the cloth trade, and with it the control by Kongo, made a commercial strategy difficult and less profitable. Likewise, the failure to capture the salt mines of Kisama, which could have provided a good export to pay for cloth, made direct capture of slaves more attractive. Therefore, in the early seventeenth century successive governors opted for warfare where they could control the acquisition themselves both as governors and as merchants.105 When the Crown was seeking to limit warfare in Angola, Portuguese governors began purchasing slaves in the region around the Kingdom of Benguela, mostly from the Imbangala bands that were devastating the countryside, and were open to imported alcohol as an exchange. They continued this, and made more direct contact with the Imbangala as some of the bands moved into the region between the Highlands and the Kwanza, particularly into the lands of Kafuxi ka Mbari and Axila Mbanza. For a number of years this relationship continued, with Portuguese merchants following Imbangala bands and purchasing their slaves. 104

105

Antonio Franco, Synopsis Annalium Societatis Jesu in Lusitania (Augsburg, 1726), p. 259, 1631, no. 11. It was probably from the earlier explorations that Mateus Cardoso showed tantalizing, brief, but remarkable information about the eastern areas in 1624, for example the Kingdom of Ibar, or the Songo area, which produced cloth, in “História do Reino de Congo.” Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 159–168.

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Bento Banha Cardoso, who became governor in 1611, decided, in direct contradiction to his instructions from the Crown, to make alliances with the Imbangala in order to open a general war against Ndongo and the Dembos.106 He moved his own army and the Imbangala mercenaries against the soba Xilonga, and constructed a fort at Hango a Kakahito, in the heart of the lands most loyal to the king of Ndongo.107 But he also campaigned along the Kwanza from Cambambe and attacked the lands of Dembo a Pe and Mpungu a Ndongo, leaders of the third of Ndongo’s factions.108 Banha Cardoso’s success in these campaigns led the Crown to reconsider their policy of peace and commerce, and in 1614 they sent Manuel Cerveira Pereira to Angola with instructions to conquer Benguela, ostensibly to “save the souls of the idolators there.”109 In order to gather funds for that effort, he joined Banha Cardoso and conducted wars in the Zenza River valley against Dembos nominally loyal to Kongo.

FOUNDING THE COLONY OF BENGUELA When he went to the Longa River to colonize Benguela, Cerveira Pereira understood that it had long been regarded as a source of copper, but he also knew that the Imbangala had been active there because in the 1590s the king of Benguela sent to Portugal to request their support against “Jagas.”110 During Benguela’s heyday, Paulo 106

107

108

109

110

Processo de Justificação dos Actos de Bento Banha Cardoso, 31 October 1616, in Alfredo de Albuquerque Felner, Angola: Apontamentos sobre a Colonização dos Planaltos e Litoral do Sul de Angola, 3 vols. (Lisbon, 1940), 1: 438. AHU, Cx. 1, doc. 40, Devassa de Bento Banha Cardoso, 21 August 1615. Bento Banha Cardoso, 28 June 1614, in MMA 6: 178 and 31 October 1616 in Felner, Angola, 1: 438. Cadornega’s account (História 1: 77) places the rebels in Ilamba province, claiming for support old papers that he had seen before they were destroyed by the Dutch in 1641. However, Cadornega is often hazy on dates (he placed these events in 1615), suggesting that he was working from memory of the documents, and no longer had them before him in 1680 when he wrote. The rebel’s name is given in the sketchier account in the “Catalogo,” da Silva Corrêa, História 1: 223–224. Bento Banha Cardoso, 31 October 1616, in Felner, Angola, 1: 439. Details in Cadornega, História, 1: 78–79; “Catalogo,” in da Silva Corrêa, História, 1: 224–225. On the Imbangala in this campaign see Luis Mendes de Vasconçelos to King, 28 August 1617, MMA 6: 283, 285. Order for Conquest and Establishment of Government of Benguela, 14 February 1614, MMA 6: 195–199. Jeronimo Castanho, Report, 1599, MMA 3: 611.

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Dias de Novais’s men founded a small port near the mouth of the Longa River to trade with that kingdom in the 1580s, but when Cerveira Pereira arrived there in 1617 he found the kingdom already destroyed by the Imbangala.111 Instead, he went farther south to the Catumbela River to found a new town, probably to capitalize on the chaos created by the Imbangala bands.112 There, he approached the local sobas for help in locating mines and acquiring commercial products, such as the local salt pans or the copper mines in the lands of Sumbe a Mbala.113 The region of Sumbe was probably still under the control of the Kingdom of Mbala, dominated by “a great lord whose name was Carionguo, who was like another King of Angola with no less power, and many of these heathens are his vassals” some six or seven days’ travel inland from Sumbe.114 Local leadership in the copper-producing area was contested, for Pereira was soon contacted by a certain “Cbo” a Calunda, who claimed to be “the legitimate lord of the said mines of copper.” He had been driven away by a rival and sought the aid of the Portuguese in restoring him to his place, promising to repay them in copper rights. However, Imbangala bands were very much in play in this region, as farther north, and Cerveira Pereira found himself negotiating with Kangombe, the Imbangala company leader who wanted to dominate the area. Pereira initially made an alliance with him, but found that he encouraged Pereira’s supporters to come to his camp, and was soon threatening the Portuguese. In 1618 Pereira’s men attacked, looted, and sacked Kangombe’s camp, breaking his power. Having thus demonstrated his own capacities to offer protection in exchange for vassalage, Pereira began to receive other local sobas who came to him. Having now become a regional power, Pereira sought to use the base to

111

112

113

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Rebelo de Aragão, ca. 1618, MMA 6: 339–341; Order for Conquest and Establishment of Government of Benguela, 14 February 1614, MMA 6: 195–199. Representação de Manuel Pereira Cerveira, 6 March 1618, MMA 6: 297–300; Baltasar Rebelo de Aragão, ca. 1618, MMA 6: 339–341. Representação de Manuel Cerveira Pereira, 2 July 1618, MMA 6: 315–19. See his subsequent reports, with little military action, 24 January 1619, MMA 6: 351–357; 17 July 1620, MMA 6: 493–499; 13 October 1620, MMA 6: 521–527; 4 October 1621, MMA 6: 584–585; 7 November 1621, MMA 6: 592–596; António Dinis, “Tratando do que sey de Angola . . . ” ca. 1622, MMA 7: 72–73 (on the salt pans); Manuel Cerveira Pereira to King, 1 October 1622, MMA 15: 503–504 (on the salt mines). Auto of Pedro Neto de Melo, 15 June 1618, MMA 6:308–309.

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conduct what promised to be a profitable trade in salt and copper with the region of Sumbe, lying to the north.115

THE IMBANGALA AND THE SECOND INVASION OF NDONGO When Cerveira Pereira went to Benguela, he was replaced in Angola by Luis Mendes de Vasconcelos, a veteran of the wars in India and reputed to be an expert in military affairs, about which he had written a book.116 He proposed that if he was given a large Portuguese force, he could fight without Imbangala support (in fact, he denounced their use in his initial proposals), and could conquer not only Ndongo, but all the lands of Africa right across to the Indian Ocean. He demanded the grandiose title of “Viceroy of Ethiopia” and a sweeping grant of rights and powers over his conquests to be, but in fact the Crown gave him relatively little in the way of support. Perhaps in response to the news from Okanga that Prester John and Mozambique were not far away had encouraged him, as it had Álvaro II, that transcontinental journeys or conquests were possible; Mendes de Vasconcelos certainly saw Mozambique as part of the Viceroyalty of Ethiopia.117 Even as the new governor arrived, Ndongo was undergoing dangerous stress. Mbande a Ngola Kiluanje had struggled to keep himself in power, and in so doing had alienated a great many nobles. Early in 1617 a group of his enemies made common cause against him and managed to lure him into an ambush at the lands of a rebel soba, Kavulo ka Kabasa, near the Lukala, where he was killed.118 Officials of the court, who claimed the right to elect the new king and favored the elder son, Mbande a Ngola Kiluanje, were pushed aside by a younger son named

115

116 117

118

Mariana Candido, An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World: Benguela and its Hinterland (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 55–57; my interpretation varies, based on Representação de Manuel Cerveira Pereira, 2 July 1618, MMA 6: 315–319; 24 January 1619, MMA 6: 351–357; 17 July 1620, MMA 6: 493–499; 13 October 1620, MMA 6: 521–527; 4 October 1621, MMA 6: 584–585; 7 November 1621, MMA 6: 592–596; António Dinis, “Tratando do que sey de Angola . . . ” ca. 1622, MMA 7: 72–73 (on the salt pans); Manuel Cerveira Pereira to King, 1 October 1622, MMA 15: 503–504 (on the salt mines). Luis Mendes de Vasconcellos, A arte militar (Lisbon, 1612). Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp 116–117; see also Memorial of Luis Mendes de Vasconcellos, 1616, in MMA 6: 263–270. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” Book 2, pp. 11–15.

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Ngola a Mbande. Ngola Mbande was born of Mbande Ngola a Kiluanje’s second wife, Kwengela ka Nkombe, from Dembo a Pe, part of the faction that dominated the southeastern part of Ndongo, and thus a different one from the northeast area favored by his father. He not only killed his own brother, but also his mother, and her brothers so that they could not avenge her. He was opposed by a legitimist party which claimed that he was ineligible for the throne, because he was descended from a slave and was born from the second and not the first wife.119 This state of affairs, with a new king insecurely on the throne and considerable dissent against him, presented Mendes de Vasconcelos with a golden opportunity to capitalize on the Imbangala alliance to make an all-out assault on Ndongo’s core territory. He quickly recruited three Imbangala bands, commanded by Kasa ka Ngola, Kasanje, and Donga, and brought them across the Kwanza to attack Ndongo.120 Advancing along the Lukala River in 1618, he built a fort at Ambaca as a base on the lands of the soba Kaita ka Balanga, in territory whose leaders felt they had been wrongly muscled out in the struggle for the throne.121 Although he relied heavily on the Imbangala to fight for him, the decision of soba Mubanga, whose lands lay near Ambaca, to support him also played a crucial role. Mubanga, a “relative of the kings of Angola” descended from one of Ngola Kiluanje’s wives, who was close to the northeastern faction that Mbande Ngola a Kiluanje had so favored, and thus a potential heir to the throne, “gave a gate and entrance to his lands for the said conquest” to the Portuguese.122 Mendes de Vasconcelos’s army crushed Ndongo’s and sacked the two capitals, Kabasa and Ngolomene, as Ngola Mbande fled eastward to Samba a Kizenzele.123 In 1619 the governor returned, and this time Ngola Mbande fled to the Kindonga Islands of the Kwanza River, leaving most of his country without central authority and his wife and 119 120 121

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123

MSS Araraldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” Book 2, pp. 14–15. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 116–118. Manuel Severim da Faria, “História portugueza e de outras provincias do occidente desde o anno de 1610 até o de 1640 . . .,” quoted in Cadornega, História, 1: 88 n. 1; Fernão de Sousa, “Lembrança do estado em que achej a ElRey de Angola . . ., ” ca. October 1624, FHA 1: 195. Cadornega, História, 1: 86 (based on papers of both Luis and João Mendes de Vasconcelos, p. 83, author’s marginal note). For Mubanga’s background, see Gaeta, Conversione, p. 144–145. Baltasar Rebelo de Aragão, ca. 1618, MMA 6: 334; Severim da Faria, “História portugueza,” fol. 163v, quoted in Cadornega, História, 1: 88–89 n. 1.

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mother in Portuguese hands. Portuguese victories, won in part by partisans of the northern faction, had now put the whole question of who would rule Ndongo up for grabs. João Mendes de Vasconcelos, the governor’s son and field commander, tried to create his own king, a minor soba and vassal named António Correia Samba a Ntumba, but “it had no effect, because he was not obeyed.” The people would not recognize a new king as long as the old one was still alive and active, and moreover they would “not obey anyone who is not a child or descendant of a king.”124 Unable to rule without a legitimate puppet, João Mendes de Vasconcelos relented. There were families that had stronger claims to the throne who might have hoped to overthrow Ngola Mbande, but not without taking over themselves. So for the time being, they swore oaths of vassalage to Portugal, in hopes that by allying with the Portuguese they might eventually come to rule. This would explain why Hari a Kiluanje from Dambi a Ngola and Ngola Hari, ruler of the great rocks of Mpungu a Ndongo, and the core of the southern faction swore vassalage.125 The Portuguese campaign had proved wildly successful, since the thousands of slaves they captured paid for the venture handsomely. Useful as they had been in the campaign, the Imbangala proved to be less interested in furthering Portuguese interests than in pillage for its own sake. Even as they were sacking the capital, Kaza ka Ndongo and Donga deserted and went their own way, replenishing their numbers with captives, pillaging the countryside, then attacking the Portuguese position at Ambaca, before ultimately switching sides and joining with Ndongo’s army.126 Besides their infidelity, the Imbangala’s fondness for palm wine and their wasteful strategy of obtaining it by “cutting down the palm trees from which these people collect wine and oil” left the people with “a great lack of everything that they had before.”127 But if the objective was simply pillage and enslavement, this hardly mattered. In 1620 the 124

125

126

127

Severim de Faria, “História portugueza,” fol. 174v, MMA 7: 78; Fernão de Sousa, “Lembrança,” FHA 1: 195. Cadornega, História, 1: 141–142. For the earlier campaigns, see História 1: 79, for the one in 1621, see História 1: 93–94, based on service papers of veterans and the documents left by Mendes de Vasconcelos. Fernão de Sousa placed their vassalage in the time of João Correia de Sousa, but this was probably the more formal submission. Manuel Vogado Sotomaior, “Sobre as cousas de Angola,” n.d., ca. 1620, MMA 15: 475–477; Fernão de Sousa, “Lembrança,” FHA 1: 195. Vogado Sottomaior, “Cousas de Angola,” MMA 6: 476.

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Portuguese–Imbangala army under the operational control of João Mendes de Vasconcelos moved even further east, pillaging the queen of Matamba’s capital before withdrawing with the spoils.128 During this campaign, the third of the Imbangala bands, Kasanje’s, deserted the Portuguese and turned back to pillage Ndongo on its own. Thus three separate bands of Imbangala were wreaking havoc in both Ndongo and Matamba.129 Thousands of refugees of the wars fled to wherever there was safety, to Kindonga, where Ngola Mbande had managed to fortify himself and win the unstable support of the Imbangala band of Donga, or to the Portuguese territories. Regardless of who won these wars or lost them, people were enslaved and exported by traders, Portuguese and African, who went with the armies and bought those who were enslaved from the victors.130 Indeed some 50,000 people were transported across the Atlantic during Mendes de Vasconcelos’s time in Angola.131 More than one resident Portuguese complained about the Imbangala depredations, as well as the activities of informal forces commanded by Portuguese, such as Mendes de Vasconcelos’s private army that pillaged regularly in Ilamba long after he returned to Portugal. The bishop, who was hostile to the campaign, complained that “capturing innumerable innocent people, not only goes against the law of God and nature, but even against the expressed instructions of Your Majesty.”132 Governors served for short terms, and, as Mendes de Vasconcelos’s career demonstrated, they suffered no consequences from fighting wars that resulted in general destruction. These could be very profitable as long as people were enslaved and could be exported to the insatiable markets of Brazil and Spanish America.133 When the wars were over the governors departed, leaving local people or their successors to clean up the chaos that followed.

128

129 130

131

132

133

Mateus Cardoso to Manuel Severim de Faria, 16 March 1621, MMA 6: 568. For a detailed account of the campaign compiled a half century later from the service records of its veterans, see Cadornega, História, 1: 93–98. De Sousa, “Guerras de Dongo,” FHA 1: 212. Manuel Vogado Sottomaior, “Papel sobre as cousas de Angola,” ca. 20 April 1620, MMA 6: 476. Beatrix Heintze, “O Fim do Ndongo como estado independente (1617–1630),” in Angola, pp. 295–256. Bishop Manuel Baptista Soares, “Copia dos excessos que se cometem no gouerno de Angola que o bispo deu a V. Magestade pedindo remedio delles de presente, e de futuro,” 7 September 1619, MMA 6: 367–368. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 114–139.

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MANAGING THE NEW CONQUESTS One of the results of Mendes de Vasconcelos’s governorship was the consolidation of vassalage agreements with many sobas who were either conquered or surrendered to Portuguese authority. Large numbers of these agreements were recorded in Mendes de Vasconcelos’s time, and mostly they specified payments that had once been owed to Ndongo.134 Typically such payments included a few slaves, rarely more than ten, and food items such as grain crops and small domestic animals (goats and sometimes chickens).135 Such payments would hardly sustain the colony’s requirements for foodstuffs, especially considering the need to provision the substantial slave trade, let alone support a significant portion of the export slave trade. To create a larger stock of basic commodities, Mendes de Vasconcelos also gave out land grants. According to partial listings of grants from the 1620s, most were on the Bengo, but some were also along the Kwanza or near the fort at Massangano, often adjacent to lands of tributary sobas, and perhaps taken from their land.136 When the Jesuit priest Pedro Tavares worked in the region in the early 1630s, his report revealed the general pattern whereby these sobas coexisted with the estates of Portuguese settlers. However, the limited record does not suggest that the sobas supplied the labor forces for the farms, as might have happened in Latin America, but rather the lands were worked by slaves. On the Bengo, for example, he noted that the Mwene Gango was near his church, with the plantations of the Portuguese and their slaves around his lands, as was the Mwene Kionzo; an area within 2 leagues (10 kilometers) of the soba Icolo’s lands was occupied by twenty Portuguese plantations.137

134

135

136

137

For the legal history of the institution and some of its effects, see Beatrix Heintze, “The Angolan Vassal Tributes of the 17th Century,” Revista da história economica e social 6 (1980): 57–78 (revised and expanded Portuguese version in Heintze, Angola, pp. 456–472). Aida Freudenthal and Selma Pantoja (eds.), Livro dos Baculamentos que os sobas de Angola pagam a Sua Majestade, 1630, (Luanda, 2013). The acts themselves are dated: most are 1620, supplemented to 1624. The 1620 acts all specify the original payments as to be paid to the “King of Angola”; later acts do not include this detail, though some are from the same provinces. Specific information on the distribution of these landholdings is found in FHA 2: 364–376. ARSI Lus. 55, fols. 84–107, Pedro Tavares to Jeronimo Vogado, 1635; see fols. 84, 85–85v, 86, 91v–92, 93v.

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Land grants created a class of wealthy Angolan settlers, of which one of the most powerful was Gaspar Álvares, though his interests were at least partially matched by others. When he died in 1623, Álvares willed his property to the Jesuits, and the bequest reveals that he owned land in several locations, as well as having informal but significant relations with sobas in whose lands his property lay. Slaves worked his land, and tended cattle and pigs ready for the Luanda market. His commercial interests extended to Kongo, where rights in slaves for sale made up a quarter of his assets. The Kongo assets were important because they could not be taxed in Angola. Finally, he also held bills of exchange for slaves to be sold in the Americas, first in Rio de la Plata, where tax evasion was pervasive.138

SETTLING THE PEACE Defeated and exhausted, Ngola Mbande sued for peace in 1622, sending his three sisters Njinga Mbande, Kambo, and Funji to negotiate for him in Luanda.139 The eldest, Njinga, would prove redoubtable, a foretaste of an illustrious career to come. According to a later story, possibly apocryphal, Njinga refused to accept the vassal status that sitting before the governor on a mat like a subordinate indicated. “When she saw she was not given a magnificent & showy chair,” the missionary Cavazzi reported years later, after discussions with her and elders in the court, “she called one of her waiting-women, & sat on her as if she had been a chair, rising & sitting down as necessary, & explained her embassy with much acuteness and intelligence of mind.”140 Njinga accepted baptism as Ana de Sousa, and João Correia de Sousa, the new governor, agreed to withdraw the fort from Ambaca and to return thousands of kijikos that the Portuguese army had captured to Ngola Mbande in order to reestablish his kingdom, if he would leave the Island of Kindonga and reopen markets for Portuguese 138

139

140

Will of Gaspar Álvares, MMA 7: 89–95. On the illegal trade of Rio de la Plata, see José Gonçalves Salvador, Os Cristãos-Novos e o Comércio no Atlântico Meridional (São Paulo, 1978), pp. 305–352; for a larger Atlantic context, see Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, O Trato dos Viventes: Formação do Brasil no Atlântico Sul (São Paulo, 2000), pp. 96–116. Fernão de Sousa, “Lembrança do estado em que achej a ElRey de Angolla . . .,” (late 1624), FHA 1: 195–196; de Sousa, “Lembrança,” FHA 1: 196. Njinga’s life is told in detail in Linda Heywood, Queen Njinga of Angola: Africa’s Warrior Queen (Cambridge, MA, 2017); for this episode see pp. 74–76.

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merchants.141 He also agreed to allow priests to come to Ndongo. Correia de Sousa, in return, sent two mixed-race, Kimbunduspeaking representatives, Father Dionisio de Faria Baretto for his religious instruction and baptism, and Manuel Dias to handle diplomatic issues.142 Diplomacy did not resolve the issues, however. The continuing depredations of the Imbangala band of Kasanje forced Ngola Mbande to beg for Portuguese support in 1623, this time offering to pay tribute and offer vassalage for Portuguese assistance in fighting “a stronger enemy.”143 Although Correia de Sousa promised he would help (since Imbangala perfidy was proving problematic for all sides) he was unable to raise an army for this task and Ngola Mbande, “seeing these delays, supposed that they were deceits and died from depression and they said that it was poison that he himself took in desperation.”144 Ndongo’s throne was once more up for the taking.

141

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143

144

Laid out retrospectively in Fernão de Sousa to King, 28 September 1624, MMA 7: 256–257; Fernão de Sousa to King, 23 February 1632, MMA 8: 136–137; Francesco Paccone to Giulio Recupito, 8 September 1623, MMA 7: 145; de Sousa, “Lembrança,” FHA 1: 196; same to King, 13 February 1632, MMA 8: 136. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” vol. A, Book 2, pp. 25–28. Further details in Heywood, Njinga, p. 77. Francesco Paccone to Giulio Cesare Recupito, SJ, 8 September 1623, in Saverio Santagta, Istoria della Compagnia di Gesù Appartenente al Regno di Napoli, Part 4, (Naples, 1757), in MMA 7: 145. Fernão de Sousa, “Lembrança,” FHA 1: 196. Further details worked out in Beatrix Heintze, “Das Ende des Unabhängigen Staates Ndongo (Angola): Neue Chronologie und Reinterpretation (1617–1630),” Paideuma 27 (1981): 197–273, 218–219.

4

Queen Njinga’s Struggle for Ndongo

The Portuguese advance in Ndongo clearly changed the political geography in the larger area. No longer was Portugal struggling to survive as a colony, it was now about to take further initiatives, capitalizing on the Imbangala alliance and the prospect that creating chaos in neighboring areas would feed the slave trade, which had grown to be a sizable proportion of the whole Atlantic slave trade, passing 50 percent in 1600 and reaching toward the 75 percent level by 1620. It would subsequently reach nearly 90 percent before the Dutch occupation of Luanda in 1641.1 Portugal’s aggression had been largely focused on Ndongo, and had capitalized on its internal political dissent to win supporters and advance its military agenda. João Correia de Sousa was impressed with the results of Mendes de Vasconcelos’s Imbangala alliance, in spite of the difficulties that cooperation with the Imbangala imposed. He was convinced, in fact, that it would be possible to take that army into Kongo and perhaps have the same impact there. Just as factional struggles in Ndongo had opened the door for Portuguese intervention with their new allies, Kongo was struggling with factional issues at the same time. These events and those abroad, though, would internationalize the struggle for Angola, leading ultimately to the region becoming involved in Europe’s Thirty Years War, and saw a Kongo-sponsored Dutch intervention in the country.

1

Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 159–163.

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POLITICAL STRUGGLE IN KONGO While the Portuguese were cultivating their alliance with the Imbangala, Kongo went through a period of chaos. The problems began with Álvaro II’s death on 9 August 1614.2 He had been bitterly disappointed when the son he designated as his successor died in 1610, since it spoiled the arrangement he had negotiated with the Pope to insure the succession of the heir of his choice.3 He had made provisions at that time to replace his chosen son should his wife give birth to a legitimate son to succeed him, but either this had not happened, or none of his legitimate children were old enough to take up the throne. Seeing the difficulties he would have with a regular successor, Álvaro appointed Duke António da Silva of Mbamba as his executor, probably because the House of Soyo had traditionally been one of the royal electors and a kingmaker, and because they were similarly ineligible to succeed as king. The choice, and the manifold family connections that the house mustered and would muster in the coming years, would have a major impact on the way Kongo politics would function for many years in the future. Da Silva took charge of the city, immediately “giving and taking as pleased him,” and chose Álvaro’s brother Bernardo Mwanza a Mvemba to be the king.4 But Bernardo II’s reign lasted less than a year, and da Silva once again entered the city to depose him, allegedly scandalized over “some disorders of little Christian religion,” in early August 1615. So great was da Silva’s disgust with Bernardo that when he made up a king list to present to the bishop two years later, he neglected to place Bernardo’s name on it.5 But for all that, he spared Bernardo, and allowed him to take refuge in the church of São António with a handful of his closest followers in exchange for his renouncing any claim to the throne. He placed

2

3

4

5

Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid, MS 3533, “Descripcion Narrativa,” 8th page of unpaginated introduction. Luís de Cácegas and Luís de Sousa, História de S. Domingos (Lisbon, 1662), Part II, Book 4, chap. 13, MMA 5: 608. Manuel Baptista Soares, “Relação dos customes, ritos e abusos do Bispado do Congo,” 7 September 1619, MMA 6: 379. Manuel de Escobar, “Reis do Congo christãos, que tirei de huã carta do Duque de Bamba D. Antonio da Sylva,” 15 December 1617, MMA 6: 296.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

Álvaro II’s twenty-year old son, and his son-in-law, on the throne as Álvaro III Nimi a Mpanzu.6 Álvaro III, however, was not as magnanimous as da Silva had been. Fearing “a companion in his scepter” in the city, he had Bernardo beheaded right in the church one night, and placed his remains on public display for three days. When some clergy of the city chose to bury his dismembered body, Álvaro III declared them his public enemies. He went on in the next months to unleash a general purge, as far as he was able, of other supporters of the ex-king in São Salvador and elsewhere in the country.7 But if Álvaro III was secure in São Salvador, he was scarcely secure in the kingdom as a whole. He could count on Mbamba’s support since da Silva had elevated him. He also felt secure in Soyo; as he explained to Felipe II of Spain, Count Miguel of Soyo had troubled his father for years, and his father, being both tired of war and a generous soul, had endured this. But now, he wrote in 1615, “there is a new count,” surely Fernando whom Álvaro II had put in in 1612, “who is more obedient.” Moreover, to make it clear that he controlled that territory, he added, “if he is not, I will punish him as disloyal.”8 Having São Salvador and the two western provinces was very important, but Álvaro would have trouble winning some of the other provinces. Nsundi, the most important of the eastern provinces, was held by his uncle, Álvaro Afonso, and, late in 1615, he rebelled. Even though the king commanded a fairly large army stationed around São Salvador (estimated in 1595 at 20,000), taking direct military action against a province or combination of provinces would be risky and difficult.9 Álvaro tried to placate his uncle by negotiations, enlisting even his own mother, Maria, but eventually felt forced to take military action. Álvaro III prevailed in the showdown, killed the duke and took his wife, a sister of his own wife and daughter of his benefactor António da Silva, as a mistress.10 6

7 8 9 10

Álvaro III to Paulo V, 25 October 1617, MMA 6: 289–290; Soares, “Relação,” MMA 6: 380. The month of August is established by BN Madrid, MS 3533, Teruel, “Descripcion,” introduction; for his age [Cardoso], “Relação da morte,” MMA 15: 487, gives his age at the time of his death in 1622 as twenty-nine years old; for his marriage to da Silva’s daughter, [Cardoso], “Relação da morte,” MMA 15: 487. Soares, “Relação,” MMA 6: 379. Álvaro III to Felipe II, 24 October 1615, MMA 6: 235–237. “De Statu Regni Congi,” 1595, MMA 3: 508. “Da alcune Provisioni de Don Alvaro il Terzo Rè di Congo, passate se a Biagio Correa . . . ” (covers period 1616–19), MMA 6: 252; Álvaro II had seized his mother

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With Nsundi in his hands, Álvaro was now fairly secure on the throne, even if support for him elsewhere was indifferent. But that security rested a bit too much on Mbamba, which was loyal only at the pleasure of António da Silva, who was thus more a patron than a client. “Malicious people, trying to disturb the peace of the country and attempting to sow discord” told da Silva that the king suspected his loyalty, and Álvaro sent Bras Correa, president of the royal council, to reassure him.11 Peace was restored, so much so that in 1617 da Silva, after praising the zeal and virtues of Álvaro II, wrote that he “left us his painting and a mirror in which we can see him in his son D. Alvaro 3rd.”12 Praise and gratitude might be good, but the shifting power dynamic would soon trouble the duke of Mbamba, and when Álvaro appointed his own brother Felix de Espirito Santo as marquis of Mpemba in 1619, da Silva turned on him. Now “all the kingdom of Congo had risen up” against the king, and da Silva led an armed attack on Mpemba, but once again Álvaro managed to negotiate a peace and granted a general pardon to da Silva and his associates.13 In February 1620, however, da Silva died, and his young son expected to succeed him, as the House of Soyo considered the province its own, since in Soyo their position had been hereditary. The logic was lost on the king, who invaded the province and killed the son, and in so doing affirmed his right to appoint and remove officials as he chose, not only there but also in Soyo. To make good on that, he installed as duke his cousin Pedro Afonso Nkanga a Mvika, formerly the marquis of Wembo, descended from the House of Soyo through his mother Cristina and related to Álvaro through his father.14 In relating news of the return of Mbamba to his hands, Álvaro expressed hope that at last the civil wars that had plagued the country since the death of his father would cease.15 But this joy was premature, for no sooner had that crisis passed than his own younger brother,

11 12 13 14

15

Dona Maria, in a war of rebellion from Manuel Mayala Malamba, marquis of Wembo: [Cardoso], “Relação da morte,” MMA 15: 487; Soares, “Relação,” MMA 6: 375 (on killing the duke). The wife as a “mistress” is probably simply an attempt to avoid formal polygamy. “Da alcuni Provisioni di Don Alvaro Terzo,” MMA 6: 252–253. Antonio da Sylva to Manuel Bautista, 15 December 1617, MMA 6: 296. “Da alcune Provisioni di Don Alvaro il Terzo . . ., ” MMA 6: 253. “Da alcuni Provisioni di Don Alvaro Terzo,” MMA 6: 253–254; Mateus Cardoso letter, 16 March 1621, MMA 6: 568; Cardoso, “Morte de D. Alvaro III,” MMA 15: 493–494. Álvaro III to Juan Baptista Vives, 24 August 1620, MMA 6: 506.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

Afonso Mvemba a Mpanzu, defied him. Álvaro had given Afonso several posts, but had taken them back for malperformance, and in August 1621, without an appointment, the king’s disobedient brother set off with a handful of followers for Mpangu, one of the eastern provinces that had been reluctant to accept Álvaro as king. His plan seems to have been to secure a base there and then see if he could use that to obtain other provinces in the east of Kongo in order to dethrone his older brother. Afonso Mvemba managed to kill Marquis Mathias of Mpangu, and gave the position to his own fifteen-year-old son; then he prepared to attack Nsundi. His cause seemed lifted, too, by the fact that he had the tacit support of Duke João of Mbata, the other powerful province in the east, and more important because he was a royal elector, who refused to offer military support to Álvaro, proposing reconciliation instead. Álvaro tried a number of ways to win back Mpangu, offering it or Nsundi to whoever could reconquer it.16 Ambitious brothers, who were supposed to be loyal governors, seemed to be Álvaro’s greatest difficulties now, for as this problem in the east was developing, his half-brother, António Manoel, whom he had appointed as count of Soyo, was engaging in plots against him.17 Álvaro, always one to negotiate, offered him a pardon, but António Manoel refused, saying he had “done nothing against the king, and that therefore there was nothing to pardon.”18 As he gradually secured his throne, Álvaro also continued diplomacy in Europe. Portuguese operations on Kongo’s border had destroyed the alliance and formal friendship between the two countries. Furthermore, although Kongo had its own bishop, the bishop had proved himself loyal to the Portuguese Crown and sought to elevate the Church’s position in Kongo in a way that might benefit Portugal. To address this problem Álvaro directed several letters to Rome in 1619 demanding better treatment from the bishops and also seeking to get priests that were not Portuguese, or at least not agents of Portugal. 16

17

18

[Cardoso], “Relação do alevamento,” 24 January 1622, MMA 15: 482–484. On the duke of Mbata’s family ties, see Soares, “Relação,” MMA 6: 376. [Cardoso], “Morte de D Alvaro III,” MMA 15: 487 (Alvaro III’s marriage), 493, and Cardoso to Rodrigues, 1624, MMA 7: 291 (Pedro II’s descent). De Laet described this countess, dressed in Portuguese manner, as the sister of the king when he recorded Heyn’s visit to Soyo in 1624 thus confirming that she was daughter of Pedro II and sister of Garcia I: Johannes de Laet, Historie ofte Iaerlijck Verhael van de Verrichtinghen de Geoctroyeerde West-Indische Compagnie (Leiden, 1644), p. 41. [Mateus Cardoso], “Morte de D. Alvaro III,” 1622, MMA 15: 483.

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The Vatican was responsive, and proposed that Italian missionaries (who were also not compromised by being in the parts of Italy under Spanish control) of the Capuchin order be sent. Anxious to break the monopoly that Spain and Portugal exercised over missionary work, the Vatican established the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith in 1622 with at least the partial objective of unifying missionary work under Vatican control and breaking the patronage that Spain and Portugal exercised over their colonies, and neighboring countries such as Kongo. But European politics would delay the dispatch for years.19

PORTUGUESE–KONGO WAR, 1622–1623 Kongo’s troubled period following the death of Álvaro II had already allowed the governor Banha Cardoso’s incursion into Nambu a Ngongo, a tributary of Mbamba, in 1615, and Álvaro III could only complain to the Pope about the depredations of the Imbangala in 1617, writing that now the Portuguese had “united with a nation of people called Giagas or Iagas, who are so barbarous that they live on the flesh and bodies of humans.”20 He was equally powerless during this own struggle to keep the throne to offer any support to Ndongo or protection to his southern vassals as Mendes de Vasconcelos’s armies moved deeper into Kongo’s periphery in 1619, taking on the largest of the eastern Dembo states, Mbwila and its neighbor Kabongo. Fresh from the humiliation of Ndongo, João Correia de Sousa decided to attack Kongo itself, hoping to repeat his predecessors’ successes. He started with Kasanze, a wooded and swampy region marginally vassal to Kongo just north of Luanda. Kasanze had long been a harbor for runaways, and the difficult and sometimes chaotic transfer of the thousands upon thousands of captives taken in Angola’s successful wars made it possible for fair numbers of runaways to seek refuge in the place.21

19

20

21

For details on the longer process, see Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 1: 193–195, 335–361; François Bontinck, La foundation de la mission des Capucins au royaume du Congo 1648 (Louvain, 1964), introduction. Bento Banha Cardoso, 31 October 1616, in Felner, Angola, 1: 439; Álvaro III to Felipe III, 24 October 1615, MMA 6: 236 and Álvaro III to Pope Paulo V, 25 October 1617, MMA 6: 290. Beatrix Heintze, “Gefärdetes Asyl. Chancen und Konsequenzen der Flucht angolanischer Sklaven im 17. Jahrhundert,” Paideuma 39 (1993): 321–341.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

João Correia de Sousa made a full-fledged campaign into the region in 1621, the very first activity of his governorship. He sent the army under the operational command of Pero de Sousa Coelho into Kasanze, and, following a successful siege of the district, got the primary leaders to agree to surrender on 22 May. Then, under the guise of reaffirming them in their lands as vassals and asking the primary leaders to choose a new district leader, he treacherously seized over a thousand of them under the pretext that they could be enslaved because of their rebellion. He then sent them to the governor of Brazil, so that he could “give them land where they would be together or separate.” He did this to avoid having to “enter their woods, and in order not to kill them,” and cynically added that it would be a waste to kill good “pieces [slaves].”22 As Sousa Coelho was closing in on Kasanze, in April 1622, Álvaro III sent an ambassador to Luanda to negotiate the boundary between Kongo and Angola and the jurisdictions of the local rulers along the boundary. But instead of negotiating, Correia de Sousa accused Pedro Afonso, whom Álvaro had just installed as duke of Mbamba, for assisting Kasanze in its resistance, of stealing cattle and other goods from Angola. He demanded provocatively that Álvaro immediately replace and kill Pedro, or he would send an army to do it. Meanwhile, he ordered Sousa Coelho to transfer his army from Kasanze to Nambu a Ngongo, another Kongo vassal in the western Dembos, claiming that its ruler had also been harboring runaways. In the midst of this crisis, Álvaro III died on 4 May, leaving the country in danger of a civil war just as a hostile army was operating on its borders. It was widely believed in Kongo “that in [Kongo], at the death of the king,” there were “numerous great revolts” by nobles “to make a king who conforms to their partisanship and to take revenge on one another,” and in light of the fact that Álvaro had left a young son who could not govern, it seemed likely that Correia de Sousa could manipulate at least some of the Kongo nobility to rise against any king on his behalf.23 22

23

Apostolic Collector to Cardinal Pavilicino, 20 October 1623, MMA 15: 508–509; João Correia de Sousa to D. Duarte, Marques de Frecilha, 3 June 1622, MMA 7: 17–24; Severim de Faria, “História,” fol. 182, MMA 7: 79; for an account of the siege, see the map of 1622 with legends in FHA 1: 158–162. [Mateus Cardoso], “Morte de D Alvaro III, Rei de Congo e eleição que se fez em Pedro Afonso, Duque de Bamba,” 1622, MMA 15: 484–485. On the contradictory theories of succession in Kongo presented in this period, see John Thornton, “The Correspondence of the Kongo Kings, 1614–1635: Problems of Internal Written Evidence on a Central African Kingdom,” Paideuma 33 (1987): 407–421.

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However, the expected civil war did not break out, and the royal council, led by the Spanish priest Bras Correa, who “through his vigilance, zeal and prudence” managed to pull the electors together so that “all was quieted without there being any collapse in a time when the destruction of the kingdom was feared,” elected Duke Pedro Afonso to succeed as Pedro II.24 Pedro immediately sent an embassy to Luanda to demand that the Portuguese withdraw from Nambu a Ngongo. Correia de Sousa, upon learning that the Kongo elite had not only refused to turn Pedro over, but had elected him king, declared that he was not eligible for the throne, on the dubious claim that he was a “traitor to His Majesty [the king of Portugal] and I had not consented to it.”25 The governor announced his intention of promoting a rising of the nobility against Pedro, and boasted that he would bring him “back to Luanda in chains.” He added a demand that if Pedro wanted to be recognized he would have to surrender the whole marquisate of Mpemba (where there were copper mines), Luanda Island (and the nzimbu mines there), and exempt Portuguese from customs duties that reduced the profitability of the textile trade across his territory.26 Correia de Sousa’s outrageous demands were backed up by the fact that he was already in the midst of a full-scale invasion of Kongo, deploying some 30,000 troops, including Imbangala, probably the largest force Portugal had deployed so far in Angola. They went deep into Mbamba, and had achieved sufficient surprise through this unexpected maneuver that when the newly installed duke of Mbamba, Paulo Afonso, pulled together his forces and those of neighboring Mpemba to meet the Portuguese at the trading town of Mbumbi, he had no idea that he was facing a force ten times the size of his own. Still, after hearing mass and confessing, the duke gave battle on 18 December 1622. As the forces lined up, the Portuguese invoked Santiago (St. James the Greater) and the “Muxicongos did the same” saying “if your [St. James] is white, ours is black.”27 Then Paulo Afonso 24

25

26

27

Pedro II to Juan Baptista Vives, 20 July 1622, MMA 7: 40–41; [Cardoso], “Relação da morte,” MMA 15: 483–484, 488. João Correia de Sousa to Marquis de Frecilha, 6 June 1622, MMA 7: 22–23; Mateus Cardoso to Manuel Rodrigues, 1624, MMA 7: 293–294. Apostolic Collector to Cardinal Pavilicino, MMA 15: 514 and 517; Correia de Sousa to Marques de Frecilha, 3 June 1622, MMA 7: 22–23; Mateus Cardoso, “Relação de morte de rej de Congo,” 1624, MMA 7: 293. Cadornega, História, 1: 105.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

boldly attacked, scattering Sousa Coelho’s archers, but failing ultimately in his assault on the Portuguese infantry, and the Kongolese subsequently succumbed to a massive Imbangala counterattack. Both Paulo Afonso and Marquis Cosme of Mpemba were killed, and the Imbangala roasted and ate many of the dead, even forcing Cosme’s son to butcher and clean the entrails of his father for their feast.28 The Portuguese victory was short-lived, however. Convinced that he could repeat in Kongo what had been achieved in Ndongo, Sousa Coelho advanced further into Mbamba. But at Mbanda Kasi they met the royal army of Kongo, perhaps 20,000 strong (the ever-enthusiastic Jesuits put it at 200,000), and were crushingly defeated. Remnants of the Portuguese army streamed back to Luanda; the attempt at dominating Kongo and repeating the slave-trade bonanza that the defeat of Ndongo had brought on was over. In defeat, many of the tensions within Portuguese Angola surfaced, especially among the Luso-Africans who did business outside Angola and especially in Kongo. Settlers in Angola protested the invasion of Kongo, as trade routes across Kongo were now closed to them in retaliation.29 Portuguese traders and their agents were attacked, stripped of clothing and weapons, and their goods seized, and some were even killed, despite Pedro’s attempts to protect them.30 A group of Portuguese merchants residing in Mbumbi wrote a letter of protest against Correia de Sousa, saying he had invaded the lands of the “Catholic King of Congo,” while the president of Luanda’s municipal council, Payo d’Araujo de Azevedo, offered to deliver an apology to Pedro II personally. The municipal council, composed mostly of local resident Portuguese and Luso-Africans, made clear the reason for their distress, claiming they had lost over 800,000 cruzados in

28

29 30

Apostolic Collector to Cardinal Pavilioni, 20 October 1623, MMA 15: 513–517; Mateus Cardoso, “Relação de que se passou em Angola no anno de 623,” MMA 7: 191–193; Mateus Cardoso, “Morte de rei de Congo,” MMA 7: 295; Pedro II to André de Morais Sarmento, 12 March 1623, MMA 7: 105–106. Cadornega’s account, História, 1: 103–106, based on the memory of Jeronimo de Soveral, a participant, contains a number of dubious but romantic details. Apostolic Collector to Cardinal Pavilioni, 20 October 1623, MMA 15: 512–513. Manuel Baptista, “Excessos,” MMA 6: 368–369; Severim de Faria, “Historia portugueza,” fols. 189–189v, MMA 7: 80–81; Cardoso, “Morte do rey de Congo,” MMA 7: 295. A Dutch report noted the same: John Thornton and Andrea Mosterman, “A ReInterpretation of the Kongo–Portuguese War of 1622 According to New Documentary Evidence,” Journal of African History 51 (2010): 235–248, 246 (text) and 247 (translation).

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merchandise because of the retaliation, thus claiming that “to make war on Congo was to make war on Luanda.”31 The Jesuits, echoing these local concerns, declared the war unjust, and when Correia de Sousa began to persecute them, they retaliated and Correia was forced to flee Luanda on 2 May 1623, taking a fortune in money and some 300 slaves. His flight was to no avail: he was arrested later, his goods were seized, and he eventually died penniless in the notorious Portuguese Limeiro prison.32 The defeat at Mbanda Kasi showed the Portuguese that even with Imbangala support they could not defeat a full African army unless aided by dissenting factions from that country. Perhaps the reason for their success against Ndongo and their failure in Kongo was that in Ndongo factions were anchored on regional divisions with deeply entrenched families that took regional interests to heart and were willing to join with Portugal to defend them. In Kongo, all the major provinces were held by appointees of the Crown, and they and their families were not so much attached to regional as to country-wide interests. Thus, when they recognized a threat, as they did from Correia de Sousa’s invasion, they could pull together and present a united front. The failure of Portuguese invaders to find support in Kongo was all the more remarkable since Pedro was poorly qualified, by the usual standards, to be king. He was not immediately descended from a Kongo king, and his most important connections were through the House of Soyo by his mother, making him related to Álvaro III’s first wife. It was as a partisan of Álvaro III as much as a relative that he became duke of Mbamba. Indeed, his weak claim to the throne may well have been the reason Álvaro III chose him for Mbamba. To legitimize his claim, Pedro’s supporters had to present a studiously manipulated genealogy which effectively created a new way of calculating legitimacy by descent. Instead of a simple system of legitimating kings by their immediate descent, this history presented a genealogy that held that legitimate kings had all descended from King Afonso I through one or another of his daughters. The first branch came from the children of his eldest daughter, Nzinga Mvemba, from whom Diogo, Afonso II, and Bernardo I were descended; the second branch 31

32

Apostolic Collector to Cardinal Pavilicino, 20 October 1623, MMA 15: 518–519, 522–523. Apostolic Collector to Cardinal Pavilicino, MMA 15: 518–524; Mateus Cardoso, “Relação . . . 1623,” MMA 7: 188. Cardoso, “Relação de que se passou . . ., ” MMA 7: 190–193; Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 1: 179–181.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

came from another daughter, Izabel Lukeni lua Mvemba, whose children were successively Kings Álvaro I, Bernardo II, and Álvaro II and III. According to this genealogy, Pedro II descended from Afonso’s third daughter, Ana Nzumba a Mvemba. This line had not had kings, its highest rank being Pedro’s father, Afonso Mvika Nzumba, who had served as duke of Nsundi, but was presumably eligible by virtue of his ultimate descent from Afonso.33 The tradition was manifestly a fiction, for both Pedro I and Diogo had claimed descent from Afonso through their fathers, not their mothers. Pedro I bore the Kikongo name Nkanga a Mvemba, the second of these names being the first of his father’s names just as Afonso himself bore his father’s first name as his second one. Moreover, Álvaro I was descended (according to contemporary sources) from the son of Henrique I’s wife by a former marriage, not by an earlier husband, nor from Afonso’s descendants. When Capuchin priests recorded a list of kings in the 1650s, they were told that the Kikongo names of kings before Álvaro I were unknown, and he was only known as “Mne Lukeni.”34 This name was probably a descent group initiated by Lukeni lua Nimi, then regarded as Kongo’s founder. Finally, in the new genealogy Álvaro I and Pedro II had the Kikongo names of their mothers, and not their fathers, as the second element. The new tradition, however, did reveal some interesting elements of the role of elite women in Kongo. As early as the mid-sixteenth century, women were typically the heads of descent groups; one of the women arrested by Diogo I during the plot against him was known as Mwene Lukeni, this being a group descended from Lukeni. Diogo would not have arrested her or several other women had they not had material capacity as well as symbolic position. Thus, the descent groups named, and their female heads, were often the “mother and sister of a king” even if they were not the ones who gave the names to their descendent children.35

33

34

35

[Mateus Cardoso]to Manuel Rodrigues, 1624, MMA 7: 291, 292; on the probably real relationship, see Pigafetta, Relatione, pp. 57–58. BN Madrid, MS 3533, Antonio de Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa de la Mision de los Capuchinos . . . en el reyno de Congo,” (MS 0f 1664), unpaginated front matter, p. ix (he may have used a Jesuit chronicle compiled by João de Paiva in the 1620s and 30s). “Mne” is probably an abbreviated form of Mwene, a form that would be further abbreviated in the eighteenth century to “Ne.” Thornton, “Elite Women,” pp. 444–445.

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In order to stress the principle that any descent from Afonso was the crucial determining factor, and not immediate descent, Pedro and many others took “Afonso” as a surname that was passed down in the family through the male line. Pedro’s apologists and Mateus Cardoso, the Jesuit witness who recorded it, thus opened the door for a much wider eligibility for kingship than appears to have operated in previous elections, just as apologists for Álvaro I had contended (equally falsely) that the royal house of Kongo had exhausted its candidates on the death of Henrique I, allowing Álvaro to claim the throne. In this moment, Kongolese historians were conceiving its history as a set of hereditary “houses,” starting with the House of Mbata and the House of Soyo, which both represented lineages anchored on ancient concessions; then the new order created two more, the House of Kwilu, which counted the group descended from Álvaro III who was born in Kwilu, and the House of Nsundi, which included Pedro, as his father had been the duke of Nsundi. Cardoso likened these two houses to the House of Aviz and the House of Bragança, from which the Portuguese kings had been drawn.36 Perhaps these irregularities were put off for Pedro, as they had been earlier for Álvaro, because of the crisis. Álvaro faced the crisis of the Jaga invasion, Pedro that of the Portuguese. Pedro was probably therefore chosen for his military skill, ability to compromise, or for his integrity. The Jesuits, who championed him, described him as a model of Christian piety, who prayed every day, heard mass even when it rained or in the night, who was faithful to his wife and abhorred concubines. And they also said he was always smiling and of a general pleasant disposition. Whatever the reason, the willingness of the potential rivals to put off their civil war to defeat a common enemy paid off.37 Pedro lived up to the expectations; he dealt decisively with the Portuguese invasion, and then calmed the backlash against it to keep up relations with Portuguese allies and friends. Beyond that, he went on a campaign to settle affairs, writing to the governor of Angola (who was temporarily the bishop as Correia de Sousa had been expelled) to secure successfully the return of fifty-three nobles captured at the battle of Mbumbi. Subsequent pleas to Spain obtained the eventual return of over a thousand captives from the whole campaign of 1622–1623.38 36 37 38

[Cardoso], “História do Reino de Conto,” chap. 25, fol. 35v, p. 81. Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 241, 1624, nos. 15–17. Saccardo, Congo e Angola, pp. 187–191.

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Pedro then went on a military offensive to reverse the Portuguese incursions of 1615–1622 in the Dembos, bringing an army into the region and taking vassalage agreements from many who had sworn allegiance to Portugal. In the process, he also demanded that the bishop and Angolan authorities withdraw of the fort of Ambaca, and that they honor of the terms of the treaty that Njinga had negotiated with Correia de Sousa, opening the possibility of a larger anti-Portuguese alliance. To add force to the ground offensive against Angola, Pedro also sought to involve the Dutch in his efforts. He wrote to the Dutch States General through the good offices of Dutch merchants operating in Soyo, proposing a joint attack on Angola. The Dutch, he proposed, would contribute several ships and several hundred soldiers to cooperate with a large land army from Kongo. Following a practice common in the Thirty Years War, he also proposed subsidizing the Dutch for their efforts with payments in silver and ivory.39 Pedro was aware, through Dutch and Portuguese sources, that the Dutch were planning a major attack on Spanish possessions under the auspices of the newly chartered (1621) Dutch West India Company, as part of the ending of the truce that had halted fighting between the United Netherlands and Spain. The Thirty Years War, which had begun in German lands in 1618, was gradually growing, and as Portugal and Spain were united, the Dutch were at war with Portugal. When Pedro’s letter arrived in the Netherlands, the States General was in the final stages of planning a major attack on Brazil, and Pedro’s offer caused them to change plans by adding an attack on Angola to it. When the fleet sailed from Texel bound for Brazil at the end of 1623 they brought Pedro’s letter, along with enough forces to capture Bahia and to meet Pedro’s request. In August 1623, however, a small Dutch reconnaissance fleet, sent out before the change in plans and unaware of Pedro’s proposal, attacked shipping in Luanda harbor, wreaking havoc. The newly arrived Angolan governor, Fernão de Sousa, took immediate action to fortify the harbor and to recall troops to defend the city. They were enough to thwart the Dutch fleet from newly conquered Bahia commanded by the soon-to-be-famous admiral Piet Heyn, when it came to Luanda in 1624. After a furious but unsuccessful battle, Heyn sailed his command up the coast to Soyo to join with Kongo. 39

Thornton and Mosterman, “Kongo–Portuguese War,” pp. 246 (text) and 247 (translation).

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But the situation had changed in just a few months. Pedro II died unexpectedly on 13 April 1624, and his son Garcia was only seventeen years old. Although he had won support in São Salvador, Garcia was not yet in a position to carry out a major attack on Luanda. Politics at the end of Pedro’s reign had engaged his attention. In addition to the issue of Garcia’s youth and inexperience, Kongo faced serious problems beyond those posed by the Portuguese. During 1623, Okanga, one of the most important trading centers east of the Kwango River, revolted.40 Given the threats and problems that beset Garcia, Kongo was in no position to undertake the operations Pedro had promised the Dutch States General. Therefore, the count of Soyo received Piet Heyn, but refused to grant him any support, claiming that he was unaware of Pedro’s letter (and intimating that it might be a forgery) while maintaining that as a Catholic he could not support Protestants in an attack on a fellow Catholic country. Heyn was furious, but could do no more than return to the Netherlands.41

LOANGO When Piet Heyn left Soyo following his disappointing sojourn there hoping to restart the Kongo alliance, he went up to Loango, which Dutch merchants had been visiting since 1593.42 Loango was an aggressive kingdom by the 1620s. Following the death of Njimbe around 1565, power passed to another king who ruled over sixty years according to the report of his death in 1625. During that time, Loango had consolidated its control over a large stretch of coastline and was pressing southward as well. Njimbe’s unnamed successor, facing the end of his sixty-year rule, set up an orderly system of succession, assigning four of the core territories, named Kaye, Boke, Selage, and Kabongo, to be given to his chosen successors in order. The rotation would proceed so that the

40 41

42

Mateus Cardoso to Manuel Rodrigues, 1624, MMA 7: 295. John Thornton, “The Kingdom of Kongo and the Thirty Years’ War,” Journal of World History 27 (2016): 189–213. Phyllis Martin, The External Trade of the Loango Coast 1576–1870: The Effects of Changing Commercial Relations on the Vili Kingdom of Loango (Oxford, 1972), pp. 33–72, and Phyllis Martin, “The Trade of Loango in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” in Richard Gray and David Birmingham (eds.), Pre-Colonial Trade: Essays on Trade in Central and Eastern Africa before 1900 (Oxford, 1970), pp. 139–161.

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holder of Kaye would succeed him as king, then whoever ruled Boke would take his place as ruler of Kaye, and those in control of Selage and Kabongo would advance, the king would then appoint a new person to take the place of the ruler of Kabongo.43 Much as he hoped to avoid a succession struggle by creating a system of succession, the rules were challenged when the king died. Things went well at first, as even though the dead king had sixty sons, “Iemby Cambrijs” (Yambi ka Mbirisi),44 who held the title Mani Kaye, “was put in his place” and enjoined to rule justly and not tyrannically as his predecessor had. He was said to be “of a very good nature, caring for foreigners, understanding that his land flourishes because of them.”45 Yambi ka Mbirisi was the son of his predecessor’s sister, who claimed, on the basis of the lineage relationship, rights over the kingship, ignoring the principle of rotational succession. She conspired with his brother to kill Yambi ka Mbirisi, but the plot failed, though the conspirators saved their lives by fleeing to the eastern interior, to “Mingole where the copper comes from.” Having overcome this threat Yambi then gave out positions in the estate, including not only the four successor estates, but eight beyond that.46 The pattern of conquest and consolidation had given Loango a complex government. At the core of the kingdom was the region of Lovangiri, combining Piri with Loango, stretching “a day or a day and a half’s” journey around the capital, Buali, perhaps 30 kilometers. This region was divided into at least twelve small territories that were then given out at the king’s will as revenue assignments, largely to members of the royal family. The rest of the kingdom was ruled by its own, pre-conquest elite, and they followed their traditional rules of succession. To retain their loyalty and to collect tribute, the kings of Loango appointed officials of their own to supervise them. Mayumba, Dingy, and Chiloanga chia Mukango, for example, were overseen by nobles appointed from the court, while Gobby on the extreme north was

43 44

45 46

Battell, Strange Adventures, p. 50. Van Wassenaer, Historisch verhael, eighth part (Amsterdam, 20 May 1625), article of October 1624 to April 1625, fols. 27 (length of reign) and 28 (death); fifteenth part (September 1628, fol. 107v (name). Adolph Bastian, who collected historical information in 1874, gave a successor of Jimbe’s name as Kambris, with Bicullu as his son and successor: Deutsche Expedition, 1: 266. Van Wassenaer, Historisch verhael, eighth part, fols. 28–28v. Van Wassenaer, Historisch verhael, fifteenth part (September 1628), fol. 107v.

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sufficiently loosely attached to Loango’s authority not to be under any royal supervision.47 In the early seventeenth century Loango was also pushing east. Between Loango and Great Makoko was a region of low population, called Bukkameale. It had its own “Jagas” who were neither the invaders of Kongo in 1570 nor the Imbangala, but another group renowned for rootlessness, military power, and cannibalism and who were given the name “Jaga” by European writers. In addition, pygmies lived in the area, and Loango merchants bought ivory from them, hunted, Olfert Dapper believed, by “enchantment,” and recruited the Jagas as mercenary soldiers.48 Dutch merchants visiting Loango in the early seventeenth century wanted copper. The Thirty Years War was in full swing, and would soon visit Central Africa, and copper was vital to munitions. Supplying this copper set Loango off against its rivals and former superiors to the south. In 1623 or 1624 the king of Loango sent his Jaga allies to attack and pillage Vungu, which had the river port with the best access to the copper-producing interior, and in 1625 Loango conquered Wansi to the east.49 It perhaps no accident that the disappointed brother of Yambi ka Mbirisi fled to that region when his plot failed in 1625, hoping perhaps to mobilize the Jagas, though he does not appear to have done so. The eastern expansion seems clearly to have been intended to monopolize the trade in copper and ivory in Bukkameale.50 In addition to the copper and ivory of Bukkameale, the whole region was notable for textiles,

47

48

49

50

Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, pp. 518–535. The ultimate source of Dapper’s remarkably detailed account of Loango as well as his well-informed account of Kongo appears to have been a Dutch fine artist named Abraham Willaerts, who came to Angola with Jol in 1641 with the explicit mission to observe the land and the people: Cornelis de Blie, Het Gulden Cabinet vande Edel Vry Schilder-Const (Leiden, 1662), p. 247. That he was also a fine artist suggests that the illustrations of Dapper’s work were his doing as well. My thanks to Eveline Sint Nicolaas of the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) for information about Willaerts. Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 590. Curiously, Dapper places them under the authority of Great Makoko as well as under Loango. Mateus Cardoso to Manuel Rodrigues, 1624, MMA 7: 295. (Vungu); van Wassenaer, Historisch verhael, eighth part, fol. 28 (Wansi). On the copper potentials of the region, including substantial archaeology on its earlier development, see the archaeological work of the KongoKing project, Nicolas Nikis, “Prospections et sondages dans les zones cuprifrères de Boko-Songho et Mindouli (République du Congo),” in Clist, de Maret, and Bostoen (eds.), Une archéologie, pp. 215–228.

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joining another stream from the Seven Kingdoms of Kongo dia Nlaza and Okanga.51 Loango was soon in competition with Kakongo, which entertained Portuguese attempts to access the copper trade through it, so as to cut Loango off from the trade (and the Dutch) in 1627.52 The Portuguese strategy was to make them Catholic; both Loango and Kakongo sent emissaries to Luanda asking for priests to baptize them beginning at least in1583.53 In 1603 Loango asked for Jesuits come to them, although they were unable to do so at the time.54 But with strong Dutch competition the religious question was stronger: the king of Kakongo certified becoming a Christian in 1627, and Loango followed suit in 1628 – at least according to Jesuit reports.55 These conversions were purely diplomatic, as the detailed descriptions of Dutch writers make no mention of a Christian presence or even proselytization up to the 1640s. Kongo was now operating in competition with both Loango and the Portuguese. Ngoyo and Kakongo had once been part of the original federation from which Kongo had emerged, but they were never closely integrated, and in the sixteenth century they appear to have drifted further away. Álvaro II had integrated Nzari, once held by Kakongo, on the north bank of the Congo River in the early seventeenth century. This move was intensified by the competition with the Dutch, and in 1631 Soyo, under Count Paulo, attacked and overwhelmed Ngoyo, placing Paulo’s own son in control of the country.56 Soyo’s control of Ngoyo was perhaps only peripheral, for in 1641 Dutch factors thought Ngoyo the most aggressive of the lands north of the river, with Kakongo as its persistent enemy, but also placed it outside Kongo’s control.57

51

52

53 54 55

56 57

Martin, External Trade, pp. 33–72; Martin, “Trade of Loango”; Vansina, “Raffia Cloth,” pp. 276–277 (on the textile trade). This correspondence was captured by Fernão de Sousa in his letter to his sons, 1630, FHA 1: 257, 259, 278–279. Diogo da Encarnaçaõ, in de Santa Anna, Crónica, MMA 3: 279. “Carta Anua da Missão de Angola,” 1603, MMA 5: 82. Státní Ústredni Archiv (Prague), Rádový archiv kapucinú, Spissy 2, karl I B B ordo, “Collectio Stum Missionum Apostolicarum ordinis Minorum Sti Francisci Capuchinorum per quator mundi partes etabliatiscum (ca. 1650), Anno 1628, “Loango Regnum.” Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 557. NAN OWIC 56, no. 33, no pagination [9th–10th page]; Frans Capelle, “Corte beschrijvynge vat gepasserde in Rio Congo” (French translation as “Brève relation sur ce que s’est passé au fleuve Congo par le commis F[r]. Cappelle,” March 1641, in Jadin, “Rivaltés luso-néerlandaises”).

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THE INDUSTRIAL NORTHEAST As Kongo struggled to regain its strength, and to solve what were likely to be inevitable civil wars, its eastern neighbors were evolving within the great textile-production belt that ran just across Kongo’s eastern territories. Kongo’s most ancient adversary in this direction was Great Makoko, once held to be a tributary, but never under its control. Since the mid-sixteenth century it appears to have expanded, so that in the mid-seventeenth century, according to Olfert Dapper, it controlled at least ten “kings,” which made it the “mightiest of all in Africa.”58 Although these subordinate “kings” were rather loosely controlled, Great Makoko had enough centralization of authority to have a unified army, as military units were stationed along its northern border, to protect it from the same Jagas in the Niari Valley who worked with Loango. Loango and Makoko also competed over the ivory production of pygmy elephant hunters. Dapper thought the royal palace at Great Makoko’s capital, Monsol, was magnificent, and it was also a significant slave market, selling captives acquired from the wars it waged against neighbors to the north and west to carry its textile exports, who appear in appreciable numbers in Spanish inventories of the period as “Ansicos.”59 Slaves from Makoko generated profit by carrying the textiles on their way to Luanda, and could be sold off to Brazil or the Spanish Indies. During Pedro II’s final year, “robber” soldiers connected to Great Makoko captured five Portuguese merchants in Okanga and took them to Monsol. Pedro was sufficiently affronted by what he saw as a violation of his sovereignty that he wanted to invade, but did not want to risk crossing the Congo River (not to mention his operations elsewhere), and so sent a Merciderian priest to negotiate (although the priest died before reaching Monsol). The ruler, it was later said, finding himself plagued by bad luck and military setbacks, learned from his priests that this would

58

59

Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 591. On p. 554 he says there were fifteen subject kings. However, Isaacus Vossius, De Nili et aliorum fluminum origine (The Hague, 1667), p.63, who like Dapper probably drew on Jan Herder’s report, but apparently independently, also has ten kings, so I have favored the lower number. Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 591. Here Dapper calls the “Jagas” Mujako. Dapper’s various accounts of Anzigo, Makoko, and Loango are clearly based on varying sources with different nomenclatures, thus producing some confusions. For Ansikos (and alternate spellings) in America see the summary of inventories for the mid-seventeenth century in Bowser, The African Slave, pp. 41–42.

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only end when he returned the prisoners, so following their advice, he returned the prisoners and added an apology.60 The rise of Loango and Kongo’s conquest of the Seven Kingdoms had altered much of the political geography of the lands to its north and east. Although the Seven Kingdoms were no longer the focus of the lands east of the Inkisi River valley, Kongo had not fully integrated the east. Certainly the Inkisi Valley polities such as Mbata, Mpangu, and Nsundi were core regions; those to the east were not so fully integrated. A number were self-governing, owing only symbolic obedience to Kongo. Many of these eastern polities were only tenuously controlled by Kongo. In the 1630s Kundi, located to the south of the Malebo Pool, was ruled by a queen, because when the previous ruler died, the electors found no suitable male successor. Although Kongo claimed Kundi in the royal titles, it clearly did not govern this area the way the central provinces were governed, because it played no role in the election.61 Kongo’s control over Okanga, Kundi’s eastern neighbor, was equally tenuous. It was larger than Kundi but was regarded as a kingdom of its own. On one map, based on 1642 data, it was styled “Manicongo de o Congo,” reminding us that the Seven Kingdoms was the elder of Kongo itself.62 While Kongo’s eastern districts were important as cloth producers, there were other territories in the same textile-producing belt over which Kongo had no historical claims. Merchants connected with the trade of the region identified some additional polities within the larger region, and provide precious if limited information about the political development of the eastern neighbors, especially in textile-producing regions. Fungeno, “in the shadow of Makoko,” located at roughly the juncture of the Congo River and the Malebo Pool, was the primary eastern marketplace, where cloth destined for both Loango and Luanda was sold, but had probably never been under Kongo’s authority.63 60

61

62

63

Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 2, paragraph 115. His authority was a mestre de escola who accompanied a Mercidarian priest to handle the negotiations. Francisco do Soveral, “Ad Sacra Limina” 1640 [he was elevated to episcopate in 1627], MMA 8: 444. Cardoso, “História do Reino de Congo,” fol. 1 (king of its own), fol. 5, “Kingdom of Ocanga.” It appears on Johannes Blaeu’s map of 1662 as “Manicongo de Ocanga”: BNF Cartes et plans, GE DD 2987 (8254) [on Gallica]. Mateus Cardoso, “Relação de alevamento de D Afonso . . ., ” 1622, MMA 15: 533; Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 591.

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The empire of Mwene Muji, the sixteenth-century powerhouse of the Lower Kasai, had apparently lost its unity during the seventeenth century. Early in the century two countries not mentioned in earlier accounts appeared: Ibar and Bozanga, which would not let anyone trade beyond them. Bozanga was a powerful kingdom; of Ibar we know only that it was notable for using dense forest as a fortification.64 These two countries probably lay between the northern end of Lake Mai Ndombe and the Congo River.65 It is possible that earlier geographers simply missed them, or that they had formerly been provinces of Mwene Muji and had become independent. By then, they were noted as important producers of textiles. Additional new polities also appeared by mid-century in lands associated with Mwene Muji. The first was called Ngeliboma, which lay north of Fungeno, controlled the short Kwa River valley, and lay across the Congo River north of Makoko. Later traditions of the area maintain that the Ngeliboma was founded by Maluma Bieme, probably as a result of the breakup of Mwene Muji.66 Ngeliboma held fifteen “kings” as vassals, was in close communication with Great Makoko, and “it was no 64

65

66

Relação of Garcia Mendes Castello Branco, 16 January 1620, MMA 6: 438(both Ibar and Bozanga mentioned together). Brásio read Bozanga as Bocanga, making it appear to be Okanga; however, Luciano Cordeiro, reading the same text in 1883, read it as Bozanga; I consulted photographs of the original in the Palace of Ajuda kindly sent by archivist Cristina Pinto Basto, and can see some support for either reading, and my decision to accept this reading is its immediate association with Ibar: Memoria de Pedro Saldanha to Council of State, 1611? MMA 6:104 (Ybar); Cardoso, “História do Reino de Congo,” fol. 2 (Ibar). Vansina, Paths (360 n. 10) thinks Ibar derives from the word for the Congo River north of the Alima juncture. François Bontinck, “Les ‘Mondongues’,” Stvdia 53 (1994): 59–77, 70–71 fn 29 lends further support for this location. As for Bosanga (Bozanga), the name is given for the original inhabitants of a substantial state surrounding Lake Mai Ndombe in Bolia’s traditions: Vansina, Paths, pp. 120–121, 123; Jan Vansina, Kingdoms of the Savanna (Madison, 1966), p. 99. For the most comprehensive original source see Nestor Van Everbroeck, Mbomb’Ipoku le Seigneur à l’Abîme (Terverun, 1961), pp. 9–12. Another tradition also has Bozanga lie north of Lake Mai Ndombe, in the vicinity of Lake Tumba: Fréderick Bolese and Sylvère De Vos, “Essai historique sur les Lusankani,” Annales Aequatoria 23 (1960): 102. For the traditions, collected carefully and analyzed, see René Tonnoir, Giribuma: Contribution à l’histoire et à le petite histoire du Congo équatorial (Terverun, 1970), pp. 207–217 and 261–267. Tonnoir follows his informants in seeing successive invasions creating both the sub-units and the new kingdom. He dates the founder’s activity to 1590–1610 by genealogical count, which fits the documentation. My interpretation differs in that I accept that the earlier kingdom was primary over the whole area, and what Tonnoir calls an invasion was more of a partial breakaway. For a criticism of Tonnoir, especially his earlier chronology, see Sulzmann, “Orale Tradition und Chronologie.”

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less mighty.” In the 1630s it held a peace with Great Makoko through what Dapper thought was a “heathenish” pact.67 The remaining, southern portion of Mwene Muji was now called Nimi a Maye, a title that had once been under the former’s control. Its lands stretched in the last miles of the Kasai.68 Dutch geographers believed that the lake it bordered was near Prester John’s fabulous kingdom, and gave as evidence, probably from Jan de Herder, part of a Dutch embassy to Kongo in 1641–1642, that they made bells that were different from those of Kongo and its eastern neighbors. It is a significant observation, as bells made by Mongo people, who lived east of Lake Mai Ndombe, employ a single clapper, like those of Ethiopia, but different from those of Kongo, which use double clappers.69 Johannes Blaeu’s map relating to Herder’s visit showed the Congo River continuing northwest after the junction of the Kwilu–Wamba River system. On the map’s south bank of this river (probably the actual eastern bank, if one recognizes the real course of the river) most likely the lower Kasai, the map puts “Mopenda,” while across the river from the map shows another group, the “Mosongos,” who were probably actually southeast of it.70 Mopenda, not otherwise attested, seems very likely to be the historical Pende, whose traditions, recorded in the twentieth century, note that they lived at a place called Mashita Mbansa, before being dispersed 67

68

69

70

Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 592. Jan Vansina, The Tio Kingdom of the Middle Congo, 1880–1892 (Oxford, 1973), p. 443 n. 13 and Vansina, Paths, pp. 163–164 identifies them with Ngeli Boma, a title that existed at the start of the colonial period in this location (largely following Tonnoir). Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 592. Dapper’s account draws heavily on Pigafetta and here it seems to repeat what was written there. Vossius, Nili, p. 64 also includes material drawn from Pigafetta concerning its connection to the east coast (Kilwa, Mombasa, and Sofala) and the lake which is a source of the Nile. Vossius’s claim on travel distances to the lake, unique to it, suggest that it was not just a confusion of Ethiopian geography but a real lake, hence the logical choice of Mai Ndombe: see here Vansina Kingdoms, p. 116; Vansina, Paths, pp. 163–164. The fact that the source uses Nimeamaji as an alternative name for Moenemugi suggests that this new kingdom was a rump of the older one. Vossius, Nili, p. 64; Jan Vansina, “Bells of Kings,” Journal of African History 10 (1969): 187–197, and see map on 193. BNF Cartes et plans, GE DD 2987 (8254), Blaeu, 1662 (via Gallica.bnf.fr), but based on data from Jan Herder, whose trip to Okanga supplied information on the region. An engraved version of the map appeared in Naukeurige Beschrijvinge. For an old but still valuable study, see J. Avelot, “Une exploration oubliée: Voyage de Jan de Herder au Kwango(1642),” La Géographie 26 (1912): 319–328.

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as clans.71 The remains of Mashita Mbansa form a large and complex site, about 40 kilometers from modern-day Kikwit, with ten mounds arranged in a semicircle, whose flourishing dates from the seventeenth to the eighteenth centuries. There is a profusion of pottery remains with many styles, suggesting that it was a commercial center at least, serving a wide range of communities.72 The Mosongos, on the east side of the river in the misaligned cartography of the mid-seventeenth century, possibly constitutes the earliest recording of the Kuba kingdom, but perhaps more likely the group known more recently as Songo.73 The Kuba oral traditions, carefully guarded and transmitted, recount the foundation of the kingdom by Shamba,74 a person who has both mythical and perhaps real characteristics, probably at the end of the sixteenth century.75 When Rafael de Castro went to look for a route to Prester John around 1600, he claimed 71

72

73

74

75

Muzong Wanda Kodi, “A Pre-Colonial History of the Pende People (Republic of Zaire), 1600–1900” (Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1976), pp. 170–196. I am inclined to see the earlier portion of Pende tradition, linking it to migration from Angola (Mpungu a Ndongo or Kasanje) as a late inclusion from Ambakista merchants thanks to mentions of anachronisms, including the migration passing various Lunda title holders and Cokwe settlements in the region (pp. 170–178). These suggest a baseline tradition located more locally and post-1750, to which a heroic beginning has been added. J. Maes, “Le camp de Mashita Mbansa et les migrations des Pembe,” Congo 2 (1935): 713–724. Local tradition placed its abandonment at around 1850. The site was excavated by a team led by Pierre de Maret in 1984, and radiocarbon dates clustered around the mid-seventeenth to mid-eighteenth centuries: F. Pierot, “Étude ethnoarchéologique de site Mbansa Mashita (Zaïre)” (MA thesis, University Libre de Bruxelles, 1987) p. 196 for carbon 14 dates. It was common in Portuguese to take the singular form of an ethnic name (the class one prefix in Kikongo and Kimbundu, mu-) and pluralize with “s.” The final -o of Bushong was probably pronounced in earlier times though not today (see François Bontinck, “Marginalia ‘Kuba’,” Annales Aequatoria 15 [1994]: 439–460, 444–446). Jan Vansina, Children of Woot: A History of the Kuba Peoples (Madison, 1978), pp. 188–189 makes Mosongos out to be the Tsong, who today live between the Wamba and Kwilu Rivers, but the distance, hydrography, and language do not fit this interpretation as well as the Bushong do. John Jacobs and Jan Vansina, “Het Koninklijk Epos der Bushong (Mushenge, Belgisch-Kongo),” Kongo-Overzee 32 (1956): 1–39 is a bilingual (Bushong–Dutch) edition of this tradition. On the linguistic distance between Kikongo and Bushong, I rely on Koen Bostoen’s assessment (personal communication). The historical traditions were first recorded by Leo Frobenius in 1905–1906 (published in Ethnographische Notizen aus den Jahren 1905 und 1906, 4 vols., ed. Hildgard Klein [Stuttgart, 1987]); and by Emil Torday in 1908 (published as E. Torday and T. A. Joyce, Notes éthnographiques sur les peuples communement appelles Bakuba . . . (Brussels, 1910). Jan Vansina collected Kuba traditions in the mid-1950s (and even re-interviewed some of Torday’s informants) and summarized many of the

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to have traveled inland some 200 leagues beyond Okanga, where there were two groups of people, the “Carolos,” who he thought bordered on Prester John, and the Mosongos, who he thought knew the lands as far as the Indian Ocean. The Mosongos produced textiles (called Songos) that were valuable enough to pass as currency in Luanda; in 1623 they were made the primary currency.76 To have monetary utility and value the cloth would have to be of very high quality and difficult to imitate, and in fact this cloth was “minted” after a fashion into rectangles of specified dimensions, its quality being ascertained by physical characteristics. The Kuba are renowned weavers, even among the cloth-producing people of the textile belt; in later times the name Kuba was assigned to them by all their neighbors, a term rooted in the idea of weaving.77 De Castro said they spoke a language quite different from Kikongo, and in a market there he saw people who bore crosses in their hands, which he took as evidence of their origin in Christian Ethiopia.78 In fact, archaeological work has shown that a local copper currency shaped very much like a Christian cross circulated in the area where de Castro might have traveled in the period in question.79 He had nothing further to say about the Carolos, although the name and the location suggest they were the karula, the titles of various of the earliest rulers of a Lunda federation, before the emergence of the Lunda Empire that would eventually dominate the whole of central West Central Africa.80 The Lunda heartland lay just to the south of the

76

77 78

79

80

relevant ones in Geschiedenis van de Kuba van Ongeveer 1500 tot 1904 (Terverun, 1965), and includes referencing them to their informants. His later work on precolonial Kuba, Children of Woot, summarizes the details of Geschiedenis further into an interpretative account, and adds some new data. On Songos, and their connection to the Mosongos, see in particular see [Cardoso] “História do Reino de Congo,” chap. 1, fol. 1; on their role as currency, “Bula de Cruzada em Angola,” 27 June 1623, MMA 7: 121–123. Bontinck, “Marginalia ‘Kuba’,” pp. 443–444. [Cardoso], “História do Reino de Congo,” chap. 1, fols. 1, 3 (on de Castro); “Relazione a Monsignore Acorambono, c. 1620,” MMA 6: 492; Girolamo Veccietti to Pope Paulo V, 1609, in Beccari, Rerum Aethiopicarum, 11: 180 (all probably based on the same information, but the voyage itself is only described in Cardoso). There is also a substantial language difference between the Bushong and those languages to its west. Nicolas Nikis, “Case Study: Copper Ingots in Central Africa,” in Alexandre Livingstone-Smith et al. (eds.), Field Manual for African Archaeology (Tervuren, 2017), pp. 197–201 (esp. map, p. 200). Henrique Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia e história tradicional dos povos da Lunda (Lisbon, 1890), pp. 70, and 232–234 for more detail.

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cloth-producing industrial zone, in the much less inviting savannas that made up the heart of West Central Africa, and thus consistent with de Castro’s geography. The Lunda heartland was first explicitly mentioned by the Portuguese chronicler Cadornega, writing about his experience before 1680, based on what he had heard from merchants based in Kasanje. Kasanje had already established contacts this far inland by 1659, so they may well have described a situation existing in the mid-seventeenth century.81 They said that a journey inland of a month and a half brought them to a vast river called “Casabi” (the Kasai), and beyond that was the western border of the land of the “Muzuas” who told them that they were “vassals of a very powerful lord” that lay further east, surely the Lunda heartland along the Kalanyi River. This ruler’s land was so populated, they said, that he did not mind that the fearsome Imbangala ate a few of his subjects every year, for he had plenty to spare. But powerful as the Muzuas were, they were still bested by another group, three months journey inland, the “Donges,” who had “routed and dispersed” his armies three times in recent memory.82 Lunda traditions, only set down in writing in the 1880s, offer some insight into this spare story.83 Lunda traditions start with hunters, led by a certain Kalundu, migrating from “Kalunga,” probably simply a mythical point of origin downstream. Kalundu founded a state called simply “Luba” and a ruling dynasty. The last potentate of the great dynasty was called Mutombo Mukulu (Old Tree), ruler of a country called Kalundwe, and, seeing his great kingdom weakening, advised his sons, Kassongo, Kanyoka, Ilunga, and Mai, to leave him, so they “went to obtain new lands,” going upstream on the rivers and “constituting new states.” This story should be regarded as establishing a sort of genealogy of the surrounding Luba-speaking areas as seen by the Lunda rather than an account of what might literally have taken place. This original Luba 81

82 83

Sousa Chicorro, Governor of Angola, to Afonso VI, 24 September 1659, MMA 12: 273, mentioning that people from Kasanje travel inland and hear of white people on the other coast. Cadornega, História, 3: 219–220. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 58–71, first recorded in 1885 (in Boletim da Sociedade de Geographia de Lisboa [hereafter BSGL] 6: 133–162, 134–135) in substantial detail. Paul Pogge, Im Reiche des Muata Jamvo (Berlin, 1880), p. 224 (recorded 1876); and Max Buchner, “Das Reich des Muataiamvo und seinen Nachbarländer,” Deutsche Geographische Blätter 6 (1883): 56–68, 68 (recorded 1879) were a decade earlier but much less detailed.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

Empire would be seen as giving birth to the chain of later states, from which each of these Luba dynasties claimed to be descended.84 The traditions of the eventual (eighteenth-century) Luba Empire also hold that their founder, Kongolo, originated in Mutombo Mukulu’s Kalundwe state, and there is reason to believe that the traditions of Kanyok, Lunda’s immediate Luba-speaking northeastern neighbor, also looked back to Mutombo Mukulu.85 That Luba-speaking people may have had political influence if not dominance in Lunda is suggested by the fact that the term karula, the earliest title, is derived from the Kalundwe dialect of Luba.86 Although the name Donge does not occur in traditions, Cadornega’s report of its location would certainly place it in the Luba territory. Perhaps Donge, as pronounced by Kimbundu-speaking Kasanje merchants, matched Ndaye, a common Luba royal name.87 The Lunda tradition tells us that their own ancestors, the “Bungos” (Tubungu) carved out a territory between the Lubilashi and Lulua Rivers. However, they did not found a large state, but instead “lived grouped together in different populations, governing themselves independently each with his chief, entitled ‘lord of the state’.”88 These independent but connected elites were called karula and bore the title mwata, and here the tradition joins the written evidence, for, as noted above, this federation was quite likely the same “Carolos” that de 84

85

86

87

88

This was the contention of Verhulpen, Baluba et Balubaïsés, pp. 54, 86–96, anchored largely on the many stories among Luba speakers of Kongolo. Verhulpen did much of his in-depth research in Kalundwe, and so Mutombo Mukulu is prominent. See also William Pruitt, “An Independent People: A History of the Sala Mpasu of Zaire and their Neighbors” (Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1973), pp. 48–57. On the Luba kingdom, de Clerck’s account of kings: Gérard de Clerck, “Historique des Balubas,” (1914), ed. Thomas Reefe, “History and Ritual of the Luba Empire,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 17 (1984): 404–486; pp. 410–411 says that Nkongolo, the Luba founder, was from Mutombo Mukulu’s domain of Kalundwe. Jeffrey Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej: Reconstructing Ruund History (The Nuclear Lunda, Zaire, Angola, Zambia)” (Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University, 1978), pp. 30–76; original data in the second volume; see also Reefe, Rainbow, pp. 67–78 for Luba connections. Here “karil” = “carula”. For example, in Luba itself a king of the time was named Ndaye. Vansina proposed (“It Never Happened,” p. 399 n. 41; Societies, p. 249) that Donge or one of the titles in the form of Ndonje, might be Minungo or Cokwe just east of the Kwango (and named in Cavazzi). However, the great distance that Cadornega describes and its direction are not consistent with this interpretation, and would have been very familiar to people living in Kasanje. Traditions of the cárulas in early Lunda history are found in Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 70–71, 232.

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Castro learned of. It seems therefore that the loose federation of the Carolos had coalesced into the first regional Lunda kingdom between 1600 and 1650.

KONGO: UNCERTAIN YEARS The civil war that Pedro’s election had prevented re-commenced as the Portuguese threat faded. Pedro’s supporters in the capital threw their support behind his teenage son Garcia, and elevated him to the throne.89 Gaining the crown was not enough, but Garcia believed he could rely on his uncle Paulo (his father’s selection as the count of Soyo) to support him. Garcia purged Mbamba of Gregorio, whom his father had placed there, installing Manuel Afonso as duke, and replaced the marquis of Mpemba, thus putting the whole western part of the country in his hands.90 While Garcia made a good start with these appointments, the eastern part of the country, Nsundi, Mbata, and Mpangu, was resistant, and a civil war seemed likely. A powerful group of noble women, resident in the capital, known as “the matrons,” would play a major role in preventing all-out civil war.91 Their power was probably that they were either mothers and daughters of kings, or the heads of descent groups, or both together. Their power was formal as well, for they sat on the royal council and participated in decision making. They represented the various houses and included Luisa, Pedro II’s widow and mother of Garcia representing the House of Nsundi, Garcia’s own wife, Christina Afonso of the House of Soyo, and the widows of several kings of the House of Kwilu: Leonor Afonso, daughter of Álvaro I and sister of both Álvaro II and

89 90

91

Thornton, “Elite Women,” pp. 446–451. Francisco do Soveral to Jean Quintanadoine, 19 January 1626, MMA 15: 539. This report, however, is inaccurate in other respects, for it contends that rebels had entered the city and killed the king without giving him a chance to confess, and that Portuguese property was destroyed. These women, known as the “matrons” in Latin and Portuguese, were probably amfumu a nkento (singular mfumu a nkentu), as “noble lady” as translated in the Kikongo sermon of 1649 as “nfumu umoçi ÿanquentu” (mfumu umosi ya nkentu, or one noble lady): Biblioteca Vittorio Emmanuele, Rome, Fundo Minori 1896, MS Varia 274, “Vocabularum Latimum, Hispanicum, et Congoense. Ad usum Missionari transmittendor ad Regni Congi Missiones” (ca. 1649), fol. 125. Transcription and translation at www.bu.edu/afam/people/faculty/john-thornton/roboredo-kikongosermon/.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

Bernardo II, and Escolastica, widow of Álvaro II. They were noted for their piety, and in particular their devotion to the Jesuits.92 Earlier power struggles had been less complex than the one enveloping Kongo in the 1620s. Afonso had faced one contender, who was the son of the same father; even Álvaro I, whose succession was irregular, only faced his own brother and a range of other contenders. Now, however, there were two houses in conflict, which had only recently alternated, along with the powerful and interconnected House of Soyo. The women, who formed a group among themselves, may well have saved Kongo from civil war, at least for the moment. If a Nsundi faction in the capital had secured Garcia’s elevation to the kingship, the matrons were opposed to it, probably because they considered Pedro’s elevation to the crown as a stopgap in time of crisis, and that the House of Kwilu would return to the throne after the crisis ended. They contacted Duke Manuel Jordão of Nsundi, to encourage him to intervene on behalf of the House of Kwilu, although it seems likely that the much-respected matron Luisa, Garcia’s mother and thus a partisan of her son and the House of Nsundi, would have voted against it. Manuel Jordão was the military arm of the House of Kwilu, having been given the duchy of Nsundi as a reward for putting down Álvaro III’s brother’s revolt in 1622. In early 1626 Jordão announced his intention of removing Garcia “for the liberty of his homeland” and to “protect the matrons.”93 In April he marched on the city with his own army reinforced by the forces of Mbata and Mpangu, and bringing with him Ambrósio, the son of “king Anime” (Álvaro II) and cousin of Álvaro III, who Jordão contended was the legitimate heir to the throne. Although Garcia tried to use Jesuit supporters to appease the duke, there was no real hope and he fled the city for Soyo with his mother Luisa.94 Much to his dismay, however, his uncle Paulo refused to do any more than grant him a poor asylum in a village outside the capital, where he died of smallpox on 23 June 1626.95 92 93 94

95

Thornton, “Elite Women,” p. 450. Thornton, “Elite Women,” p. 450. Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 247, 1626, nos. 15–16; Fernão de Sousa to Governo, 15 April 1626, MMA 7: 432–3 and to his sons, MMA 7: 649–650; Severim da Faria, “Historia Portugueza,” fol. 229, in Cadornega, História, 1: 172 n. BN Madrid, MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripcion narrativa,” fol. ix gives the date of 26 April 1626. Franco gives the date as 23 June: Synopsis Annalium, 1625, no. 18, p. 247.

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When Manuel Jordão and Ambrósio entered the city Garcia’s supporters in Mpemba and Mbamba, sensing defeat, pled for pardon from the new king, and while Bernardo spared their lives, he took their rendas and put in Daniel da Silva as the new duke of Mbamba, thus returning it to the House of Soyo.96 His job of promoting the House of Kwilu’s interests done, Manuel Jordão returned to Nsundi.

THE EMERGENCE OF QUEEN NJINGA IN NDONGO Pedro’s intervention in Angola, the overthrow of Correia de Sousa in 1623, and the threatened Kongo–Dutch invasion in 1624 forced the Portuguese to check their activities in the interior, and did not allow them to capitalize on the potential crisis in Ndongo caused by Ngola Mbande’s suicide. The youthful king had left a seven-year-old son in the care of his Imbangala ally Kasa ka Ngola, but the most likely candidate to succeed him was his sister Njinga Mbande. Njinga had been her father’s favorite, and he carried her on military campaigns so that she was well known in the army. He allowed her to sit in on affairs of state, and her wisdom and skill as a diplomat was widely known. But there were some who balked at the idea of a female ruler.97 Mbundu traditions did not remember powerful queens in the immediate past, but did in the distant past. The traditions of origin circulating in the seventeenth century spoke of an early queen, Hoho ria Ngola, but in all the versions she was either overthrown for wickedness, or voluntarily surrendered royal authority to a male. There was not any documentation for Ndongo as there is for Kongo showing that royal women had important positions or roles in governing. Njinga’s enemies must have concluded that these feeble precedents would not support a woman’s capacity or right to rule.98 Njinga skillfully maneuvered herself into power nevertheless, by supporting Ngola Mbande’s son as king with herself as the regent, styling herself as “Mistress of Ndongo” rather than claiming to be 96

97

98

Fernão de Sousa to his sons, 1631 (with retrospective copies of correspondence), MMA 7: 649–650, 652. Heywood, Njinga, pp. 56–60. For the issue of succession and legitimacy, see John Thornton, “Legitimacy and Political Power: Queen Njinga, 1624–63,” Journal of African History 32 (1991): 25–40, 27–31. These complex issues are dealt with in Thornton, “Legitimacy and Political Power,” pp. 37–38.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

queen, while working to get military and court officials on her side.99 Not long afterward her nephew was dead, and she was widely suspected of being responsible.100 Responsible or not, upon his death she took the title of queen and began to rule in her own name. Njinga’s succession triggered a civil war that pitted her faction, descended from Dembo a Pe, primarily against the faction of Hari a Kiluanje with its base at Mpungu a Ndongo, who along with Mubanga, had supported the initial Portuguese–Imbangala invasion and swore vassalage to Portugal in its aftermath.101 While Garcia’s difficulties distracted Kongo, Governor Fernão de Sousa opened negotiations with Njinga through the terms of the 1622 treaty, proposing that she reoccupy the old capital as a Portuguese vassal, reopen markets, and allow priests to work in Ndongo. Njinga was initially friendly, acknowledging that she was, as a Christian, a vassal of the “King of Spain,” but she insisted that the terms of the treaty be carried out properly. She would not leave the islands until Portugal had evacuated the fort of Ambaca, and she began taking steps to recover the kijikos that Correia de Sousa had agreed to return.102 To capitalize on the prospect of entering the civil war in Ndongo, de Sousa obtained new Imbangala armies, the group that had initially fought for Mendes de Vasconcelos having largely defected or become rogues. Turning south, then, he recruited the band of Zenza, and had him attack Kafuxi ka Mbari to obtain control of the salt mines, and potentially even attack the Central Highlands. They, and Kinda, another Imbangala band, could then be used against the Dutch, Kongo, or Njinga.103 He believed that Imbangala could help protect Luanda from the Dutch, and could be redeployed elsewhere, even to Benguela.104

99 100

101

102

103

104

Fernão de Sousa to King, 15 August 1624, FHA 2: 85. Fernão de Sousa, “Rellação de Dongo,” 6 September 1625, FHA 1: 199; Fernão de Sousa to King, 23 February 1632, MMA 8: 137. Fernão de Sousa, “Jnformação . . . Conselho do Estado,” 6 August 1631, FHA 1: 202; Heywood, Njinga, pp. 64–71. Ana [Njinga Mbande] to Bento Banha Cardoso, 3 March 1626, in de Sousa to Sons, FHA 1: 24–25; de Sousa, “Lembrança,” FHA 1: 197; de Sousa to king, 15 August 1624, FHA 2: 85; de Sousa, “Rellação de Dongo,” FHA 1: 199. Fernão de Sousa to Constantino Cadena, 26 July 1624, FHA 2: 269; Fernão de Sousa to king, 22 August 1625, MMA 7: 365; de Sousa to sons, FHA 1: 266. Fernão de Sousa to Constantino Cadena, 26 July 1624, FHA 2: 269; Fernão de Sousa to king, 22 August 1625, MMA 7: 365.

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Dismissing the prospect of simply making Ndongo a Portuguese province, de Sousa decided to enthrone Hari a Kiluanje as a vassal and use his faction’s resources to maintain power. He would also move forces into Ndongo with the intention of eliminating Kasanje, one of the treaty terms that Njinga favored, but having done that would enthrone Hari a Kiluanje and return the kijikos to him rather than recognize her.105 De Sousa sent two columns into Ndongo, one along the Kwanza and the other in from Ambaca, each gathering formal submission from the sobas of the area for the renewed kingdom. In June they reached Njinga’s base and captured one of her islands, forcing her to abandon the others and move south of the Kwanza. The Portuguese force pursued, but were unable to capture her or disband her army, which moved eastward to the Kwango.106 De Sousa had Hari a Kiluanje crowned king of Ndongo on 12 October 1626, but he had not ended the civil war. Kasanje was still active and Njinga could still claim to be the legitimate ruler to all those not loyal to Hari a Kiluanje’s faction (led, since Hari’s death, by halfbrother Ngola Hari). A smallpox epidemic, which originally weakened Njinga’s force, also struck the Portuguese, and they ultimately had to withdraw, which allowed Njinga to return to the islands in November 1627. From there she sent ambassadors to Kisama and along the Kwanza to press her claim legitimacy, asserting that just as her detractors claimed her mother was a slave, so Ngola Hari’s mother had been a slave of Njinga’s sister Funji.107 The diplomacy extended even to the north, as King Ambrósio of Kongo sent her presents to recognize her as queen.108 Pedro’s intervention in the Dembos had destroyed the vassalage arrangements that had been won by Mendes de Vasconcelos, and when in 1627 de Sousa demanded that Mbwila, the largest and most powerful of the Dembo rulers, pay tribute, the ruler refused, saying he was a vassal of Kongo and could not pay without the king’s permission.

105

106 107 108

De Sousa, “Rellação de Dongo,” FHA 1: 200; Regimento to Bento Banho Cardoso, ca. January 1626, FHA 1: 204–206; de Sousa to his sons, FHA 1: 230. Heywood, Njinga, pp. 77–84. Heywood, Njinga, pp. 85–98. Fernão de Sousa, “Lembrança das rezoens que ha pela Angolla Are naõ ser rej,” June 1629, FHA 1: 209–210; de Sousa to King, 25 August 1629, FHA 2: 231; de Sousa to Governo, 10 July 1628, FHA 2: 197; de Sousa to sons, FHA 1: 293–295; de Sousa to King, 2 August 1627, FHA 2: 184.

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De Sousa took the matter to Ambrósio, who responded with delays, arguing that it was a matter of his crown and he must consult with his grandees, which de Sousa sought to address by sending troops mobilized to fight Njinga across the Lukala into the Dembos. As Ambrósio began to respond to this threat, de Sousa heard rumors that the Dutch were to attack Brazil, and potentially also Angola, so he recalled the troops. The Jesuits argued that war was not justified, but the governor simply responded that “experience shows that these heathens show more obedience to muskets than to presents.”109 Since Ambrósio had recognized Njinga as queen of Ndongo, the governor feared that anti-Portuguese feeling would congeal in the eastern areas to the detriment of the newly established Portuguese authority there.110 When news of de Sousa’s maneuverings reached Kongo, angry demonstrations broke out once again against Portuguese interests, and Jesuits were hard pressed to negotiate both with de Sousa and with Ambrósio to avert the sacking of Portuguese property in São Salvador.111

KONGO IN TENSION Whatever his foreign policy, Ambrósio had his own problems at home, and his court was filled with uncertainty and intrigue. The rapid change from Álvaro III to Pedro II and then Garcia I had left many provinces in the hands of people who might or might not support any king. Ambrósio was safely in charge of Mbamba, but the others were uncertain. Paulo, the count of Soyo, was from the House of Nsundi, and so reluctantly harbored Garcia, but he managed to avoid a direct clash with the king by cooperating fully. He even complied with Ambrósio’s order that he close the Dutch factory, for the king apparently feared that the Dutch might assist Paulo against him, couching his argument in religious terms backed up by threats from the bishop of Angola. Jesuits in his court reported that Ambrósio was constantly suspicious and often acted on what they thought were imagined threats.112

109 110 111 112

Fernão de Sousa to Governo, 2 August 1627, FHA 2: 184. De Sousa to Governo, 2 August 1627, FHA 2: 183–185. Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 250, 1627, no. 14. Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 247, 1626, no. 16.

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Ambrósio was even concerned about his benefactor Manuel Jordão in Nsundi, since the power to install might also be the power to remove. So, claiming that plotters (including Count Paulo of Soyo) were threatening him, he summoned Manuel Jordão from Nsundi, ostensibly to protect him, but when the duke arrived at the city on 8 March 1628 Ambrósio attacked his army and defeated it, capturing the duke. He then exiled Jordão to an island on the Congo River, where, mistreated and forced into hard labor, the duke died “in misery and penury.”113 The victory brought Ambrósio a few years’ security, but he met his end just two years later, when he was killed in major uprisings in 1630. Once again the House of Kwilu needed a leader who was both legitimate and competent. In the end they chose legitimacy and forwent competence by electing Álvaro III’s eleven-year-old son Álvaro Nzinga Nkuwu, as King Álvaro IV on 8 March 1631, and hoped for the best.114

ANGOLA GOES TO WAR WITH NDONGO The lessening of the Dutch threat and Ambrósio’s troubles with Jordão allowed de Sousa to take the field again against Njinga. In February 1629 de Sousa sent troops toward her reoccupied base on the Kwanza Islands, and was helped when her Imbangala ally Kasa ka Ngola deserted her to go pillaging in the north. He first drove Kasanje’s band northward and into Kongo, where the duke of Wandu fled before him. The duke of Mbamba, however, managed to meet the Imbangala challenge and drove Kasanje back southward. Njinga abandoned the islands when the main Portuguese forces appeared, but stood against them at Tala Mugongo on the Kwanza on 25 May 1629. After a hot engagement, Njinga’s forces lost the contest and she had to flee once again, leaving her two sisters in the hands of the Portuguese. In a dramatic chase, Njinga stayed only a short distance ahead of the 113

114

Franco, Synopsis Annalium, pp. 253–254, 1628, no. 22–23; Fernão de Sousa to sons, FHA 1: 304. On the rebellions with vague details, see Informação de Fernão de Sousa a Mesa da Consciência e Ordens, 18 October 1632, MMA 8: 192; Franco, Synopsis Annalium, 1633, p. 262, no. 6. Álvaro IV announced his succession in a letter to the Jesuit rector on 13 March 1631, alluding to the details of his arrival that were more fully developed in an earlier and no longer extant letter, MMA 8: 9. His Kikongo name is given in BN Madrid, MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa,” unpaginated front matter, from which is also taken the date of his accession, following Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 1: 258 (who corrects what he thinks is an error in Teruel on the year).

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

pursuing Portuguese–Imbangala force with the remnants of her army, ultimately making a daring descent down the 200-meter-high cliffs of the Baixa de Cassange on ropes.115 Unable to risk following this, the Portuguese gave up their pursuit and Njinga retained her freedom. While she had survived, Njinga lacked supporters to keep fighting, and so took the desperate move of asking Kasanje, then withdrawing from Kongo, if she could join him. Kasanje, seeing her weakness, insisted that he would accept her only if she came “without lunga,” meaning under his command, “as there could not be two lords in his quilombo [kilombo, the Kimbundu word for an armed camp].” Unable to accept this status, Njinga then took the radical step of becoming an Imbangala herself, but only accepting the soldiers recruited in Imbangala manner into a separate command under Njinga Mona (“Njinga’s son”) who would, as the name suggests, be her subordinate. So reinforced, Njinga now turned her eyes toward Matamba, the kingdom to the northeast. Matamba had supported Ndongo against the Portuguese in 1590, and its people spoke Kimbundu. But Matamba had also suffered greatly when Imbangala forces allied to Mendes de Vasconcelos, and then Kasanje, pillaged it. Those disrupted people then received thousands of refugees from the destruction and chaos of the wars that Fernão de Sousa waged in Ndongo. These refugees would gladly support a Ndongo ruler, and so Njinga saw the kingdom as a potential new home.116 Using her reconstituted army with its Imbangala corps, she conquered Matamba and brought much of its territory under her control in the early 1630s, while quietly reoccupying her former capital on the islands of Kindonga in 1635.117 In 1630 the bellicose Fernão de Sousa returned to Portugal and was replaced by Manuel Pereira Coutinho (1630–1635), who was instructed to stop waging expensive wars. He did not seek to exploit Njinga’s difficulties, and was prepared to bargain with her. As Njinga regained her strength in Matamba she began to hold Portuguese merchants hostage and close inland trade as a means of bargaining for the release of her sisters.118 The situation was now regularized as neither side was prepared to carry war further, and in

115 116

117 118

Heywood, Njinga, pp. 98–112. Heywood and Thornton, Central Africans, pp. 132–135; Heywood Njinga, pp. 126–130. Heywood, Njinga, pp. 119–133. Cadornega, História, 1: 193–194; Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 261, 1631, no. 7.

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1637 Njinga sent to the Jesuits in Luanda proposing a renewal of trade, especially in slaves and ivory.119 As Njinga took over Matamba, Kasanje, now the largest surviving Imbangala force, took over lands to her south, in the province of “Gangella” (Songo). Although Kasanje abandoned the reckless wandering life that he, like other Imbangala, had followed for decades, he continued a number of Imbangala customs, not the least of which was cannibalism and the killing of infants and recruiting of captive children to replenish his ranks. For this reason, Kasanje was also a source for slaves, and Portuguese merchants were soon to be found at his court. The Portuguese governors, looking for a stable ally who could stand against Njinga, made more successful contacts with Kasanje, and formed something of an alliance. By 1639 there was peace and an uneasy stability in the area.120

ANGOLA REORGANIZES Manuel Pereira Coutinho’s instructions, in addition to telling him to forgo wars, also included gaining revenue by taxing the settlers to send money to Portugal, but their determined resistance forced him to relent.121 Over the years, the settlers’ arimos had become workable estates feeding Luanda, the people living in or around the presidios, and the slaves awaiting export. The sobas who surrounded them, like the settlers themselves, also developed slave-worked agricultural estates.122 Despite being ordered to eschew war, Pereira Coutinho found himself engaged in it. The arimos along the Kwanza were coming under constant attack from Kisama, and many of the slaves from those estates fled to Kisama where they were welcomed. So in 1634 he organized a campaign to recover runaways and “punish” Kisama.123 Ultimately the Portuguese Crown’s need for revenues caused them to fight in order to capture slaves, as they were engaged in a desperate war in Brazil. 119 120 121 122

123

Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 273, 1637, no. 19. De Sousa to sons, FHA 1: 345–346. Cadornega, História, 1: 185–186. Life in these areas is well described in the letters of the Jesuit missionary Pedro Tavares, who worked primarily along the Bengo from 1631 to 1635. Letters published in MMA 8, passim, and in Louis Jadin, “Pero Tavares, missionaire jésuite ses travaux apololiques au Congo et Angola, 1629–1635,” Bulletin, Institut historique belge de Rome 39 (1967): 328–393. Cadornega, História, 1: 176–179. The basic regimento, quoted here, dates to 12 April 1634.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

In the process of their dramatic expansion, the Portuguese of Angola had not forgotten the expansion of Christianity. Although the Jesuits, the principal missionary group, had adopted many of the patterns of the Kongo to their work, their attitudes toward Kongo and the Mbundu was remarkably different. An undated memorandum by an anonymous Jesuit of the period insisted that while the Kongo was peaceful and fully accepting of Christianity, the Mbundu were not. They were, in the eyes of the Jesuits, unduly stuck in their own culture, inclined to revolt against Portuguese authority, and would not be converted by persuasion, but only by force.124 They backed the military efforts of the governors against Ndongo wholeheartedly and swallowed whatever feelings they had about the Imbangala alliance. At the same time, Jesuits lost much of their enthusiasm for missionary outreach. Jesuits were assigned to the court of Ngola Hari, but their work there was so difficult that they eventually all but abandoned it by 1632, as the war against Njinga died down.125 Instead they focused their attention on Kongo, to which they returned in 1619, the communities in Luanda and its immediate hinterland, especially on the estates that they controlled along the Bengo River.126 One of their most active missionaries, Pedro Tavares, worked along the Bengo in particular, though he also took a trip to the fruitless mission at Mpungu a Ndongo. His methods were rigorous, for he refused to accept the version of Christianity that early evangelists, who were often ordained Mbundu used, working more in the manner of the Kongo interpretation.127 He destroyed shrines he found, and took away people’s personal religious objects.128 Although he insisted that the baptisms performed by seculars were not valid, they prevented him from performing the sacraments himself. He had a group of catechists who worked with him, and from his reports he had managed to build a Christian community that satisfied his Counter-Reformation ideas, at least where he worked the most.129

124

125 126 127

128 129

ARSI Lus. 55, fols. 195–198v, “Informação sobre as missões que se podem fazer em Angola . . . ” (n. d.). Domingos Lourenço, 4 October 1632, MMA 8: 181–184. Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 260, 1632, nos. 6–7. Pedro Tavares to Jeronimo Vogado, 14 October 1631, MMA 8: 65–66; ARSI Lus. 55, fols. 85, 91v, 97v, Tavares to Vogado, 29 June 1635. ARSI Lus. 55, fols. 91v, 92v, 101v, Tavares to Vogado, 29 June 1635. ARSI Lus. 55, fol. 91v, Tavares to Vogado, 29 June 1635.

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Even the Mbundu who were resistant to Jesuit methods, and sometimes even their theology – for they argued extensively with him over religious matters – were touched by the idea of a Christian message.130 For example, Francisco Cazolo, a free Mbundu man who had been converted, declared himself the son of God, and made a great reputation for himself as a healer, actually sucking wounds to cure them. He preached against Tavares and the Jesuits, but not against Christianity exactly, and so walked a fine line between the two. Certainly the Jesuits opposed this hybrid Christianity and spent considerable time unsuccessfully pursuing him.131

BENGUELA AND THE IMBANGALA As Njinga stabilized her connections with the Imbangala, a similar story was still playing out in the lands south of the Kwanza River. The geography of the region in the Imbangala period showed it divided into a number of “provinces” which were large and coherent regionally defined areas, but which also did not correspond exactly to political entities. Rather, provinces tended to be clusters of sobas who obeyed, at least temporarily, one powerful soba or perhaps an Imbangala band. The Portuguese in Benguela also sought to participate in this region, using formal arrangements of vassalage as their equivalent of the subordination used elsewhere. In 1627–1628 the Portuguese, having acquired the vassalage of thirteen sobas around Benguela, “some of which were very powerful and had many other sobas as their vassals,” also recruited two “quilombos” of Imbangala as allies in an effort to establish domination in Sumbi, the copper-producing region above the steep westward slopes of the highlands.132 But Portugal did not have the resources to become a regional power or dominate a region the way either powerful sobas or Imbangala bands did, as they could not occupy territory there, create a permanent capital outside Benguela, or collect tribute in a meaningful way. Thus, they could only affect the Highlands through occasional raids, which brought loot and a few concessions, but neither rule nor 130

131

132

ARSI Lus. 55, fols. 84v–85, Tavares to Vogado, 29 June 1635; Tavares to Vogado, 14 October 1631, MMA 8: 66. ARSI Lus. 55, fols. 99–99v, Tavares to Vogado, 29 June 1635; Tavares to Jeronimo Vogado, 4 April 1632, MMA 8: 167. Auto de Provedor da Fazenda de Benguela, 23 June 1629, FHA 2: 304–305.

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

long-term influence. They resembled the Imbangala, who also raided, but unlike the Imbangala they did not operate permanently in the regions they attacked. In fact, they relied heavily on Kakonda, their principal Imbangala ally, based in the territory of Hanya inland around the Catumbela River, to provide sufficient military power to the forces they could raise from loyal sobas around Benguela.133

KONGO: RENEWED CRISIS When Ambrósio died, the crown passed to the eleven-year-old Álvaro IV as the representative of the House of Kwilu, who was unlikely to remain king in peace, given that there were other members of the House of Kwilu who would not accept such a young king. The challenge came in 1633 from Daniel da Silva, Ambrósio’s duke of Mbamba and uncle of the king, but also a member of the House of Soyo. “Driven by ambition to rule,” the duke marched an army said to number 12,000 to São Salvador, under the pretext of saving the young king from ambitious nobles. Álvaro and his supporters fled to Count Paulo in Soyo, followed by da Silva’s army, which had grown as it moved. Álvaro looked to Álvaro Nkanga and his brother Garcia Nimi for military support. The brothers were from a minor branch of the royal family claiming descent from the same founders that made the House of Nsundi, but through a different daughter, named Ntumba.134 Garcia, known by the nickname “Kipaku,” led the defense, boldly crossing a river “while trumpets sounded” with part of the army. Da Silva was hit by an arrow, and his troops fled upon the sight, thus saving the boy-king.135 King Álvaro rewarded the brothers by appointing the elder, Álvaro Nkanga, as duke of Mbamba in place of da Silva, and giving the heroic Garcia Nimi the marquisate of Kiova (bordering Soyo). No sooner had he reached the capital, however, than Álvaro IV died, probably by poison, and was succeeded by another of Álvaro III’s kinsmen, his own half-brother, as Álvaro V Mpanzu a Nimi.136 133 134

135 136

Auto de Provedor da Fazenda de Benguela, 23 June 1629, FHA 2: 303. BNM MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa,” unpaginated front matter, has Álvaro’s full name as “Nimi a Luqueni a Nzenza a Ntumba.” Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 263, 1633, no. 8. Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 269, 1636, no. 10. BN Madrid, MS 3533, Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa” (unpaginated front matter), gives his name as Mpanzu a Nimi Finguiz.

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But while the elders of the House of Kwilu might have wished to use the brothers Álvaro and Garcia to win their war, they also feared them. Gregorio, one of the court nobles and an important member of the House of Kwilu, persuaded the king in 1635 to replace Álvaro Nkanga as duke of Mbamba with Gregorio’s brother, Daniel. In order to achieve this, Álvaro and Gregorio planned to lure Álvaro and Garcia to court and arrest them, then using the royal army if necessary to occupy Mbamba. But Álvaro Nkanga got wind of the plan, mobilized the provincial army, and roundly defeated the king. Declaring a general amnesty and peace, he came back to São Salvador and declared himself King Álvaro VI on 24 February 1636 without the formality of an election, granting his brother Garcia Nimi the duchy of Mbamba.137 An unelected king from a minor branch of the royal family, Álvaro VI was immediately challenged by Count Paulo of Soyo, a member of the house of Nsundi, and thus, unlike the da Silvas of the genealogical House of Soyo, eligible to be king. Álvaro called on the Portuguese to help him, and attacked Soyo with the support of eighty Portuguese mercenaries. The force was not enough, Álvaro was captured, and Paulo only released him when the king granted him control over the adjacent province of Mukatu.138 Álvaro renewed his attack on Soyo, again unsuccessfully, the following year; but had also to face a revolt by Gregorio, on behalf of the House of Kwilu, who had managed to escape the disaster of Álvaro V’s failed kingship. Gregorio went to the east, where he raised a revolt in 1637 that centered on Mbata. As an elector with a crucial role in choosing kings, at least in theory, Mbata’s support represented a challenge to the self-proclaimed king from a minor branch of the royal family. Gregorio brought a large army from the east to São Salvador to make his claim. The Jesuits reported that Gregorio’s soldiers, persuaded by a “witch,” bore poisoned horns on their persons, and Álvaro ordered his own troops to wear crucifixes on their belts. The king sent out the Jesuit priest Miguel Afonso to bargain with him, but when that came to nothing, Álvaro boldly attacked the army, broke it, and captured 137

138

Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 269, 1636, nos. 11–12. BN Madrid, MS 3533, Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa,” pp. 123–125 has a different description, having the brothers twice defeat the king after restoring him the first time. Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 584, who wrongly gives the king’s name as Álvaro II (perhaps mistaking VI for II in a MS).

QUEEN NJINGA ’ S STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO

Gregorio, who was then flogged, decapitated, quartered, and his remains fed to the dogs.139 With Álvaro secure on the throne, a new royal house was established (it would come to be called Kinlaza), to further complicate the politics of Kongo; a complication which would eventually undo the kingdom.

139

Franco, Synopsis Annalium, p. 269, 1637, nos. 15–17.

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5

The Thirty Years War Comes to Central Africa

The middle decades of the seventeenth century were eventful and would mark a turning point for the western portion of West Central Africa. The complex game of conquest and raid was coupled with institutional transformations and political bargaining: the Dutch would enter the fray against the Portuguese; Njinga would reform Ndongo into a new political space; and Kongo, its internal politics deeply divided, would collapse into an endless civil war.

THE DUTCH INTERVENTION IN ANGOLA The Dutch had not forgotten the alliance that Pedro II had promised them in 1623, even though they had not had a factory in Kongo’s territory since 1627 when Ambrósio had ordered them to leave. In the interim, the Dutch West India Company captured Pernambuco, a province in Brazil (in 1630) and, to maintain the sugar trade, continued raiding slave ships from Angola and diverting the slaves to their new colony. In their search for slaves and their ongoing battle with the Portuguese over Brazil, they began to cruise the coast of Angola from their base in Loango, capturing Portuguese slave ships. In 1639 they approached Kongo and Soyo with the potential of renewing their alliance.1 Count Paulo of Soyo was more than willing to accept the Dutch overtures, probably because he thought they might be able to support him against another potential invasion from Kongo, and allowed them

1

162

Thornton, “Kongo and the Thirty Years War,” pp. 207–12.

THE THIRTY YEARS WAR COMES TO CENTRAL AFRICA

to reopen their factory.2 Álvaro, suspicious of their motives and its impact on Soyo as an outpost of the House of Nsundi, continuously demanded that Paulo send the Dutch away.3 Paulo finally accepted Álvaro’s demands in 1640, ordering their factories closed, but not before writing an apologetic letter to the Dutch factor, saying he was “the king’s vassal and must obey his will.”4 While Álvaro had not been very receptive to the Dutch overtures, Garcia, who served his brother as duke of Mbamba, was more so. In 1640 he wrote to the Dutch authorities in Brazil: “If God Almighty makes me become king, as I hope he will soon, as I am the closest inheritor of the crown, I will look to attack the Portuguese, as here in Bamba, I suffer great trouble from them.”5 While Garcia complained of trouble in Mbamba, Portuguese military power was directed primarily at Mbwila, the largest and most powerful of the Dembos, which had taken advantage of the retreat of Njinga to Matamba and Kongo’s troubles to increase its power. Mbwila was situated in a long valley between high mountains that was also a major trade route to the north, leading to Kongo and the textile belt, and ultimately even to Loango. The rulers had collected vassalage from nearby sobas, and defied Portuguese attempts to claim their loyalty based on the treaties agreed in 1619–1620 with Mendes de Vasconcelos. All had signed treaties accepting rule by Kongo when Pedro II reestablished his authority in 1623 which, in their eyes, revoked previous vassalage agreements.6 It was only in 1635, at the end of his term, that the Angolan governor Pereira Coutinho felt able to stage his showdown with Mbwila, when he sent a major force there to bring it back to Portuguese authority.7 The operations were complicated and difficult; after an initial engagement in the open field, Mbwila’s forces fell back into a strongly entrenched

2

3

4 5

6 7

NAN OWIC 53, Count of Sonho to Graaf en Raden in Brazil, 7 August 1638, cit. Klaas Ratelband, Nederlanders in West-Afrika, 1600–1650: Angola, Kongo en SãoTomé (Zutphen, 2000), pp. 94 and 115 n 16. NAN OWIC 56, no. 33, no pagination. Frans Capelle, “Corte beschrijvynge vat gepasserde in Rio Congo” (French translation as “Brève relation sur ce que s’est passé au fleuve Congo par le commis F[r]. Cappelle,” March 1641, in Jadin, “Rivaltés luso-néerlandaises”). NAN OWIC 56, Paulo to Brazil Council, 16 February 1641. NAN OWIC 56, Cornelis Hendrickz Ouman to Council of Brazil, Loango, 28 February 1641. De Sousa to King, 2 August 1627, FHA 2: 184. Cadornega, História, 1: 178–179 (date not specified), but pre-1635; Fernão de Sousa, “Relação sobre a Costa de Congo e Angola,” 21 February 1632, MMA 8: 121.

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position around and below the mbanza, which was itself on a high bluff. The tenacity of their resistance forced the Portuguese army to remain in the field for more than a year. Portuguese success was due to the heroic performances of António Dias Musungo, whose troops breached Mbwila’s defenses in a furious assault and allowed Portuguese forces on the other flank to envelop the defenders.8 Dias Musungo had raised an army of Mbundu troops that was neither dependent on the sobas nor an Imbangala group, and thus represented a military force the governors could depend on. Although it was a military success that captured thousands of slaves, Pereira Coutinho’s successor Francisco de Vasconcellos da Cunha recalled the troops, triggered by rumors of another Dutch expedition.9 Unwilling to conduct military operations, Vasconcellos tried to tie up diplomatic relations, approaching Njinga with the idea of regularizing relations in 1640. While Njinga was courteous, declaring herself a Christian while making the sign of the cross, no settlement was reached, and the governor retained her sisters as hostages.10 Vasconcellos’s successor, Pedro Cezar de Menezes, decided that it was worth taking some risks to acquire slaves and boost his income, and considered war against Kongo or Njinga, couching his vision as protecting Portuguese prestige. The Crown, however, was unmoved, and denied him permission.11

GARCIA II IN KONGO As the Dutch interest in land operations in Angola gained traction, Álvaro died on 22 February 1641, possibly the victim of poison. Garcia, true to his belief that he was his brother’s logical successor, moved rapidly into the capital and was crowned king, the second member of his house who had become king without an election.12 Paulo, the 8 9

10

11 12

Cadornega, História, 1: 178–179, 181–184. Cadornega, História, 1: 190–191; the end of the campaign is dated by BUC MS 1505, no pagination (230th sheet), eighteenth-century transcription from the lost Massangano archives, 12 March 1636. Cadornega, História, 1: 209 and 193; MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” vol. A, book 2, fols. 44–46. The mission was led by Caspar Borges with Father António Coelho. Cadornega, História, 1: 215 n. 1 and 221–223. Franco, Synopsis Annalium, pp. 265, 1636, no. 10; BNM, MS 3533, Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa,” unpaginated frontmatter (giving the date); OWIC 46, p. 5, F. Capelle, “Corte beschrijvinge.”

THE THIRTY YEARS WAR COMES TO CENTRAL AFRICA

count of Soyo who had given Garcia’s brother such trouble, died not long after, but before Garcia could install a new count, Daniel da Silva, son of the Count Miguel who had vexed Álvaro II at the end of the sixteenth century, returned to Soyo from a long exile in Mbamba and declared himself the rightful count. Garcia made a brief but unsuccessful attempt to dislodge him, but then relented.13 The decision to relent in Soyo was coupled with his decision to make good on his promise to the Dutch, and he sent an embassy to Pernambuco and then on to the Netherlands requesting that they “send an armada against the Portuguese, promising Mines and other valuable items.”14 His request was promptly accepted, and on 26 August 1641 a powerful Dutch fleet raised in the Netherlands and Brazil with a substantial military force landed in Luanda. Governor de Menezes and many of the Portuguese residents fled the city for the Bengo River, where many owned plantations, and waited for the Dutch to leave. Once it was clear that the Dutch attack was not simply a raid, there was an immediate response. Many of the sobas of Ilamba and other Portuguese vassals rebelled, and Queen Njinga sent an embassy to the Dutch, which arrived in Luanda on 7 November 1641.15 The Dutch sent an embassy to Garcia, and, after some hesitation (probably so that Garcia could consolidate his hold on the crown), they hammered out an alliance. In early 1642 Dutch and Kongolese forces began joint operations against Portugal in the Dembos, roundly defeating the Portuguese at Nambu a Ngongo on 24 September 1642.16 As a result Cezar de Menezes had to abandon the Bengo River and take his forces up to Massangano, where they had a strong fort, and could count on the military support of the Portuguese puppet ruler of Ndongo, Felipe Hari a Ngola, based at Mpungu a Ndongo. Seeing an opportunity in the Portuguese defeat at Nambu a Ngongo, Njinga advanced from Matamba to make her own claims. She occupied Kasenga in the Dembos area, and sent her armies to reestablish Ndongo’s control over much of its former territory.17 Njinga’s maneuvers reinforced Felipe Hari a Ngola’s alliance with Portugal, and in effect 13 14 15

16 17

Thornton, “Soyo and Kongo.” Cadornega, História, 1: 230. Process-Verbal of the meetings of the Luanda Council, 1 September 1641–28 March 1642, in Louis Jadin, L’Ancien Congo et Angola d’après les archives romaines espagnoles, portugaise et néerlandaise, 3 vols. (Rome, 1974; hereafter ACA), 1: 255. Cadornega, História, 1: 287–290. Cadornega, História, 1: 293.

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the civil war for control of Ndongo was reignited.18 The whole region from the Kwanza to the Congo Rivers was lining up for war. Although Garcia and Njinga may have expected the Dutch to cooperate with them in the complete conquest of Angola, in fact the Dutch had no such intention. The West India Company was unwilling to invest much military force in warfare in Angola, and only hoped to control trade in slaves through the port of Luanda to provision Brazil. When a truce in Europe ended hostilities between the Low Countries and Spain (and then independent Portugal), they were prepared to come to terms with the Portuguese. On 30 January 1643 the Dutch agreed on a truce with the Portuguese in Angola which would allow them to retain the Bengo region. Negotiating unilaterally, they went so far as to propose that Kongo repay the Portuguese for damages done in exchange for recognizing Kongolese rule over Mutemo, one of the Dembo states and a major market.19 Garcia was enraged at this truce and, since he was not consulted on it and did not sign it, he refused to abide by any of its agreements. Feeling unable to join the war against the Portuguese in the Dembos in support of Njinga, Garcia now turned to his major problem, Daniel da Silva’s seizure of Soyo. Determined to install his own candidate in the province, he sent an army into Soyo, but it was badly defeated on 29 April 1645 in Mfinda Ngula, the wooded wasteland that separated Kongo from Soyo.20 An equally disastrous failure in 1646 resulted in his son Afonso being captured, and Garcia, now exhausted, had to redeem him. The effort in Soyo effectively took Kongo out of the struggle for Angola, at least for the time being.

THE CAPUCHIN MISSION As Garcia wrestled with the Soyo problem, Italian Capuchin missionaries arrived in Soyo, and one of their first tasks was to assist in the negotiations to free Garcia’s son Afonso. These were the missionaries that Álvaro III had first requested in 1619, and negotiations had taken 18 19

20

Heywood, Njinga, pp. 133–136. João Salgado de Araújo, Successos militares das armas Portugueses (Lisbon, 1644) Book 5, chap. 3, excerpt in MMA 9: 6–8. Bonaventura da Alessano to Propaganda Fide, 4 June 1645, MMA 9: 264–265; BN Madrid, MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa,” fol. 52.

THE THIRTY YEARS WAR COMES TO CENTRAL AFRICA

years to complete. Even so, the Portuguese had hindered the arrival of missionaries, and it took the Dutch war to make an opening.21 Garcia probably saw them primarily as priests who could perform sacraments in a country that took the sacraments of the Catholic Church seriously, including the requirement that ordained clergy perform them. The bishops were reluctant to ordain Kongo priests, leaving the country poorly served, and the Jesuit missionaries stuck strictly to their mission of teaching, doing little in the way of evangelization outside the capital and only occasionally performing sacraments. That task was handled by a handful of secular priests, who rarely exceeded one per parish, and parishes were very large. The Capuchins obtained the right to baptize wherever there was not a secular priest, and were thus rarely resident in the capital but spent much of their time in rural areas and smaller towns, traveling and particularly performing the sacraments.22 Their records make note of tens of thousands of baptisms, Kongo’s favorite sacrament, and the accounts of their travels and adventures are important sources of information about rural life in the country. Whatever Garcia hoped the Capuchins would do in increasing the size of the clergy, for the Capuchins, their primary function was to reform Kongo’s Church to conform to the Counter-Reformation standards that the European Church had adopted since the Council of Trent in 1563. Among the many things the Counter Reformation did besides condemn Protestant theology was to modify both ritual practices and formal structure of the medieval Church, and also to tighten up what was perceived as theological weakness. This was a project that went deeper than the arguments of the Protestant theologians, and had been on the way for longer.23 In some measure, many common practices that touched on the Other World and were undertaken by laypeople in Europe, such as augury, divination of various sorts, and astrology, were now being challenged. The Church did not simply dismiss these practices as problematic; it invoked the idea of Diabolism in the effectiveness of such measures, and denounced them as witchcraft. Nowhere was this clearer than in the Iberian world, where mundane practices were denounced in this way, 21

22 23

For details on the longer process, see Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 1: 335–361; Bontinck, Foundation de la mission, introduction. Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 1: 358–361. For an overview of the larger European situation, see Pierre Chaunu, Les temps des Reformes: La crise de la chrétienté, l’éclatement, 1250–1550 (Paris, 1976).

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rather than the more dramatic concepts of making explicit pacts with the Devil popular in more northern regions.24 For Pedro Ciruelo, a sixteenth-century Spanish scholar, any attempt to access the Other World outside the clergy was making an implicit pact with the Devil. The Capuchins quickly produced lists of Kongo practices which they considered Diabolic in this way, ranging from circumcision to the isolation of menstruating women, but especially private consultations with nganga for fortune telling, healing, and other services. Their accusations that these private actors were employing witchcraft was not necessarily a problem for Kongo parishioners: even in Afonso’s day Kongo had accepted the idea that witchcraft was present in the world and needed to be suppressed.25 But Kongo had a different idea about witchcraft than the one that the European Church was expounding. From the beginning, the question of witchcraft was not about making contact with evil spirits such as demons or the Devil himself, but rather the use to which the contact was put. Was it for private or selfish ends? Was it intended to harm rather than protect? Was it motivated by greed or ambition? Spiritual beings in the Kongolese understanding of the Other World were not necessarily good or bad: it was the intentions of those who consulted or petitioned them that mattered, and so witchcraft was considered by starting with motivations rather than process.26 One of the central disputes between the Capuchins and Kongolese was the question of kimpasi, a publicly organized cult that was intended to heal divisions in a community and protect people from witchcraft. In the Kongolese mind, such an institution was in no way intended to work harm, and so was especially legitimate. The Capuchins went on veritable campaigns to wipe the kimpasi out, on the basis that they were inadvertently working with the Devil when clergy were not involved, while the people organizing them and those participating were confident that these could not have evil intentions. As a result, there was particular resistance to this Capuchin effort. In 1652, in fact, Father 24

25

26

José Pedro Paiva, Bruxeria e superstição num país sem ‘Caça às Bruxas’ 1600–1774 (Lisbon, 1997). John Thornton, “The Kingdom of Kongo and the Counter Reformation,” Social Sciences and Missions 26 (2013): 40–58. For a fuller discussion of kindoki and the power of good and evil in the Other World, see John Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706 (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 42–44, 54–56, 71–75, 85–90, 114–118.

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Joris van Geel was beaten and eventually died as a consequence of breaking up a kimpasi meeting.27 This divergence of belief notwithstanding, the political authorities in Kongo were prepared to back Capuchins up, or at least protect them, because of their role in providing sacraments to so many people. Capuchins also proved to be good political allies, representing Kongo in international affairs, including a mission to Rome on Kongo’s behalf in 1648, and later, in settling internal disputes. While Garcia ordered the arrest and deportation of the whole village where Joris van Geel was killed, he and other Kongo officials were reluctant to press too hard on demands of the Capuchins for punishment for normal offenses.

NJINGA ALONE AGAINST THE PORTUGUESE With the Dutch inactive and Kongo sidelined by the dispute with Soyo, Njinga continued her war against Portugal alone.28 Although she defeated the Portuguese army in 1644, she was herself badly beaten in 1646, and had to abandon her camp at Kavanga and return to Matamba.29 A detailed account of the battle at Kavanga left by António de Oliveira de Cadornega, the chronicler of Angolan wars, shows how war had come to be waged in seventeenth-century Central Africa. The Portuguese force, consisting of 330 Portuguese and some 20,000 Mbundu, divided into one component commanded by King Felipe of Mpungu a Ndongo, and another with Imbangala, assembled at Ambaca and marched up the Dande River to Njinga’s fortified camp. As there would be no supplies on the way, they were accompanied by a kikumba or baggage train carrying food and munitions that was nearly as large as the army itself. The kikumba was composed of “women and useless people” or noncombatants, and as the Portuguese force formed up, the leaders discussed where to station them – whether they should be put separately behind the lines where they might be subject to attack and looting or, as they finally decided, amongst their own troops. Since troops on all sides 27 28 29

Hildebrand de Hooglede, Le martyr Georges de Geel (Antwerp, 1940). Heywood, Njinga, pp. 138–157. Cadornega, História, 1: 394–426.

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were likely short of food and anxious for spoils of war, looting the kikumba was an important goal of any battle.30 The Portuguese army was composed primarily of archers, but the 330 Portuguese carried guns and swords for hand-to-hand fighting. They were stationed in the central component of the army surrounded by archers on the flanks. Others were part of the reserve, along with the Imbangala, for exploiting successes along the line or covering retreat if there was a failure. Njinga’s army also had about 300 guns, including a number of Dutch soldiers. She deployed her troops in three battalions, placing herself and her personal guard unit consisting of several hundred females and young men, as a reserve behind the center. She put her Imbangala troops, under Njinga Mona, on a hill to her right as a fourth battalion, and the battle was engaged as each group sought to outflank the other. Njinga’s soldiers broke the Portuguese army, but when they stopped to loot the baggage, the Portuguese mounted a counterattack that drove her army from the field, and the queen herself fled, abandoning her town to the Portuguese.31 Njinga’s defeat at Kavanga drove the Dutch, worried that her losses would be their own undoing, to rejoin the war. Garcia was concerned enough, despite his war with Soyo, to send a detachment to help. With Dutch and Kongolese help, Njinga returned to the battlefield the next year. This time she roundly defeated one Portuguese army at Kumbi on 29 October 1647, inflicting very heavy casualties, and followed that with another smaller engagement in Ilamba on 1 August 1648. Stripped of field armies, the Portuguese fell back on Massangano as Njinga and her Dutch allies closed in on it. She tried to storm Ambaca, but failed with heavy losses and subsequently laid siege to Muxima, where she hoped that Dutch artillery would make her assaults more effective; but even with three Dutch artillery pieces she was unable to capture it.32

30 31 32

Thornton, “Art of War.” Cadornega, História, 1: 394–411; Heywood, Njinga, pp. 146–148. Cadornega, História, 1: 498–500; MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” Book 2, p. 54; Extract van seeckeren Brief gheschreven uyt Loando St. Paulo, in Angola (letter of 16 December 1647) (The Hague, 1648), (French translation, ACA 2: 938–940); Cadornega, História, 1: 523 and 527; testimony taken 30 August 1648 from Portuguese survivors, Arquivos de Angola 2nd series, 2 (1945): 149–164 (French translation in ACA 2: 1051, 1055); Testimony of Pilot Manuel Soares, 11 November 1647, MMA 10: 69–70.

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Portugal reached out desperately to Brazil for support, and organized a large relief army under Salvador Correia de Sá e Benevides to attack Luanda. The Dutch did not have the heart for a long fight, and when de Sá e Benevides arrived from Brazil and attacked Luanda, the Dutch army surrendered with barely a fight on 21 August 1648, and was allowed to leave for Brazil.33 Hoping to regain some positions, Salvador de Sá promptly wrote to Garcia II and Njinga, exhorting them to make peace.34 The arrival of the Portuguese reinforcements and the sudden Dutch surrender changed the situation on the ground substantially. While de Sá did not have forces to alter the balance of power radically himself, he was able to force Njinga to withdraw. The two forts had resisted her siege successfully for quite a while in spite of the Dutch artillery, thanks to the assistance, according to local accounts, of the Virgin Mary.35 The salvation of the city was regarded as a miracle, and pilgrimages in the Virgin’s name to Muxima began not long afterward, and have continued annually, even up to the present day.36 De Sá’s primary efforts were to recover Portuguese positions that had been lost as a result of the Dutch presence. Flush with victory, his troops occupied the Island of Luanda (still under Kongo’s rule), and moved into the borderland between the Bengo and Dande, again making claims against Kongo’s territory.37 Initially he had great plans for the reconquest, as he issued instructions at one point to mobilize forces from all over Angola and even Brazil to conquer Kongo; but he also gave instructions to make peace and “friendship” with Kongo so as to focus on war against Njinga.38 In the end, no big war was forthcoming. Knowing that Garcia was still embroiled with Soyo and limited in his capacity to fight Portugal, de

33

34 35 36

37

38

Testimony of witnesses, ACA 2: 1050–1055. For the invasion, see Luis Felix de Crus, Manifesto das hostilidades dos Ollandeses . . . (Lisbon, 1651), pp. 19–33. For detailed examinations, see Ratelband, Nederlanders, pp. 261–282. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” Book 2, p. 71. Heywood, Njinga, pp. 158–165. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” Book 2, pp. 55–58, has accounts of the miracles. The current pilgrimage drew over a million people in 2014, and still relates the miracles of the Dutch siege of Muxima, overlooking Njinga’s crucial role. Juan Bernardo Falcón to Propaganda Fide, 14 September 1652, MMA 11: 236–237; Cadornega, História, 2: 25–30. Documents once lodged in the archives in Massangano, Livro of Patentes of Massangano, p. 163 8 de Abril de 1649 (all-out war on Kongo) and 166 (peace with Kongo to fight Njinga), in BUC MS 1505, pp. 238, 240.

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Sá proposed a peace treaty in 1649 that would have Kongo relinquish its claim to these areas, and pay an indemnity. Garcia preemptively refused and proposed a counter-treaty that would restore all of Kongo’s claims, and a final treaty proposed in 1651 only established the status quo ante, which Garcia ignored in any case.39 Ecclesiastical negotiations were similar; Garcia proposed creating a separate diocese in Kongo through his embassy to Rome, while the Portuguese Angolan canons proposed moving the cathedral from São Salvador to Luanda.40 Not feeling able to take on either Kongo or Ndongo militarily, de Sá then redirected his attention to what they thought would be softer targets, as so many previous governors had when they realized they could not defeat the major powers. These were, as usual, Kisama to the south and the Dembos region in the north, especially the regional power of Mbwila, much as Portuguese governors had in the late 1630s before the Dutch came. The Dutch described Mbwila during their time as ruling some fifteen lesser districts, and confirmed its role as a trade corridor by noting that it “gives many slaves,” reaching all the way to Pombo.41 The Portuguese accused Mbwila of blocking trade, robbing merchants, and taking in runaway slaves. In 1649, therefore, de Sá sent an army of 300–400 Luso-African soldiers and “many thousands of bowmen” as well as others from the interior forts, Imbangala allies, and the army of Ndongo to attack Mbwila. As they entered Mbwila’s territory, they incorporated local rulers hostile to Mbwila. Mbwila’s people, for their part, withdrew to the natural fortresses of its rugged terrain. The Portuguese sought to attack these fortresses with little success, eventually withdrawing after pillaging the countryside and taking as many slaves as possible from the population that was unable to flee to the fortresses.42 The Mbwila effort having failed in every aspect but taking slaves, de Sá then refocused on Kisama with equally small success, as the redoubtable inhabitants were well prepared and willing to fight. His forces advanced quickly, capped by a major assault in 1655–1656 intended to 39

40

41 42

Ratification of Treaty with Kongo, 22 September 1651, MMA 11: 84–87; Consulta of 31 March 1653, MMA 11: 277–279. Garcia II to Pope, ca. 1652, MMA 11: 138–140; Letters of Bonaventura da Sorrento, 1 March and 15 April 1652, MMA 11: 147–149, 160–169; João Leitão d’Aguiar to João IV, 14 May 1653, MMA 11: 313–315. Dapper, Naukeurige Beschrijvinge, p. 594. Cadornega, História, 2: 57–61, 63.

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take over the salt mines definitively. The war was long, costly, and indecisive, as the people managed to withdraw to fortified locations and resisted long enough to exhaust the supplies of the attackers, who eventually withdrew after suffering hunger and thirst.43 De Sá’s governorship had begun in Brazil, and he was followed by a number of other governors who had also previously served there. The wars were widely perceived by the local Angolan settlers as being primarily a means by which the governors would staff the properties they owned in Brazil cheaply with slaves from Angola, which they could more easily acquire by war than by commerce. Angolan settlers denounced the wars in 1660, complaining that they were poorly conceived and executed often at high cost to the Angolans who had to fight in them.44

NEW DISSENSIONS IN KONGO For Garcia II in Kongo however, the end of the Dutch alliance and the war in Ambundu led him to confront his remaining enemies at home. First among them was his continued failure to dislodge Daniel da Silva from Soyo. Recognizing that he was not going to be able to recover the province by force of arms, Garcia arranged for his sister to marry da Silva as a gesture of conciliation. Daniel’s independence had given the House of Soyo a base, but it was also a problem because it was allied with the House of Nsundi, which had been excluded from power since the death of Garcia I in 1626 and still believed it had a claim on the throne. Daniel’s daughter’s marriage to Pedro II started the bond between the Houses of Soyo and Nsundi. The oldest surviving son of this union, Álvaro, was the marquis of Mpemba in the 1650s while two of their other sons, named Lázaro and Pedro, lived in São Salvador. Thus Soyo had allies in key posts in Garcia’s government. Both Lázaro and Pedro were unhappy that their elder brother Álvaro was not king as neither Álvaro VI nor Garcia had gone through the appropriate election process. Garcia, who had taken the throne without an election, was planning to usurp the process of election altogether, 43 44

Krug, Fugitive Modernities, pp. 86–110. AHU, Cx. 7, doc. 8, Consulta of 27 September 1660; Cx. 8, doc. 8, Report of Bartholemeu Paes Bulhão, 16 May 1664.

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claiming it would diminish rebellions and consolidate his house’s control of the throne along the way.45 Their grievance went further back to 1626, when the House of Nsundi had been illegitimately overthrown by Manuel Jordão when he drove their brother Garcia I out in favor of the House of Kwilu’s Ambrósio. Garcia, who was neither from the House of Nsundi nor the House of Kwilu, was thus totally illegitimate in their eyes. They openly spoke about overthrowing the king, for as Pedro said, “anything is possible while we live.” The influential matrons of Kongo had a role to play in the question of legitimacy. They were led by Leonor, the daughter of Álvaro I and sister of Álvaro II, known also as Mwene Simba Mpungi. These connections made her both the daughter and sister of a king, and the head of the House of Kwilu. She was indeed a champion of Kwilu interests and had played an important role in their seizure of power from the House of Nsundi in 1626. If Leonor was partisan, her position might have been moderated by the other Leonor, also a matron on the royal council, who was a sister of Garcia’s wife and of Daniel da Silva of Soyo, thus forming a powerful link between the House of Soyo and Garcia. In this situation the matrons had much more mediating to do, for two royal houses, Nsundi and Kwilu, the House of Soyo, and Garcia’s house, soon to be called Kinlaza, were all in play.46 Garcia, who had seized power in the first place, was not interested in either the mediation of the matrons or the legal principles they upheld. While both he and his brother Álvaro had respected and listened to their advice, as he became stronger and his enemies weaker he decided to break with them. When a fire broke out in the royal palace on St. James Day (25 July) 1652, destroying among other things, 200 tusks of ivory destined for the king of Portugal and the Vatican, Garcia claimed it was part of plot involving both Soyo and the House of Kwilu. He had both of the Leonors arrested, and when Capuchin missionaries, who admired their piety, protested, he implicated them in the plot, and would trouble the missionaries for some years afterward.47 He had the younger Leonor killed, as her connections to Soyo and the house of 45

46 47

Biblioteca Estense, Modena, α N-9–7 Giuseppe Monari da Modena, p. 221 (copy of a chronicle, probably by Giacinto Brugiotti da Vetralla, ca. 1659), the principal source for these events. Thornton, “Elite Women,” pp. 448–454. Giacinto da Vetralla to Capuchin general, 20 August 1652, MMA 11: 222, 224.

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Nsundi were stronger, but also held the elder Leonor in harsh conditions, perhaps intending that she would die, though he eventually relented and released her. In this act, he had broken one of the important roles of the matrons, of mediating disparate claims to the throne. Garcia, hoping to bring the House of Nsundi into his orbit through marriage, offered Lázaro the duchy of Mbamba as a “dowry” for marrying his daughter. Lázaro arrogantly refused the offer, saying, “I do not need to marry your daughter to be duke of Bamba,” and so the king granted Mbamba to a certain Sebastião, a person of non-royal blood. Even though Garcia’s daughter “betrayed him with another great noble,” the duke, conscious that she was the daughter of the king, kept his silence.48 Ever more determined to subdue Soyo, and to withstand the challenge of the renegade members of the House of Nsundi, Garcia mustered yet another army to take the province back in 1655, but once again he was defeated. To make up for losses in that war, he turned to surreptitiously recruiting soldiers and slaves from the Portuguese to reform the army.49 The Portuguese authorities, for their part, saw an opportunity to use the hostility of Soyo to Kongo as a way to enter the kingdom, perhaps offering their services to Soyo in exchange for the revenue from salt marshes near the Congo River.50 Garcia subsequently uncovered more evidence of the plotting of Lázaro and Pedro on behalf of their brother, and on 29 March 1657 he arrested them. In response, the remaining brother of the House of Nsundi, Álvaro, contacted the Angolan authorities, hoping to obtain support there, and the governor, Luis Martins de Sousa Chichorro, seized the opportunity to invade Kongo, and potentially to place a pliant king on the throne and extend Portuguese influence. Álvaro then fled to Daniel da Silva in Soyo, and plans were laid out for Soyo to be involved in the larger plot.51 Álvaro raised a substantial army of some 5,000 archers and 100 musketeers to support his claim.52 But the whole came to nothing; Garcia was able to round up the plotters and prevent Soyo from 48 49

50

51 52

BN Madrid, MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa,” fol. 119. Luis Martins de Sousa Chicorro to King, 25 February 1656, AHU, Cx. 5, doc. 61 (3rd enclosure). Luis Martins de Sousa Chicorro to King, 14 April 1657, MMA 12: 111–112; he had broached this plan in an earlier letter, no longer extant, of 27 September 1656. BN Madrid, MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa,” pp. 125–126. Biblioteca Estense, Modena, α N-9–7 Monari, pp. 554–556.

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intervening before the Portuguese force could be assembled to attack Kongo or enlist Soyo’s aid.53 When the Portuguese finally did advance, the troops revolted when they reached the Loze River, for they recalled that when earlier invaders had crossed the Loze in 1622 they had been annihilated at Mbanda Kasi.54 If he had not succeeded in bringing Soyo back, Garcia had at least extinguished the House of Nsundi. In 1659 or 1660 Garcia fell ill with a sickness that would eventually kill him. Hearing that his son Afonso was planning to end his life sooner, he ordered him killed by his younger brother António, who then left his body unburied and naked on the street.55 Larger politics of Kongo determined a good deal of the internal warfare of the country. However, royal centralization, which had increased under Garcia, also created its own violence. The Capuchins complained about the violence of the great against the small, and resistance to it. Primarily the issue was taxation, legal, and extra-legal, as the nobles found their territory insecure due to the changing of ruling dynasties, and general tax demands from on high, and often unofficially raised taxes or exacted production by raiding or seizing the goods of their subordinates. Tax revolts took place in Mpemba in 1652, and about the same time in Nsevo. Lower-level resistance was also passive: peasants expelling tax collectors, or moving their villages out of welltraveled areas.56

THE NORTH COAST Events were playing out in the north of the Congo River during the Dutch war and Garcia’s reign in Kongo. The Kingdom of Loango continued its growth and consolidated its control over the coppermining regions of the interior, confronting Great Makoko over “Bukkemeale,” the sparsely populated zone between them. The Jagas 53 54

55

56

Portuguese declaration of war, 9 June 1657, MMA 12: 124–125. BN Madrid, MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa,” fol. 151; Cadornega, História, 2: 131–134. Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 1: 538–539 weighs two potential dates for this, in late 1659 or 1660. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 41–42, 57. Green, A Fistful of Shells, pp. 253–258 attributes this period of violence to the slave trade, and while some people were probably seized as slaves, a fiscal and political explanation seems more effective an explanation for ultimate causes.

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of Bukkameale, so named because of their rootlessness and cannibalism, began to turn southward to Kongo. Their target was particularly Nsundi, where pillaging raids were close to annual in the 1650s, destroying whole districts, carrying off people, and spreading terror.57 Their role would expand later. At the same time, Loango made its own overtures to Soyo in 1660, seeking once again to have a Christian presence. Shortly after Daniel da Silva of Soyo died in 1658, he was succeeded by Paulo II da Silva, who in turn received two sons of Loango’s royal family. Paulo had them baptized, and initiated further contacts between Soyo and Loango. Working through Paulo, the Capuchins sent Bernardo Ungaro to Loango, and the reigning king was baptized in 1663, taking the name Afonso, probably in honor of Afonso of Kongo. With considerable royal support, 6,000 subjects were also baptized, and in just a few years over 10,000 were. The Capuchins believed that Afonso was a fervent Christian who ordered his people to accept monogamy, among other things.58 His baptism may well have had an important role in Kongo’s interpretation of the relationship between the two countries, for in 1666 Álvaro VII of Kongo wrote to the “king of Luango,” addressed him as “Your Majesty” and called him “my brother.”59 Afonso’s adaptation of Christianity was surely as much a political as a spiritual choice. His power was not absolute and he could not “do anything without the Council of four primates of his court.” These four primates were the Mwene Kaye and his associates who in the 1610s were supposed to rotate from one to the other, until the most senior one would become the next king. The rotation system appears to have been replaced by a council, which determined the succession, as “they could raise one [king] up and replace him with another at their pleasure.” Afonso had perhaps seen an alliance with Kongo through Soyo as a means to advance a new system of legitimation by hereditary 57

58

59

For a detailed eyewitness account, see da Montesarchio, “Viaggio,” fols. 20–21, 27, 35v, 49v. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” MS B, pp. 242–252. Cavazzi repeated this story with few details and some variations in Istorica Descrizione, Book 5, nos. 53–58 and in “Vite de Frate Minori Capuccini del Ordine del Serafico Pre San Francesco, morti nelle Missioni d’Etiopia dall’anno 1645 sino all’anno 1677,” published in Carlo Toso (ed.), Il Congo, Cimitero dei Cappuccini nell’inedito di P. Cavazzi (sec. XVII) (Rome, 1992), pp. 118–119. I have generally favored the Araldi version as being composed closer to the time of the events. ANTT Colleção Marqueses de Olhão, Cx. 40 A, no. 90, Álvaro VII to King of Luango, 1 March 1666.

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succession. But while priests may have seen spiritual battle, the fact that Afonso had his “first-born” son baptized along with him suggests that he was hoping to use Christian methods to escape the claims of his sister’s or aunt’s children (thus nephews or cousins) to the throne. Therefore “he did not lack great and various opponents” in either the city or the country. The struggle was cast in religious terms, with Afonso’s opponents either defending the traditional religion, holding out against monogamy, or accusing him of promoting the interests of the Portuguese. An initial attempt to overthrow him in 1663 failed, however.60 Not surprisingly, it was a cousin who led the party opposed to him, and this party was successful in killing Afonso and promoting the rival unnamed cousin. This anti-Christian, pro-matrilineal succession king died soon after his victory, and a Christian one replaced him by May 1665.61 However, there was no clear victory, for the anti-Christian party, led by “a relative of the king,” rose up in 1666, burned the church, and killed many people, and the civil wars continued “without any hope of making peace” well into the 1670s.62

THE STRUGGLE FOR NDONGO As Garcia consolidated power in Kongo, the question of who would rule Ndongo continued unabated. The Dutch period had been as much a civil war between Njinga and Felipe Hari a Ngola as it had been a war between Portugal and the Netherlands, and had it not been for Felipe Hari a Ngola’s staunch support, and his thousands of soldiers, Portugal could not have held on even to Massangano.63 In 1653 he appeared in Luanda, reminding them of his long service, and demanding that they give him full support to attack Njinga “until her destruction.”64 In a further display of good faith and loyalty, Felipe 60 61

62

63 64

Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” MS B, pp. 250–251. Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” MS B, p. 255; the new king wrote a letter on 27 May 1665. MSS Araldi Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” MS B, p. 603 (a list of remarkable events Cavazzi added to the end of the MS that went to 1666). In “Vite,” fol. 93, Cavazzi said the wars continued “up until the present,” as he wrote in 1677. Cadornega, História, 2: 65–66. Felipe I to João IV, 8 April 1653, MMA 11: 286–287; Consulta of 22 April 1654, MMA 11: 355–356; also see the memorial of Salvador de Sa and Francisco de Vasconcelos da Cunha on the situation in June, 1654, MMA 11: 383–385.

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Hari a Ngola supported Portugal in the disastrous war in Kisama, and served in the Dembos in 1658–1660.65 Njinga also recovered from the Dutch war and was rebuilding from the tribulations of that period. She also encouraged slaves and soldiers to run away to join her army, and moreover managed to get the Imbangala leader Kabuku ka Ndonga to defect to her in 1655. Although the Portuguese were able to defeat Kabuku ka Ndonga, his lieutenant Kalandula became a regular part of her army.66 Thus the Portuguese found themselves once again surrounded by powerful adversaries who were also hoping to drain resources away from them. Portugal’s greatest and most important ally to the east would be the Imbangala of Kasanje. They had established relations with Kasanje before the Dutch entered Angola, and they maintained them during the war, even though Kasanje did not participate in operations on behalf of the Portuguese. But Kasanje was hostile to Njinga, and the two had been clashing since they split in the early 1630s. Since enemies of enemies can be friends in politics, the Portuguese could hope to use Kasanje as well as Felipe Hari a Ngola to fend off Njinga’s army. Kasanje, moreover, had evolved from a roving band to a fixed and settled state, even as it kept some of its Imbangala characteristics. For her part, Njinga faced two problems: the longstanding question of her right to rule Ndongo instead of Felipe Hari a Ngola; and also the troubling question of her own succession. In the case of her succession, Njinga was concerned that the Imbangala, led by Njinga Mona, who made up a large and distinct part of her army, would impose their own rules on succession and turn it into an Imbangala state as Kasanje had become.67 But to solve this problem, she needed to address the first problem, and for that she needed peace with Felipe Hari a Ngola, and hence she would have to settle with Portugal. Njinga saw an ideological or religious way to deal with the Imbangala in returning to Christianity. In 1648 she captured a Kongolese priest named Calixto Zelotes dos Reis Magros during a raid on Wandu, and took him into her service, which led in 1651 to a request to have missionaries come to her land.68 Following this request, which the 65 66 67

68

Cadornega, História, 2: 141–149. Cadornega, História, 2: 75–79; Consulta of 13 July 1655, MMA 11: 497–498. On this interpretation, see Heywood, Njinga, pp. 160–165; Thornton, “Legitimacy and Political Power.” Serafino da Cortona to Provincial of Tuscany, 22 November 1651, MMA 11: 113–114.

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Capuchins could not easily accommodate, and the settlers opposed outright, she started a process of proposing peace in 1654.69 During this process, Njinga also recorded religious experiences among her own people, when Njinga Mona captured a crucifix among other objects in an attack near Mbwila in 1655. Although he tried to destroy it, the crucifix haunted him until he brought it to Njinga.70 The next year she convoked a group of xingulas, priests who could be possessed by ancestors, each representing either her brother or Imbangalas, and when possessed, asked the permission of the spirits. They all agreed that she was free to become a Christian and abandon their rituals; they understood it would help bring peace.71 Finally, while not discussing the question of the status of Felipe Hari a Ngola, she offered her army to support the Portuguese in their ongoing war in Kisama – in short, as a substitute for his army.72 To show their good faith, de Sousa Chichorro returned her sister, who had been captured in 1646, and then in 1656 a formal treaty was drawn up and signed. She agreed to return to Christianity, renounced Imbangala rites, and surrendered the Imbangala band of Kalandula, but also specified that the Portuguese would not support her “slaves” to succeed her (meaning here, the Imbangala).73 Following the end of the negotiations, Njinga felt she could rest. On 31 January 1657 she summoned her army, some 2,000 with drums beating and flags flying, to the front of the church. They brought an armchair for her to sit in and review the troops. Instead of sitting, she called everyone to be quiet, and leaped onto the chair, thrusting her bow into the air, shouting, “Who can ever defeat this bow?” and the troops roared back, “No one! No one!” She continued, “Only Maniputo, King of Portugal can defeat it, now I say to all of you that I have just made peace with him, and I do not want to go about in the bush any more as I have done up to now, now it is time that I leave this bow,” and dramatically she threw the bow on the ground. “I want to live in peace and quiet, I am already old and it does not suit me to go about like

69

70

71 72 73

Serafino da Cortona to Provincial of Tuscany, 22 November 1651, MMA 11: 113–114. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” vol. A, Book 2, chap. 10, pp. 115–116; Gaeta, Conversione, pp. 107–110. Heywood, Njinga, pp. 197–199; Gaeta, Conversione, pp. 223–238. Njinga to Luis Martins de Sousa Chicorro, 13 December 1655, MMA 11: 524–528. Heywood, Njinga, pp. 193–202; “Capitolos e pazes que fas o Capitão Manuel Frois Peixoto . . ., ” 12 October 1656, MMA 12: 57–59.

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a vagrant.” Now turning to the assembled soldiers, she said, “I give thanks for all the travails that you have suffered in the wars, and now in ransoming my sister. She is already with me to keep me company, which is what I desire.”74 Njinga devoted herself following the conversion to making Matamba a Christian kingdom, including building churches and encouraging the priests to continue their work. She wrote to the Pope to ask him to recognize her, which he did. The Portuguese in Angola were skeptical of the whole enterprise, and although they accepted the peace, hardly abandoned the idea of war in the future.75 If the treaty brought peace with Angola, it failed to stop wars between Njinga and Kasanje. In 1661 an armed force of some 2,000 soldiers from Kasanje invaded and sacked vassals of Njinga along the border, but when they penetrated farther, Njinga retaliated and destroyed the army as it tried to cross the Kambo River.76 At least some of the conflict was due to elements in her army favoring Kasanje because it was true to Imbangala principles, as appears to have been the case with the 1662 rebellion in Bondo, a disputed province between the two, which was promoted by Kanganga, her major general, whose wife, Isabella, was also married to her sergeant general. Njinga was able to defeat this move as well.77 Njinga died in 1663, and with her death the struggle for control of her portion of Ndongo began. The Christian faction, nominally led by her sister Barbara, who succeeded her, was effectively under the leadership of João Guterres Ngola Kanini; while Njinga Mona, whom Njinga had caused to marry Barbara, led the Imbangala faction. As long as she lived there was peace, but when Barbara died in 1666 (rumored to have been murdered by her husband) a brief war broke out between the two factions. João Guterres was barely victorious, though Njinga Mona withdrew his forces from the capital and waited as an uneasy peace was established.78 Njinga had settled with the Portuguese, but perhaps there were still open questions with regards to Kongo. Relations were strained over the question of sovereignty of the Dembos. Kongo had claimed them first, but Njinga had asserted her claims over them during the Dutch 74 75 76 77 78

Serafino da Cortona to Governor General, 21 March 1657, MMA 12: 101–103. Heywood, Njinga, pp. 202–224. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” Book 3, pp. 30–31. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” Book 2, pp. 187–190. Cadornega, História, 2: 295–297.

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occupation, only to lose de facto power over them when the Portuguese returned. She had clashed with Kongo over Wandu, and twice invaded this core Kongo province, in 1643 and again in 1648.79 The struggle over the Dembos continued whenever there was a change in government, and in 1663 Francisco Cheques challenged his brother Joannes Cheques over the rule in Nambu a Ngongo. Portugal backed Francisco, and António backed Joannes, but André Vidal de Negreiros took advantage of Francisco’s victory to press for Kongo to make concessions, in this case surrendering the county of Wandu, alleged to contain mines.80 Nothing came of this attempt, but a disappointed would-be count of Wandu fled to Angola the next year seeking assistance. Vidal de Negreiros thought he might have his way and offered support in exchange for mining concessions. António sent an army to defend Wandu, while Vidal de Negreiros sent his, and the two met in Mbwila along the Ulanga River in a major clash. António’s army was fully mobilized from many provinces, and Portuguese estimates put it at 100,000 men, which was undoubtedly exaggerated multiple times. They had a long and difficult march from their mobilization points, and were probably overextended when they reached the battlefield. They probably had some 20,000 archers at most, but the elite troops were some 800 shield-bearing nobles and 190 musketeers. The Portuguese commanded some 5,000 archers, but had 366 musketeers, and took up defensive positions. Kongo forces attacked the Portuguese, who had deployed their musketeers tightly in a formation amidst their archers in two waves, each with several thousand infantry and half the musketeers. The first was repelled, the second completely enveloped the Portuguese, but in the hand-to-hand combat António was wounded by musket fire and then killed in a counterattack by the Imganbala reserves. The Kongo army broke and retired, but a heroic rearguard action by the duke of Bengo prevented a rout. The Portuguese army returned to Luanda in triumph carrying António’s severed head. His head was buried in Angola and his crown and scepter were sent to Portugal. They so esteemed this victory that they constructed a church, dedicated to Our Lady of Nazareth, in Luanda.81 79 80

81

Heywood, Njinga, pp. 156–157. AHU, Cx. 8, doc. 103, Andre Vidal de Negreiros to King, 30 April 1664, and “Autos de conselho que se fizeram sobre a guerra,” 4 March 1664. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 74–77; for a more detailed description of the battle, including maps, see Thornton, Warfare, pp. xi, 121–122.

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FACTIONAL STRUGGLE IN KONGO The battle of Mbwila may have won Portugal very little, for Mbwila more or less regained its effective independence as soon as Portuguese troops left in 1665; but it cost Kongo a great deal. Not only did António I die in the battle, but his young heir and would-be successor were captured by the Portuguese. António’s faction, now called the Kinlaza, claimed the throne which Álvaro VI and his brother Garcia II had taken without election in the traditional manner, but there was no consensus as to who the successor would be. The matrons, who had done so much to steer Kongo through multiple factional disputes since Álvaro II’s death in 1614, had been effectively eliminated by Garcia in his attempts to concentrate power, and Soyo, a critical elector and important voice in succession, was now effectively independent. These issues would make the task of finding and legitimating a suitable successor to António I much more difficult. Three Kinlaza contenders claimed the throne, led by Álvaro VII Mpanzu a Mbondo, a “relative of the dead king,” who garnered the support of the marquis of Vunda, an elector, and the duke of Nsundi to defeat and kill his primary rival, Marquis Álvaro of Matari. The third contender, Afonso, too weak to risk battle, fled the capital and took refuge in the Nkanda Mountains that overlook São Salvador to the east, and declared himself king in 1666. Ignoring this rival’s proclamation Álvaro VII dispatched his ambassador, Anastacio, to Luanda to announce his succession and seek to finalize peace with Portugal.82 But the Kinlaza were not the only faction to have a claim on the throne, for the old House of Kwilu, now renamed Kimpanzu, which had ruled Kongo on and off from 1578 until the Kinlaza usurpation in 1636, wanted to reclaim the throne. Lacking strong support in the provinces, they looked to Soyo to support them. The constant attacks that Garcia II had launched against Soyo made them willing to support anyone who would oppose the Kinlaza. Paulo II da Silva, count of Soyo since Daniel da Silva’s death in 1658, elevated his title to “Prince of Sonho.” Following tradition, Paulo II da Silva made no claim on the throne itself, though he did claim rights as an elector. Soyo had consistently supported claims by the House of Nsundi until Garcia II effectively eliminated it in 1657, and so it now supported 82

Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, p. 77. The Overseas Council considered this treaty on 26 May 1673: AHU, Cx. 11, doc. 1308 (new numeration).

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the Kimpanzu for opposing the king and the Kinlaza as much as through any family connection. In 1666 Paulo II led his army to São Salvador, where he ousted Álvaro VII and installed a Kimpanzu claimant as Álvaro VIII Mvemba a Mpanzu. Now in the capital, Álvaro needed to assert his authority, since the provinces were controlled by Kinlaza who had been installed by Garcia and António. Álvaro VIII decided to reassign his own supporters to these positions, and summoned all the provincial nobles to the capital. When Teodosio, the duke of Mbamba, refused to go, Álvaro VIII called on Marquis Pedro Nsimba a Ntamba of Mpemba to arrest him, and Pedro invaded Mbamba and killed Teodosio. But fearing a rebellion, Álvaro dispatched the Mwene Kilongo and Mwene Kabunga to attack Pedro Nsimba, but he defeated them. “Doing all he could do by force of arms,” and using the resources of Mbamba and Mpemba, Pedro Nsimba then attacked the capital and overthrew Álvaro VIII. Restoring Kinlaza supremacy, he had the elector Mwene Vunda and canon Estevão Castanho crown him King Pedro III in 1669.83 The Kinlaza coup provoked a counterattack from Soyo. Paulo II threw Soyo’s army behind another Kimpanzu candidate, who promptly occupied the capital and was crowned in January 1670 as Álvaro IX Mpanzu a Nsivila. Pedro III managed to escape to a hilltop fortress just south of the Congo River called Mbula, and continued his claim as king of Kongo from there.84 As it happened, Mbula was not far from where Lukeni lua Nimi, the first king of Kongo, had started his career two centuries earlier. During his brief reign, Pedro III had given his own marquisate of Mpemba to a certain Rafael Nzinga a Nkanga when he became king, and when Paulo II’s Soyo army came to São Salvador Rafael fled to Mbumbi (the trading town in Mbamba where the Portuguese won a victory in 1622). From that vantage point, he asked the newly arrived governor of Angola, Francisco de Távora, to assist him in retaking the throne. 83

84

“Relação dos Sucessos do Congo,” ca. 1670, MMA 14: 244–245. The original document, probably written by a Kongo then in Luanda, in AHU, Cx. 8, was considered on 20 June 1673, probably why Brásio gave it the date of 1673, but it stops with the as yet unrealized attack by Soyo in 1670. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 77–79. The date of Pedro’s overthrow would be before 15 March 1670 when Francisco de Távora wrote of his overthrow to the king of Portugal. He believed Pedro had been killed: MMA 14: 112–113.

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Ever hopeful that Kongo could be defeated and razed during a succession struggle, de Távora raised an army to support Rafael and crossed into Kongo territory. The Portuguese had identified Soyo as the source of the trouble in Kongo, and so the army, supported by a naval force, moved along the coast toward Soyo.85 De Távora’s army included a contingent of Rafael’s soldiers, and the former marquis was looking to restore the Kinlaza to the throne. The combined force won an important victory in Mbamba over Prince Paulo, who was killed in the encounter. His hopes raised, Rafael left the Portuguese and marched inland to the capital, where he defeated and killed Álvaro IX, restoring Kinlaza rule once again. Flush with their victory over Soyo’s army, the Portuguese force advanced steadily northward into Soyo, far deeper into Kongo territory than any Portuguese army had ever dared go. But Paulo’s brother and successor Estevão I da Silva were prepared. Luring the overextended Portuguese army into Mfinda Ngula, much as his predecessors had lured Garcia II’s armies there, he decisively defeated the force at Kitombo on 18 October 1670, with the almost complete annihilation of the Portuguese army.86 The Italian Capuchin Francesco da Licodia was said to have heard the news of the first victory, and said, “Our Lady is sad, for it is not good to make war against Christians, tomorrow the news will come that all are dead.” That is exactly what happened.87 Girolamo Merolla heard some years later that Soyo’s victorious soldiers offered captured Portuguese the option of becoming slaves in Soyo or being killed, and they replied proudly that “whites will never serve blacks”; they were then put to death.88 Even when in the depths of civil war, Kongo troops could still defeat the most powerful of Portuguese armies. An overextended Kongo army had lost at Mbwila far from their homes, but fighting on home ground, Kongo remained invincible. Kongo nobility could pull together to take on a foreign threat from Angola, but they tore themselves apart in the developing lengthy and sporadic civil war. While the Kimpanzu and Kinlaza had been trading kings in São Salvador, Afonso, who had taken refuge in the Kanda Mountains in 85 86

87 88

Francisco de Távora to Regent D. Pedro, 15 March 1670, MMA 14: 112–114. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 79–81; the best primary account is Cadornega, História, 2: 266–285. APF SRC Congo 1, fols. 222–222v, Inquest into the life of Francesco da Licodia, 1684. Girolamo Merolla da Sorrento, Breve e succinta relatione del viaggio del Congo (Naples, 1692), pp. 125–126.

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1666, also had at least a claim on the throne. Afonso was a Kinlaza, but had taken Appolonia, a Kimpazu, as his wife. Now in 1670, their son Garcia Nkanga Mvemba claimed the throne as Garcia III, and his descendants would in turn take the surname Agua Rosada, a composite family that would contest the throne with the Kimpanzu and Kinlaza. Garcia III’s declaration was made in Kimbangu, a peak in the Kanda Mountains that his father had occupied since 1665, but he made no immediate move to stake his claim by attacking and occupying São Salvador.89

THE END OF MPUNGU A NDONGO Njinga’s death in 1663 set up a significant succession struggle, that would match the Imbangala faction against the legitimist faction, and then within the legitimist faction itself. The immediate crisis was delayed when Njinga’s sister Barbara succeeded her, but Barbara was already old and died on 24 March 1666. Her husband, Njinga Mona, leader of the Imbangala, then took power as her widower, even having a possessed xingula channel Queen Njinga’s spirit to proclaim him. But few in Njinga’s government would accept the Imbangala faction for long, and the royal council, led by Antonio, expelled him almost immediately, and eventually crowned João Guterres in 1669. But João died himself in 1670 and Njinga Mona reemerged to challenge the succession of João’s eldest son Luis Guterres as king, forcing him into exile. There, the disappointed king appealed to the Portuguese to assist him, citing the very clause in the 1656 treaty that Njinga had included to insure that “slaves” did not succeed her, but they did not help. The legitimist cause was taken up by António, who had earlier stepped aside in favor of Luis Guterres. Although António succeeded in defeating Njinga Mona, the royal council ultimately opted for João Guterres’s eldest son Francisco to succeed in 1671 as Francisco I Guterres Ngola Kanini instead of Antonio.90

89

90

Cadornega, História, 3: 304 (Cadornega’s marginal note, 172); Pedro Mendes’s retrospective account, 2 January 1710 in Paiva Manso, História do Congo (Documentos) (Lisbon, 1877), p. 350 (mistaking Ana Afonso de Leão as his mother; I have preferred Cadornega’s identification on the strength of his contemporality); Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, p. 82. This complicated story is worked out in Fernando Campos, “Conflitos na dinastia Guterres a través da sua cronologia,” Africa (São Paulo) 27–28 (2006–2007): 23–43, 30, and from the original sources: Cadornega, História, 2: 219–224, 247–258, 295–297, 354–356; and Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 6, nos. 130–137.

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Even as Njinga’s succession settled affairs in Matamba, the larger and longer-lasting crisis of the fate of Ndongo was playing out. Felipe Hari a Ngola, ruler of Mpungu a Ndongo and Njinga’s longtime rival, wished to settle his own affairs with Portugal. Noting the length and loyalty of his service to Portugal, particularly in the Dutch war, he had begun demanding back in 1653 that the Crown aid him in recovering some 10,000 kijikos who had been usurped from his lands. This complicated usurpation took place through the marriage of a Portuguese settler named António Texeira de Mendonça to a Ndongo princess in Ambaca. The case was long and complicated, and involved a lawsuit by the now deceased Texeira de Mendonça’s second wife, a mixed-race Luso-African named Ana de São Miguel, claiming these kijikos as her private property. The queen regent of Portugal thought the case unworthy, and in 1654 duly ordered that they be restored to Mpungu a Ndongo. The order was delayed, however, and Ana de São Miguel managed to get the case referred to common litigation in 1661. While the ultimate finding is not known, the court probably eventually ruled in her favor.91 It seems likely that this troubling outcome also alienated King Felipe. When Felipe I died in 1664, his son João II Ngola Hari decided to press harder to assert himself, knowing that Njinga’s death in late 1663 might lead to Ndongo-Matamba being distracted as they worked out the problems of succession. He immediately claimed that as a Portuguese vassal he had the right to despoil vassals and former territories of Ndongo that were now being claimed by Portuguese. First he claimed Ngoleme a Kakombe on the south shore of the Kwanza, and then Dembo a Pe, as Ndongo’s territory. He also began a major project of fortifying the district of Mpungu a Ndongo, a massive rock formation that he managed to make accessible only through two portals. Portugal was hard pressed to respond to this challenge, as its army had been deployed to fight Soyo in the disastrous war of 1670, but the Portuguese had some advantages in the situation. Thanks to Kasanje’s raiding, they had been able to build some alliances south of the Kwanza. They had developed an alliance with Gunza Mbambe, styled the Lord of Hako and Tamba, who had been attacked by Kasanje in 1657.

91

For more detail see José Curto, “A restituição de 10.000 súditos Ndongo ‘roubados’ na Angola de meados do século XVII: uma análise preliminar,” in Isabel Castro Henriques (ed.), Escravadura e transfromações culturais: África-Brasil-Caraíbas (Lisbon, 2001), pp. 185–208.

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Considering how to respond to this, Gunza Mbambe’s council decided to accept vassalage of Portugal, since it was better to have the “tyranny of robbery” under the Portuguese, not “of blood” from Kasanje.92 De Távora sent Luis Lopes de Sequeira, the victor of Mbwila, to Ambaca with the remaining soldiers to conduct a war of raids and disruption against João. Diplomatic maneuvering followed as João hoped that he could count on regional support, and Njinga Mona, then briefly in control of Matamba for his second time, agreed to assist João against the Portuguese. Gunza Mbambe, though a vassal of Portugal, also threw in his lot with João. But Njinga Mona’s position was precarious, for the legitimist party, led by Francisco I Ngola Kanini, proposed an alliance with the Portuguese to oust the Imbangala leader. As a result, Njinga Mona had to quit Mpungu a Ndongo to attend to this threat, leaving João vulnerable. As it happened, Portuguese discovered careless garrisoning of the entranceways to the fortress, and on 29 November 1671 managed to penetrate it. A desperate struggle ensued among the massive rocks, and in the end João was defeated and fled to Haku, but Gunza Mbambe, not wishing to face a Portuguese attack alone, turned the king over to Lopes de Sequeira.93 With the fall of Mpungu a Ndongo, decades of Portuguese expansion into Ndongo and civil war that began with the struggle over who would succeed Ngola Mbande in 1624 drew to an end. Ndongo had been divided between Njinga’s allies and descendants who ruled a new kingdom called Ndongo-Matamba that controlled the eastern reaches of the old kingdom of Ndongo to the Kwango River. Her rivals for that throne from the old faction based in Mpungu a Ndongo had now become firmly attached to the Portuguese, and the fortress they built there made up their eastern border, and its presidio.

KASANJE The various Imbangala alliances had ultimately spawned Portugal’s most powerful and reliable ally in Kasanje to counterbalance NdongoMatamba. Kasanje had been inactive during the Dutch war, or at least had not sent forces to either the Portuguese or the Dutch, though its hostility to Njinga may have impacted her movements. Kasanje was 92 93

MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” vol. B, pp. 475–481. Cadornega, História, 2: 224–225, 245–251, 298–325.

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gradually transforming from a mobile war camp into a settled state at the time, establishing a more permanent town at Polongolo in the late 1650s. In the process, it had also established a territorial base through conquests of neighboring areas, and continued raiding and selling slaves from among those they captured. Once established in their territory, Kasanje intellectuals fashioned a history for themselves, which in the 1650s began with the wandering life of Zimbo, held to be their original leader, who built his first kingdom on the banks of the Cunene River, or the southern part of the Central Highlands, perhaps the general origin of other Imbangala bands. There Zimbo sent out his captains, and one of them, named Ndonji, occupied a space along the Kwango River in Matamba, and married a local woman named Musasa. This marriage produced Tembo Andumba, who in turn married Zimbo and gave birth to the second Tembo Andumba, the mother of Kasanje’s band, who introduced its customs of infanticide and cannibalism. The story does not match very well the course of the Imbangala movements in general as can be traced from written records, but it does create a place for various founding ancestors, such as Ndonji and Tembo Andumba, of previous groups in the region. As such it served as a new charter for a new kingdom. From this beginning, through other adventures, the group eventually came into the hands of Kasanje Kalunga ka Kinguri, the Imbangala leader who joined Luis Mendes de Vasconcelos in 1617.94 His career, first in Portuguese service, then as a temporary ally of Njinga, and finally as leader of an independent predatory group and enemy of Njinga, is well documented. From the 1630s Kasanje had begun building its territory from the base in the southern end of the Baixa de Cassange, the lowlands along the Kwanza River. The Capuchin missionary Antonio da Serravezza encapsulated their history up to the 1650s as “making unjust war against all his neighbors,” including the lands of “Queen Zinga of Matamba, the Provinces of Lubolo, Bembe, Oacco [Haku], Songhe [Songo] and others.”95 Kasanje’s forces operated on both banks of the Kwango 94

95

Cavazzi collected historical tales from the elite of Kasanje in the last half of the 1650s, combined them with some speculations of his own, and produced the only evidence of how Kasanje saw its history at the time: MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, Book 1, pp. 10–24, and a slightly different version in Istorica Descrizione, Book 2, nos. 1–4. APC Firenze, Filippo Bernardi da Firenze, “Ragguagli del Congo . . ., ” MS of ca. 1720, p. 383. This historical text made use of a number of now lost Capuchin reports from 1645 to 1720.

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River; one expedition resulted in a battle against the Yaka kingdom, located further north and east of the Kwango. Nbangu a Kutana kwa Mbuka, the son of the Yaka ruler, Kutana kwa Mbuka, fell into Kasanje’s hands when he led an expedition against the Imbangala, but was set free to serve as an ambassador between the two countries.96 Kasanje’s western reach extended to the lands of Gunza Mbambe, who sought Portuguese aid to hold Kasanje off in 1657, but by 1672 Gunza Mbambe had settled an alliance with Kasanje, which in turn alienated Portugal.97 Gunza Mbambe moved closer to Kasanje in following years, and indeed would later play a role in Kasanje’s royal family. Portuguese forces attacked Gunza Mbambe’s western neighbor Libolo, and penetrated deeply into the interior behind him in 1677–1678, but could not control the region.98 Another attack on Libolo in 1687 was an attempt to restore a refugee brother of the ruling Gunza Mbambe, named António, with similar limited results.99 Although these military campaigns brought spoils, Kasanje built most of its kingdom after about 1640 to the south and west. The area included areas called Ngangela (a Kimbundu word, slightly pejorative, meaning a foreign region), Malemba, or Songo, and by 1655 they had made substantial conquests there. All of these operations had created a multi-ethnic society in Kasanje: Pasqual Fernandez Quemba, the notary in Kasanje’s court, had to know many languages, “Congo, Abundo, Cotintinem, that of Quiâca, Ambundo [Umbundu] and the language of Cassange,” which only differed from Kimbundu (Abondo) by a few words.100 Ngangela was described as the high open and flat highlands that lay between the Kwango and the rough highlands of the central and coastal region. Kasanje’s near neighbors, between the Kwango and the Kwanza, were larger and perhaps more centrally integrated states than in the mountainous region of the Western Highlands. In 1650 the northern part of the plain was dominated by Bembe, a large province 96

97

98

99 100

APC Firenze, da Firenze, “Ragguaglio,” pp. 392–393; and da Serravezza’s letter, fols. 8–8v, who calls his country Quiâca and gives his name as nBangu a Cutâna Cuambûca. Archivio Generale dei Cappuccini, AB 75, Giovanni Belotti da Romano, “Le Giornate apostoliche . . . (1680)”, pp. 205–209. Archivio Generale dei Cappuccini, AB 75, Belotti, “Giornate,” p. 559; Cadornega, História, 2: 398, 409–414; AHU, Cx. 11, doc 235 (now Cx. 12, doc. 1449), an argument about spoils from this war in November 1679. Da Silva Corrêa, História, 2: 309. APC Firenze, da Serravezza letter, fol. 8.

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that bordered the Kwanza River on the east, and was divided into upper and lower portions, and Songo, which bordered it on the west, ultimately ruled by Ngola Kabanje. Bembe represented the eastern extent of the Umbundu language that Fernandez Quemba knew, which predominated on the Highlands in general. When Kasanje invaded in 1657 on his way to Gunza Mbambe’s domain, he cut off the heads of eighteen sobas, probably not the entire domain of Ngola Kabanje.101 The western end of Bembe’s domains, also on the plain, was dominated by the “powerful soba” Wambu.102 Wambu, also a notable highlands power in the mid-seventeenth century, was famous in the early eighteenth century for forcing Portuguese merchants in his territory to assist in his wars and be subject to his jurisdiction.103 In the southern part of the highlands Ngola Njimbo dominated lands that were located near the source of the Keve River and the upper reaches of the Catumbela. He decisively defeated Portuguese expeditions to punish him for disrupting their trade in 1629 and again in the 1640s. He bore the title “Great Feque,” which was said to mean “Great Lord,” and was the principal interior power for most of the century, defeating another Portuguese army in 1648.104 His title might well be the ancestor of the Njimbo whom the Kasanje claimed as their founder. In the southern part of the plains a much more important power, Muzumbu a Kalungu, dominated an area that stretched from the northeastern sources of the Cunene River to the Kwanza, and was noted from the late 1620s until shortly after 1800.105 The Portuguese did not penetrate to this region following Lopo Soares Lasso’s fatal and failed attack in 1629, and because of this, there is little to say about his domain; when Kasanje’s forces engaged him he was able to defeat

101

102

103

104

105

Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione Book 1, para. 23; on Bembe speaking Umbundu, MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, MS B, p. 475. Cadornega, Historia, 1: 249. This is the earliest reference to Wambu in a written source. Gladwyn Murray Childs, using traditions collected in 1924, traces the ruling family back to the early seventeenth century, though the argument is substantially speculative: “The Kingdom of Wambu: A Tentative Chronology,” Journal of African History 5 (1964): 367–379; some modifications in “Chronology,” pp. 242–243. AHU, Cx. 29, doc. 68, Lucas Antonio Puga Dantas e Vasconcellos, 7 November 1736 (Wambu). Cadornega, História, 2: 42, 45–46, 241. See also 3: 250 (for the title Grande Feque) Cadornega’s information probably dated from earlier than the final draft of his book. Cadornega, História, 1: 176 (for the expedition of Lopo Soares Lasso to the region where he met his end in 1629).

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them at first, but eventually yielded some of his territory.106 Nevertheless, Muzumbu a Kalungu was Kasanje’s southern neighbor by century’s end. The Portuguese government sought to support the substantial community of Portuguese merchants established in Kasanje’s capital, as well as try to evangelize the country and regularize relations. In 1655 the Portuguese arranged for the Capuchin Antonio da Serravezza to go; Kasanje ka Kinguri had specifically requested an African priest from Ndongo, but none could be found willing to risk the mission. Da Serravezza managed to persuade Kasanje ka Kinguri to be baptized in 1657, taking the name of Pasqual Machado. The Capuchin, however, had very little success with getting anyone to follow Christian precepts apart from the Portuguese residents.107 A second mission by Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi in 1660 was equally fruitless. Cavazzi carried a series of demands: that Kasanje order the killing of newborn infants be stopped, that human sacrifice and cannibalism be outlawed, and that the traditional priests be expelled. He was met with flat and unmitigated refusal, with the Kasanje elite using “very indecent words which the interpreter did not wish to relate.” Going point by point, they refused to give up anything of their life and customs, their traditional healers, or other things that marked them as unique, ironically agreeing to give up cannibalism “except in time of war.” Finally, Kasanje ka Kinguri himself said, “Father, we have conquered these Gangello Provinces and others without this Zambi of yours called Deus [God], and without him we shall do the same in future as we have in the past.”108 The Portuguese still insisted that Kasanje have missionaries whenever possible, but those who did go found it expedient to respect Kananje’s values. The Third Order Franciscans, who ended up in change of this work, were prepared for the task. Luiz de Encarnação, who arrived in Kasanje in 1676, became so close to them that he was 106

107

108

Cadornega, História, 3: 178–179. Muzumbu a Kalungu was a neighbor of Kasanje in 1756: Manoel Correia Leitão, “Viagem que eu, sargento mor dos moradores . . . fiz . . ., ” in Eva Sebastyén and Jan Vansina (ed. and trans.), “Angola’s Eastern Hinterland in the 1750’s: A Text edition and Translation of Manoel Correia Leitão’s ‘Voyage’,” History in Africa 26 (1999): 299–364, fol. 12v, additional details in AUC VI-3–2-13, doc. 204, “Fronteiras ao Cassange, e seus antigos inimigos . . . .” APC Firenze, Letter of Antonio da Serravezza; da Firenze, “Ragguaglio,” pp. 381– 404; Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 7, nos. 37–45. Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 7, nos. 45–62; MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” Book 3, pp. 13–22, quoting in extenso his letter to the prefect of 25 August 1660 (both cover the same material with differences of detail).

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considered apostate by the order, and refused to return to the faith. However, in 1693, following the war in Mbwila, Kasanje agreed to return the wayward priest, who managed, in captivity, to rediscover his faith.109

THE WESTERN HIGHLANDS The Central Highlands of Angola were marked on their northern and western end by steep cliffs that rose dramatically from the coastal lowlands, and the interior within these cliffs was itself also demarcated by rugged mountainous terrain, which made a break with the more powerful and centralized states on the plains to the east, the Ngangela region. Within the Western Highlands, larger integrated political units would be hard to form, as locally fortified locations held out against centralizing tendencies. Typically the territorial divisions were not exactly integrated states, but a large group of sobas who controlled local polities, usually dominated by a single powerful soba. Such a soba was unlikely to have an integrated state with an apparatus of taxation and control, but rather served as a local leader against outside threats and perhaps collected tribute. The northern province of Sumbe was dominated by Kitukulu ka Kariondo, with his headquarters in the province of Selles (replacing the early seventeenth-century region of Mbala), within the mountains. The southern part of Sumbe, at the source of the Kuvo River, was dominated by Kiteki ki Mbangela in a territory that included twenty-two lesser sobas.110 But here too, there was contestation from a soba named Zamba, who claimed to rule at least a part of another district. Beyond these lords, a number of Imbangala bands, on both banks of the Cuval River, intervened in the affairs of the sobas around them.111 One of the most important of these bands was that of Lulembe, who, it was said in 1645, “had conquered from here to Mozambique.”112 109

110

111 112

“Relação dos religiosos . . ., ” 1692, MMA 14: 331 (mentioned but not by name in “Relaçao das Igrejas e Clero do Reino de Angola,” 4 April 1690, MMA 14: 189). Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 1, para. 22; Cadornega, História, 2: 44; also 3: 252. Beatrix Heintze argues that this soba was the core of the old kingdom of Benguela: “Wer War der ‘König’ van Banguela?” Cadornega, História, 1: 334–335. Diary of Sottomaior (May–September 1645), MMA 9: 374; see also Cadornega, História, 1: 345.

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The Portuguese, either from Angola or from the outpost at Benguela, also sought to play the role of dominant leader. Sometimes this was simply through alliance, as was the case with Rimba’s territory, divided into twenty-two armed militia units.113 Further inland, near the source of the Ngango River, was the district of Tambo, whose twelve sobas did not have a dominant head, and perhaps this is why they accepted Portugal as their lord, and accepted baptisms in 1658. Cabesso, which lay along the Longa River inland from Kisama, was led by Malamba a Hoji, who also accepted baptism as Pedro in 1657.114 Vassalage, as the Portuguese described their domination, was more or less the same as those districts where there was a dominant soba, and involved little in the way of governance or revenue.

ANGOLA AND BENGUELA As the Dutch evacuated and Portugal reestablished its domains, the wild period of warfare settled down, and Portuguese Angola took its shape. Angola now stretched inland for a great distance but was still ultimately anchored on the Kwanza River, and had proved incapable of taking in the Dembos, Kongo, or the petty states of Kisama south of the river. Both the defeat in Kongo and the victory in Ndongo showed the Portuguese precisely how far they could expect to expand beyond those lines. Outside Luanda, the Luso-Africans were anchored on the various Portuguese government posts and forts, from Massangano, recognized by the Portuguese Crown as a vila in 1676, eastwards to Ambaca, and the post of Mpungu a Ndongo, erected in the former town of King João II. They provided the basic military manpower to conduct the wars that supported Portuguese expansion, though those who had participated were feeling exhausted. Better prospects awaited those with access to transport to Luanda and the coast, who could engage in large-scale grain farming for the urban market and to feed the armies of slaves being exported through the city. This trade was necessarily very extensive, in 1674 Massangano exported 30,000 bags of grain down the Kwanza to

113 114

Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 1, para. 22; MSS Araldi, MS B, p. 525. Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 1, para. 27; MSS Araldi, MS B, p. 532 (the correct date: Istorica Descrizione has 1658); both write the name “Malamba aogi.”

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Luanda, along with tobacco, cotton, fruit, cattle, and the like; while another 30,000 bags came from the arimos along the Dande.115 Angola’s cultural and religious life had become more stable following the restoration of Portuguese rule. Capuchin missionaries who had come to Africa at the request of Kongo’s king, and arrived there during the Dutch war, moved in to Angola in the years following 1648. They played an important role, as we have seen, in reestablishing peace with Njinga, but as in Kongo they also began denouncing the practices in the Portuguese-controlled areas of Angola. They found there a degree of survival of the original religion that matched that of Kongo, and set out to denounce it. Cavazzi, who worked extensively in the Portuguese territories and followed its armies on campaign, made catalogs of “idols” and a detailed description of what would be considered traditional religious practice.116 Jesuit Manuel Ribeiro, traveling along the Bengo River to Kahenda in 1673, found himself engulfed in theological debates with local people who accepted some but not all of Christian doctrine, and were comfortable confronting him.117 The Capuchins were on the offensive, however, as Giovanni Botero da Romano was in the later 1670s. His account amounts to a war on “idols,” which he records destroying at every turn in Massangano, Ambaca, and Mpungu a Ndongo. He was shocked at the impunity of the local population, and noted that one man who lived and was “educated among the Portuguese” built a very public shrine dedicated to his dead father.118 He was equally concerned that he observed even whites following African customs – in one case, dancing in a “diabolic” way to African music.119 While the victory at Mbwila may have helped the Portuguese sense of pride, it had serious implications for Angola as it did for Kongo. Kongo had banned Portuguese traders from the country after the battle of

115

116

117

118

119

Library of Congress, Portuguese MSS P-27, fol. 153, “Advertencias mais modernos e particulares . . . ao Reyno de Congo, e Angola,” n.d., ca. 1674; for detailed geographical notes, see Cadornega, História, 3: 5–185, for about 1680. While Cavazzi’s published Istorica Descrizione blends Angolan and Kongolese practices together and presents them as a single system, the Araldi Manuscript’s section on religious culture is wholly dedicated to Mbundu practices, usually in the area under Portuguese control. “Carta da missaõ que fizeraõ o P. Manoel Ribejro . . . anno de 1672 para o de 1673,” MMA 13: 252–271. Archivio Generale dei Cappuccini, AB 75, Belotti, “Giornate,” passim; on the man erecting a shrine, see p. 636. Archivio Generale dei Cappuccini, AB 75, Belotti, “Giornate,” p. 293.

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Mbwila, and the civil wars that racked the country made regular trade difficult. The interior markets in eastern Kongo proved to be too difficult to reach, and as a result the cloth trade from that area declined.120 In addition to hurting Portuguese financial arrangements, whereby their stock of nzimbu shells could be sold for cloth in the northeast of Kongo, the drop in trade also curtailed the use of enslaved porters from that area who could be sold as slaves in the Atlantic.121 Considering that the Songo and Kundi cloth was valid currency in Angola, a decrease in its importation had implications there.122 The problem first presented itself at the end of the Dutch war when the Portuguese were seeking to return to normal trade. They had adopted the expedient of using monetary cloth from Loango, called makuta, and the Kongo cloth currency, libongo. This cloth, however, was not up to the demands of daily use; it wore out quickly and merchants refused to accept worn pieces.123 Soldiers and officials, paid in this money, saw their salaries drop in real value.124 As the trade with the east declined further the process became acute, and merchants and soldiers demanded that the Crown mint copper money which would have international value.125 To that end, there was lengthy discussion about where local sources of copper could be found.126 Copper money was officially introduced in 1694. However, the copper coins were priced to make a profit, and this was at the expense of the army, which revolted, forcing a revocation of the plan the 120 121

122

123

124

125

126

Francisco de Távora to Prince Regent Pedro, 15 March 1670, MMA 13: 113. Hilton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 164–165 sees the end of the cloth trade as cutting Kongo off from the Atlantic economy; Green, A Fistful of Shells, pp. 230–232 takes this argument farther in seeing the ruin of Kongo. The best treatments of the Portuguese financial and tax policies are found in Joseph C. Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730–1830 (Madison, 1988), pp. 245–283. BML Cod. 6 fols. 25v–30, Memoria of the Camara of Luanda to Antonio Moreira and Manoel Evangelista, 24 May 1679 (for a survey of history up to then); AHU, Cx. 13, doc. 1589 (old Cx. 13, doc. 9, Consulta do Conselho Ultramarino, 8 October 1685). Green, A Fistful of Shells, pp. 230–232 sees textile trade in this period differently, arguing that Kongo only turned to eastern cloth when it could not get slaves there; also the problems of cloth currency in Angola from outside imports. BML Cod. 6, fols. 107–108v, Requerimento of conselho de Angola to Salvador Correa de Sa e Benevides, 9 January 1652; fols. 151–152v, Registro of Bando on Libongos, 17 September 1658. AHU, Cx. 7, doc. 864 (old Cx. 5, doc. 93), ca. 1663, Camara of Luanda to King, ca. 1663; Cx. 12, doc. 1464 (old Cx. 12, doc. 20), Consulta of Conselho Ultramarino, 16 July 1680, on replacing cloth with copper currency. King to Governor of Angola, 30 June 1666, MMA 13: 34.

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next year.127 Ultimately the solution did not rest so much on having copper currency as having a viable textile currency that would be as useful in the African-controlled areas as it was in Angola. Imported textiles from Europe and India found a market along with the traditional African products to make up some of the shortfalls from the northeastern textile imports.128 Although administered as a separate domain, Benguela was also a part of this presence, though barely touched by the drama of the Dutch war. In much of the seventeenth century it was considered a backwater. While it was not entirely peaceful, it was not a significant sources of slaves, its lands being primarily seen as a source of cattle, salt, and copper. The town itself was as much a trading post as a colony.129

SOYO AS A REGIONAL POWER Kongo continued to be unstable despite Soyo’s victory over the Portuguese at Kitombo in 1670. Soyo, however, remained very stable itself, which allowed its rulers to interfere openly in Kongo’s politics on the basis of being an elector. The da Silva family effectively controlled the whole territory; when he took office in 1670 following his victory at Kitombo, most of Prince Estevão II da Silva de Castro’s relatives were controlling a dozen appointive, limited-term marquisates (four of which were designated as electors) that made up the local territorial organization, as well as military and bureaucratic offices.130 Estevão II’s victory at Kitombo bolstered Soyo’s claims to determine kings of Kongo. Spoils from the battle of Kitombo and trading with Dutch merchants had given Soyo a large artillery park. In addition, war captives had swelled Mbanza Soyo to an impressive town with some 30,000 residents sprawled across a large area in more than thirty distinct

127 128

129 130

Da Silva Corrêa, História, 2: 321–323. Selma Gonçalves Santos, “Comércio dos tecidos Europeus e Asiátiacos na África Centro-Occidental: Fraudes e contrabando no terceiro quartel do século XVIII,” (Ph.D., University of Lisbon, 2014), pp. 23–65 for the initial organization. Candido, African Slaving Port, pp. 89–92. Antonio Zucchelli da Gradisca, Relazioni del viaggio e missioni del Congo . . . (Venice, 1712), pp. 148–149. This reflects the situation at the end of the seventeenth century, but while Zucchelli cites four electors, Merolla held there were nine in the 1680s: Breve e succinta relatione, p. 152.

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settlements.131 Soyo, like Kongo before it, raised its strength through concentrating population, even as it sold slaves abroad. The increasing Dutch connection led Estevão II to decide to break his relationship with the Capuchins, who had been compromised by their own connection to Angola, and sought to strengthen his religious relationship with the Catholic Low Countries. In 1671 Estevão II sent Lourenço Luis de Capella as ambassador to the Low Countries to secure alternative priests.132 The mission was successful, and a party of Dutch-speaking Recollet missionaries was dispatched, eventually reaching the coast in 1673. In the meanwhile, Estevão began pressuring the Capuchins, who issued a series of excommunications against him. In addition to meddling in Kongo Estevão’s expansion of Soyo allowed it to reach across the Congo River to expand its interests in Ngoyo, Kakonda, and Loango, particularly since these countries now had strong commercial ties with Dutch, French, and English slave traders. He proposed that Capuchin missionaries go north of the river, and in April several went to begin work there, though the mission only lasted a few months.133 When Estevão II died in August, 1672, his successor Pedro II da Silva de Castro continued pressing the Capuchins, who responded with more excommunications, and when the Recollets arrived, Pedro accused the Capuchins of witchcraft by claiming that they used some “relic” to hold back the rain, as the county was experiencing a prolonged drought. He also hinted that the Capuchins were colluding with Luanda. He summoned all the priests to his palace, but excused the recently arrived Recollet priests, and then summarily and roughly expelled the Capuchins from his lands.134 They went across the Congo River to Kakongo, and while there managed to preach and baptize some 400 children.135 While the tight government put the administration under his family, it did not prevent family feuds from coming up. Pedro II da Silva’s elder 131 132

133

134

135

Thornton, “Demography and History,” p. 518. Jadin, “Rivaltés luso-néerlandaises,” for a study and French translations of considerable documentation. See also Luitfried Hansen, De eerste Vlaamse Franciscanen naar Kongo (1672–1675) (St-Truiden, 1975). APF SRC Congo 1, fol. 9v, “Come io Fra Giuseppe Maria da Busseto . . . lo stato delli Missioni di Congo,” June 1677. APF Acta 46, meeting of 4 February 1676, fol. 43; APF SOCG 457, Andrea da Buti, “Successe notabile che occorse nella Missione in Sogno . . ., ” n.d., ca. 1675, fol. 372. APF SRC Congo 1, fols. 294–296, Crisostomo da Genova to PF, 2 June 1674; APF SOCG 457, fols. 365 and 374, Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi to PF, 25 June 1674.

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brother, who the electors had passed up as prince, but still was marquis of Kiova, tried to overthrow him. In spite of their mother’s efforts at a reconciliation, the brother brought an army to the capital and, fearing he was lost, Pedro II da Silva fled to an island in the Congo River. But the nobility rallied against the brother and, after a brief battle, killed the would-be usurper. However, instead of reinstalling Pedro, who had become unpopular, the electors chose another brother, Paulo III da Silva, to be prince.136 Paulo III decided against replacing the Capuchins, made good with them, and invited them back to Soyo, while cooling to the Recollets to the point that they withdrew. If Paulo abandoned his predecessor’s attempt to gain a neutral clergy from an allied country, he did not abandon the alliance itself. In 1675 he wrote a letter to the Dutch States General proposing an extensive alliance, the building of a Dutch factory, and mutual defense.137

THE DESTRUCTION OF SÃO SALVADOR Since the earliest documented periods of its history Kongo had had regular civil wars over the throne, but it had also managed to limit their destruction and eventually regain its stability. The emergence of Soyo as a regional power, and its unity and military strength, altered the alignments that made recovery possible. Soyo’s power and centralization allowed it to promote Kimpanzu interests in Kongo, a role its leaders were only too willing to undertake. But they were not strong enough, or committed enough to Kongo’s rebuilding, to sustain their kings against the Kinlaza who controlled the rest of the country. The Kinlaza, for their part, were not quite united enough to keep Soyo from overthrowing Kinlaza rulers and electing Kimpanzu kings. The result was an endless civil war that saw no resolution for the last quarter of the seventeenth century and into the eighteenth century that wrecked the country, depopulated its capital, and enriched the export slave trade.138

136 137

138

APF Congo 1, fols. 14–14v, Giuseppe da Busseto, “Como io . . ., ” June 1677. NAN, Staten Generaal 5768, Paulo da Silva to States General, n.d. (letter mentions 1675, and was read on 18 August 1676). The letter confirms that he ruled longer than the one year that Giuseppe da Busseto gave him. For the details and documentation for this period, see Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 80–83.

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The brief civil war in Soyo caused by the dethroning of Pedro II da Silva and Paulo III da Silva’s election in Soyo distracted its leadership from their role as power broker in Kongo enough to allow the Kinlaza king, Pedro III Nsimba a Ntamba, to attack Rafael, his former marquis of Mpemba, to stop him from capitalizing on the Portuguese alliance of 1670 to claim the throne. In 1672 he drove Rafael away from São Salvador but opted not to reside in the city, which then allowed Soyo’s Paulo III da Silva to place his own Kimpanzu candidate, Afonso II, on the throne. Afonso II died almost as soon as he was installed, but since the Kinlaza Pedro III Nsimba a Ntamba was uninterested in occupying the city, Afonso II’s son was crowned as Afonso III Mvemba a Nimi. Pedro III now intervened on behalf of the Kinlaza in 1674 and was able to defeat and kill Afonso III, but he was still not capable of defending the city. Paulo III da Silva died in 1675, and he was followed in office by his nephew Salvador da Silva, who lived only a short time. This situation only stabilized with the election of another of Paulo III da Silva’s nephews, Estevão II da Silva, in 1676.139 Pedro III Nsimba a Ntamba would not countenance this new challenge to Kinlaza claims and attacked the city in 1676. Soyo’s newly installed Estevão II da Silva intervened on Afonso III’s behalf, and although Pedro III had to fall back to Mbula, Afonso III was killed in the fighting and replaced by nephew Daniel I Miala mia Zimbwila, the marquis of Mpemba, thus leaving the Kimpanzu still on the throne.140 The city of São Salvador, which had held one-fifth of Kongo’s population at the time Garcia II ruled Kongo, had been reduced to a small town of some 3,000 by 1670, so that Mbanza Soyo, with 30,000, was now the largest population center in Kongo. Soyo had protected

139

140

APF SRC Congo 1, fol. 14, Busseto, “Come io . . . .” Busseto’s recollections in this document (from 1677) do not provide a sure chronology, especially as we know that Paulo III ruled at least until the end of 1675 (not just a year), but Salvador was ruling in April 1676, when he left. Merolla, Breve e succinta relatione, p. 102 noted that Antonio II Baretto da Silva was ruling when he arrived in 1683 and his predecessor was Estevão da Silva. Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 2: 126, 171 gave the date of his succession as 1680, possible but not supported by documentation. APF SRC Congo 1, fol. 9, “Come io . . . ” (Daniel had not yet been crowned when da Busseto left on 14 April 1676); Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 81–83; Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 2: 32–33. Pedro Mendes’s name for him, “Nemialla Miagimbuilla” (checked against the original MS in the Biblioteca Pública d’Évora, CXV/2–5, num. 10, fol. 23), would be Ne Miala mia Zimbwila.

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three Kimpanzu kings against Pedro III’s challenges from the Kinlaza. It seemed unlikely that he could prevail in any more wars. Pedro III’s retreat to Mbula convinced Daniel that he was safe from the Kinlaza, so he decided that he should take the rest of the country in hand. He controlled a good deal, but the fortified mountain of Kibangu and areas around it were still in the hands of Garcia III, of the emerging Agua Rosada faction. But Daniel had misjudged the situation. Smarting from the setback that the Kimpanzu and Soyo had dealt him, Pedro III began to enlist Yaka from north of the Congo River to come to Mbula. These mercenary fighters had served for years to support either Loango or Great Makoko over control of Bukkameale, and in the 1650s began raiding Kongo. They targeted Nsundi in particular, and their raids became nearly annual in the in the 1650s. Their cannibalism made them more feared even than their military prowess, and at the same time cost Pedro legitimacy in the eyes of the general population. Nevertheless, Pedro III Nsimba a Ntamba would use these new forces to make up for the loss he had suffered in his attack on São Salvador.141 In 1678 Daniel marched his army to Kibangu to attack Garcia III, but before he reached the mountain, Pedro III’s forces, bolstered by the Jagas, sallied forth from Mbula, and defeated and killed him. Not content with killing his rival and destroying his army, Pedro III and the Jagas also thoroughly sacked São Salvador, whose remaining inhabitants fled, were killed, or were sold off as slaves. São Salvador was now deserted and given over to elephants, who finished the destruction by trampling the houses of the capital in search of bananas to eat.142 Kimpanzu survivors of the sack now fled to Soyo, and were given refuge in Soyo’s southern marquisate of Luvota. This remnant of the Kimpanzu was led by the eldest Kimpanzu female, Suzanna de Nóbrega, “daughter, sister and mother of three successive [Kimpanzu] kings,” and selected Daniel’s brother Manuel to be king should another strike from Soyo to take them back to the capital.143 As 1678 finished and São Salvador was abandoned to wild beasts, Kongo was left with three kings: the Kimpanzu Manuel, in Luvota; the Kinlaza Pedro III Nsimba a Ntamba, in Mbula; and Garcia III Agua 141

142 143

APC Toscana, Bernardi, “Ragguaglio”, p. 620: he is the “principal head of the Giaghi.” Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 82–83. For a discussion of who these kings were, see Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 164–165, fn. 66.

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Rosada, in Kibangu, each ruling from his own stronghold. Over the course of twelve years there had been a nearly constant alternation of rulers from the rival Kimpanzu and Kinlaza lineages, and many rulers had not been able to replace provincial leaders from their own factions; thus, the provinces were a patchwork of dukes and marquises who were either Kimpanzu or Kinlaza but not necessarily completely loyal to either one. Nevertheless, both Pedro III and Garcia III sought as best they could to consolidate control of the provinces around their capitals, and in time to allow outlying ones to go their own way, and indeed, by this time Nsundi was close to being more or less under permanent control of the Kimpanzu, who had been appointed by one of the shortlived Kimpanzu kings. With a political vacuum in Kongo now complete and the capital abandoned, Soyo had its own plans beyond returning the Kimpanzu to power once again in Kongo. Pedro III da Silva’s successor, Estevão II da Silva, who took office in late 1675 or early 1676, continued his efforts to the north. He had considerable existing support there, and used both secular and religious influence to move forward; these efforts were continued by his successor, António Baretto da Silva (elected around 1680). In 1681, when the Capuchin Paolo da Varezza was stranded in Loango, he met secretly with the son of the ill-fated Afonso (baptized in 1663), and baptized him as Miguel. The antipathy toward Christianity, or perhaps more specifically to his partisan position, made the neophyte unwilling to accept baptism in public to avoid being killed as his father had been.144 Estevão II’s chances in Ngoyo and Kakongo were more solid than they would be in the more distant and powerful Loango. Count Paulo I of Soyo had invaded Ngoyo in 1631 and put his own son on the throne, although the precise subsequent history is unknown.145 At some point in the past the count of Soyo had also been allowed one vote (of four) in Kakongo’s elections.146 Soyo’s influence in both Kakongo and Ngoyo was therefore strong, for when da Varezze went to Ngoyo the king, named Manuel da Silva, claimed to be a descendant of the Afonso of Loango who had converted in 1663, the surname “da Silva” probably being related to patronage one of the da Silva counts who followed 144

145 146

Paolo da Varezze, “Relatione,” fols. 122v–123, in Romain Rainero (ed.), Relatione della Missione fatta nel Regno di Congo per il Padre Fra Luca da Caltanisetta . . . sino alla fine del 1701 (Florence, 1972), pp. 458–78 (with original pagination marked). Merolla, Breve e succinta relatione, pp. 265–266. Da Varezze, “Relatione”; on the elector in Kakongo, see Merolla, Breve e succinta relatione, pp. 265–266.

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Daniel’s seizure of power in 1641. Ngoyo’s Manuel da Silva wanted to be baptized, but was prevented by a looming war with Kakongo which seemed hostile to Christianity.147 But if Kakongo was hostile to Christianity in 1681, that hostility did not last, for in 1687 the king of Kakongo wrote that “he and all his kingdom was disposed, and ready to receive the true Holy Faith of Christ,” which was backed up by a plan in which António II Baretto da Silva’s daughter would become his wife, and he agreed to cede to Soyo the island of Nzari a Kakongo, the only Congo River island that Soyo did not control. But the plan backfired when he died suddenly and Kakongo’s governor refused to turn the island over to Baretto da Silva’s new authority. Baretto da Silva acted decisively, occupied the islands by force, and installed a relative of his as king of Kakongo.148 Baretto da Silva also made a more direct approach to Ngoyo. Just as he was dealing with Kakongo, he claimed that Ngoyo’s ruler had insulted him, and declared war. Ngoyo’s ruler appealed to the English merchants in his country, and they landed marines and cannon to assist him. But Soyo’s army nevertheless stormed the works and drove the king from his country. The king begged forgiveness and Baretto da Silva accepted a humiliated embassy from Ngoyo.149 Northern affairs unfolded as Soyo was still engaged in the crisis in Kongo. In 1680, responding to the abandonment of São Salvador, the Capuchins, led by Filippo da Galese, Bishop Manuel da Navidade, and the governor of Angola, Aires de Saldanha e Menezes, proposed negotiating a general peace and restoration among the various factions. They hit upon Garcia III Agua Rosada in Kibangu as their choice, perhaps because he was descended from both the Kinlaza and Kimpanzu. The bishop sent a circular letter to the authorities in Kongo supporting this idea.150 The negotiations alarmed Pedro III Nsimba a Ntamba in Mbula, who would be left out in this proposed restoration, and in 1683 he made overtures to Antonio II Baretto da Silva to create an alliance with Soyo, asking if he could marry the sister of António II. Not only did António II 147

148

149

150

Da Varezze, “Relatione”; on the elector in Kakongo, see Merolla, Breve e succinta relatione, pp. 265–266. Merolla, Breve e succinta relatione, pp. 261–263. On 3 April 1692 Merolla wrote to the Propaganda Fide, transmitting letters from João II Baretto da Silva saying that the king of Kakongo was “a relative of his”: APF SRC Congo 2, fol. 572. Andrea da Pavia, “Viaggio Apostolico alle missione dell’ Africa . . . 1685,” fols. 95– 95v, in Carlo Toso (ed.), Africa di Andrea da Pavia (inedito del sec. XVII) (Rome, 2000), original pagination of MS marked. Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 2: 35–37 has a convincing reconstruction of the events.

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agree, he added that he might use his vote as elector to support him for the crown of Kongo. Pedro III moved his wedding party along the Congo River to be closer to Soyo and to avoid the possibility that Garcia III might attack him, and so fortified himself in a forest. But António II’s reply was a deception, for he was still too much allied to Kimpanzu interests to support a Kinlaza like Pedro III. While Pedro III was accompanied by just his wedding party and a small escort, Soyo’s party arrived in great numbers, stormed the woods, and killed Pedro.151 Half a century later the story would be retold as if Manuel, the Kimpanzu ex-king Daniel’s brother, accompanied the train dressed as António II’s sister, and killed Pedro III with a gun he had secreted into the litter carrying him.152 While not literally true, it was metaphorically apt. This treachery was not forgiven; Pedro III’s brother João II Nzuzi a Ntamba succeeded to the throne as João II, and conducted a successful war of revenge against Soyo, capturing its eastern province of Kiova kia Nza, only to lose it back when António II Baretto da Silva counterattacked.153 Then, to emphasize his lack of interest in the peace proposals from Angola, in 1684 João II made war on Garcia III Agua Rosada in Kibangu, but was defeated on 17 September 1684 and “lost his army, and saved his life by a horseshoe nail,” returning to Mbula in tatters. Garcia III did not have time to savor his victory, for he died shortly after returning and his brother André, who succeeded him, was dead of disease shortly after.154 António Baretto da Silva was distracted at this point by his initiatives to the north, including the war with Kakongo in 1687. But more to the point, Baretto da Silva’s captain general, his nephew, was challenged by another of his nephews, the son of his sister. Their private quarrel soon escalated into a virtual civil war. It was not long before other family members lined up with their forces, even though the count dismissed the whole affair as “the Barettos playing with each other,” and eventually settled the dispute.155 In 1690 Soyo, represented in Luanda by the Capuchin Andrea da Pavia, settled a peace treaty with Portugal, formally ending the war of 151 152 153 154

155

Merolla, Breve e succinta relatione, pp. 117–119. Mendes, “Successos,” in Paiva Manso, História, p. 350. Merolla, Breve e succinta relatione, p. 120. Mendes, “Successos,” in Paiva Manso, História, p. 351. Dating from Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 2: 36–37. Merolla, Breve e succinta relatione, pp. 235–246.

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1670 and proposing a restoration of Kongo’s monarchy, to replace the ideas raised in the early 1680s. António II Baretto da Silva accepted the treaty, which would restore Daniel’s brother Manuel Nzinga a Lenke as king of Kongo, while agreeing not to use force in Kongo and to promote the regular election of the king.156 This treaty was accepted by the leaders of Kimpanzu-held provinces, but rejected by the Kinlaza, and so Soyo, claiming to support the legitimate king, sent an army to accompany him. Even as the Soyo army was returning from São Salvador, they were attacked by João II’s forces from Mbula, though these were defeated.157 But the next year Soyo was again roiled in internal turmoil. The captain general and secretary general, António II’s son João Baretto da Silva, who had served for years as commander of the armies, “always victorious,” challenged António II, and on 25 March 1691 partisans of both groups assembled substantial forces for a showdown. Fortunately, the Capuchin priest Giacinto da Firenze was able to broker a peace between the two, but on 2 June António II died, and the electors promptly chose João Baretto da Silva to succeed him.158

REORGANIZING IN EASTERN KONGO The political issue in Soyo thus left Manuel unprotected in São Salvador, even as he scored an important victory when his brother Alexio defeated and expelled the Kinlaza Pedro Valle das Lagrimas from the duchy of Mbamba, and one of his generals, Pedro Constantinho da Silva, managed to take Wembo for the Kimpanzu. Francisco de Castro, the secretary of state of Soyo, regretted that since “the said tyrant did not die, he is now going to invent methods and means of increasing the ruin of this poor

156 157

158

Da Paiva, “Viaggio,” fol. 103v; the final treaty is in MMA 14: 200. APC Toscana, Bernardi da Firenze, “Ragguaglio del Congo,” pp. 620–621; Marcellino d’Atri, “Giornate apostoliche fatte da me Fra Marcellino d’atri” [1702], in Carlo Toso (ed.), L’anarchia Congolese nel sec. XVII: la relazione inedita di Marcellino d’Atri (Genoa, 1984), p. 53; Luca da Caltanisetta, “Relatione delle Missione fatta nel Regno di Congo . . . ” [1701], in Raimondo Rainero (ed.), Il Congo agli inizi del setecento nella relazione del P. Luca da Caltanisetrta (Florence, 1974),” fols. 9–9v (original foliation marked in edition). APC Toscana, Bernardi da Firenze, “Raggualio del Congo,” pp. 623–625; APF SCR Congo 2, fol. 532, Francisco de Castro, secretary of state of Soyo to Andrea da Pavia, 15 January 1692; APC Toscana, “Ragguaglio del Congo,” vol. 2 (Lettere de Fr. Lornezo da Lucca), Lorenzo da Lucca, p. 228 on João’s earlier life.

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Kingdom.”159 When he was expelled Valle das Lagrimas fled to Nkondo, where his aunt, Ana Afonso de Leão, the elderly sister of Garcia II and titular head of the Kinlaza, had established a headquarters just south of Kibangu. She assigned Valle das Lagrimas the marquisate of Mpemba, still in Kinlaza hands.160 In the 1690s Kongo was becoming permanently divided into several factions, with the core rivalry being between the Kimpanzu and the Kinlaza. The fluid factions of the earlier period had been replaced by more durable, multi-generational factions that controlled territory and contested each other from secure bases. The power of the matrons, who had been so important in the politics of Kongo in the first half of the seventeenth century, was in some way revived in the factional period. Instead of a single group of cooperating women at the capital, several powerful women, acting informally and through their traditional capacity of daughter and sister of a king, the new female leadership operated more openly and independently. Among these new leaders was the elderly Suzanna de Nóbrega, who claimed more than one king among her ancestors and descendants as well as being the senior Kimpanzu woman. She was holding out in Luvota with Soyo’s consistent support, and their problems were clearly revealed in Manuel’s short reign at São Salvador. Her party sought to install Kimpanzu kings, such as Manuel I, but also contested the southern provinces of Mpemba, Mbamba, and Wembo with a branch of the Kinlaza that controlled the southeast.161 This southern Kinlaza branch was also informally but effectively led by Garcia II’s sister Ana Afonso de Leão in Bonga, a small marquisate south of Kimbangu. While she was the sister of a king, she was neither the daughter nor mother of a king, but was nevertheless able to use her position as a descent leader to claim influence. In a spirit of crossfactional solidarity, but also for practical reasons, Ana Afonso de Leão accepted the Kimpanzu Manuel into her lands as a refugee.162 Women also played a role in the establishment of the northern branch of the Kinlaza, headquartered in Mbula and led by João II, which was hostile to Soyo for the betrayed marriage proposal in 1687. 159

160

161 162

APF SRC Congo 1, fol. 532, Francisco de Castro to Andrea da Pavia, 15 January 1692. Mendes, “Successos,” p. 352; da Caltanisetta, “Relatione,” fols. 10–14; d’Atri, “Giornate,” pp. 53–55. Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony, p. 25. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 100–101. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 86–90.

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However, even in this instance he was dominated by women, first by his mother Potencia, to the degree that he signed his letters as a king who “tramples the lion in the kingdom of his mother.” When Potencia died, similar control fell to his sister Elena.163 As the rival Kimpanzu, Kinlaza, and Agua Rosada fought they continued to maintain some elements of Kongo’s old political system. Notably, those who claimed to be kings still sent relatives or clients to rule provinces which they controlled on the same dependent short terms they had used for centuries. Thus, there were often multiple claimants to a single province. But some provinces eventually fell permanently into the hands of a single family, as Nsundi had done by the end of the century, to a Kimpanzu family, which maintained its independence from the larger struggles. Tradition held that Soyo’s leadership was not eligible to be kings in Kongo, but this did not preclude their playing their role as elector to choose, or at least help choose, Kongo’s kings. But Soyo suffered its own crisis in 1697, when António II Baretto da Silva died, and the electors met to decide a successor. Two candidates appeared, Francisco de Castro and António Baretto da Silva. The election was an occasion of great celebrations, and gunfire was often part of those proceedings, so the government had banned musket balls from the public squares. But António carried a loaded musket, and at the crucial moment coolly shot Francisco de Castro to death. With that fait accompli, the electors declared him António III Baretto da Silva e Castro.164 While the Kimpanzu and Kinlaza were sorting out their affairs, Pedro IV Agua Rosada, who claimed membership in both, was working to restore the kingdom from his base in Kibangu. In 1694 Pedro IV took over from his brother Álvaro X and sought to reoccupy São Salvador and claim Kongo’s throne for himself, but a simple threat from João II sent him rapidly back to his base in the mountain. Realizing that the only way to become king was to repopulate the abandoned city with enough people to support an army, he decided to move large numbers of people there, a multi-year project that involved occupying successive positions between the mountain and the city. Large bodies of colonists moved to Evululu and other locations near Kibangu as the preliminary steps in this strategy.

163 164

Thornton, “Elite Women,” pp. 455–457. APC Toscana, Bernardi, “Ragguaglio,” p. 2, Lorenzo da Lucca, p. 228.

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Even as Pedro IV was trying to legitimize his claim by occupying São Salvador, Ana Afonso de Leão, now based at Nkondo along the Lukunga River, was organizing a “Concert of Congo,” yet another attempt to find a negotiated solution to Kongo’s succession war. As the head of the Kinlaza, she naturally worked to make this choice João II, whose threat had prevented Pedro IV from making his own claim. João’s court, however, was split on the issue, so Ana Afonso had her nephews attack Mpemba and Mbamba to reclaim some Kinlaza domains and boost her own sphere of influence. Shortly afterward she betrayed the Kimpanzu renegade Pedro Constantinho da Silva, who managed to escape to Kimbangu, where Pedro IV took him in.165

MATAMBA AND KASANJE STRUGGLE OVER THE KWANGO The Guterres dynasty had been firmly established in Ndongo with the elimination of the Imbangla of Njinga Mona, and Francisco I began an attempt to diminish or eliminate Kasanje, its deadliest enemy. Kasanje, led by Pasqual Machado Kasanje ka Kinguri, a long-serving king, repelled the initial invasion from Matamba in 1679–1680, and rejected Franciso’s attempt at a diplomatic settlement.166 But when Pasqual Machado died, the election of his successor was disputed. The electors chose Kitama a Kaita, an experienced soldier, who like his predecessor had been captured in Ndongo by Imbangala, and had risen through the ranks. But the ruler of Mbondo, a subordinate province of Kasanje, named Kingo a Hanga, “alleging sophisticated reasons,” challenged the election and began seizing royal slaves and blocking roads, to pressure Kitama a Kaita. Kingo a Hanga then proposed his son, “a restless and proud young man” named Luis Ndala Kingo a Hanga, to be king, and allied himself with Francisco I of Matamba. Using these combined forces, Francisco attacked and displaced Kitama a Kaita in favor of Luis Ndala Kingo a Hanga.167 165 166

167

Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony, pp. 49–52. Cadornega, História, 2: 402–403. This was a name assumed by all rulers of Kasanje; his original name was Gonga: MS Araldi, “Missione Evangelica,” Book 3, pp. 1, 4. For the date, BML Cod. 6, fols. 18–18v, Camara officials to Ayres de Saldanha de Menezes e Souza, 8 March 1679. Cadornega, História, 2: 430; AHU, Cx. 12, doc. 71, João da Silva e Sousa to King, 18 March 1682.

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Luis Ndala Kingo a Hanga had but little time in office, for a counter-rebellion overthrew him and placed Kinguri kia Kasanje on the throne. Angola’s governor, João da Silva e Sousa, brought a large Portuguese force, which Kinguri kia Kasanje joined to attack Francisco in 1681. In a major battle fought at Katole, the KasanjePortuguese allied army was victorious, but at such a high cost they had to withdraw, and Francisco was killed in the battle.168 The battle did win them a large haul of slaves, including a fair number of “pieces in libambos” owned by Portuguese residents and awaiting export.169 Francisco’s sister Verónica Kandala ka Ngwangwa succeeded him, and signed a peace agreement with Portugal in 1683 which, while masked in the language of submission and vassalage, and allowed free access to her lands by Portuguese merchants, effectively revised the Portuguese alliance with Kasanje.170 Verónica’s succession marked a continuation of female rule begun by Njinga. While there is no particular reason to think that Njinga thought that she would change leadership from male to female, she did seek to empower her sister through marriage. But no rule of male dominance prevailed after Njinga, for Verónica faced no opposition on the basis of her gender as Njinga had done. The future would show, too, that the new kingdom of Ndongo-Matamba would willingly accept women as its formal leaders, not just as power brokers behind the scenes, like the powerful women of late seventeenth-century Kongo. As the Portuguese withdrew from Matamba, Verónica moved quickly to recover from the losses Matamba had suffered. Kasanje benefited from the victory, a situation which it used to assert its own independence of Portugal by not allowing Portuguese to settle in the capital.171 Verónica sought to recover the ancient territory of Ndongo by advancing westward to Kahenda, which had used Portuguese support from Ambaca to take 168

169

170 171

AHU, Cx. 12, doc. 71, João da Silva e Sousa to King, 18 March 1682; BML Cod. 6, fol. 44v, Officials of Camara of 6 October 1682, fol. 49, Account of the officials of the Camara (n.d. [1681, signed by António de Oliveira de Cadornega]). Luis has the name Ndala quingoangoa. Joseph C. Miller, “Kings, Lists and History in Kasanje,” History in Africa 6 (1979): 51–96, 70–71 provides a different version in an attempt to match the names of these documents with names listed in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century oral history sources. BUC 1505, pp. 112–113, citing Livro de Camara de Massangano, p. 59, Acordão da Camara de Massangano, 18 February 1681. Capitulações de Paz, 6 September 1683, MMA 13: 542–543. Luis Lobo da Silva to King, 25 November 1684, MMA 13: 582–586.

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over the Dembo state of Mutemo a Kinjenga in 1686, eventually obtaining Portuguese acquiescence to her move in 1690.172 In 1688 Verónica sent an army into Kahenda, attacking it and neighboring Dembos; the Portuguese, fearing that she might continue to Ambaca, moved to reinforce their presidio.173 In addition, she sent emissaries to Mbwila, urging the ruler, Sebastião Afonso, to renounce his allegiance to Kongo. Even as this was happening, Ana Afonso de Leão, working through Wandu, proposed that Mbwila once again become a vassal of Kongo. Sebastião, for his part, responded by deciding to declare himself no longer a vassal of Portugal, but instead a vassal of “Congo and Queen Zinga,” as the redoubtable queen had given her name to outsiders of MatambaNdongo. He expelled the capitão mor and the chaplain, both of whom were surprised at his sudden change of heart.174 While it does not seem that Ana Afonso de Leão and Verónica were consciously working in concert, or that a great alliance between Matamba and Kongo was in the works (Ana Afonso hardly controlled Kongo), the Portuguese felt sufficiently threatened that, when they were able to muster enough forces, they attacked Mbwila in 1692–1693, devastating it and renewing its vassalage to Portugal. Some of the residents of Massangano had refused to serve in the war because it had proved a hard fight, and disrupted the local economy. This may have prevented any significant challenge to either Kongo or Matamba.175 Verónica’s ambitious plan to restore Ndongo had overreached, as Mbwila was at best a peripheral vassal to any state.

172

173

174

175

Letter of Confirmation, 1686 in the Kahenda archive, summarized in António de Almeida, “Relações com os Dembos das cartas do Dembado de Kakulu-Kahenda, in I Congresso da História da Expansão Portuguesa nu Mundo (Lisbon, 1938), p. 30; AHU, Cx. 13, doc. 101, João de Lencastre to king, 11 January 1689 (in Consulta of 18 November 1689), doc. 88, Consulta of 23 February 1689; see also David Birmingham, Trade and Conquest in Angola: The Mbundu and their Neighbours under the Influence of the Portuguese, 1483–1790 (Oxford, 1966), pp. 134–135, citing AHU, Cx. 14, document of 20 October 1690. AHU, Cx. 13, doc. 88, Consulta, 23 February 1689; also enclosure, “Exposição que se fez p.a o Conselho que Conuocou . . . em a qual se propos o exçeços que abrou com o Soua Cahenda a Rainha Ginga,” 29 December 1688. AHU, Cx. 14, doc. 70, Costa de Menezes to King, 28 November 1691; another formal report, probably from Angolan archives, is quoted in da Silva Corrêa, História, 2: 313–314. AUH, Cx. 14, doc. 126, Costa de Menezes to Crown, 25 April 1693; Certificate in Kahenda archives, summarized in Almeida, “Relações,” p. 30 (Kahenda’s participation in the campaign).

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THE END OF KONGO’S REGIONAL DOMINANCE: SOYO AND NSONSO The frequent changes in leadership and in office had caused some of Kongo’s territory to set an independent course, as Nsundi surely had by 1700. Nsundi had not separated from Kongo in its own selfrepresentation, but stopped engaging in the politics of the Crown and allowing kings to appoint its rulers.176 Soyo, like Nsundi, became distinctly less involved in Kongo’s politics, playing only a minor role in Pedro IV’s reoccupation, and looking to the north. The late seventeenth century had seen Soyo interfering in the politics of Ngoyo and Kakongo, appointing rulers and even sending armies. In the early eighteenth century the politics played more on religion and more subtle influences. Baptizing rulers and facing the political consequences of that was replaced with more work at the non-elite level, where Christian objects circulated without involving the whole religion, such as the cult of Sunzi. According to a story circulating in the early eighteenth century, a Spanish slave ship had been wrecked in Ngoyo and two statues of the Virgin were lost. One was taken by Soyo and placed prominently in the capital. The other was taken in by Ngoyo, where it became the object of a shrine, and renamed Sunzi, a name often associated in Kikongo with territorial spirits, but without explicit Christian content. Indeed, the Virgin performed remarkable miracles, digging a ditch around her shrine and causing a spring to appear. When the Capuchin Antonio da Zucchelli proposed bringing the statue to Soyo to join with the other Virgin at Mpinda, António III Baretto da Silva considered it, but could not persuade Ngoyo to give it up, and concluded that God intended it to be there.177 Along with the religious contacts, many people of Soyo traveled to Ngoyo. Zucchelli thought them so numerous that they might have made up a distinctive part of the population.178 This immigration would become more permanent as Soyo eventually founded settlements in both Ngoyo and Kakongo by mid-century. 176

177 178

BUC 1505, pp. 116–118, citing Livro de Camara de Massangano, p. 73, Lista de 6 de Fevr de 25 moradoes de Massang notificados pa hirem aeste prezente guerra de Embuilla, and p. 74, Lista dos moradores q nao comerao praças; da Silva Corrêa, Historia, 1: 314–320. Zucchelli, Viaggio, pp. 335–336. Zucchelli, Viaggio, p. 335.

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As Soyo became more of a regional power outside Kongo, so did other domains that were more weakly connected. Thus the eastern provinces, such as Kundi, Okanga, and Kongo dia Nlaza, became de facto independent, since they were never as tightly integrated into Kongo as the core provinces such as Soyo were. Nsonso was the most important of these breakaway provinces. Nsonso had once been an independent country that had been integrated into Kongo in the sixteenth century, but by the end of the seventeenth century its tradition of origin held that its founder had been sent by the king of Kongo to be his “Mata” in the region. He had crossed the Inkisi River at the village of Baca, which became his border with Kongo’s small province of Nkusu. The marquis of Nkusu in turn was charged with collecting the tribute owned to Kongo at Baca, and no Kongo officers entered Nsonso. In any case Nsonso had stopped paying tribute altogether at some point, probably around 1650 when its ruler unsuccessfully supported a rival candidate to the marquis of Nkusu, and demanded that he swear allegiance to Nsonso, against his allegiance to Kongo.179 In 1700 Nsonso was becoming a regional power, and Diassa Bokulo, the grand duke of Nsonso of the time, styled himself as a sort of new king of Kongo, saying that Pedro IV was the king of Kongo and he was king of “the Other Kongo.” Luca da Caltinasetta, visiting him in 1699, wrote, “His country is now so great and populous that it is commonly said that it exceeds that of Kongo.”180 His rule stretched quite considerably to the north; he had taken in as vassals some of other former Kongo territories, most notably Damma (though his rule was challenged by rebellion), but he had less luck with Kongo dia Nlaza, which had twice defeated Diassa Bokulo’s “ancestors” in their attempts to conquer it.181 Nsonso’s core governance principles appeared to be those of Kongo – that is, that sub-units and territories were governed by the family of the grand duke – but as with Kongo or Soyo, this meant that plots and rivalries were still common. Diassa Bokulo often detained the rulers of these units for long periods, up to a year, in the capital, where they could be watched. Despite these precautions, one of his sons, named the Mani 179

180

181

BN Madrid, MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripción Narrativa,” p. 116. This text does not name the ruler or his state, but only refers to him as a “Rey Gentile”; however, the geography supports this identification. Da Caltanisetta, “Relatione,” fol. 75, the ruler’s name at fol. 85, his title from Kongo is given in APF SOCG, Francesco da Pavia, 23 May 1707. Da Caltanisetta, “Relatione,” fols. 80v (Damma), 84v (Kongo dia Nlaza).

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Sasa, rebelled against him and was reconciled but not punished. A more dangerous affair involved the Mani Ntangua, one of the king’s brothers, who plotted to poison him in order to succeed him. Yet another plot involved another of his brothers, Kimwanza, who was forced to flee the country and took refuge with the Mani Damma. These plots must have created some instability, for a nganga who aided the Mani Ntangua’s plot claimed that he had personally poisoned four previous kings.182 Nsonso’s expansion to the north and west, into former Kongo territories which were now becoming effectively independent, such as Kongo dia Nlaza, was difficult and not very successful. But Nsonso had better luck in Hungu, the lightly populated land that lay to the south. Hungu was not just the target of Nsonso’s expansion, it was also targeted by Matamba. Njinga had sent expeditions in that direction, and in the days of Diassa Bokulo, he faced rival attempts by Verónica to control it for Matamba. As a result, Hungu was harassed by Nsonso to the north and Matamba to the south, with the primary objective of taking slaves if not making conquests.

HUNGU AND ITS NEIGHBORS The shift in power from Kongo in the late seventeenth century had opened up a new frontier around Hungu, a region that became the object and center of a new group of interacting states. Their activities in the region, however had dire effects. If Hungu had had a dense population in the past, it hardly had one in the early eighteenth century, when it was virtually empty with great wastelands often inhabited by bands of runaway slaves who preyed on travelers and merchants. When Bernardo da Firenze crossed Hungu going from the mission post at Kahenda to Nsonso in about 1704, he walked for twelve days without seeing any human habitation, and spoke disparagingly of those who did live there as cannibals and robbers. He attributed the desolation to war with Matamba, and claimed that the region would gladly accept Portuguese protection.183 While Nsonso was expanding its influence, Wandu, a Kongo county, was engaged in a different sort of separate course. Kongo’s integration

182

183

Da Caltanisetta, “Relatione,” fols. 81 (Mani Sasa), 86–86v (Mani Ntangua’s plot), 87 (nganga’s testimony). APC Firenze, Bernardo da Firenze, “Ragguaglio del Congo . . ., ” vol. 1, pp. 684–685; and APF SOCG 552, Report of Bernardo da Firenze, 22 June 1705.

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of Wandu had allowed local elites to select their count with royal approval, though, as was common enough, Garcia II had been manipulating and interfering in elections. When Njinga’s forces invaded Wandu and killed the count in 1648, the electors chose the younger of his two brothers to be count, though the older one, who had married into Garcia’s family, asked Garcia to install him, and the king had sent an army to do so, effectively.184 But as Kongo authority slipped, Wandu’s rose. By 1700, Wandu, like Nsonso, had elevated itself from being a county to being a grand duchy, and no longer looked to Kongo to arbitrate disputes over who was to rule. In 1707 two rival brothers had once again disputed the succession to their state, but the “absolute power” to determine the ruler was then held by an unnamed elderly woman, another of the group of powerful female leaders like Ana Afonso de Leão, who was called “mother” by all the nobles of Wandu. She had chosen the elder, Miguel, to be the grand duke, and declared his brother a “brigand.”185 Verónica’s interest in Hungu was connected to her longer project of integrating former Ndongo provinces into Matamba, and her troops harassed it to that end.186 Although Verónica had not been successful in the attempts to reintegrate Kahenda in 1688–1692, she continued this offensive in 1695 when she unleashed an “army of Giaghi” who “pillaged the country, capturing many” there.

LOWER KASAI DEVELOPMENTS With the end of the Portuguese community buying slaves and cloth in Kundi, our knowledge of Great Makoko, Ngeliboma, and Nimi a Maye all but disappears. The Capuchins Marcellino d’Atri and Luca da Caltanisetta visited Concobella (Nkonkobela), a tributary of Great Makoko, but now independent, around the site of present-day Kinshasa in 1698. Nkonkobela controlled a number of other territories around it south of the Congo River, and Great Makoko threatened an invasion during their stay there. Although the missionaries were excited 184

185 186

BN Madrid, MS 3533, de Teruel, “Descripcion Narrativa,” pp. 102–103 (the younger brother formed a rival capital in the mountains, but died a few years later and his followers rejoined the ruler [p. 136]). APC Toscana, “Carte de Lorenzo da Lucca,” p. 317. For details on the succession of rulers, see the careful study of Fernando Campos, “Conflitos na dinastia Guterres.”

THE THIRTY YEARS WAR COMES TO CENTRAL AFRICA

about their reception as a sign that they could expand their mission, it produced few results.187 The deeper interior remains unknown, although another priest, Domingos de São José Angolista, said he had visited a place called “Munhangi” (perhaps Munyanji,) near Makoko, “where no Portuguese had arrived,” sometime before 1690.188 Oral traditions of the Yanzi trace their origins to the south and has them traveling upriver to found their kingdom, while the genealogies make the founding in the late seventeen century possible.189 It is also possible that its appearance in written documents in this period represents the breaking up of territory once held by Nimi a Maye. The late seventeenth century saw the flowering of the Kuba kingdom, founded in the earlier part of the century. Whatever tradition has to say about Shyaam or his predecessors, it was undoubtedly Bongo Lenge, his successor in traditional accounts, who created the first major expansion. He fought many wars, and added surrounding territories to the kingdom, and as a part of that he moved his capital, according to tradition, nine times. A tradition that he challenged and defeated the allied mini-state of Bokila because its ruler insisted on wearing copper regalia, which was a right belonging to the king, probably reflects his movement against independent powers within the kingdom, or the shift from a federated government to a monarchical one.190 While expansion was limited and many wars were more for consolidation of authority, Bongo Lenge also moved populations, as did so many other Central African rulers. Prisoners from the Bokila war were settled in the district of Mweka, and engaged in fighting on the king’s behalf. He often settled prisoners from his wars, such as those against 187 188

189

190

Da Caltanisetta, “Relatione,” fols. 55v–60v; d’Atri, “Giornate,” fols. 294–334. Domingos de São José Angolista, ca. 1690, in Paiva Manso, História, p. 297; the tentative identification is Vansina, Paths, pp. 162–164. Yanzi origin traditions, recorded by Rémi de Beaucorps, Les Bayansi du Bas-Kwilu (Louvain, 1933), pp. 14–17, Genealogies and ruler lists are in Emmanuel Descampe, “Notes sur les Yanzi,” Congo 1 (5) (1935): 685–688. Genealogies are found in Franz Joseph Thiel, “Geschichtliche Überlieferungen der Yanzi (Zaire),” Anthropos 68 (1973): 235–291 with a transcript of the interviews from 1971. Torday and Joyce, Notes éthnographiques, p. 28 (has the story only about having copper); Vansina, Geschiedenis, p. 125 (specifically about regalia). I have followed Torday and Joyce’s orthography in writing names, since the common form of writing this language includes final vowels and does not double long vowels: see, for example, Nyimi Mbope Mabintshi to President of Luluabourg, 12 March 1961 in MRAC, Vansina Archives, 153.

215

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neighboring Being and Pyang, in special villages, thus keeping them together, and founded a special province for the royal family, probably also with transplanted people.191 He also brought in others from outside his authority, as he did with a voluntary migration from across the Sankuru River. Fighting to the end, he fell in battle against the neighboring Kete.192 Kuba had grown large and absorbed neighboring regions during the reign of Bongo Lenge. The work of conquest and resettlement of captives in new villages was continued by his successor, Bom Mboshi. The success of Kuba was perhaps largely because the first two kings enjoyed long reigns: Bom Mboshi was held to have ruled for forty years, dying around 1675, and while there was some dissension in the succession, it was quickly overcome.193 This allowed the two kings time to consolidate their hold on power and build institutions that would last.194 Early in his reign, members of Bom Mboshi’s own clan plotted against him, but he crushed them, transplanting them to the capital district. He also waged war against areas that eventually were brought into the kingdom, and against external enemies, also moving and resettling captives of these wars into his own domain, while expanding Kuba’s reach to new areas.195 For all of its systematic build-up of power, however, Kuba was still vulnerable to outside attack from societies that were composed mostly of mini-states, perhaps operating as federations. Thus, the Songo Meno invaded from the north, and various Luba groups from the south. While tradition claimed that both threats were stopped, they remained independent and inimical to Kuba.196

191

192

193

194

195 196

Vansina Geschiedenis, pp. 306, 310. Much of Vansina’s detail comes from collecting traditions from localities and clans, which earlier researchers had not done, as they only focused on royal traditions. Frobenius, Ethnographische Notizen, 2: 10; Torday and Joyce, Notes éthnographiques, pp. 27–29; Vansina, Geschiedenis, pp. 127, 304–305; Interpretative account in Vansina, Children of Woot, pp. 65–67. The dating of his reign is contingent on both giving him a reign of forty years and the dating of his successor, a king who Frobenius, Ethnographische Notizen, 2: 10 says reigned only about ten years, but experienced an eclipse which can be dated to 1680 during his reign. Vansina, Geschiedenis, p. 308. None of this is in the royal traditions reported by Frobenius or Torday, probably because it was considered insignificant; even the local sources that Vansina uncovered are ambiguous over challenges. Vansina, Geschiedenis, pp. 308–311. Vansina, Geschiedenis, p. 308.

6

The Emergence of Lunda

The eighteenth century in Central Africa opened with the emergence of the Lunda Empire and its rapid and powerful expansion to both the east and west, ultimately reaching to the banks of the Kwango River and the shores of Lake Mweru. By the middle of the eighteenth century Lunda was in active commercial contact with both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, becoming, in effect, the heart of Central Africa. The Lunda Empire originated in a region that is characterized by a series of rivers that flow from the south to the north from nearly arid regions near their sources to lushly forested regions in their northern reaches, ultimately ending in the Congo River. In the southern regions the Kalahari sands, an infertile soil, and lower rainfall made the area between the northward-flowing rivers virtually uninhabitable. These uninhabited spaces hindered lateral movement east to west or west to east from one valley to the next, and so population clustered along the rivers, leaving nearly empty space between their parallel valleys. Typically the rivers were exploited for the fish and the banks to water crops, while the sparsely inhabited areas between were used to hunt for game. Hunting and fishing were significant male activity in all these societies, reflecting this feature.1 Travel was easier from south to north, following the river and staying near the population centers that spread along their banks. As one moves northward from the arid and difficult land the rainfall increases, the soil improves, and eventually the tropical rainforest takes 1

Jan Vansina, “Communications between Angola and East Central Africa before c. 1700,” in Beatrix Heintze and Achim von Oppen (eds.), Angola on the Move: Transport Routes, Communications and History (Frankfurt am Main, 2008), pp. 130–143 (conference paper, available at www.zmo.de/angola/Papers/Vansina100 .htm).

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over. The area between the rivers is open to cultivation by rainfall, and the fertile soil yields more. It was in this lush northern area where the raffia trees that made Central Africa’s famous textiles thrived. The land was richer and the population denser than farther south. Lunda’s core land lay just south of this industrial heartland, in the richer of the poor regions; its Luba-speaking neighbors lay just inside the textile belt.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA The sketchy descriptions of de Castro around 1600 and Cadornega before 1680 give us the first hints about Lunda’s origins, as an already powerful state, but still overshadowed by its eastern or northeastern neighbor, the mysterious, but probably Luba-speaking “Donge.” Lunda traditions of the 1880s spoke of the earliest Lunda, governed by the Tubungu title holders called karulas, who had chosen an ad hoc leader named Yavu, who bore the title Yal Mak.2 Yal Mak had two sons by his wife Kont: Yal and Kinguri, and a daughter named Ruwej.3 The two elder sons, according to the largely still mythical story, were lazy and drank too much, ultimately so displeasing their father that he disinherited them, and, with the permission of the other karulas, Yal named his daughter Ruwej as his successor.4 Upon his death, the karulas confirmed his selection of Ruwej to be their leader. Still primarily a mythical account, tradition says that Ruwej, while bathing with her servants and clients, was accosted by Chibind (“hunter”) Yirung, the son of Mutombo Mukulu of Kalundwe, who was hunting nearby. As the women fled, one asked him who he was and what he wanted, and he replied, “Cibinda muropo mutombo, ni tupokolo, tukwete inyama, tukusota mongwa” (A hunter of King Mutombo with swordsmen, we have meat, we need salt). They fell in love, and Ruwej determined to make Yirung her successor, and from this start, 2

3

4

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 70. The personal name is given by Pogge, Reiche, p. 224 as “Jamvo” (or Yavu in modern orthography). I have spelled personal names according to the orthography of the Chirund history of the empire, Ngand Yetu (Cleveland, Transvaal, 1963). However, I have often continued Dias de Carvalho’s orthography for names known better in his spelling, or established in historiography. A closer rendering of actual pronunciation of the Chirund language is outlined in Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej,” pp. 527–533. For a survey on the role and nature of Lunda origin myths and their use by historians, see David Gordon, “Kingdoms of South-Central Africa: Sources, Historiography and History,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia (10 March 2019), pp. 1–44, especially 5–13.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

their son, Nawej, became the founder of the Lunda state, which would eventually grow into an empire.5 This “Lunda Love Story” is characteristic of the origin stories throughout West Central Africa, found in the Imbangala story of the 1650s and the founding traditions of Ndongo, and it probably relates to establishing a kinship charter and ideology as much as recording any actual events.6 This point in tradition would then seem to correspond more or less to the period visible in the 1670s and 1680s as recorded by Cadornega. Lunda had become a powerful kingdom, but as yet was still cowed by Donge, an eastern ruler who Lunda armies had not yet been able to conquer. The story of Ruwej and Yirung appears to represent the acknowledged seniority of a Luba kingdom, Mutombo Mukulu’s Kalundwe.7 The powerful kingdom of Donge was strong enough in 1680 to hold off Lunda challenges, but by 1700 Kalundwe was breaking up. While represented in traditions as a dispersion with physical movement, it might be better regarded as the assertion of independence by former provinces. The relatively distant eastern Luba kingdom (later an empire) was probably the first to leave Kalundwe, for traditions of the Luba Empire held that the right of its first historical king, Kalal Yirung, to succeed to the throne was challenged by one of Mutombo Mukulu’s vassals, and in defeating Mutombo Mukulu, Kalal Yirung won Luba’s independence.8 Kanyok, which bordered Lunda’s heartland on the northwest and Kalundwe on the east, also broke free from Kalundwe.9 According to Kanyok traditions, Shimat Citend or his son Cibend Kabwo, who ruled in the early eighteenth century, refused to pay “Luba” (probably Kalundwe) tribute.10 This rebellion was hotly contested, for Kanyok 5

6

7

8 9

10

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 61–71, first recorded in 1885 (in BSGL 6: 134–135) with most of the detail found here. It was also earlier recorded by Pogge, Reiche, p. 224 (recorded 1876); and Buchner, “Muatiamvo,” p. 68 (recorded 1879). Luc de Heusch, The Drunken King or the Origin of the State (Bloomington, 1982 [original French 1972]) for the original discussion of this period as mythical. Thorough discussions are found in Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej” and in Manuela Palmeirim, Of Alien Kings and Perpetual Kin: Contradiction and Continuity in Ruwund (Lunda) Symbolic Thought (Wantage, 2006). De Clerck, “Historique,” p. 430. John Yoder, The Kanyok of Zaire: An Institutional and Ideological History to 1895 (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 45–54; Reefe, Rainbow, pp. 77–78. Yoder, Kanyok, pp. 53–54; Yoder argues that the Mulopwe in traditions is not the Luba kingdom, but Mutombo Mukulu, by virtue of the former’s great historical prestige being substituted in the tradition.

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traditions report constant wars against Luba-speaking neighbors, either Kalundwe or, after the middle of the eighteenth century, the expansionist Luba king Kabil (an early Luba emperor) and his successors.11 Much of the origin tradition includes elements that are not strictly historical, and include mythological passages, but later periods in the Lunda traditions recount the names and deeds of rulers, and in Lunda the accounts are often associated with rulers’ graves, which became shrines after they died.12 While these accounts may also contain mythical elements and insertions of events intended to elevate the position of descendants, they do provide historical details that occasionally can be verified.13 According to tradition,14 Nawej, the son of Ruwej and Yirung, was Lunda’s likely first regional king, who probably began his reign around 1695.15 Since his elevation was through an election by the karulas, there 11 12

13

14

15

Yoder, Kanyok, pp. 52–63. Carvalho, Ethnografia, passim, from notes taken during the course of his mission from 1885 to 1887. The narrative elements in this recording, though, are not the earliest of the historical accounts of Lunda: Buchner collected a king list and some tradition in 1879 (see “Reich”), which is the most detailed rendering of its oral traditions. For interpretations and context, see Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej,” pp. 588–631; he has studied a large number of king lists recorded at different times, and created a comprehensive king list and chronology. I have modified Hoover’s reconstruction, by examining the traditions recorded in the 1870s and 1880s, while recognizing Hoover’s critique of Dias de Carvalho, who simultaneously recorded, analyzed, and compared traditions and documents, thus creating a synthetic history that appears misleadingly as a straightforward rendering of a single tradition. Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej,” pp. 180–210. Precolonial manipulations are summed up and elaborated in Vansina, “It Never Happened”; John Thornton, “The Chronology and Causes of Lunda Expansion to the West, c. 1700–1852,” Zambia Journal of History 1 (1980): 1–13; for a good overview of the ethnic politics of colonial Belgian Congo, especially the Lunda Empire, see Edouard Bustin, Lunda under Colonial Rule: The Politics of Ethnicity (Cambridge, MA, 1975). In describing the events of the various Mwant Yavus, I have favored the events attributed to the rulers in Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia as being the earliest detailed account (collected in the 1885–1887), though Léon Duysters, “Histoire des Aluunda,” Problèmes d’Afrique centrale 12 (28) (1958): 75–98 (an influential version), who made use of Dias de Carvalho’s work, has many deviations which I have not favored because his collection, made in 1927, is later in the colonial period when the invocation of history had significant political implications. A date suggested, on genealogical evidence, by Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej,” pp. 227–243. Prior to Jean Vellut, “Notes sur le Lunda et la frontière Luso-Africaine (1700–1900),” Études d’Histoire Africaine 3 (1972): 61–166 and Hoover’s work, the story of Kinguri’s journey to the Kwango was taken literally, and thus the foundation was placed sometime before the 1570s when the “Jagas,” associated with Kinguri in those days, invaded Kongo. This early assumed date shaped the pre-Vellut literature, and particularly Vansina, Kingdoms.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

is good reason to believe that he was not then intended to be a hereditary – and certainly not an absolute – monarch; in fact, Nawej was himself a karula, and bore the title of Rusenge.16 Nevertheless, later generations regarded Nawej as so significant that his ancestral spirit was held to be a supreme deity by later generations, who translated the word “God” in “God protect us all” as “nzambi ci naweej” (spirit of Naweji).17 Consonant with his probable role as the first historical king, his burial site is the earliest one known today.18 He was credited by tradition with creating a number of political institutions, most notably the office of the queen mother, Rukonkesh, who was to serve as a stabilizing force in the kingdom by having an important role in the succession.19 He also named his mother Ruwej to an office called Swan Mulund, whose holders represented an important second title. Along with her, there was the office of Swan Mulop, who was considered to be the heir apparent. In addition, Nawej was said to have established the status of cilolo, or lesser noble, along with other institutions of the state.20 It is, of course, possible that this was true, but tradition often assigns the institutions of a mature state to its founder, and so this claim has to be considered as tentative at best; the terms themselves and their functions are only attested in the early nineteenth century. Although Lunda’s expansion to the east and the west is famous for present-day historians, the traditions of the early kings have very little to say about it. The real locus of action was always Lunda’s struggles against the powers that lay further downstream to their north or northeast. Its prime enemies were the congeries of Luba-speaking mini16

17

18 19

20

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 70 (explained more in fn. 1). According to Hoover, this word comes from Mutombo Mukulu: “The Seduction of Ruweej,” p. 527. Henrique Dias de Carvalho, Metodo pratico para fallar a lingua de Lunda (Lisbon, 1890), p. 229. I have made some changes in Dias de Carvalho’s orthography to reduce special characters, and to render his name more visible. According to Duysters, “Histoire,” p. 88. Dias de Carvalho attributed these institutional foundations to Nawej (whom Carvalho called “Ianvo” and “Noéji” at varying times (for some clarifications on Carvalho’s conclusions, see Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej,” p. 607). Buchner, “Reich,” p. 68 has “Rissenge Naoesch” (=Nawej) as the first ruler following the foundation story. The existence of a separate palace for the “wife” of the ruler was noted in reports made by Angolan merchants who accompanied the Lunda embassy to Luanda in 1808, see João Carlos Feo Cardoso de Castellobranco e Torres, Memorias contend a Biographia do Vice Admirante Luiz de Matto Feo e Torres (Paris, 1825), p. 30. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 65.

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states to the north, whose inhabitants the Lunda called simply “Akwanda,” a collective name for any people living downstream, but who include Sala Mpasu, Kete, Tukongo, Dzing, and others.21 Although they are sometimes known by collective names such as Sala Mpasu or Kete, these were geographical–cultural expressions rather than integrated polities. As elsewhere in Central Africa, such as the Dembos, Kisama, or the mountains of the Central Highlands, mini-states that did not coalesce into larger centrally governed states managed to raise armies and resist attacks from more centralized neighbors, probably through managing effective inter-polity federations.22 They join the independenceminded nobilities of Kisama, as envisioned by Krug, or the Dembos as groups that managed to avoid either being integrated into larger kingdoms or forming them themselves. Although its northern enemies were not large polities, Lunda also fought regularly with its northwestern neighbor, the Luba kingdom of Kanyok, which was more substantial. It was for victories and defeats in war against these enemies that the earliest kings’ heroic actions were remembered.23 It was undoubtedly the primary focus of their ambitions, and their other actions, including even their dramatic expansion, should probably been seen as secondary to it, or designed to support it. Lunda’s northward-facing posture was probably because the lands to their north were more densely populated, and could provide a stronger income base. But the most likely prime motive for Lunda’s interest was their elite textile production, which they had been shipping in substantial quantities to kings and rich nobles all over Central Africa. In 1680 Cadornega noted that the trade of “Muzua” with Kasanje was an exchange of salt from Kasanje for cloth from Lunda, brought down

21

22

23

Ethnic names and boundaries are unstable categories; most modern names arose in the colonial period and were subject to politicized jockeying. Dias de Carvalho often calls them “Tucongo” and sometimes Tubinje. For more, see Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej,” p. 290. For a potential model of collective government and capacity for federation, see Vansina, Societies, pp. 230–233 (using linguistic evidence). Krug, Fugitive Modernities, makes this important point, using the Kisama example. For a discussion of the ethnic nomenclature as well as the north–south, or “upriver” and “downriver” concepts, see Pruitt, “An Independent People,” pp. 180–192. In Dias de Carvalho’s account (Ethnografia, pp. 526–527), most of the founders of other neighboring domains left Lunda to found their lands in this reign, Kazembe and others; their position here (see Thornton, “Lunda Expansion”) is in order to give them an honored place in the genealogy of Lunda rulers.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

at second hand. Although Kasanje was a major dealer in slaves by then, slaves were not mentioned in his understanding of Lunda’s trade.24 Following this tradition, Nawej’s reign began with an extensive war against the Akwanda neighbors, probably Sala Mpasu. They defended their territory with great vigor and, as it happens, success.25 To wage this war, Nawej constructed a fortress on their lands and used it as a base for protracted warfare. Temporary fortresses, often very large, were a common feature of warfare in this region; they might be held in hostile territory for years, and troops based in them could raid and pillage the countryside. These fortresses, not yet confirmed archaeologically for this period, were in fact a crucial component of the local art of war that would contribute not only to warfare along the north–south axis, but also to the expansion to the east and west. While Nawej’s war into the Akwanda region was straightforward, he faced a challenge from his former allies. Kalundwe still held some claims over Lunda, given that Yirung had been the son of its ruler, and therefore might legitimately claim some control over it, even though, according to traditions, Nawej had hoped that Kanyok would recognize him, the descendent of a Luba royal son, as its ruler. The issue was forced when a Kanyok army invaded Lunda while Nawej was campaigning against the Akwanda. They built their own strong fortress, and the threat forced Nawej to return home before his conquest was completed. In spite of a long-lasting war of ambushes and small encounters, Nawej was unable to dislodge the Kanyok fortress. The long war disheartened the Lunda, and ultimately Nawej died – abandoned, according to the tradition, by his soldiers, who no longer wanted to continue the futile war.26 A traditional account of Nawej’s death, told to the Portuguese diplomat Rodrigues Graça in 1847, 24 25

26

Cadornega, História, 3: 219. Pruitt, “An Independent People,” pp. 38–61, 191–197. Pruitt points out that references to roots in the Luba kingdom were innovations of the colonial period rather than real connections. I have favored Dias de Carvalho’s account, which viewed the campaign as a general failure, over that of Duysters (which Pruitt reproduces and follows), though Pruitt provides clues that twentieth-century politics may underlie Duysters’ more triumphalist account. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnographia, pp. 540–541. The earliest account of his defeat and death at the hands of the Kanyok was recorded by the Portuguese diplomat Joaquim Rodrigues Graça at the court of Challa, on the border of Lunda’s central domains: “Expedição ao Muatayanvua,” Boletim da Sociedade de Geographia de Lisboa 9 (1890): 365–468, 439; see 442 (calling him “Quinanozi, who finished in the wars with Canhica”). Buchner, “Reich,” p. 59, also mentions it in his king list, with a few other details. Duysters, writing later, has a more triumphant account of this period,

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described in grisly detail how Nawej first called his mother to his side and beheaded her, then his family were killed as well, and finally, seated on his throne, the Kanyok slowly dismembered him, starting with his feet and hands and working up until a final beheading.27 Nawej might have been regarded by later generations as the founder of a mighty empire, but he had not changed the constitution of the state. His successor was still chosen by the council of local karulas, and rather than choose another holder of Nawej’s Rusenge title, they picked Muland, who held the title Mukaleng, to be the next ruler. This choice was soon challenged by another man named Nawej who was the lord of Uta. This Nawej plotted with the Kanyok to overthrow Muland by arranging for a Kanyok army to enter the country secretly, disguised as a merchant caravan. When they attacked, however, in the confusion of battle it was their conspirator-ally Nawej who was found dead, and Muland survived to drive the Kanyok out.28 Tradition held that Muland, who was already old, subsequently resigned in favor of Nawej’s son Muteb, and retired to his estate as a karula. However, a crucial step in this process was that Muland, whose heirs would enjoy his estate, would also not be able to claim the throne.29 What tradition held to be the simple gesture of an aging ruler probably reflects the start of a constitutional shift from an elective monarch, rotating between families of titleholders, to rule by a single line. But it

27 28

29

perhaps telescoping victories won over a longer period over the Akwanda, and not mentioning the Lunda defeat by Kanyok: see “Histoire,” pp. 86–87. For similar misgivings, see Pruitt, “An Independent People,” pp. 192–206, commenting on Duysters. Rodrigues Graça, “Expedição,” p. 435. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 533. In an earlier account of Lunda history from 1885, based on information probably supplied by his Xa Madiambo, Dias de Carvalho had this period involve an attempt by “his brother Umbála, who also died in a war which one of his quilolos Léji brought in his brother Mutéba.” See Henrique Dias de Carvalho, “Expedição Portugueza ao Muatyan-vu-a,” BSGL 6 (1886): 133–162, 146. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 534–536 (for a reassessment of Dias de Carvalho’s confusions and conflations, see Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej,” 603). Buchner, “Reich,” p. 59 has Mutab a Kat a Kateng as Naoesch’s son and successor, presumably not counting the confused interregnum as successive kings. I have inserted Dias de Carvalho’s complicated story of the succession of Muteb here, by accepting that he conflated his first king (Iamvo) with the fourth king on his list. But elsewhere Dias de Carvalho quotes an informant, who when asked if he knows the name of the fourth king of Lunda, said it was Mukaz, who appears in Cavalho’s list as the fifth king, Metodo pratico, p. 117.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

was also clear that the karulas still retained substantial power to advise and to thwart kings. Muteb’s first act was to demand compensation from Kanyok for Nawej’s plot and their participation in it. But Kanyok refused, claiming that the pretender Nawej had invited them to enter Lunda and, as he was dead and defeated, they owed nothing. Muteb understood this response to be a challenge, and began his own war with Kanyok. His first campaign resulted in a resounding victory for Lunda with many spoils, although it took several additional victories before the Kanyok finally accepted Lunda authority and agreed to pay tribute.30 Thus, the first breakthrough for Lunda allowed it to expand its authority over its former enemy and thus to advance northward. Muteb’s wars against Kanyok absorbed much of the attention of his reign, and he appointed two of his nephews, Mukaz and Yavu a Nawej, to the position of Swan Mulop, the heir apparent. While they were both descended from Nawej they were related through different mothers, and when Muteb died the nobility were still sufficiently important that they chose the younger and more aggressive of the two men, Yavu a Nawej, to succeed him.

EXPANSION TO THE WEST: 1720s to 1750s Lunda tradition focuses largely on the battles around Lunda’s northern domains against Kanyok and Akwanda opponents, where the kings themselves led armies and suffered when they failed; it scarcely mentions either its eastward or westward expansion. Traditions recorded in 1847 maintained that as Nawej was dying, following his failure to dislodge the Kanyok from Lunda, he was said to have hoped that he might obtain some help from the “Mwene Putu” or Portuguese, about whom he had surely heard from merchants visiting his kingdom, just as they had told Cadornega years before. Nawej wished that his spirit would travel to Portugal to see the power of that king, and he told his unfaithful followers that one day the Mwene Putu would come and ask about him.31 It is also interesting that Nawej’s dream was about obtaining help from Portugal because his own people had let him down, not 30 31

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 537–538. Rodrigues Graça, “Expedição,” p. 435.

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establishing commercial relations. At almost the same time as his prophecy was related to a visiting Portuguese ambassador, perhaps to provide a link to Portugal, another tradition was emerging. Western expansion in tradition was framed in the 1850s onward as the pursuit of Kinguri, alleged to be one of Ruwej’s brothers, who fled westward to found Kasanje. But documentation of Kasanje from the seventeenth century shows no story of Kinguri, and both stories were probably constructed in order to establish places in the Lunda tradition of the period for important neighbors. In fact, it was always the battle in the north that drove Lunda policy. Nawej’s own problems and those of Muteb with local nobles and hostile neighbors probably prevented any serious effort to act on the possibilities of advancing westward, if they were even considered. It was therefore more likely that it was the man the electors had chosen to succeed Muteb, Yavu a Nawej, who initiated the westward movement through conquest and expansion, starting perhaps in the 1720s. It would also be his name, Yavu, that gave Lunda’s imperial title Mwant Yavu. Instead of pursuing Kinguri or fulfilling a dream, it could be that Lunda’s lack of success against its immediate northern neighbors, Kanyok and Akwanda, was the reason for expansion further west. Lunda advances westward were more likely maneuvers to outflank the Akwanda rather than seeking deeper contact with the Portuguese. Here, as in other northern campaigns, the stakes included control of the textile belt, and were led by karulas rather than the royal family. Tradition has Mai, a prominent Lunda karula, head the expansion northwest using Lunda’s traditional western border river, the Kasai, and moving northward until the junction of the Kasai and Chikapa to establish a fort northwest of the heart of Akwanda resistance.32 This became a forward base to push directly into the textile belt, facing the resistance of decentralized Luba-speaking people of the Lulua. Mai’s attacks stalled against the western Luba of the Lulua, and so there was a second northwestern drive, this one led from the estate that Muteb had given to his predecessor Muland in exchange for excluding his line from the throne. Muland’s son and successor, named Muteb, subsequently led a column westward to the Kwilu and downstream (northward), eventually establishing himself as the 32

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnographia, pp. 59 and 98; Otto Schütt, Reisen im südwestlichen Becken des Kongo (Berlin, 1881), p. 136.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

Mwanta Kumbana.33 He founded his own fortress in the lands of the Pende, the kingdom reported in the mid-seventeenth century associated with Mashita Mbansa, and also an important textileproducing region.34 The Lunda occupation dispersed this Pende kingdom, ending its centralization and leading to the emergence of a number of smaller polities that were self-governing but dependent on Lunda overrule.35 The Lunda moved from one northward drive to another, using the next major westward river as a channel for an advance toward the textile belt, and, as the earlier pioneers showed, such campaigns could be successful. Consequently the next steps involved leaders who have been placed as higher members in the hierarchy in tradition, probably because traditions recorded in the 1880s assigned important regional leaders a high genealogical position, rather than because they were from the founding generation of Lunda. Therefore tradition holds that Yavu a Nawej chose Kasong, traditionally regarded as one of Ruwej’s older brothers, to lead his followers to establish a base on the Lushiko River, where he had his headquarters, sometime before 1756, when it is

33

34

35

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 99–100. He heard that the migration had taken place in the pre-dynastic period, associated with the rule of Yiung and Rwej – probably to give them a senior genealogical position. For a local version of the story, see Matadi Wamba Kamba Mutu, Espace Lunda et les Pelende-Khobo (récit historique) (Bandundu, 1988). Most of these traditions originate from Matadi’s own research or colonial officials and represent it as a rebellion against an earlier Lunda regime founded by Kasong. I have favored Carvalho’s report on origins because it came from a Lunda source and is considerably earlier. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 59 and 99; Henrique Dias de Carvalho, Descripção da Viagem à Mussumba do Muatiânvua, 4 vols. (Lisbon, 1890–1894) 3: 29–30; Schütt, Reisen, p. 136. Kodi, “Pende People,” pp. 187–267, based on field research in 1973–1974 and earlier colonial reports, describes a long history of immigration from Portuguese Angola, which I believe is an interpolation taken from contact with Imbangala, who related it to the Kinguri story. Dias de Carvalho heard a similar story from Lunda kukwatas (tax officials) in Caungula in January 1886 (Descripção 3: 29–30, with variation in the manuscript diary: AHU, 1L SEMU, Cod. 1145, fols. 6–6v). However, Dias de Carvalho produced a different story in Ethnografia, pp. 534–536, which I have followed. I argue above that the cartographic “Mopenda” of the seventeenth century was a substantial kingdom which broke up following Lunda’s attacks. Hence, his informants’ accounts of the origin of the nineteenth-century Pende chiefdoms, anchored on migrations from Mashita Mbansa, represent the dissolution of a larger entity rather than actual migrations (the model of nineteenth-century Kongo traditions seems applicable here). Chronologies have been altered by, as Kodi acknowledges, the desire of political leaders to win positions from the colonial state, and creating lengthier genealogies than reality would support.

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mentioned in reports by Manoel Correia Leitão, a Portuguese ambassador to Kasanje.36 Kasong, known in tradition as Kasong Mangand, subsequently advanced northward along the Kwango River into Kongo’s ancient province of Nsonso and the Yaka kingdom. Kasong’s forces were joined by more Lunda forces under Mutomb Mwak, which came downstream along the Kwango from the Lunda base opposite Matamba and Kasanje at a later phase.37 Their first campaigns were successful: in 1756 the diplomat Correia Leitão learned that the “Mulua” had already put “Só Sós, Quiacas, quilubas, ungas” beneath his “strong sword.”38 Thus Nsonso, Yaka, the westernmost Luba-speaking people, and Hungu were under attack, all northward from the line of western expansion, and turning away from the shortest routes to trade with Portuguese positions. Kasong’s advance probably took place around 1735, for when Lunda forces reached the headwaters of the Kwilu and Wamba Rivers, Lunda expansion then marched west toward the Kwango, led by Kambund, nicknamed “Ka kia ria uhongo” (consumer of taxes) held to be a cousin of Rwej, or very high in the ranks of Lunda nobles (again, likely a retrospective elevation of his ancestry).39 After establishing himself on the Loange River, he took on the ruler of Holo, named Kikombo a Kwasa, and decisively defeated him. Portuguese reported that Holo refugees from this battle had “to flee to our parts,” along the Kwango, where they entered southern areas of the kingdom of Matamba shortly before 1739, when they sent a mission to Luanda.40 These early victories were hard won and incomplete, though, for Kasong died in action against Nsonso and the federated Luba, and was buried at Ipeshi, Lunda’s first fortress of its Kwango River advance.41 36 37

38

39 40

41

AUC VI-3a-I-2–14, doc. 301, “Declaração.” Here I have cautiously followed Hubert Van Roy, Les Byaambvu du Moyen-Kwango: Histoire du royamue lwua-yaka (Berlin, 1988), pp. 21–65. I have kept Sangwa Mwaaku Kambamba as a separate stream of invasion and merged Kavumba Mutoombo and Muni Putu Kasongo Lunda through the commonality of the name Muteb and their roles in founding what would become rival lineages. Correia Leitão, “Viagem,” fol. 13v. Cherubino da Savona placed the “Muluas” as one of Kongo’s neighbors: fol. 41v, relating to the 1760s. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 92. For this chronology and Cambunda, see Jan Vansina, “Du nouveau sur la conquête lunda au Kwango,” Congo-Afrique 40 (341) (2000): 45–58, p. 48, based on AUC VI3a-I-2–14, doc. 301, “Declaração,” and AHU, Angola, Cx. 39, doc. 89, Antonio da Cunha to King, 4 October 1754 (name of ruler and state from which they fled). Van Roy, Byaambvu, pp. 48–51.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

As the Yaka kingdom fell to Lunda forces, Kasong’s son Muteb Nzimb, now styled “Muni Puto” because he conceived his state as equal to the domains of Portugal, moved his headquarters from the war camp of Ipeshi to a new capital in the heart of the Yaka kingdom, perhaps by 1750.42 It is only at this point that Portugal figured in the attacks, and even then only in the context of a region that was not bordering on Portuguese territory.

PORTUGAL AND LUNDA If Yavu a Nawej was not particularly interested in making a direct drive to the Kwango, the Portuguese were interested in meeting Lunda. In 1725, at the request of Luis da Cunha, the Portuguese ambassador to France, the well-regarded French cartographer Jean Baptiste d’Anville presented a map of Southern Africa to the French Royal Academy, intended to show potential points for crossing Africa.43 The Portuguese, hoping that a transcontinental route using rivers or even footpaths would allow for easier trade and avoid the dangers of sailing around the Cape of Good Hope, were taken with the map. D’Anville’s map met da Cunha’s hopes and expectations fully, for it showed the westernmost lands of the Mwenemutapa Empire, where Portuguese in Mozambique and the Zambezi valley were engaged, virtually bordering on the eastern extension of Kasanje, with no hint of the Lunda Empire in between. In 1730, following an attack on Bembe, the easternmost extension of the Umbundu-speaking Central Highlands, the Portuguese commander, Antonio de Barros da Silva, reported that from Bembe one could go due east, and with a trip of only 140 leagues to Chicova (in Mozambique) and only another 40 leagues to Tete.44 At that time, Lunda had not expanded far enough south for it to be included. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that whatever reports Barros da Silva heard, they were probably not founded on real knowledge. While a follow-up to this plan stewed in Lisbon for a decade, the Lunda expansion began, and by around 1735 refugees from it were 42

43

44

Van Roy, Byaambvu, pp. 67–75, suggests 1760 on the basis of genealogical dating, but this conquest was reported as being complete by Correia Leitão in 1756. Júnia Ferreira Furtado, “Evolving Ideas: J. B. d’Anville’s Maps of Southern Africa, 1725–1749,” Imago Mundi 69 (2017): 202–215. AHNA Cod. 1, fols. 103–104, Antonio de Barros da Silva to Governo, 23 May 1730.

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fleeing into Matamba and nearby areas well known to the Portuguese. In response to this striking development, Governor António da Cunha decided to send a mission to Kasanje with the purpose of learning about this expanding African polity with which Kasanje had been trading for years. He chose Manoel Correia Leitão to head the mission, which reached the Kwango River in 1755, and gave an important written account of the Lunda Empire. In the end, although Correia Leitão’s mission was not intended to connect Angola and Mozambique, the information it acquired did lead to a concerted Portuguese effort to cross the continent.45 Correia Leitão’s mission arrived on the Kwango at a time when Lunda had already been pushing north along the Kwango for some time, and its forces were not far from the river across from Kasanje. Certainly Lunda strategists were aware that the conquests achieved in the quest for control of textile production could also make commercial sense. Yavu a Nawej’s knowledge of African geography, moreover, was more accurate than d’Anville’s, for he knew enough of the Portuguese positions to be aware that his capital was situated in such a way that it was roughly equidistant from Musumba to the states along the Kwango with whom Portuguese Angola regularly traded, and those above the Zambezi River that merchants of Mozambique frequented. Correia Leitão learned from knowledgeable merchants he met in Kasanje that they “had always been told that in those [eastern] regions beyond the Matianvo [Lunda Empire] there are whites who appear on the coast in boats” offering goods similar to what they bought from Kasanje, and that the eastern goods included “velvet cloth and painted paper,” which the Angola based traders did not supply.46 Indeed, Rafael de Castro in his visit to the Lower Kasai in 1600 had also heard these stories, as had Cadornega in the 1670s.47 In addition to the benefits of controlling textiles and enhancing foreign trade, Lunda’s expansion gave Yavu a Nawej the opportunity to consolidate central power at home. He could send potential rivals off to fight, promising them estates and tribute for the lands they conquered, and thus giving him a freer hand to concentrate authority at the capital in Musumba. Lunda’s westward expansion was headed by

45

46 47

Carla da Costa Vieira, “Os Portugueses e a travessia do continente africano: projetos e viagens (1755–1814)” (Master’s thesis, University of Lisbon, 2006). Correia Leitão, “Viagem,” fols. 14v–15. Cadornega, História, 3: 220.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

nobles drawn from the royal family as well as karulas, and coordinated through the Kola, located on the western end of Lunda’s core domain, known to Correia Leitão as the “Ngolambole of the Moluas,” a title that names an important commanding officer in Kimbundu.48

LUNDA AN EMPIRE Yavu a Nawej, whose name gave the empire its ultimate title, Mwanta Yavu, kept control of all these centers and became, according to Correia Leitão, “the principal who all those heathens (gentio) fear,” the “matianbo” (Mwant Yavu) to whom “all pay tribute” and who “rules and governs all.”49 This remarkable empire was therefore built up quickly and with relatively limited resources considering the preoccupation of the emperors with the northern wars against Kanyok and Akwanda. Kambund and Kasong established their fortified camps on the relatively populated banks of the rivers and then forcibly concentrated populations from far and wide around them. These fortified camps, attested in the traditions for the earliest campaigns in their wars with Kanyok and the Akwanda, were verified by the Holo merchants. They told Correia Leitão that Lunda armies could construct a large redoubt “one or two leagues around” in a single day, even though they might be soon abandoned.50 The remains of some of these constructions are still visible today, suggesting that many were occupied for a more considerable time.51 The Lunda invaders were, Correia Leitão heard, like “terrestrial eagles” swooping down on their enemies, and taking many slaves to resettle elsewhere or sell, but also dominating the regions they attacked. While Imbangala or Holo merchants had a primary interest in the sale of slaves abroad, Yavu a Nawej probably saw them as secondary, albeit important, to the wars with Kanyok and the development of more 48

49

50 51

AUC VI-3a-I-2–14, doc. 301, “Declaração dos apotentados” (1756). My interpretation follows Vansina, “Conquête lunda,” pp. 48–49 (Vansina published a French translation of the text as an annex). AUC VI-3a-I-2–14, doc. 301, “Declaração.” Correia Leitão’s orthography suggests that final vowels were probably pronounced in that period, which they were not in Dias de Carvalho’s day. Correia Leitão, “Viagem,” fols. 13–14 (I have altered the translation on occasion). For a description of twentieth-century ruins of these fortified villages, see José Redinha, “Senzalas fortificadas do nordeste de Lunda,” Mensário Adminstrativo 161–166 (1961): 53–61 and Hoover, “The Seduction of Ruweej,” p. 346.

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centralized power at home. Capturing slaves for sale to the west was important to earn foreign exchange for imports, but he was not at that point interested in acquiring guns. He eschewed using guns, the Holo merchants claimed, reworking the steel of guns they “captured in battle” to make swords, for they thought of guns as “useless weapons” which made a “handicap to valor.” Rather, they were more interested in assembling tribute-paying subjects, which would increase and support revenues for the northern wars. In a search for tribute, and in war, Correia Leitão wrote, they “give quarter to all sorts of people, that they make tributaries to them, to which they can adjust,” just as his informants had told him that all the people between the Kwanza across from Holo back to the core area of Lunda paid tribute, for the conquered paid “a tithe to their sovereign” of all they took. Their policy of concentrating population explains why travelers on the seven-month journey to the capital of Lunda “always traveled through groups of villages (libatarias)” right up to the capital.52 To the degree that Lunda participated in the external slave trade, it was likely, if later patterns held then, that they sold mostly male captives, thus dissipating their potential military threat, and retained females, whose fertility (especially if reinforced with polygamy) could continue to grow the population, and whose agricultural skills could fund tribute.

LUNDA’S NORTHERN AND EASTERN WARS If these campaigns to the west seemed dramatic, it is unlikely that Yavu a Nawej considered them his primary task. The empire was always a secondary interest, harnessed to the real task of any ruler of Lunda in his day: to expand against its intractable northern enemies. And so he renewed war against Kanyok, ostensibly because it had supported the failed usurpation of Nawej, which he had witnessed as a youth. When he came to the throne his advisors spoke against the Kanyok war, but he claimed that even though neither he nor his contemporary Kanyok ruler had started the conflict, it would continue. When the war against Kanyok stalemated, he revived efforts against the Akwanda to hem them in on the west.

52

AUC VI-3a-I-2–14, doc. 301, “Declaração.”

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

But he was unable to finish the war against the Akwanda, as Kanyok again challenged him. In this final and fatal war, he exhausted his army, and tradition says he decided the day was lost, ordered the army to abandon him while he fought on until he was killed, being succeeded by his cousin Mukaz, the co-holder of the Swan Mulop title, a short time before 1740. Mukaz, not wishing to press the Kanyok at least for the time, renewed the northern campaign against the Akwanda in the 1750s, pushing westward as well as northward from the earlier zones to launch several unsuccessful attacks on the Malaji (Tukongo) group west of the Kasai, news of which reached Correia Leitão on the Kwango. He was met with determined resistance on each of the encounters, although tradition has it as a single campaign that dragged on for years. Eventually the army of Lunda deserted their sovereign, just as they had Yavu a Nawej, who was too proud to return home in defeat. So, tradition says, Mukaz waged the war singlehandedly against his enemies, first with arrows, then with a sword, and finally with a sharpened log of wood. When he was completely exhausted, he asked only for water from the victors, and was dying of starvation in prison when the Malaji ruler cut his head off.53 This dramatic tale, told in tradition, is however contradicted by a first-hand account recorded by Correia Leitão, who heard from his merchant informants in Kasanje that the Malaji defeated the Lunda sovereign so severely that “he retreated with the loss of more than one hundred fifty thousand of his [troops] and he [was] wounded,” and there he died. This notable defeat took place “at the beginning of the year 1755.”54 It suggests that the story of the abandoned ruler fighting on hopelessly was a traditional trope, already applied to Nawej before him, was perhaps true of one or another ruler, but not to all who failed to win their objectives. If Mukaz’s wars with Kanyok and the Malaji were unsuccessful, his expansionist wars went better. Lunda armies were well positioned to continue their dramatic advance, with supplies, arms, and reinforcements concentrated in the fortified towns they had established and financed with the tribute of the conquered territories and the incomes 53 54

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 543–546. Correia Leitão, “Viagem,” fol. 14. Most scholars have seen this defeat as the date of Mukaz’s death, though it is not his death that was recorded. Thus it is possible that his battlefield death, noted in tradition along with the loss of his skull, took place in a renewed later war when he had recovered from these wounds.

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from external trade. In about 1760, following success against Nsonso and Yaka, they advanced to the Kwango, but as far as can be told, they did not seek to conquer Kasanje or Matamba, or Malundo, a state on the east bank of the Kwango powerful enough to challenge Kasanje regularly.

LUNDA’S EASTERN WING The eastern wing of Lunda was initiated primarily in the search for sources of salt and copper. Yavu a Nawej sent two of his nobles, Xind and Kanonkesh, to follow the Lulua River to its sources.55 In the process, they took over a region called Keshila around the present-day city of Kolwezi (Democratic Republic of Congo). Among the regions they conquered, Mutanda the king of Kosa was taken into Lunda service and given the title Kazembe, with orders to continue the conquest. He was able to acquire important mines of salt and copper, which he in turn entrusted to one of his relatives named Chiwidi (Quibi).56 After Mukaz became emperor, around 1740,57 he sent Mutanda “to the wars,” and Mutanda left a subordinate named Chinyata to manage Keshila while he was gone. Mutanda carried out the war successfully and brought back both slaves and goods, which he presented to Mukaz. But he did not realize that Chinyata had already submitted a larger and richer tribute. As a result Mukaz demoted Mutanda and gave Chinyata the title of Kazembe. 55

56

57

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 541. The orthography of names here follows the one established for Lunda titles, but for those associated with Kazembe uses names and titles as written in the historiography of Zambia. Baptista, “Lembrança,” 427 and 437–438 (English translation in Burton, Cazembe, pp. 221–222 and 438. The translation is misleading at times and should be checked against the original). Earlier scholars have dubbed this initial conquest the establishment of a colony named Mukulweji dated to around 1700 largely on the strength of local twentieth-century traditions and chronological calculations of the 1970s (see Giacomo Macola, The Kingdom of Kazembe: History and Politics in North-Eastern Zambia and Katanga to 1950 [Münster, 2002], pp. 9–37, 38–42 for historiography of traditions and interpretations). On the fluidity of kings and their traditions, see also David Gordon, “History on the Luapula Retold: Landscape, Memory and Identity in the Kazembe Kingdom,” Journal of African History 47 (2006): 21–42. My interpretation follows this original text closely, as it relates to events about sixty years earlier, making it fall into what Macola elegantly calls “reminiscence” (recollections of events that might have been preserved by living memory rather received through tradition), and thus bears much greater weight. Francisco João Pinto’s diary, 18–20 February 1799, AMC 5: 266 (English translation in Burton, Cazembe, p. 126) says it took place about sixty years before (literally 1739).

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In an act of jealousy and revenge, Mutanda seized Chinyata and drowned him in the Mukulweji River. Upon learning of this murder Mukaz expelled Mutanda and gave the title of Kazembe to Chinyata’s son Ng’anga Mbilonda. He then gave Ng’anga Mbilonda orders to “conquer all the lands that he would be able to fight, and when he arrived at a country where he found good things to stop there,” and expand the conquest by smaller steps and conquests. Ng’anga Mbilonda probably proceeded in a manner similar to that of the Lunda armies, moving westward, and clearly targeted the line of salt and copper mines that make up the Copperbelt today in both Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1810 a commercial agent from Kasanje named Pedro João Batista listed three eastern salt works at Cabambo, Mungi, and Carucuige along with the original mines of Keshila as the principal wealth of the place.58 The country, which is thinly populated today and was then, was rapidly traversed, potentially in a year or two, and Ng’anga Mbilonda finally settled in Chishinga (“Quixinga”) on the plateau to the east of the Luapula and south of Lake Mweru, in the early 1740s.59 There he established his capital and province, which he named Kazembe ka Chinyata in recognition of his father.60

LUNDA STOPPED ALONG THE LOWER KASAI The building of Kazembe added a great deal to the Lunda Empire, but Lunda expansion was constantly stopped or blunted as it advanced northward down the rivers and into the textile belt. While they were successful in disrupting or reorganizing Pende, they were unable to make any further advance downstream.

58

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Batista, “Lembrança,” p. 437 (English in Burton, Cazembe, p. 231). See also Macola, Kazembe, pp. 44–47. In 1831 the diplomat António Cândido Pedroso Gamitto heard traditions linking the expansion to contacting Portuguese traders, which I argue was an innovation of the nineteenth century (see Chapter 8 below). Even later traditions of the twentieth century had the expansion begin under Muteb, probably an addition to give the title greater antiquity. See Ifikolwe fyandi na Bantu Bandi, trans. Ian Cunnison (Lusaka, 1961 [original ichiBemba, 1951]), p. 9. On the identification of Quixila, see Macola, Kazembe, p. 61. The name is given in Batista, “Lembrança,” p. 426. It would seem that Ng’anga Mbilonda was buried there, as Lacerda had to stop at the grave of Hungu Anmoma’s father in 1798: Lacerda Diary, 2 October 1798, AMC 5: 119.

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The Lower Kasai was then dominated by the successor states of the sixteenth-century empire of Mwene Muji, as well as the Kingdom of Great Makoko on the west and the Kuba kingdom on the east. These territories were largely protected from Lunda advance by the belt of tough mini-states which kept them from penetrating father north. Sheltered in this way, Kuba, one of the most active and creative of the textile-producing states, continued growth and centralization. However, the same group of Luba mini-states that stopped Lunda’s expansion northward also held fast against Kuba’s extension southward. In any case, Kuba traditions have little or nothing to say about Lunda as a threat; in fact, during the reigns of Kuete M’bogi and Koto Nche, covering most of the eighteenth century, the Kuba expanded southward along the Kasai. Koto Nche attacked the Lubaspeaking regions to open up trade to copper coming north. Kuete M’bogi advanced eastward into the Bienge region, which was integrated during this period. Internally, they also greatly increased the central power of the state by removing formerly semi-independent local rulers, and by gathering potential dynastic rivals from the royal clan into a single, supervised settlement. As a part of that process, they also abolished cults devoted to local spiritual protectors, thus focusing the territorial religion into Kuba itself.61 An important development in the region was the emergence of a kingdom called Bolia on the east side of Lake Mai Ndombe. While there is no documentation of its arrival, its oral traditions probably suggest that it emerged in the later seventeenth or early eighteenth century. The traditional origin story had the kingdom start east of Lake Mai Ndombe, led by King Mput’iyola. He advanced along the Lokoro River but was unable to defeat the Bozanga kingdom led by Lotoko, which had dominated the region since at least the early seventeenth century. Thwarted, the Bolia circled around the northern end of the lake, allied with the Ntomba of that region to take over much of the land north of Ngeliboma, either by alliance or force.62 The chronology

61

62

Torday and Joyce, Notes éthnographiques, p. 31; Vansina, Geschiedenis, pp. 313–316, summarized in Children of Woot, pp. 69–71. Van Everbroeck, Mbomb’Ipoku, pp. 9–50. The traditions reported by Van Everbroeck typically establish the relationship between conquering outsiders (either identified as Bolia or their allies Ntomba) and local people, called Sengele but also associated with Bozanga. They are in the form of foundation stories which assign villages and create constitutional statements. Such statements are frequently subject to change, as one can see from the changing Kongo situation; however, they do provide an overview of the movement.

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for this is largely established by the interpretation of reign lengths of the extensive royal and regional genealogies. However, king lists of Bolia are not linked to the specific deeds of the kings or arranged so as to provide a chronology.63 Ngeliboma, meanwhile, was troubled by attacks from Great Makoko, when the “heathenish pact” that had once maintained peace between the two broke down in the 1670s. Two successive Ngeliboma kings, Kebongo and Kumpukunu, contended with these attacks, the first set beginning around 1700, against Kebongo. Prince Nkua led the army of Makoko deep into Ngeliboma territory in around 1710, but heavy rains and floods upset their forces, dampened the powder in their muskets, and they had to withdraw, harassed constantly by the troops of Kebongo. Makoko renewed its assault in Kumpunkunu’s reign, but were roundly defeated at a battle near Luvua around 1740.64

THE KWANGO VALLEY In the 1750s Lunda armies led by Kapend furthered the ambitions of Lunda to reach and perhaps breach the Kwango toward Kasanje and Matamba, even as Kasong’s northern wing was absorbing Kongo’s former eastern tributaries such as Nsonso and Suku. Kapend was originally from the south of Musumba, but settled on the Kwango, where he founded Kapenda ka Mulemba as his main base, using it to coordinate operations farther south.65 As Lunda looked across the Kwango, Matamba under Queen Verónica had been largely rebuilt as a regional power. Her efforts at the end of the seventeenth century had given her status in Hungu and pressed in on Portuguese vassals around Kahenda. She renewed her efforts in 1709–1710 with raiding and potentially annexing parts of Hungu. When the Imbangala band of Kalandula, now a vassal of 63

64 65

Van Everbroeck, Mbomb’Ipoku, pp. 9–50. See also Sulzmann, “Oral Traditione und Chronologie,” pp. 555–557, 561–563; and Erika Sulzmann, “Die Bokopo-Herrschaft der Bolia,” Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie 45 (1959): 389–417, 395–398, which gives a few details of what is an extensive (but apparently unpublished and unavailable) “royal chronicle” of thirty-four kings. Van Everbroeck provides an essential narrative founded on a diverse group of sources, and a chronology, which Sulzmann has rightly concluded is far too deep (fifteen to twenty years for each successive ruler, in a time when there was considerable violence). Tonnoir, Giribuma, pp. 218–219. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 91–95.

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Portugal, attacked her army to fend off her advance toward Kahenda, the queen redirected her efforts toward Hungu in 1710.66 She had also begun to work in conjunction with Mbwila in the northwest part of Hungu at the end of her life, for the Portuguese feared that the two might literally try to take Luanda in 1721.67 Verónica’s attentions in Hungu were, however, also contingent on the affairs of her southern border, where Kasanje remained a rival. Kasanje had become a Portuguese vassal during the crisis of 1680, albeit one without any serious responsibilities to Angola. In 1699 the ruling Kasanje king sent an elaborate mission to Luanda, celebrating their alliance. The leader, an elderly man who could not read, but was reputed the wisest in the country, wore shoes and carried a staff of office.68 The alliance might also be helpful, for Kasanje had become a dynastic state even as its political system remained electoral. In 1713 a Kasanje ruler named “D. Pascual Calungo Coquilombo” (Kalunga ka Kilombo) sent a mission to Angola again, perhaps at his accession.69 Kasanje remained an Imbangala state in ideology, however, for when the ruler died in 1719, forty people were sacrificed and their hearts eaten.70 Kalunga ka Kilombo’s Kimbundu name, which was different from Kasanje ka Kinguri, the name which earlier rulers had adopted as a perpetual throne name (since Ngunga changed his name upon election in the 1640s), suggests a new dynastic line. Later traditions, recorded in 1850, described early Kasanje history as originating with the migration of various lines of descent into Kasanje, a radically different account than the one told to Cavazzi in the 1660s. The first of these three lines was that of Ngunga, which the more recent tradition called Kinguri ka Bengela, renamed Kulaxingo, and the second one was called Kalunga ka Kilungo, similar but not identical to the name of this ruler.71 The 1850 tradition

66

67

68 69

70

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D’Atri, “Giornate,” fol. 440 (1695 attack); da Silva Corrêa, História, 2: 335 (1709 attack); AHU, Cx. 18, doc. 59 (new Cx. 20, doc. 2053), António de Saldanha Albuquerque to Mamede Álvares da Guerra, 13 December 1709 and Cx. 18, doc. 21 (new 20, D. 2058), Consulta of 9 September 1710. AHU, Cx. 21, doc. 64, Representação dos moradores, militares e eclesiasticos dos reinos de Angola e Benguela, 30 November 1721. Zucchelli, Viaggio, p. 123. Miller, “Kings, Lists and History,” 71–72, citing AHNA Cod. 3261, fol. 76 (the reference is in fact to fol. 76v). Biblioteca Estense, Modena, Codex Italicus 1380 Apha N.9.7. Monari, “Missione” fol. 288, p. 568. Miller, “Kings, Lists and History,” 71–72, citing AHNA Cod. 3261, fol. 76 (the text is actually on fol. 76v).

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associated the name with “Queen Ginga,” and perhaps they were in some way connected to the short-lived Ndala Kingo a Hanga, who had Francisco I of Matamba’s support in 1680 or to another unknown ruler later.72 It is also possible that this embassy was a brand new line, perhaps empowered by Verónica, that was seeking Portuguese recognition, to bolster their claims against rivals. In any case, the Angolan governor sent two letters to Pascoal Cassange Caquinguri (Pasqual Kasanje ka Kinguri) in 1748–1751, of the original line, so perhaps the system of rotation noted in later sources was already established.73 Opportunities for Lunda expansion seemed promising, as the states they faced, Matamba and Kasanje, were both rivals with each other, and the Portuguese hoped to make their own independent contacts with Lunda. In Matamba, Lunda forces would meet Verónica’s son and successor, Afonso Álvares de Pontes, who received the first indication of the Lunda advance when Holos displaced by Kapend’s forces fled westward in the 1730s and forced their way across the Kwango to lodge in the region between Matamba and Kasanje. A Portuguese-born merchant named Francisco de Souto assisted Holo diplomats to visit Luanda in 1739, and the prospect of a break in Kasanje and Matamba’s monopoly on the trans-Kwango trade won immediate Portuguese attention. Matamba was resolutely hostile to the initiative, attacking the traders and quickly nullifying the advantages they may have produced.74 King Afonso Álvares de Pontes, for his part, was distracted both by Holo intrusion and by frequent clashes and wars with Kasanje over control of the Kwango Valley to his south. Indeed, both he and the ruler of Kasanje wrote to the Portuguese on the matter, both denouncing the Holo mission and asserting the earlier formal links and treaties of 72

73

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Francisco de Salles Ferreira, “Memoria sobre o sertão de Cassange,” Annaes do Conselho Ultramarino (hereafter ACU) 1 (1854): 26–29, 26–27 and António Rodrigues Neves, Memoria da expedição ao Cassange em 1850 (Lisbon, 1854), pp. 96–108. See below pp. 327–329 for a further discussion of the historical accounts of the 1850s. AHNA Cod. 3261, fol. 236v. This is an index volume for outgoing correspondence that is now lost, vol. 13 of Cartas, etc., fol. 86 and 164, the dates are extrapolated based on the relative position of the page number in the volume. The mission, de Souto’s career, and its place in the larger Atlantic and Angolan worlds are described in detail in Roquinaldo Ferreira, Cross Cultural Exchange in the Atlantic World: Angola and Brazil during the Era of the Slave Trade (Cambridge, 2012), pp. 20–36.

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protection.75 When Álvares de Pontes died in 1741 his cousin Ana II Guterres da Silva succeeded him, continuing the now almost continuous tradition of female rule.76 The Holo incursion and the recent succession of a female ruler may have encouraged the Portuguese to try an attack on Matamba. The idea of ending the kingdom’s exclusive trade with Lunda, and breaking an important rival, seemed a golden opportunity, and after lengthy preparations they attacked Matamba in 1744. The campaign went badly, with problems sufficiently great that some of the expedition were put on trial, but in spite of being seriously overextended, the army nevertheless managed to capture Ana II’s capital and loot it.77 However, given the problems of supply for an army that numbered 26,000 soldiers, they could not remain in Matamba.78 On the way back, they pillaged the islands of Kindonga, Njinga’s capital when she was in exile in the 1620s, and restored Dom Luis, who had been overthrown by Donga, his brother, as the ruler of Gunza Mbambe.79 Ana II, who had taken refuge a short distance away when the Portuguese pillaged her capital, signed a treaty of vassalage, essentially a repetition of the 1683 treaty to give the Portuguese the semblance of a victory and persuade them to withdraw.80 The show of force was expensive, too, and it revealed that Portugal could not claim real power in the region. While Portuguese participants in the 1744 campaign proudly listed their role in it in their petitions for promotion for years to come, the war had won nothing. As a result, perhaps realizing the impossibility of Portugal taking on a powerful rival, in 1748, Kalandula,

75

76 77

78 79

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AHU Angola, Cx. 35, doc. 3383 (formerly Cx. 34, doc. 50, attachment), Rodrigo Cesar de Menezes to Francisco Roque Souto, 22 May 1737; Cx. 34, doc. 3231 (formerly Cx. 31, doc. 27), Francisco Xavier to João Jacques Magalhães, 5 July 1739; doc. 44, João Jacques Magalhães to King, 16 August 1739; doc. 3221 (formerly Cx. 31, doc. 53), same to same, 24 September 1739. Campos, “Conflitos na dinastia Guterres,” p. 33. A detailed account of the military operations is in da Silva Corrêa, História, 2: 362–366. AHU, Cod. 546, fol. 150, Royal letter to Governor of Angola, 1 October 1745. BUC MS 1505, p. 254; AHU, Cx. 36, doc. 40 (new number Cx. 39, D. 3681), 16 August 1748, consideration of request of Manuel Matoso de Andrade. AHU, Cx. 34, doc. 10, João Jacques de Magalhães, 13 April 1744. According to da Silva Corrêa, História, 1: 363 the proximate cause was the murder of a Portuguese merchant and the seizure of goods belonging to pombeiros.

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Portugal’s strongest Imbangala supporter in the region, stopped paying even nominal tribute.81 Treaty or not, Matamba, like Kasanje, would not surrender its claim to exclude traders from its realm. They made this clear in 1755 when they attacked Portuguese traders going to Holo and Kasanje, to which the Portuguese responded by sending a limited and unsuccessful punitive expedition from Ambaca.82 If the Portuguese could not force their way into Matamba, they were still interested in what Lunda might offer. The Holo embassy revealed the significant extension of Lunda power, and reports about Lunda advances that lay behind the Holo incursion arrived in 1754.83 It was this report that led António Álvares da Cunha to dispatch Correia Leitão to Kasanje and surrounding areas in 1755–1756, to discover what he could about the local situation and what could be known about Kapend’s domain, Kumbana, and the Lunda.84

THE ANTONIAN MOVEMENT IN KONGO The Kingdom of Kongo itself had not suffered from the Lunda attacks, though its former vassals in Nsonso certainly did. Kongo had its own more serious problems in the early eighteenth century. The kingdom had faced constant war since António died, nearly half a century earlier. Towns and villages had been repeatedly burned, crops destroyed, and war-related famine and disease racked the country. Thousands had been displaced, some as refugees in places such as Kibangu, Luvota, or Mbula, which once had been insignificant places before they received refugees or captives taken by the powerful who lived there. Sections of the country, most notably its proud capital, were deserted, hundreds of thousands killed, and just as many deported to the Americas. These conditions, bad enough even for short periods, were normal for everyone under the age of forty. There was a real desire for peace and an end to the fighting.85 81

82

83 84 85

AHU, Angola, Cx. 40, doc. 32, Antonio da Cunha, 23 March 1755; Cx. 43, doc. 21, Antonio de Vasconcelos, 6 May 1760 (revolted twelve years earlier). AHU, Cx. 40, doc. 32, António Álvares da Cunha to Crown, 23 March 1755; doc. 73, António Álvares da Cunha to Crown, 22 January 1756. AHU, Cx. 39, doc. 89, António Álvares da Cunha to King, 4 December 1754. His report is contained in Correia Leitão, “Relação.” Green, A Fistful of Shells, pp. 255–262 on this period as one of dissatisfaction.

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Kongo’s contending royalty, however, were interested only in war. Ana Afonso’s maneuvering in Mbwila was ultimately a part of her own plans to help restore Kongo by expanding her base. But Pedro IV had probably the best idea for restoration by reoccupying São Salvador, when he sent colonists from Kibangu to the city in 1701. Repopulating the center would surely be the best way to restore Kongo to its heyday under Garcia II, if that could be done at all. As the possibility of resettlement loomed, a religious–social movement arose among the colonists, led by prophets named Mfumu (Lady) Maria and Appolonia, who claimed that the king must move more quickly to occupy the city. These two were, it happens, harbingers for a final prophet and yet another female leader, Beatriz Kimpa Vita. Beatriz Kimpa Vita was born near Kibangu to a minor noble family, and in 1704, at the age of twenty, began having visions that gave her a reputation for sanctity. This beginning led to a more substantial claim to authority, and she claimed, following a long illness, that she had died and, as she expired, St. Anthony possessed her. Revitalized by possession, Beatriz arose from her bed, happy again, and began a mission to restore the kingdom. Speaking as St. Anthony incarnate she demanded the immediate repopulation of São Salvador. To this end, she traveled to Kibangu to insist that Pedro IV return to São Salvador himself. When Pedro vacillated, she traveled to Mbula to put the same demand to João II, but he flatly turned her down. Rebuffed by the primary political leaders, Beatriz decided to repopulate the city herself, taking up residence in the ruined cathedral of São Salvador. There she drew thousands of people to her, from all corners of Kongo, accomplishing in the course of a few months the goal that Pedro IV had been working on for a decade. But if Beatriz was St. Anthony incarnate, she was not very wise in the ways of politics, and it was not long before political people capitalized on her movement. Pedro Constantinho da Silva, a general in Pedro IV’s army, proven opportunist, and leader of one of the colonizing columns, took up her cause and occupied the city. Beatriz’s movement was anchored on discontent with the civil war, Kongolese impatience with Capuchin missionaries, and the longstanding religious ideas of Kongo. The movement’s terrain was the idea of witchcraft, which seemed rampant in the civil war period, with its numerous betrayals, violent enslavements, and military disruptions. Capuchin intransigence on assigning all spiritual activity outside their

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domain as witchcraft, and their unseemly connection to Europeans, at a time when Portugal had been encroaching once again on Kongo territory, also upset local people. In her prayer “Salve Antoniana” Beatriz enshrined the Kongo idea that people dealing with the supernatural should be judged by their intentions and not the spiritual entities they dealt with. This prayer, which praised St. Anthony as “the second God,” also made it clear that the performance of the sacraments, deemed essential for salvation in Catholic theology, was irrelevant, for “it is the intention that God takes.”86 Pedro IV could not tolerate this development, and when chance circumstance delivered Beatriz to him, he ordered her to be tried for witchcraft and heresy, to applause from the Capuchin missionaries, even if the local Church establishment, mestres d’escola, was less determined. On 2 July 1706 she was burned in Pedro’s temporary capital, Evululu, and her movement faltered. Three years later, Pedro’s army occupied the city, killed Pedro Constantinho da Silva, and repelled an attempt by João II to retake it in 1709. In doing so, he had restored at least the form, if not the previous political nature, of Kongo.87 As part of the return to religious normalcy, Pedro faced the difficult task of dealing with his wife, who had converted to Antonianism and now lived apart from him. Pedro decided, given her heresy, that he could remarry, and chose a woman from Ana Afonso’s domain at Mukondo, no doubt to help bind the two together. The Capuchins did not like or approve the marriage, which was blessed by the secular canon Estevão Botelho, but Pedro took it anyway.88 Perhaps a longer-lasting effect of the Antonian movement was a further indigenization of Kongo’s Christianity. Kongo national pride was notable even in earlier years, and Beatriz had elevated it, claiming more for Kongolese actors in the Christian story than anyone had before. The years following her movement saw the emergence of the artistic representation of Jesus as an African, wearing Kongolese clothing; moreover, as Fromont shows in her study of Kongo Christian art, many gestures and symbols that resonate in Kongo culture are represented in this art.89 86 87

88 89

Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony, pp. 105–128. Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, pp. 94–113, and with more detail, Thornton, The Kongolese Saint Anthony. ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Cadernos de Promotor, Livro 291, fol. 317. Fromont, The Art of Conversion, pp. 75–108.

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KONGO AFTER PEDRO IV War and restoration had weakened central authority in Kongo, and it lost effective control of its eastern provinces along the Kwango by the early eighteenth century, as witnessed by the emergence of Nsonso as a regional power, and its subsequent war with a partial conquest by Lunda forces. Similarly, Soyo, on the west, no longer participated in Kongo’s elections after 1708, so that portion was also out of the political game. As a consequence, the scope and range of political power focused more and more around São Salvador. Kongo underwent something of a constitutional change following the restoration by Pedro IV. Even before he took over São Salvador, Pedro had accepted the permanence of Kongo’s factions, and arranged for there to be a rotation of kings.90 As happened earlier in Kongo history, a new version of the kingdom’s history surfaced at this time, though it circulated along with the older one. In the older version, which was still circulating early in the eighteenth century, the kings had been violent and aggressive, killing relatives and engaging in atrocities. But in the second version, which appeared in the early eighteenth century (recorded in 1712), Kongo had been founded by a “wise and skillful blacksmith” who won fame and power by mediating disputes, a personality rather like that of Pedro himself. Just as the founding tradition changed in the new version, so did its subsequent history. The idea that three daughters of Afonso had founded the factions of the mid-seventeenth century was gone, replaced by two daughters, either of Afonso, or of the unnamed blacksmith founder. Each of the daughters married different lords, and the Kimpanzu and Kinlaza descended from their offspring.91

90

91

Cherubino da Savona, “Congo 1775. Breve Ragguaglio del Regno di Congo, e sue Missione scritto dal Padre Cherubino da Savona . . ., ” at fol. 41, published in Carlo Toso, “Relazioni inedite di P. Cherubino Cassinis da Savona sul ‘Regno del Congo e sue Missioni’,” L’Italia Francescana 45 (1974): 135–214; a French translation was published in Louis Jadin, “Aperçu de la situation du Congo et rite d’élection des rois en 1775, d’après le P. Cherubino da Savona, Missionaire au Congo de 1759 à 1774,” Bulletin de l’Institute Historique Belge de Rome 35 (1963): 348–419, an interpretation supported by Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 2: 260. Both traditions, one recorded by Bernardo da Gallo in 1710, and the other by Francesco da Pavia at about the same time, were published in Carlo Toso, Una pagina poco nota di storia congolese (Rome, 1999), p. 21 (da Pavia) and 46–48 (da Gallo). See John Thornton, “Origin Traditions and History in Central Africa,” African Arts (Spring, 2004): 32–37 and 93–94, 33–34.

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When Pedro died in 1718 his factional compromise was, in part, accepted. Manuel Mpanzu a Nimi, nicknamed “Makasa,” who succeeded him as Manuel II, was a leading member of the Kimpanzu, nephew of Pedro Constantinho da Silva Kibenga, and Pedro IV’s sonin-law.92 But the legitimacy of such a succession was not without opponents, for the Kinlaza of the lower Mbidizi, with their core in Mbamba, challenged him. A ferocious war consumed much of Mbamba in the 1730s, and peace was only restored just before 1734.93 Once past this resistance, Manuel managed a reign of twenty-three years. Manuel II died on 21 April 1743, and was succeeded by Garcia IV Nkanga a Mabandu, a Kinlaza, crowned by Apostolic Vicar Pantaleão das Neves Fronteira on 27 July 1743.94 His succession also adhered to the principle of rotating between the factions, for a later tradition derives him from the branch of the Kinlaza led by João II’s sister Elena who had championed João II in Pedro IV’s time. Garcia’s branch was established north of São Salvador anchored on the marquisate of Matadi. Garcia’s smooth succession was probably helped by the fact that the northern group of Kinlaza had supported Pedro IV during his reign and not a rival one that supported Elena and opposed Pedro IV.95 Formal adherence aside, Garcia IV also was not opposed, and Manuel’s Kimpanzu queen, a pious woman, who might have led opposition to the newly crowned king, withdrew to Luvota, to head her faction.96 Factional balance continued to be maintained by the next two kings as well. Garcia IV was succeeded by Nicolau Miasaki mia Nimi in 1752, and Sebastião I Nanga kia Kunga succeeded him sometime between 1758 and 1764. Their Kikongo names show that they were not sons of Garcia IV, brothers of each other, nor father 92 93

94

95

96

IHGB, 6/2, “Catallogo”, fol. 5. Archivio di Stato, Parma, Antonio da Polinago; Tomassi Family Papers, Cortona, Anton Felice da Cortona to brother Annibale, 20 November 1734, fol. 1. IHGB, 6/2, “Catallogo,” fol. 5. These sources do not mention his factional membership, but it is established by the fact that his son Manuel, ruler of Enlele in 1760, was called “di Quimulaza” in da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 45v. Jean Cuvelier (ed. and comp.) Nkutama a mvila za makanda (Tumba, 1934), p. 72. This tradition was collected at Matadi about 1928, and is a brief account of the successive rulers who controlled Matadi. It relates that Garcia’s father was son of a Nlaza (se andi Nlaza) and gives his Kikongo name as Nkanga a Mvemba; for further context, see John Thornton, “Modern Oral Traditions and the Historic Kingdom of Kongo,” in Paul Landau (ed.), The Power of Doubt: Essays in Honor of David Henige (Madison, 2011), pp. 195–208, 201–205. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Borgia 316, “Missione in Practica,” chap. I, para. 3.

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and son ruling in turn.97 Nicolau was probably a Kimpanzu, and Sebastião I was likely to have been a Kinlaza from the northern branch where Garcia IV originated.98 It is probably safe to say that by the second decade of the eighteenthcentury Kongo was no longer a centralized kingdom, although elements of the older system were usually maintained by each of the factions within their own domains. Still, the idea of the kingdom being in existence was still very much alive at both the elite and commoner level. This idea would continue to shape Kongo self-perception and ideology until the present day.

SOYO IN KONGO AND THE NORTH Soyo had gradually begun to move out of Kongo politics following Pedro’s restoration. In 1708 António III Baretto da Silva, who had operated openly as a kingmaker in Kongo, was overthrown and killed by a provincial revolt that involved “malcontent pretenders, accompanied by fetishers and concubiners (concobinati) and these with neighboring idolaters.” He fought the rebels for fifteen days with a “crucifix in one hand, and a sword in the other,” but eventually his troops abandoned him, and he died clutching the community cross. Beyond specific ambitions by enemies to displace António III, the revolt hinged on hostility to both the Portuguese and the perceptions that Capuchins were allied with them. The rebels sacked the Capuchin convent and church, saying, “Tubana ntu anganga muculunto” (Bring us the superior’s head), but their leader, Amador da Silva, refused his followers, and offered his own head instead when they asked to kill

97

98

IHGB, 6/2, “Catallogo”, fol. 5; and Francisco das Necessidades, “Factos memoraveis da História de Angola,” Boletim Official do Governo Geral da Provincia de Angola no. 642 (16 January 1858): 3. Das Necessidades was in Kongo from 1842, and was present to crown King Henrique II on 13 January 1844. The numbering of the kings differs in das Necessidades, largely because the informant chose not to count kings of the dynasty of Mbula-Lemba in the list – for example, the king whom das Necessidades calls Afonso IV called himself Afonso V in a letter to the governor of Angola: AHU, Cx. 70, doc. 5, 11 April 1785. The author of the 1758 chronicle, mentioned that the Kimpanzu was “the best” lineage, suggesting that Nicolau was Kimpanzu, and in the 1760s Sebastião’s son married Pedro IV’s granddaughter and ruled the Marquisate of Lukelo: da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fols. 45–45v.

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a local Portuguese resident.99 While no one took up his offer at the time, he was poisoned, and died that very night. The instability persisted for another year, as Paulo IV Generoso da Silva was elected grand prince, but murdered within a year by Jerónimo da Silva, another of the leaders of the original revolt, who was crowned on 26 April 1709.100 Jerónimo da Silva took a decisive step away from a forward policy in Kongo when he recognized Pedro IV as king, and renounced Pedro Constantinho, the Kimpanzu contender, even though Pedro neither sought nor accepted his role in the election.101 Jerónimo was quickly caught up in the general hostility to the Capuchins which had swept over Soyo, and was offended by their insistence in demanding levels of deference during the performance of mass that he was unwilling to give.102 But more important than the question of his status, the Capuchins interfered in his politics, by insisting that he could only sell slaves to Catholic buyers, which was in effect a pro-Portuguese position whatever its intentions. Prince Jerónimo came close to expelling them over both questions, and proposed, unsuccessfully, that the Capuchins yield to secular priests, preferably ones born and trained in Soyo.103 For all the rivalries, however, Soyo did not descend into the intransigent factions that Kongo did, because the extended princely family held most major positions. This way, the civil wars could be dismissed, in António III Baretto da Silva’s words, as “the Barettos playing games.” And the electoral system, totally dominated by this family, could run smoothly, as it did in quickly and unanimously electing Pedro V Baretto da Silva as prince in 1733, just three days after the death of his predecessor.104 This family unity was also maintained by close intermarriages, even though this, like the policy of trading slaves with “heretics” from England and the Netherlands, brought Capuchin ire. In 1742 Cosmo Baretto da Silva wished to marry Lucia Baretto da Silva, the widow of 99

100 101 102

103

104

APF SOCG 594, Francesco da Troyna to Clement XIV, 1714, fols. 441v–443 (in Calogero Piazza, La Missione del Soyo (1713–1716) nella Relazione inedite di Giuseppe da Modena, OFM Cap (Rome, 1973), pp. 188–189. APF SRC Congo 3, fol. 480, Lorenzo da Lucca. Mendes, in Paiva Manso, História, p. 355. APF SOCG 604, fol. 69r, Lorenzo da Lucca to SCPF, 19 June 1715 in Piazza, Missione, p. 192. Giuseppe Monari da Modena, “Viaggo al Congo fatto da me . . ., ” fol. 403, ed. in Piazza, Missione (with original foliation). Archivio di Stato, Parma, Carteggio Farnesiano-Borbonico-Estero, busta 436, Angelo Maria da Polinagro, 16 August 1733.

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his brother (and sister of his deceased wife), a step which Bernandino Ignazio della Vessa, the resident Capuchin, resisted on the grounds that rules of consanguinity would be violated and that the prince also had other close relatives as concubines.105 In this case Cosmo tricked the priest by paying bride price to marry his “concubine” Maria Nkenke, then substituted Lucia Baretto da Silva for her at the wedding. When della Vessa discovered the ruse and denounced him, Cosmo went over the priest’s head and petitioned the papacy directly to allow him his choice, and the Vatican ultimately decided in his favor.106 Cosmo’s successor, Francisco Baretto da Silva, had fewer problems with the Capuchins, and began a more vigorous campaign to integrate the northern regions. In 1748 he disrupted trade with Ngoyo, but did not occupy the country.107 At the same time, he also began sending colonists from Soyo to settle in unoccupied territory in the hinterland of both Ngoyo and Kakongo.108 The French reported in 1766 that the people of Ngoyo “feared the Soigno Nation,” perhaps because it had been exercising military authority there for a longer period.109

105 106

107

108

109

APF SOCG 721, fol. 298, Francesco da Gazaldo, 1742. Biblioteca Publica di Torino, MS 457, Anon, “Missione in Pratica . . . ” (giving his name); Bernardino Ignazio della Vezza, “Missione in Pratica,” in J. J. Northumb (ed.), La pratique missionnaire des PP. Capucins italiens das les royaumes de Congo. Angola et contries adjacentes (Louvain, 1933), p.68 (the plot); APF Acta 1744, 14 December 1744, fols. 438–441 (decision to override della Vezza). Martin, External Trade, p. 85 claimed that Soyo launched an unsuccessful invasion, repelled by Ngoyo; the original sources are not particularly clear on whether there was any military action at this time: see NAN Zeeuwsarchief, Middleburgse Commercie Compagnie (available at www.archieven.nl/nl/db/0/toegang/239/20), 486, Logbook of the Groot Prooyen, fols. 21–21v, 15 March 1748 (a vague references to a “Sonje”) and 455, fol. 37, Logbook of the Grenadier, 20 February 1749; 459 Captain of Grenadier to Middelburg Company, 15 February 1749, fols. 2v–3 (mentioning “Sonje” as doing no business). Certainly they were scarcely disrupted by Soyo, as the surrounding entries show no further details. The colonies are reported only in later literature. For a colony in Ngoyo, APF SRC Congo 5, fol. 383, Stefano Maria da Castelleto, report on Soyo mission, 6 May 1777; for the settlement in Kakongo at Manguenzo, “Relation de la mission de les prestres séculiers au royaume de Loango et ses environs,” in Jean Cuvelier (ed.), Documents sur un mission français en Kakongo, 1766–1776 (Brussels, 1953), pp. 112–113. The French mission to Kakongo which visited Manguenzo in 1773 noted that they had left Soyo about twenty years before (1753 if taken literally): Abbé LiévinBonaventure Proyart, Histoire de Loango, Kakongo et de autres royaumes d’Afrique (Paris and Lyon, 1776), p. 319. ANF, C6/24, fol. 13, “Memoire sur le côte d’Afrique,” 1766; however, his description was also linked with the claim that they hoped to have a fort built on their land to protect them – perhaps more a French hope than an Ngoyo one.

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As Soyo continued its penetration into Kakongo and Ngoyo, it also expanded its influence north of the Congo River by less direct religious means. The religious penetration was notable even when Soyo’s military impact was less significant, and even though both northern countries continued to follow traditional religion officially. When the king of Ngoyo died in 1714, he considered himself a Christian and had a cross in his palace, even though he had not erected it. The missionaries, however, regarded him as a “gentile” because he did not give up his concubines or stop trading with English and Dutch “heretics.”110 His successor also described himself as a Christian, and had spent a good deal of time in his youth in Soyo, though the missionaries there had refused to baptize him because of their belief that his father’s continued adherence to traditional religion would not promote his growth as a Christian.111 Beyond the missionaries’ opinion, the question of Christianity was in part an issue of Soyo’s diplomacy. As it happened as well, the shrine of Our Lady of Mpinda was a major cult for both Soyo and Ngoyo. Around 1750, when Bernardino della Vezza decided to make some repairs to the aging statue, the procession he organized was overwhelmed by people from Ngoyo who flooded into Soyo to participate.112 Even while not Christians formally, thousands in Ngoyo believed in the miraculous powers of the Virgin. Soyo had no capacity to influence Loango, however. The struggle over Christian conversion in the 1660s had revealed a transformation of the four rotating offices to a council of four electors who chose a king at their will, and who clearly were divided into factions between various members of the royal council. The problem of election and potential civil war revealed in these events apparently led to stalemates. When Nathaniel Uring visited Loango in 1701 the king had died nine months earlier and the Makunda, known earlier as the mother of the king’s heirs (so his sister; Uring thought her a queen), but now holding power as a regent, ran the country. She was effectively the head of state, and he negotiated with her in her palace.113 The long interregnum that he witnessed was only a foretaste of even longer ones in the future. 110 111

112 113

Monari, “Viaggo al Congo,” ed. in Piazza, Missione, fol. 362. For his time in Soyo, APC, “Raggualio del Congo,” pp. 74–75, Lorenzo da Lucca, 29 December 1702. He was about twelve then, and twenty-four when he became king. Della Vezza, “Missione in Pratica,” pp. 88–89. Nathaniel Uring, A History of the Voyages and Travels of Captain Nathaniel Uring (London, 1749), pp. 37, 48. See Martin, External Trade, p. 25 on her earlier role.

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PORTUGUESE ANGOLA Portugal’s military efforts in the later seventeenth century, the disastrous attack on Kongo in 1670, the Pyrrhic victory at Mpungu a Ndongo in 1672, and its costly and inadequate meddling in Matamba and Kasanje a decade later made Angolan leadership pull back from large-scale deployments far from their core territories. Angola had sufficient difficulties on its southern border, for Kisama and Libolo on the south shore of the Kwanza were unconquered and their populations harbored runaways as well as raiding plantations regularly. Their loose social organization and the problematic terrain, especially in Kisama, had thwarted many previous efforts to conquer them.114 While Libolo and Haku had entered into vassalage arrangements with Angola, mostly from fear of Kasanje, these were impossible to enforce or benefit from.115 To the degree that leadership in any of these territories accepted vassalage, they sometimes could use Portuguese assistance, as when the soba Gunza Mbambe was expelled by his brother in 1687, and the Angolans successfully answered his appeal to restore him.116 Still, the Portuguese regularly waged war in the whole area. António de Saldanha de Albuquerque Castro attacked Kisama in 1688, 1695, and 1710.117 In exchange, Kisama aided a military revolt in Muxima in 1715, and Rodrigo Cezar de Menezes launched a naval expedition along the river in 1735 to clear it of pirates.118 The resumption of large-scale war in the Matamba campaign of 1744–1745 led Governor João Jacques de Magalhães to attack Kisama on his return march, and continued in the field until 1747, pillaging Kizua, Kimone, Katala, and Muxima.119 While the sale of people seized in this extended raid helped pay for the campaign, the war brought no other results beyond the destruction of homes and the seizure of livestock and people. Apart from the few large military campaigns, the governors of the first half of the eighteenth century focused on the lands they did 114

115 116 117 118 119

Krug, Fugitive Modernities; also Beatrix Heintze, “Beiträge zur Geschichte und Kultur der Kisama (Angola),” Paideuma 16 (1970): 159–186. MSS Araldi, Cavazzi, “Missione Evangelica,” vol. B, pp. 474–538. Da Silva Corrêa, História, 2: 309. Da Silva Corrêa, História, 2: 311, 223–226, 335–336. Da Silva Corrêa, História, 2: 339, 361. AHU, Cx. 35, doc. 125, João Jacques de Magalhães, 3 August 1747 and enclosed letters of 4 December 1745 and 15 March 1746; da Silva Corrêa, História, 1: 365–366.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

control. Portuguese residents had settled on properties along the Bengo, Kwanza, and Lukala Rivers in the interior, and especially east of Massangano. The owned arimos (landed estates) worked by slaves, but also shared the space with vassal rulers under their traditional sobas, over which they exercised varying degrees of control. Many of the settlers had married into the families of the vassal sobas or served as their officials, especially around the Portuguese posts.120 At Ambaca, they were closely related or friendly with the elite of Matamba, and were even married into the royal line.121 A survey of Massangano in 1759 showed the degree of racial mixture with eight pardo, thirteen fusco (both mixed-race categories), eight preto (black), and only one branco (white) among the propertyowning and tax-paying citizens of the town (excluding slaves and people under jurisdiction of sobas).122 Portuguese sovereignty was always doubtful to some extent. Interior presidios had a long-established population of Portuguese and LusoAfricans who controlled local government, particularly the office of capitão mor, the senior official in local government. Many were African or mixed race, judging from the acerbic description of them by the governor – a mulatto who wore African clothing, or a long-term white resident who lived “gentlemanly among the blacks.”123 They were nominated by the governor from the most successful military officers and lived on trade.124 They upheld Portuguese policy indifferently, and served primarily as influential local forces that might assist government or stand it its way. Beyond these settlement areas, Angola had an array of “vassals” who were more independent but had signed treaties of vassalage over the course of the long history of Angola. The Dembos area was connected to Angola through vassalage agreements which were frequently ignored,

120

121

122 123 124

Miller, Way of Death, pp. 246–251, citing AHU, Cx. 37, “Extinção do prezidio das Pedras,” ca. 1777, not readily found among present numbering (Cx. 61) but see Cx. 61, doc. 75, Report of Bishop, 11 July 1778; and doc. 83, “Declaração sobre Justiça e Commercio . . ., ” 28 July 1778; also cites AHU, Cx. 27 (present numeration Cx. 41), da Cunha, 9 June 1757 on marriages around Ambaca. AHU, Cx. 42, doc. 6, António de Vasconcelhos, 4 January 1759; AHU, Cx. 42, doc. 70, António de Vasconcelhos, 25 May 1759. AHU, Cx. 42, doc. 65, António de Vasconcelhos, 22 May 1759. AHU, Cx. 16, doc. 45, a description of the payments made to these officials, ca. 1702. On the office and official status of capitães mores, see Carlos Couto, Os capitães-mores em Angola no século XVIII (subsídios para o estudo da sua actuação) (Luanda, 1972); see also Miller, Way of Death, pp. 256–262.

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and Portugal’s coercive power was limited.125 The archives of the Dembo Kahenda, which reach back to the early eighteenth century, are full of references to the close and intimate relations that merchants who had maintained longstanding business interests with their African hosts.126 In the early eighteenth century these areas were still free from warfare and “full of people.”127 Landholders included settlers and priests, especially seculars, who felt free to travel beyond the bounds of official Portuguese sovereignty. By the eighteenth century the Church had freed many of the slaves who worked their lands, and these lands and the former slaves were exempt from taxation and public works.128 The Jesuits had their arimos close to Luanda along the Bengo, while the Carmelites controlled substantial land in eastern Angola, especially around their hospice at Bango a Kitama, where lay settlers complained of their wealth and willingness to accept slaves who ran away to them.129 Priests also were deeply engaged in commerce. Many traded in Kongo, where there was a demand for their services, and by the 1680s the Kongo canons had amassed considerable wealth, holding it in Angola as well as Kongo, and were in evidence at Pedro IV’s capital in 1699; their efforts continued right through the eighteenth century.130 In a report of 1715, Bishop Luis Simões Brandão noted that some 160,000 baptized subjects lived in the Portuguese colony and its immediate subordinated regions (excluding Kongo). These were served by only a handful of priests, and there were many barriers to the ideas of providing instruction.131 In this way, Angola’s actual 125

126

127

128

129

130

131

APF SOCG 552, fols. 66v–67, Bernardo da Firenze to Propaganda Fide, 22 July 1705. See these letters in Ana Paula Tavares and Catarina Madeira Santos (eds.), Africae Monumenta: A Apropriação da Escrita pelos Africanos, vol. I: Arquivo Caculo Cacahenda (Lisbon, 2002), pp. 55–72, 372–377. Archivio Provinciale dei Cappuccini de Toscana, Bernardo da Firenze, “Ragguaglio del Congo . . ., ” vol. I, fol. 685. Royal letter to Governor of Angola, 7 July 1749, Arquivos de Angola 22 (1987–1990): 56–57. Royal letter to Conde do Lavradio, 28 December 1746, Arquivos de Angola 22 (1987–1990): 168-170. Library of Congress, Portuguese MSS P-27, fols. 136–136v, 141–141v, “Manifesto do nulo, e violente governo . . . anno de 1674”; d’Atri, “Giornate,” p. 427 (original pagination), 352–353, 361 (Toso edition). For the eighteenth century, Academia das Cienças, Lisboa, Vermelho 296, “Viagem do Congo de Missionario Fr. Raphael de Castello de Vide hoje Bispo de S. Thomé” (1781–1788), fol. 69. BPE [Biblioteca Pública d’Évora] Cod. 2/215-15i, fols. 74v–76v, Luis Simões Brandão, 2 November 1715. While the bishop gave rounded-off statistics for various

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religious life resembled that of Kongo, where the formal, CounterReformation theology was strongly contested by an older, more overlapping theology that mirrored that of Kongo.132 An Inquisition inquest, initiated by Capuchins and targeting what they considered improper practice by secular priests, was held irregularly between 1717 and 1727 in Mbwela and nearby regions, an area where there were some Portuguese residents, as well as a vassal state. The secular priests, such as Miguel da Silva, its principal target, were often “black by father and mother.”133 Likewise, priests and witnesses came from various parts of Kongo (including Mbamba and Mpemba) and had clearly moved around during the previous twenty years.134 But Portuguese culture was also known in the area. The Capuchin priest Marcellino d’Atri was surprised when he visited Mbwela in 1699, because the marquis served him a meal that made him feel he was “no longer in Congo, but indeed in some country of Europe” because of the food, the abundance of “bread, wine, and other items of our homelands.”135 Another Italian Capuchin, Giuseppe Monari da Modena, traveling across the region in 1725–1726, found that Christianity had become more established than before, even though he did not feel that they were as devout as in Kongo.136 Religious practice in Angola was in fact regularized, with many African practices simply being blended into Christianity, and crossed ethnic and national identities: for example, in an inquest of 1716 of Vicente de Moraes, a free black soldier, whose parents, Sebastião de Moraes, a black artilleryman, and Domingas Francisca, were both free and residents in Muxima, “even though heathens.” He and a white soldier, António Dias Pilarte, decided to create a “bolsa de mandinga,” a protective pouch which the Church would call a “fetish” and which typically combined ingredients intended to attract protective spirits. In this case the ingredients included both items that might be found in

132 133 134

135 136

parishes within Angola, the underlying data, partially preserved in Cod. 2/215-16, show that in 1704 there was an ecclesiastical census taken by the curates, which encompassed every person by name, including slaves (often the unfree were only counted, not named). Ferreira, Cross Cultural Exchange, pp. 166–188. ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Cadernos de Promotor, Livro 291, fol. 302v. ANTT Inquisição de Lisboa, Cadernos de Promotor, Livro 291, fols. 289–301 (and continuing with new pagination pp. 1–12). D’Atri, “Giornate,” p. 427. Biblioteca Estense, Modena, MS Alpha N-9-7, Giuseppe da Modena, “Viaggio al Congo,” pp. 422–425.

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a traditional spiritual vessel, such as a “green stone that they did not know what it was” and Catholic elements such an Agnus Dei. They even surreptitiously got a priest to say a blessing over it, and then they tested it by attaching it to a dog, which survived being shot, thanks to the bolsa.137 Another Inquisition case, begun in 1746, revealed both the way in which Christianity and African religion had met and melded when the capitão mor of Ambaca, João Pereira da Cunha, was tried for witchcraft and idolatry. Testimony revealed that mixed-race and African people were present at all steps and in many careers, and that Pereira da Cunha enjoyed African musical performances, along with many other local practices of African origin. He was also attentive to spirit mediums and divination as used in Kimbundu-speaking areas. And yet others defended him as a devout Christian who did all the duties demanded of a Christian. He and many others like him probably saw no contradiction and experienced no great anxiety in all their activities.138 Beyond governance and culture, Angola had to cope with its finances, anchored inexorably to the slave trade. The end of largescale warfare meant that war was less likely to be the easiest or best way obtain revenue from Angola. Portuguese interventions in Matamba and Mbwila at the end of the century had been costly and brought no long-term results beyond the slaves captured during these ventures. As a result, they turned more strongly to controlling trade in order to tax it. In order to manage trade better, in 1703 the municipal council of Luanda decided to order all Portuguese or Brazilian merchants to be concentrated in Luanda, a strategy that already had a long history of failure.139 The attempt was renewed when António Álvares da Cunha banned Europeans from trading in the interior in 1753, claiming that he was doing so to protect the local population from exploitation, proposing that they only be allowed to operate in Luanda or at the presidios.140

137

138

139

140

ANTT Inq Lx, Processos 5477, Case of Vicente de Moraes, 10 October 1716, no foliation. The case is fully explored in Kalle Kanonja, “Healers, Idolators and Good Christians: A Case Study of Creolization and Popular Religion in Mid-Eighteenth Century Angola,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 43 (2010): 443–465. AHU, Cx. 17, doc. 17, Bando of Camara Municipal de Luanda, 26 January 1703 enclosed in letter of 22 April 1703. AHU, Cx. 38, doc. 81, Oficios do Governador Conde do Lavradio, 18 December 1753; see also Birmingham, Trade and Conquest, p. 145, citing additional sources.

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It was another attempt to manage the unmanageable, and the ban was never effected. The settlers of the interior possessed private armies of slaves whom they armed. These small armed forces were important players in the slave trade, for they regularly raided the country around them, capturing a steady stream of slaves. Bishop Simões Brandão noted what was typical in 1715: wars conducted within the colony of Angola by subject sobas against each other were augmented by those brought from areas outside Portuguese control where wars were also being waged. He believed that these wars were “unjust and barbarous mostly waged without any other reason than to rob and seize people to sell to the Pombeiros” (slave merchants). Wars among sobas were like small civil wars, such as those that racked Mutemo a Kinjenga in 1720, and the Portuguese mediated rather than suppressed them.141 Sobas sometimes worked with Portuguese soldiers to raid neighboring areas. Bernardo da Firenze, a missionary based at Kahenda, noted in 1705 how these soldiers raided the region around his hospice to the point of depopulation.142 The sobas themselves were not always so loyal in spite of their nominal vassalage, as was revealed in 1759 when the sobas around Ambaca threatened it. They raised a considerable army, and only withdrew when they saw that it was strongly defended.143 While such action might simply be considered a rebellion, it was a symptom of a well-armed subject population whose loyalty could not be taken for granted. Within the colony there was a longstanding enslaved population, some of multi-generational standing, that could be sold off at times. There were also judicial enslavements – for example, for adultery – and at times whole families were sold as a result of losing a dispute. The majority of the population in the limited listings of 1704 were slaves, and, like the kijikos of Ambundu, they were not necessarily expected to be removed from their families, which is why it was shocking that some sold their own relatives away.144

141

142

143 144

Certificate of Fernando Sanches e Sousa, 23 October 1720, in Tavares and Madeira Santos (eds.), Africae Monumenta, pp. 55–56. APF SOCG 552, fols. 62–62v, Bernardo da Firenze to Propaganda Fide, 22 June 1705. AHU, Cx. 42, doc. 58, Moradores of Ambaca to Governor, 24 April 1759. BPE Cod. 2/215-15, fols. 72–74v, Simões Brandão. The numbers of people held to be slaves, at least within the parishes recognized by the Church, can be gleaned by documents in BPE Cod. 2/215-16.

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To counter perceived government weakness in maintaining order in the interior, in 1703 Angolan authorities sought to suppress the office of capitão mor, the administrative position typically held by these officials, claiming that they were abusing the local population and exploiting the people.145 The idea was impossible to implement, however, since to abandon the office was to lose all influence and eliminate a significant component of the slave trade. There were also officially established courts which sought to eliminate illegal enslavement of free people for sale.146 The court heard cases, and some were successful, but there were many ways of avoiding the laws, for example, by passing people from one buyer to another to confuse their origin.147 The long history of governors’ participation in the slave trade, either as merchants or as leaders of armies, led the Crown to decide, in 1721, to prohibit governors from engaging in the slave trade. The anticipated shortfall was to be covered by the receipts from Bahia or the royal taxes on the slave trade of other parts of the African coast.148 The issue was not important for the kingdom of Angola, but was relevant to Benguela, where aggressive governors were actively participating in wars that had acquisition of slaves as their principal objective. Given Lisbon’s insistence that governors live on taxes and not on warfare or commerce, the governors of Portuguese Angola began much more vigorous means of raising tax revenue in the early years of the mideighteenth century, and later they escalated their efforts. It was imperative to maximize tax revenues from trade, and to that end governors devoted much more effort to monopolizing trade in order to tax it fully. This was a particularly acute problem as Dutch, English, and French competition had become fierce, and they offered better products and more attractive prices, drawing trade away to the north. Beyond that, the effective end of large-scale traffic across Kongo, and the diversion of much of Kongo’s trade to either Soyo or, more importantly, to the states north of the Congo – Ngoyo, Kakongo, and Loango – deprived the Angolan trade of many of its traditional markets. Diminishing access to the African cloth trade meant that the cloth of 145

146 147 148

AHU, Cx. 17, doc. 17, Bando of Camara Municipal de Luanda, 26 January 1703 enclosed in letter of 22 April. Ferreira, Cross Cultural Exchange, pp. 88–118. BPE Codice 2/215-15, fol. 75, Simões Brandão. Birmingham, Trade and Conquest, p. 136, citing AHU, Cx. 15, Consulta of 12 September 1721 (I was unable to locate the original of this text).

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Europe and India became more important, and Portugal had to face the same competition for that trade as well. The northern trade was the most vexing, as “Mobili” (Vili) merchants from the north coast were buying slaves in markets as far inland as Matamba, and even as far south as the Central Highlands.149 There was, therefore, an effort to choke off the trade by blocking trade routes to the Angolan hinterland. In 1734 Governor Rodrigo Cezar de Menezes proposed building a fort around Mbwila to prevent this,150 coupled with a royal proposal to cut off its far northern link through the establishment of a second fort at Soyo, where he hoped, rather too optimistically, that Capuchin missionaries would be able to help overcome objections of the grand prince.151 Official complaints, while anchored in fiscal concerns, also touched on security issues. The northern traders brought many muskets and powder to the Dembos, an area that was difficult to control.152 The traders were unimpressed with the governors’ plans, as even the loyal soba Kahenda accepted guns from Vili traders.153 In any case, munitions fueled the petty wars within the Dembos that yielded slaves, just as the armed excursions of local Portuguese soldiers did. To increase the volume of the taxable slave trade and make a first step in blocking the northern trade, António de Vasconcelos finally decided to follow up on earlier plans and establish a fort near Mbwila, a logical choke point for trade going north from the west side of the Kwango. After bringing in a military force, studying the topography of the region, he established a fort at Encoge, on the border between Mbwila and Mbwela, in 1759.154 As the fort threatened both Mbwila and Mbwela, it required

149

150 151 152

153

154

BML Cod. 12, fols. 313–317, Response of Senate of the Camara to Henrique de Figueiredo, September 1721. AHU, Cx. 27, doc. 93, Rodrigo Cezar de Menezes to King, 30 January 1734. AHU, Cx. 29, doc. 8, King to Rodrigo César de Meneses, 10 January 1736. AHU, Cx. 39, doc. 19, António Álvares da Cunha to Crown, 1 April 1754; Cx. 40, doc. 32, Antonio Álvares da Cunha, 23 March 1755; Cx. 40, doc. 43, António Álvares da Cunha, 7 May 1755; Cx. 42, doc. 62, António de Vasconcelhos, 19 May 1759. He did think the weapons were of poor quality. João Jacques de Magalhães to soba Sebastião Francisco Cheques, 22 March 1743, in Tavares and Madeira Santos (eds.), Africae Monumenta, p. 372. AHU, Cx. 40, doc. 88, António Álvares da Cunha to Crown, 24 February 1756; Cx. 41, doc. 15, António Álvares da Cunha to Crown, 10 March 1757; Cx. 41, doc. 36, António Álvares da Cunha to Crown, 26 May 1757; Cx. 43, doc. 21, António de Vasconcelhos to Crown, 6 May 1760.

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a military campaign against Mbwela to allow the Portuguese to get formal recognition for exclusive trade.155 Defending this position and access to it, through the lands of the long allied Jaga of Kalandula, would force Angola to become involved in the affairs of the Kwango Valley. The fort could not succeed in blocking trade, since the local powers were coolly supportive at best and almost hostile at other times. Trade would continue to flow past Encoge in the following decades.156 It was hardly effective, as many slaves did get through; in 1771 even Capuchin missionaries were accused of smuggling across Kongo.157 In addition to seeking to control trade, the government continued other fiscal approaches, such as a tax on salt, though an inquest of 1755 blamed the weight of this tax for depopulation of the ancient core region of Ndongo, “the most fertile, admirable and abundant in all things of all districts.” The weight of the tax caused the residents to move elsewhere, especially Matamba.158 To relieve this distress, the captain major of Ambaca allowed residents to pay the salt tax in imported cloth.159 They still managed to profit from salt by taking over the Benguela salt works in order to raise the price of the commodity to the benefit of the government and contractors working for it.160

PORTUGUESE BENGUELA Portuguese possessions in Angola were in fact divided into two noncontiguous areas, Angola in the north and the outpost at Benguela in the south. In 1700 Benguela was a small town with a limited export trade, primarily cattle products and a few slaves. It engaged in small-scale raiding and cattle rustling with its neighbors, and in contraband trade. Though it usually communicated with Luanda by sea, in around 1670 155

156 157 158 159

160

AHU, Angola, Cx. 27, doc. 82, Rodrigo Cesar de Menezes, 28 November 1733 (initial plan to build a fort at Encoge); Cx. 43, doc. 21, António de Vasconcelos, 6 May 1760 (building the fort); Cx. 44, doc. 62, Consulta do Conselho Ultramarino, 9 October 1761 (vassalage of Mbwela). Miller, Way of Death, pp. 277–278. AHU, Cx. 55, doc. 62, Sousa Coutinho, 18 August 1771. AHU, Cx. 40, doc. 63, António Álvares da Cunha to Crown, 11 December 1755. AHU, Cx. 40, doc. 107, António Álvares da Cunha, 4 March 1756; Miller, Way of Death, pp. 274–275. Miller, Way of Death, pp. 275–276, citing AHU, Cx. 32 (present numeration Cx. 53), Portaria, 9 May 1769.

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Jorge de Roza opened a road, considered quite risky, from Luanda overland to Benguela.161 Its climate was deemed unhealthy and it was not a place in which many Europeans wished to settle. But as northern conquests were not deemed possible, there was a certain incentive to attempt to conquer and enslave people in the south.162 The slave trade of Mina (West African) slaves went into a slump, so in 1729 the king wrote to Governor Paulo Caetano de Albuquerque suggesting that he expand roads into the highlands to tap inland sources of slaves.163 The southern end of the highlands region was composed, like the regions farther north, of “provinces” (volupale in Umbundu) or longstanding geo-political groupings of allied sobas. Among such groups there was usually one predominant one, but it might also happen that the second rank of sobas had some power over less powerful lower ones. Thus a province like Ganda or Hanya could contain around twenty sobas of different capacities. In the seventeenth century, as noted earlier, the Portuguese were sometimes able to take on the role of dominant soba though the institution of vassalage. Benguela was the Portuguese core province, whose principal soba was effectively the governor of Benguela, and it was surrounded by vassal sobas who paid tribute and agreed to protect the city and favor its interests. Like all such arrangements in the political culture of the area, whether Portuguese or Umbundu, these vassalage agreements potentially could be easily broken, and could only be enforced by superior coercion. In 1684, as the wars in eastern Angola died down, and it was increasingly visible that further campaigning beyond secure supply lines was likely to be unsuccessful, João de Sousa e Silva decided to build a presidio on the lands of the Jaga Kakonda, who had been dealing with the Portuguese for most of a century. Kakonda’s territory was above the escarpment that divided the coastal plain around Benguela from the highlands. However, the land east of Kakonda was flatter than that farther north, where the uplands were also deeply divided by rocky ridges and river valleys. It was more difficult to consolidate provinces in the north, but south of that, larger states could prevail. 161

162 163

Library of Congress, Portuguese MSS P-27, fol. 153v, “Advertencias mais modernos e particulares . . . .” Candido, African Slaving Port, pp. 89–95. Birmingham, Trade and Conquest, p. 140, citing AHU, Cx. 18 (possibly presently designated Cx. 27, doc. 2635), João V to Paulo Caetano de Albuquerque, 19 May 1729.

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Kakonda’s lands were nominally in Ganda, but in fact he was something of an independent force there, as Imbangala bands often were within the provincial structure of the highlands. At first Kakonda accepted the Portuguese, staging a joint raid into Kilenjes, a neighboring district, to rustle cattle and obtain slaves, in 1685.164 But the move was provocative, and after some skirmishing, in 1687 Kakonda laid siege to the presidio, lured its commander into a parlay, beheaded him, and destroyed the presidio.165 Luis Lobo da Silva then responded to this challenge, and opened a new front in Benguela, transferring a large number of soldiers, among them the most experienced in Angola, to Benguela in 1688. Lobo da Silva possibly saw in Benguela the prospect of a repetition of the glory years of the 1620s when big campaigns brought large hauls of slaves in the long war against Ndongo. Certainly he redeployed much of the army, which Angolan officials claimed left the city bereft of soldiers and unable to pay for the transfer.166 The wars this move generated would certainly contribute to reviving the slave trade under the governor’s control. Kakonda quickly submitted and renewed a vassalage arrangement, but other sobas did not, and when a pretender to the soba Ngola Njimbo asked for help overthrowing the ruler in 1691, Portuguese forces intervened, though with little effect apart from seizing cattle and some slaves.167 Nevertheless in the following years the capitães mores of Kakonda built up their own alliance though vassalage treaties. Stiffer resistance to Portugal’s move into the highlands came particularly from Yamba, who, along with his sister Nana Ambundo, and ally Xalangongo, aimed to take the place of Kakonda as prime ruler of the province of Hanya. In 1700 a showdown developed when the soba Katira besieged the soba Xa-Dingiri, a vassal of Portugal who immediately appealed to Antonio de Farias, the capitão mor, to support him, chiding de Farias that “he was concerned with the whites and did not care about the blacks” and that “if the arms of your majesty would not 164

165

166 167

AHU, Angola, Cx. 18 (old docs. 3 and 5, now regrouped at AHU, Angola, Cx. 18, doc. 2005), Service papers of Antonio de Farias, 27 February 1705. AHU, Cx. 13, doc. 51 (new 1631), Consulta do Conselho Ultramarino 7 February 1688. See Candido, African Slaving Port, pp. 245–257 for another approach to this period. AHU, Cx. 13, doc. 51; Cx. 13, doc. 102, João de Alencastro to King, 14 January 1689. AHU, Cx. 14, doc. 66 (now grouped with docs. 66, 64, 67 and 68, as AHU, Cx. 15, doc. 1727), Jeronimo da Cunha Pimentel, to Overseas Council, 16 June 1691.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

support [acodiam] his vassals, they would seek another master.” Farias had to accept the fact that failing to support loyal vassals would cause them to “incorporate themselves into Hiyumba [Yamba],” and opted to attack. He gathered the vassals, including Imbangala (perhaps Kakonda’s own troops among them) to raise Katira’s siege, and also to confront Yamba, besieging his ally Xalangongo, ultimately getting both to submit to a vassalage arrangement.168 Holding vassals would prove a problem. In 1718 Cambuinda, another of Kakonda’s vassals, attacked merchants, forcing the capitão mor to call for reinforcements, reaching as far as the Angolan districts of Icolo, Bengo, and Golungo.169 Faced with a superior force, Cambuinda retreated to the province of Kinzamba, and was joined by seven allied sobas. A prolonged engagement ensued, involving as many as 109 “sobas and potentates.” The Portuguese were able to resist the attack, but suffered substantial losses.170 Cambuinda’s challenge was a prelude to a more protracted struggle which began in 1721, as Kiambela now claimed, as Yamba had done earlier, to be ruler “from his youth” of both Ganda and Hanya. He laid siege to both Kakonda and Benguela, supported by some 12,000 followers, and penetrated into the inner walls of the fort.171 The Portuguese were only able to relieve the siege by calling in all their allies and bringing reinforcements. There followed a lengthy war in which Kiambela moved his own armies and allied forces through Hanya, Ganda, and Kilenjes, and, when driven from there, retreated back into the flatlands that lay to the east of the mountains, finally fending the Portuguese off on the borders of the large kingdoms of Bembe and Ngalangi.172 Because Kiambela’s reach and apparently substantial number of allies and supporters were so large, the Portuguese called this the War

168

169 170

171

172

AHU, Cx. 17, doc. 58 (now grouped with AHU, Cx. 17, docs. 78 and 58, in Cx. 19, doc. 1989), Camara of Luanda to Overseas Council, 19 October 1703; Feo Cardoso, Memorias, pp. 226. Soba Hiyamba (and other orthographies) is probably not, as some speculate, Wambu. See also Candido, African Slaving Port, pp. 249–250. BML Cod. 12, fol. 258v, Order of 21 March 1718. BML Cod. 12, fols. 270–270v, Bando of 16 May 1718; AHU, Cx. 20, doc. 98, Captain of Benguela to Crown, 26 April 1719; Cx. 20, doc. 101, Henrique de Magalhães to Crown, 18 May 1719. BML 12, fols. 318v–319v, 25 November 1721, Report from Benguela to Luanda Camara (on Benguela) and fols. 319v–321v, Francisco de Barboza Moura, 29 November 1721. AHU, Angola, Cx. 21, doc. 65, testimony of residents of Caconda, 1721.

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of Five Provinces.173 The war went on for years, grinding to a temporary halt in 1728.174 It flared up again in 1734, and one official noted that slaves were being taken in the “wars that are customary in these parts . . . because the Black is strong or dies fighting or fleeing, and only those who cannot run remain in the libatas and their forts and those who get the most attention are the ones who cannot run.”175 Kiambela, however remained in the region, and continued to rule a confederation of his own, challenging Portuguese claims. When the capitão mor Belquior Raposo Pimentel ruled Kakonda, he sought to tighten control over vassal sobas, often dethroning allied sobas and replacing them; several rebelled, and offered their support to Kiambela.176 The war, and many smaller conflicts that took place but never reached the archives, surely resulted in the outcome that Portuguese authorities had hoped for – a revival of the direct capture of slaves, which had been denied them in the period following 1680 in Angola. The volume of exports cannot easily be defined: much of the trade was illegal, and that which was legal went to Luanda for official export and cannot be separated from the trade of the northern areas. The eastern end of the mountains and the plains beyond them were still something of a no-man’s land, as demonstrated when a freed slave from Luanda, Calumba, managed to install himself in the area, and over time accumulated some twenty subordinate villages, becoming a local soba; he had a substantial army and engaged neighboring sobas. The Portuguese saw him as a challenge and attacked him in 1734; he retreated as far as Ngalangi and Bembe, two substantial powers that dominated the eastern end of the Highlands, and was offered security by Lukeke. Although the Portuguese eventually defeated him, he withdrew across the Cunene River and they did not follow him farther. There were several further wars that did not reach the level of official discussion; as one official noted in 1734 they were exporting “heads” of slaves, taken in smaller wars, and among those who could not either fight or run away, another campaign against unnamed “rebellious 173

174 175 176

So called in Manoel Simões’s service paper: AHU, Cx. 26, doc. 115, 28 November 1732 (Simões served over forty years in Angola and was one of the primary officers in the 1722 war). Feo Cardoso, Memorias, p. 242 has it with seven provinces. AHU, Cx. 24, doc. 115, Álvaro de Barros da Silva, 19 September 1729. AHU, Cx. 27, doc. 156, Alvaro de Barros da Silva, 13 November 1734. AHU, Cx. 33, doc. 116, José Monteiro de Morais to Mestre de Campo, 2 December 1742.

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

vassals” also took place in 1737.177 These wars were reported casually among other matters, so surely there were many others that did not reach official notice. As the war of Kiambela reached further east, Portuguese merchants and adventurers began to operate in the broad high plains that were dominated by more powerful rulers, notably Wambu, Ngalangi, and especially Bembe, the principal power all the way along the land between the Kwango and Kwanza Rivers, stretching southwards to the headwaters of the Cunene. In 1728 a rogue official in Kakonda launched a surprise attack on Bembe, which netted considerable slaves and burned over two thousand homes.178 But Portugal could only raid on the plains, and merchants there were at the mercy of the larger states. Wambu’s king, perhaps the one known in tradition as Cikulupi in particular, in 1736 forced the merchants to accompany him on military expeditions, on threat of confiscating their goods, where some were killed or injured.179 While this event reached the archives, it is likely that most other rulers treated merchants as their subjects and forced them to accept obligations of the state.

RECONFIGURATION ON THE PLAINS OF THE HIGHLANDS As Portuguese ambitions reached to Bembe and Ngalangi, they had also come to the broad plains that spread inland behind the rugged terrain of the western end of the highlands. Ngalangi, to which Kiambela fled, was a venerable kingdom, as the ancient ruins of Feti la Choya lay within its territory, and although these ruins 177

178

179

AHU, Cx. 27, doc. 156, João Silva Coutinho, 17 November 1734; Cx. 30, doc. 1, Rodrigo Cesar de Menezes, 8 January 1737. AHU, Angola, Cx. 24, doc. 41, Paulo Caetano de Albuquerque, 21 June 1728; Cx. 66, Francisco Pereira, 7 September 1728. Later the governor was proud of the raid, which he described as a “conquest”: Arquivos de Angola 1 no. 4 (1935), no pagination, Paulo Caetano de Albuquerque to Secretary of State, 23 May 1730. AHU, Angola, Cx. 29, doc. 68, Proposal of Lucas Antonio Puga Dantas e Vasconcellos, 7 November 1736. The name of the king is based on Child’s genealogy of kings, which unfortunately is not accompanied by any indication of any of the rulers’ deeds, and so is difficult to correlate with documented events. See Childs, “Chronology,” p. 244 with this king ruling approximately 1740. Childs has a datable event, the death of “Quipungu” in 1847 (Casungu in Childs’ lists), “The Kingdom of Wambu,” p. 376. Childs’s foundational sources, including an Umbundu history, “Osoma wa Wambu,” (11 February 1960) are in UWL Box 3, folder 4.

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cannot be linked to the later kingdom, it was certainly founded before 1680, when it appears in written records.180 It was not to be taken lightly, as the Portuguese reticence to impinge on its territory during the war against Kiambela reveals.181 To the east of Bembe and Ngalangi, which controlled land between the Kwanza and the Kwango, were the substantial lands of Muzumbo a Kalunga, ruler of the region vaguely called “beyond the Cunene,” and the southern neighbor of Kasanje. Muzumbo a Kalunga was in existence in the early seventeenth century and would continue through the eighteenth century, styled as “Lord of all of Songo” in an account of its traditional history written in 1797 reveals.182 Among these titles was “Suicilo Bamba” or Bomba, an Imbangala band that had settled within the lands of Muzumbo a Kalunga a century or more earlier. Within a few years, through a process that is lost in the time, Bomba was the lord of the Songos, perhaps a change in dynasty of what was by then an ancient polity. Bembe began a process of reconfiguring in the eighteenth century, initially with the rise of Viye from Lower Bembe. Tradition recorded in 1797 held that the first ruler, named Viye, was “a macota or noble from Great Songo, the Jaga [Imbangala] Bomba,” who crossed over the Kwanza River from Muzumbo a Kalunga’s territory into Bembe’s and seated himself in “this country which was depopulated.”183 Viye’s genealogy points to this move taking place around 1700.184 Thus, the tradition held that “as this nation is descended from Quimbangalas” it took 180

181

182

183 184

Cadornega, História, 3:205 as Calanqui Hia Quisongo; Childs claimed that Ngalangi was the first Ovimubundu kingdom and the root of the others, though without much evidence beyond the ruins. The traditions of Ngalangi are problematic; I have found three king lists: Luiz Keiling, Quarenta anos de Africa (Braga, 1934), pp. 106–110 (he arrived in Ngalangi in 1896); Childs compiled a king list in 1966 (his notes are in UWL, Box 2, “Ethnography and Kings courts”); and his papers include another work of unknown date in Umbundu, in UWL Box 3, folder 11, “Efetikilo lio Ombala yo Galangue.” All three diverge widely in order, and even the names vary. Honorato da Costa to Governor of Senna and Tete, 11 November 1804, AMC 3: 238–239. The placement of commas suggests multiple persons, but here and elsewhere the author refers to him in the singular. Since the last component, Muzumbu a Kalunga, is already well known, we can assume that the commas are not separating distinct words. IHGB DL29, 17, Nepomuceno Correia, “Notícia Geral,” fol. 2. António Francisco da Silva Pôrto, Viagens e apontamentos de um Portuense em África, ed. José de Miranda and António Brochado (Lisbon, 1942), pp. 166–167, shows that the king ruling in 1774 was the third generation after Viye’s son Ulundo, and so his reign would have been around 1690. Childs, in his study of genealogies of Viye and

THE EMERGENCE OF LUNDA

over the name of “Quinbundas [Ovimbundu], and was civilized by them not only in language” but also in clothing and culture, at least by 1797.185 As an Imbangala band settled in Ovimbundu culture, the duality was acknowledged from the beginning. Even nearly a century later, this duality was still recognized; when the kings died, two funerals were celebrated, one at the capital and a second one at Bomba in Songo.186 In addition, the enthronement celebration also included the ceremonial eating of a “bearded man of a different nation,” cannibalism being a mark of Imbangala ideology.187 The Imbangala past was similarly recalled in the 1850s as ending with a struggle between the cannibalistic Imbangala culture and a local society of hunters, in which the hunters won and the Imbangala left the country.188 While the historical section of the traditional history of Viye begins with Viye’s nephew, Gongo Hamulanda, who supposedly killed Viye by witchcraft, it was Ulundo, his firstborn successor, who “expanded his domains.” Ulundo expelled “Gangellas of the Nhemba tribe” and expanded Viye southward toward the Cuquema River, thus earning renown as a regional leader.189 Viye had expanded its territory, but government was still largely managed by powerful nobles. Thus Kibaba, who succeeded his brother Ulundo, was held by tradition to be an immoral man who was ultimately deposed for having relations with “the wives of his magnates.” Kibaba went into exile, and eventually died in poverty, while the magnates installed Ulundo’s son Dallo in his place.190 The early eighteenth century also saw the dramatic rise of Mbailundu from Bembe’s territory, a kingdom that would rival Viye by century’s

185 186 187 188

189 190

reconstruction of chronology, puts the date a generation later, because he favored a later version of the tradition of Serpa Pinto, Como eu atrevessi África, 2 vols. (London, 1882), p. 134, who left a generation out (the rule by Dallo): Gladwyn Murray Childs, Ovimbundu Kinship and Character (Oxford, 1949), p. 224; he also used oral traditions he collected: UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 40, “Esapulo liuviali we Ekovongo Bie (Viye),” p. 12. IHGB DL29, 17, Nepomuceno Correia, “Notícia Geral,” fol. 2. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 173. IHGB DL29, 17, Nepomuceno Correia, “Costumes da provincia de Behe,” fol. 2v. Ladislaus [László] Magyar, Reisen in Süd-Afrika in den Jahren 1849 bis 1857 (Pest, 1860), pp. 266–268. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 165–167. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 166. More recent oral traditions introduce other kings in this sequence, having Eiyambi, following Ulundo, and makes no mention of the others, having Kangombe succeed Eiyambi and being involved in an illicit affair with the wife of his brother, Jahulu, both later kings: UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder “Esapulo Bie,” p. 12.

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end. Following genealogies of its rulers, Mbailundu probably began around 1730 under Katiavala I, who is only remembered in tradition as being “not very famous.”191 His son, Jahulu, was much more famous, and is traditionally remembered as having made “many wars,” notably attacking southward against Cilemo and Sambu. This expansion was as much for relocating population and cattle as making conquests, so that he could build up population around his capital region, and to that end he was said to have depopulated Sambu. In the Sambu war, he also engaged the population of Portuguese and Luso-African traders who lived in the principal towns of the Highlands. He was said to have taken many “white people (indele)” and also “many ladies (olondona),” presumably the wives of the traders, in effect making his capital a commercial center.192 It was probably this event that made him known to the Portuguese governor Sousa Coutinho, who wrote 1767 that the king of Mbailundu needed to be punished for “robbery.”193 Jahulu was followed by his equally aggressive son Cingi I, who expanded northward toward the Kwanza, where he had made attacks in the province of Sumbe and against the provinces of Haku and Tambo, then united under the soba Gunzo a Kabolo. All these territories were Portuguese vassals, having made agreements to challenge Kasanje earlier, but were now facing war from Mbailundu.194 Mbailundu’s campaigns not only threatened Portuguese vassals, but in 1772 they disrupted the market at Dondo on the Kwanza River in Portuguesecontrolled area.195

191

192

193

194

195

The earliest collection of Mbailundu’s tradition, written in Umbundu, was compiled in 1929 by missionary Jean Minto, citing specific testimony from five unnamed informants: UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Liolosoma vio Bailundu Hailio Liefetikilo Liomissão,” p. 50; for dating, see p. 2, which gives a genealogy of Ekwikwi I (who began to rule in 1776: “Ekwikwi was the son of Cingi who was the son of Juhulu who was the son of Katiavala”). My thanks to Tito Chiamba for his Portuguese translation of this text. UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundo,” p. 54 (informant number 5). The “ladies” in question were “olondona,” a term which borrows “dona” from Portuguese, suggesting that they were wives and daughters of the trading community. AHNA Cod. 79, fol. 69v, Sousa Coutinho to Joze Vieira de Araujo CM Benguela, 28 December 1767. AHNA Cod. 79, fol. 163v, Sousa Coutinho to Capitao Mor of Benguela, 7 January 1769. These documents do not name the rulers of Mbailundu, and the traditions do not allow us to determine whether these wars were waged by Jahulu or Cingi I. AHNA Cod. 80, fol. 115v, Sousa Coutinho to Joze Vieira de Arajjo CM Benguela, 27 August 1772.

7

The Weight of Lunda on the West

The later eighteenth century was marked by continued growth of the Lunda Empire, expanding southward as well as to the north and west. Lunda growth to the west halted at the Kwango River, however, leaving the traditional powers west of it more or less in place, while a new Luba power emerged on its north. Both Viye and Mbailundu expanded and became more centralized, while the Portuguese sought, mostly unsuccessfully, to enlarge their domain, and especially to attempt to dominate its external trade.

LUNDA’S EXPANSION The Lunda emperor Mukaz’s death in 1755 led to a crisis, for he had died without leaving an heir, and the choice of the nobles for his brother Yavu to succeed him was challenged by Kabey, one of Muland’s descendants. Kabey was Mukaz’s cousin through his mother’s side, but his challenge more than likely also originated from Muland’s successors, who had been barred from succession at the start of Muteb’s reign.1 Tradition relates that Kabey, known by the nickname Kaoken or “Big Mouth,” boldly asserted that while he had a great reputation as a hunter, the court had lowered themselves by agreeing to serve someone who “does not know the precepts of hunting.” He did not fear the king, he said: “Look for me to kill myself and see what will happen, I’m not afraid: my mother is already dead [maku kuami uafa kali].”

1

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 546. This text names the rival Cabei, and Buchner, “Reich,” p. 59, gave Mukanj the name Mulasch a Kalong a Kabéi, showing his ancestry.

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However, tradition relates that instead of responding to this insulting claim, Yavu simply went drinking with the court, and in the morning he was found dead. Kabey and his followers then occupied an old fortress established in the days of Yavu along the northern frontier with the Akwanda and solidified his challenge by claiming the title Mwant Yavu.2 The court replaced Yavu with Mbal, who had been Mukaz’s Swan Mulop, and he vowed to undo Kabey’s usurpation as soon as he could. The civil war was difficult, and undoubtedly more protracted than presented in tradition, which truncated the whole event into a few days, when in all likelihood it probably extended many years. Indeed, it may be that the delay between the Lunda armies arriving near the Kwango and their assault on it only in 1767 was caused by this civil war. Mbal brought his army to face a determined Kabey and his Akwanda (here probably Kete) allies, described as fearsome cannibals. Mbal’s forces tried several times to cross the Kashidishi River, but his efforts at building bridges were thwarted by the skillful archery of the Akwanda, and those Lunda soldiers who swam across were quickly captured and killed. Mbal persisted, but the result was a disaster, and he eventually perished in his attempt.3 Although Lunda traditions subsequently ignored it, the small breakaway dynasty that Kabey established remained intact, between the Kalanyi and Mulongo Rivers, independent of Lunda control, and was still intact in the late nineteenth century. The region was heavily fortified at that time, and the remains of earlier fortifications are still quite visible.4 The court chose Yavu II to succeed Mbal, probably around 1785. He set about establishing a peace with Kanyok, Lunda’s sometime vassal but frequent opponent. Tradition says that he did this with an elaborate ruse in which the Kanyok ruler was invited to come and then tricked into falling into a hole which had been dug under his seat. Yavu rescued him, but made him first promise to agree to a peace.5 This particular story of 2 3

4

5

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 547–548. For an elaboration of the circumstances and consequences of the founding of what seems to be a rival dynasty, see Pruitt, “An Independent People,” pp. 210–212. Dias de Carvalho, Descripção da Viagem, 3: 30–34. Dias de Carvalho did not obtain this information in Kabey’s kingdom, but at a gathering in Lunda province of Caungula in January 1886 that included several officials and the would-be Mwant Yavu Chibwiz. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 551–553. The date is anchored on the statement (p. 550) that Yavu was in his fifties when he became Mwant Yavu; he was still ruling in 1806 when his son held the position of Swan Mulop (Pedro João Baptista Diary, in Burton, Cazembe, pp. 169 and 203) and died not long before 1820 when Naweji II became king. Assuming he died “from old age” at eighty-five, this would make him born in 1735 and come to power in 1785.

THE WEIGHT OF LUNDA ON THE WEST

causing an adversary to fall into a hole, widespread in Central Africa, probably has no basis; Kanyok tradition recorded a similar case, but involving Luba rather than Lunda, in the Kanyok case Mulaj a Cibang was required to dance on seven mats, but he avoided the trap that was under the eighth mat.6

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF KAZEMBE Lunda’s expansion eastward only began around 1740, and the initial conquest, under Ng’anga Mbilonda, was initially to establish a firm residence in Chishinga south of Lake Mweru, where he built his capital.7 Since this thrust was primarily about controlling the salt and copper works to the south and west, the Shila country was simply garrisoned to allow him to have a presence. Even so, their resistance was substantial and they barely tolerated even this limited occupation. Shila had been united in the eighteenth century, according to local tradition, under the Nkubas, who had imposed, sometimes by conquest, their own people over the smaller mini-states of the area. This group was prepared to offer more sustained resistance to the Kazembe intruders, and control of the resources of Lake Mweru and the surrounding swampland was also important.8 Shila patience with Lunda rule was short-lived, and perhaps around 1760 they rose up in a ferocious rebellion which forced Lunda to launch a second campaign of conquest stiffened by reinforcements from the Lunda heartland. This second campaign was probably led by “Hunga Anmomga” (perhaps Hunga Munona), the son of Ng’anga Mbilonda and second Kazembe king.9 After this, Kazembe established a more 6 7 8

9

Yoder, Kanyok, esp. pp. 51–57. On the identification of Chishinga, see Macola, Kazembe, p. 61. For the Nkubas, see esp. Ian Cunnison, History on the Luapula: An Essay on the Historical Notions of a Central African Tribe (Cape Town, 1951), for basic outlines, and the reinterpretation with additional material by Macola, Kazembe, pp. 54–66. Macola, Kazembe, adopts the genealogy and king list of Labrecque, to name this ruler Lukwesi Ilunga, although this does not square with the pre-colonial visitors, who were hearing from living witnesses and not traditions (i.e. reminiscence), and for this reason I have matched notices in João Baptista with Gamitto to establish a father-to-son succession: Chinyanta to Ng’anga Abilo, whose conquests began around 1740, to Hungo Anmomga, who was ruling in 1798, to Lukwesa, who died in the early nineteenth century. It is possible that Kanyembo, held to be a brother of Ng’anga Abilo, ruled between him and Hungo Anmomga, and that this brother to brother succession was unknown to Gamitto, since to those informants this period could be tradition

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direct administration, “and from then onward there was no more individual authority among them that was not a Campoculo [Lunda official].”10 Direct administration included a regular taxation system, as in 1799, when the king sent his cilolos to the regional cilolos to “collect the annual revenue (pensões) of their lands.”11 Kazembe directed new campaigns into the Bisa country, both through conquest and through alliance with prominent leaders, as was the case with the Bisa local ruler Mucungure near the Luangua River.12 Still, warfare with the Bisa had made the original capital less secure, and a bit before 1798 it was moved to a more secure location.13 In 1793, for the first time since they had been established in Kazembe, the rulers decided to make direct contact with the Portuguese.14 They had had some trading relations, mostly through the Bisas, some of whom had been conquered by Kazembe, but the idea of direct contact was late

10

11

12

13

14

(ca. eighty-five years earlier). David Gordon, personal communication, 22 March 2019, proposed that Anmonga could be Munona. Candido Pedroso Gamitto, O Muata Cazembe (Lisbon, 1854), pp. 371–372. This tradition, recorded in 1831, differs substantially from the one of 1810, as will be seen in Chapter 8. The predecessor and father of the (unnamed) king ruling in 1810 was also ruling in 1798 when the Lacerda mission arrived in Kazembe, and who refused him further passage, was named “Hunga Anmomga”: João Batista, “Lembrança,” p. 431. According to Gamitto, Muata Cazembe, p. 373, the king who stopped Lacerda was named Lukeza (Lukwesa). I believe the mission that Gamitto heard about was that of João Baptista in 1806–1810 rather than Lacerda’s, since João Baptista visited Kazembe just seven years after 1798, and would surely have known that it was the immediately previous king who had blocked Lacerda. But I am accepting as fact that Gamitto is right that a “second conquest” of the Shila took place before Lukwesa arrived, and thus was undertaken by Hunga. In the king list published by Macola, Kazembe, p. xxvi, Hunga would replace Kanyembo as the second Kazembe; I have not proposed a modernization of his name. Kanyembo is the name that Gamitto gives to all the Kazembe rulers. Pinto Diary, 10 July 1799, AMC 5: 335: “mandando xireros para fazer recolher os xireros, que ha muito tempo tinha expendiado para cobrar as pensões de suas terras.” I am interpreting xireros to be cilolos, the Lunda term for nobles and officials, and that there are two levels of such officials, the first that gathers taxes on their lands, and the second to bring them to the capital. Francisco José Maria de Lacerda e Almeida, 22 March 1798, in Burton, Cazembe, pp. 35, 41 (information collected by the writer from the first Portuguese visitor to Kazembe, Gonçalo Caetano Pereira, before he himself went there, and similar statements made by Bisa themselves (p. 49, 10 March 1798) affirm their subjection. The Bisa were under Kazembe at least by 1793 when they contacted the Portuguese of Mozambique. On the allied leader, see Lacerda Diary, 1 September 1798, AMC 5: 73. Lacerda Diary, 30 September 1798, AMC 5: 118. The move must have been quite recent, as the party had not received advance notice of it, and the old capital long established, because the road to it was well populated and settled. Interrogation of Gaetano Goncalo Pereira, in Burton, Cazembe, pp. 36–37.

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in developing. Indeed, the Portuguese who had set up a trading center at Zumbo in 1716 do not mention Kazembe among their trading partners, nor even as existing, before the mission from Kazembe reached Tete in 1793.15 The Portuguese sent a mission under Francisco José Maria de Lacerda e Almeida in 1798, and although they reached the capital, Hunga Anmomga refused to allow them to continue on to Angola, as was their original goal. The mission stalled, and Lacerda e Almeida died just as they reached the Kazembe capital, so after more delays the expedition returned empty-handed to Tete in 1799.

THE LUBA EMPIRE Whether the tradition about Kanyok agreeing to accept a peace with Lunda was true or not, Kanyok had reason to make peace with Lunda, for it was now facing a much more urgent problem from its west, as the Luba Empire was growing and posed a serious threat. Even though archaeological work established a Luba heartland in the Upemba Depression from the eleventh century, the great Luba-speaking powers of the period before the 1780s were Kalundwe and Kanyok. Now a new force of considerable size and power was emerging in the area around the Upemba Depression – founded, according to its own traditions, by the mythical Kongolo, whose son Kalala Ilunga was perhaps the earliest historical ruler. Kalala Ilunga’s rule was not nearly as ancient as elite Luba culture, which as we have seen probably reached back to the eleventh century, but tradition holds him responsible for most of the political events remembered as happening in Kongolo’s reign, and would be the root tradition of the Luba Empire. A count of generations of the thirteen remembered Luba kings up to the 1870s would place the establishment of the dynasty in the early seventeenth century.16 However, for many 15

16

Nicola Sutherland-Harris, “Zambian Trade with Zumbo in the Eighteenth Century,” in Richard Gray and David Birmingham (eds.), Pre-Colonial African Trade: Essays on Trade in Central and Eastern African before 1900 (Oxford, 1970), pp. 231–242; Jorge M. dos Santos Alves, “De Sofala e Quelimane ao Zumbo: A costa e sertões de entre o Save o Zambese (1755–1780),” Africana 17 (1997) (Part I): 107–137 and 18 (1997) (Part II): 153–179. I have based this date on the succession of kings and their kingship relations in de Clerck, “Historique”; Reefe, Rainbow, pp. 49–63. Reefe rejects the earliest kings on the list for chronology; my version does not, and extends the thirty years (about four)

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years this was a small kingdom contained in or near the Upemba Depression, and other Luba-speaking polities were probably as or more important, and quite possibly dominated by the Kalundwe kingdom of Mutombo Mukulu, who figures as so important in early Lunda history. Ilunga Sunga, who founded the dynasty of the Luba Empire whose traditions have survived, probably ruled in the 1780s, as Kanyok and Lunda were making peace. He is credited with gathering diverse communities together and consolidating control over the central Luba regions, and then with launching serious military efforts against Kanyok and Mutombo Mukulu, even though the efforts ultimately failed.17 Modern Kanyok traditions say little about the early wars with Lunda, but are squarely anchored on the desperate war against Luba.18 These wars surely led Kanyok to need peace with Lunda, and to sustain it at least until the early nineteenth century.

WESTERN KASAI The struggle over control of the western Kasai area took place apart from the emerging of the Luba Empire and Lunda’s battle with Kanyok. Great Makoko’s bid to control the area by dominating Ngeliboma had failed, and its attacks dropped off in the mid-eighteenth century. It is fairly clear that the Kingdom of Bolia finally overcame the resistance of Bozanga, and established a kingdom that surrounded Lake Mai Ndombe and pushed southwards into the lands of Ngeliboma. The traditions of Bolia note that many of the clan alliances formed during Bolia’s advance called for sequential rotation between different clans in several of the larger divisions, each of which controlled a territory.19 Such arrangements are unlikely to be stable, as contestation takes place. An account of Bolia’s history, told in the Virgin Islands to the Moravian missionary Oldendorp in about 1767, allows us to see the

17 18

19

per generation, but also recognizes that the four-year margin of error per generation makes for nearly half a century variation. Reefe, Rainbow, pp. 115–124. Yoder, Kanyok, pp. 51–80, outlines the history of kings who ruled during the period 1700–1820, but the traditions he recovered all relate their actions against Luba. For the identity of the Luba leader as probably Mutombo, see p. 54. Van Everbroeck, Mbomb’Ipopku, pp. 15, 22, 35 37, 38, 40, 49.

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workings of mid-century Bolia’s history. Slave holders in the Americas received numbers of slaves whose ethnicity was given as “Mandongo,” and information about the location and language of these people make it clear they were referring to the lands around Lake Mai Ndombe, still known as Ndongo.20 They described Mandongo or Bolia as large, claiming that its army would reach from the Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico if deployed on the water. It included three territories, each of which had its own ruler, called “Cando,” “Colambo,” and “Bongolo.” These often had wars among themselves, but if they did not settle them, a great power, which was also a member of the Mandongo group, would send them a messenger telling them to stop. They so feared this overlord that even hearing that the messenger was coming was enough to make them stop. There were civil wars even within these subdivisions, for when one governor died, his surviving sons “waged a gruesome succession war, that often lasted over two years and many people were carried off. One brother murdered the other, until the last one took over the government and place.”21 We can imagine, using the foundational history of the country as a guide, that the Mandongo slaves were speaking of one of the several subdivisions, and that the outside Mandongo force was located at the capital and ruled the whole kingdom through selective mediation, and perhaps some force as well. Even as the country was sometimes racked by civil war, Bolia still continued its expansion. After completing the conquest of the lands west of Lake Mai Ndombe, they began moving southward, and perhaps the arrival of Mandongo slaves in the Americas in the 1730s marks this phase of the operation. Around 1760 Bolia invaded Ngeliboma in multiple columns, pillaged widely, and eventually surrounded the capital, Mushie, killing King Dweme, and forcing those who could to flee along the river to the southern areas. But Bolia did not remain in possession of the land, withdrawing and leaving Ngeliboma in ruins. Ngeliboma rebuilt, and when Bolia returned 20

21

For the identification, see Bontinck, “Les ‘Mondongues’.” On the term Ndongo, see Van Everbroeck, Mbomb’Ipoku, pp. 46–50. Georg Andreas Oldendorp, Historie der Caribischen Inseln Sanct Thomas, Sanct Crux und Sanct Jan, 4 vols., ed. Gudrun Meier, Stephan Palmie, Peter Stein, and Horst Ulbricht (Berlin, 2000–2002), 1: 441–442. I have not been able to locate these clan or district names in Van Everbroeck’s account of Bolia history, but more details from other sources may reveal them.

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around 1770 in another campaign they were roundly defeated by Ngeliboma’s king Bokebe in a major battle.22 Further east, in the Kuba kingdom, King Koto Nche extended Kuba rule over the neighboring Bieeng, but it was one of his successors who waged many wars to extend Kuba’s reach, and during his reign the kingdom reached its maximum extent. He founded the village of Kosh Luba with the survivors of his war along the Lulua, and he also advanced against the Ngongo and founded the village of Pool with those he captured.23 These wars appear to follow a pattern of seeking to relocate populations in the core areas rather than conquer the lands in question. This may explain why the Kuba kingdom did not become very large, but the availability of resources produced by a large population under royal control might have assisted in its centralization.

THE STRUGGLE OVER THE NORTHERN KWANGO VALLEY The northern branch of Lunda’s expansion in the 1750s had created the province of Kasongo Muni Puto along the Kwango in the heartland of the old Yaka kingdom. However, the unified Lunda presence had great problems in maintaining control. Suku, the ancient Kongo province that Kasongo Muni Puto had broken in two, was now reviving. The southern portion of Suku was led by “Ngudi a Nkama” (Nobleman) Makumbu Tota Sengu, who asserted its independence against Lunda authority.24 The northern portion, calling itself Muni Kongo, also had a resurgence in the 1770s under its vigorous king Toni (perhaps António) de Lukeni, who took on Muteba Yinda, the first king of the second generation of Kasongo Muni Puto’s rule. António de Lukeni refused to pay tribute to Muteba Yinda and relocated his base eastward to Zumbwa Vumfu on the banks of the Wamba River. There he fortified his capital in the style typical of the region. Muteba Yinda took up the challenge, but was killed in his unsuccessful assault on the forts.25 Following this epic battle, remembered 22 23

24

25

Tonnoir, Giribuma, pp. 220–221. Vansina, Geschiedenis, pp. 312–313. I have used the names and deeds of these rulers based on Torday and Joyce. Van Roy, Byaambvu, pp. 90–94. François Lamal, Basuku et Bayaka des districts Kwango et Kwilu au Congo (Terverun, 1965), pp. 44–51, addresses the problem through an older paradigm. Van Roy, Byaambvu, pp. 80–90. The oral sources call the Kongo leader Toni di Lukeni, which I have interpreted as António.

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in tradition as a turning point, the two parties agreed on the peace with a ceremony following the sacrifice of a dog, saying, according to tradition, “tumwene menga ma mbwa, katu tuzola dihika menga ma batu” (we have seen the blood of a dog, we do not want to see human blood).26 Weakened by this war, Kasongo Muni Puto split a decade later when Pelende Kobo, a northern district, broke away, and joined with a rival Lunda lineage to refuse tribute to Kasongo Muni Puto’s new king, Diwulu. Despite campaigns against this breakaway movement, Pelende Kobo maintained its independence, finally consolidating it when Diwulu’s successor Muteba was killed outright in combat against it.27 Although there was still a strong Lunda presence in both Pelende Kobo and Kasongo Muni Puto, they no longer had exclusive domination of the upper reaches of the Kwango.

A POWER GRAB IN KONGO Kongo had lost its eastern regions, first to the irredentism of Nsonso and then to Lunda attacks, but the core of the kingdom remained an area of contention. The regionally based factionalism of the early eighteenth century had rendered central administration in Kongo effectively over. When Sebastião I became king in the early 1760s, the Kingdom of Kongo was as much a mode of cultural identification as a functioning kingdom. It was, in fact, as resident missionary Cherubino da Savona, a Capuchin who lived in Kongo for much of the 1760s, wrote, “better called an Empire” along the lines of the Holy Roman Empire – that is, a group of territories with varying degrees of independence operating under the rubric of a single polity.28 According to da Savona, it had four distinct kingdoms within it, controlling some twenty-two provinces. Some territories had left the political struggle over Kongo, even if they did not abandon their identity as parts of a cultural kingdom. Soyo, although once an elector that played a substantial role in Kongo politics until about 1715, was no longer involved in the politics of Kongo. It had transferred its efforts to controlling areas to the north, specifically Ngoyo and Kakongo, primarily with their colonies in the hinterland. The Grand Duchy of Nsundi was also a more or less fully independent 26 27 28

Van Roy, Byaambvu, p. 88. Van Roy, Byaambvu, pp. 95–110; Kamba Mutu, Espace Lunda, pp. 59–71. Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 41.

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state that interfered little in Kongo politics. Nsundi’s independence probably dates from the early years after Pedro IV’s death, for the accounts of the early eighteenth century do not suggest an attitude of standing off.29 Just as Soyo was no longer playing an electoral role in Kongo, the former electors of the Grand Duchy of Mbata chose independence; as da Savona noted, it “no longer recognized its King of Kongo, and had become entirely absolute.”30 That absolute independence also meant abstaining from the politics of election, even though Mbata’s symbolic place in Kongo remained. The four kingdoms – Mbula, São Salvador, Mukondo, and Wandu – seem to correspond to more or less permanent and stable units of considerable power, whose rulers felt secure in their domains.31 Three of the kingdoms, Mbula, São Salvador, and Mukondo represented the familial blocks that had divided Kongo in Pedro IV’s day, and the fourth, Wandu, had become sufficiently independent to constitute a domain of its own. Its involvement in the putative Empire of Nsonso and the politics of Hungu in general reveals a newly formed sphere of activity in eastern Kongo which also looked south and farther east. The four kingdoms were also held by the Kinlaza, which was becoming divided into a northern group and a southern group. When Garcia IV went to São Salvador to become king in 1743, he had been replaced in Matadi by Garcia Bwandi, and tradition noted that like Garcia “his father was Nlaza [se andi Nlaza].” The same traditional account noted after this that the successors were designated as sons of Nlaza but later descendants, first Afonso, whose “father was Nkenge a Lukeni,” then Maria Ne Kuku and her sister Isabela, both from “a Kintumba father.”32 While the language and intent are unclear, it suggests that the Kinlaza designation had become less prominent in the north. It is likely that the branch that controlled the south, around the Mbidizi River and Mukondo, while still ancestrally Kinlaza, were now distinct

29 30 31 32

Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 44v. Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 44v. Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 42. Cuvelier (ed.), Nkutama, p. 72. The expression “se andi Kinlaza” suggests a clan, though the Kikongo term kanda is not used anywhere in the text. The intensive interest in clan histories, and the uncertain history of the clan, both as a historical phenomenon and as a feature of post-1850 Kongo ideology, renders it difficult to distinguish clan names from personal names, a confusion which dogged Cuvelier and de Munck’s interpretation of traditional statements like this one.

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from those of the north. For convenience these are called northern and southern Kinlaza respectively. The tradition of increasing visible and formal female power had also continued. Most notably, Mukondo was “always ruled by a woman,” probably in honor of Ana Afonso de Leão.33 Wandu’s queen, Violante, was simultaneously involved in the brief Empire of Nsonso and active in driving Álvaro XI from the throne.34 The other provinces had varying degrees of independence from or adherence to the rulers of the four kingdoms or rival contenders for the throne. The rulers of Pedro IV’s Kibangu styled themselves as “Princes and Grand Dukes” and not kings, even though they were of royal blood and four kings were buried in their capital.35 The Kimpanzu did not have a kingdom in da Savona’s reckoning, though they still claimed the right to be kings. The Kimpanzu Pedro V fled to their core territory when he was driven from São Salvador, taking refuge in the fortress of Nsundu in Mbamba Lubota.36 Mbamba Lubota, Mbamba Kongo, and the province of Mpemba were all ruled by members of the Kimpanzu faction and were closely related: Mbamba Kongo was ruled by Álvaro Agua Rosada Romano Leite, while Mbamba Lubota was ruled by Domingos Romano Leite. Furthermore, Álvaro Agua Rosada Romano Leite married Christina, daughter of Afonso, the marquis of Mpemba, who also bore the name of Romano Leite.37 The presence of the surname Agua Rosada in this group suggests that the role of this family in promoting unity had included extensive intermarriage, just as the Agua Rosadas were themselves descended from intermarriage between the ancient rivals of Kimpanzu and Kinlaza. If Pedro IV set the policy of rotating succession into play, he does not seem to have included his own family, the Agua Rosada, in the tradition. Agua Rosadas or people with such an element in their names were ruling Mbamba Kongo and Wembo,38 and they still controlled Kibangu. In addition, in 1764 Pedro’s granddaughter Isabella Manibuaxi was ruling 33 34 35

36 37 38

Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fols. 41v–42. Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 42. Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 44v. These four kings were, presumably, Garcia III, Álvaro IX, Manuel I, and Pedro IV. Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 41. Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 43. Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fols. 45 (Kibangu ruled by Manuel Nkarikari, who had taken over Kibangu from a base in Nkusu, perhaps as an upstart), 43 (Álvaro Agua Rosada Romano Leite rules Mbamba Kongo), 45v (Pedro d’Agua Rosada rules Wembo).

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a marquisate called Lukelo, when she married a son of Sebastião I, suggesting that the Agua Rosadas had some alliance with his family.39 Sebastião died in 1763 or 1764 and was briefly succeeded by the Kimpanzu king Pedro V, whose home base was firmly in Luvota, and who would then have fit into a rotation scheme.40 However, in spite of the theoretical legality of his claims, Pedro was promptly challenged by Álvaro Mvemba a Sungu, a Kinlaza contender from the northern region, which would extend the northern Kinlaza’s turn for another generation.41 Álvaro drove his rival away from the capital, and was crowned as Álvaro XI in 1764.42 When Álvaro XI died about 1779 he was replaced by the southern Kinlaza, José I from Mukondo.43 The succession, however, was challenged by a certain Álvaro, claiming to be the aged Pedro V’s regent and a Kimpanzu partisan. Álvaro attacked José and forced him to abandon the city and withdraw to Mukondo.44 But José gathered his forces and reasserted his power, culminating in a very large battle near São Salvador on 29 September 1781, in which Álvaro’s Kimpanzu faction was totally defeated with heavy casualties. As a measure of the hostility the conflict had engendered, José refused to allow the priests to give a Christian burial to his fallen foes, and their mangled bodies were everywhere across the battlefield.45 Defeated but not deterred, Pedro V’s partisans were determined to regain the throne, and retained power in Mbamba Lubota and other provinces around it, including possessions only a few kilometers from São Salvador.46 Now victorious, José’s Kinlaza tried to restore Kongo through tightening administration. José I placed his youngest brother Afonso in Mpemba and another brother, André, held Mpangu. These positions, and perhaps others, were in the king’s gift, and not hereditary possessions. Portuguese missionaries met a man in Mbamba Kongo in 1781 39 40

41 42 43

44 45 46

Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 45. APF SRC Congo 5, fol. 298v [Rosario dal Parco], “Informazione sul Regno di Congo e sue missioni.” Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fols. 41v, 42, 45v. Da Savona, “Breve Raguagglio,” fol. 41. Several of his letters, dated to 1780, prompted the “Mixed Mission” to visit Kongo: see AHU, Cx. 63, doc. 37, Jose Gonçalo da Camara to Conselho Ultramarino, 9 August 1780. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 80, 95. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 118–122. For the political geography of the Mbamba Lubota-based Kimpanzu faction, see ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 95–96, 263–264, 276.

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who styled himself “Regent of Mbamba” and hoped to receive the title as a grant from the king, presumably when José consolidated his hold on power over that Kimpanzu stronghold.47 This powerfully structured combination of centrally appointed provincial governors were able to raise an army estimated by the visiting missionary Rafael de Castello de Vide as having 30,000 troops, and it was upon their service that the Kinlaza hoped to force a new constitution on Kongo.48 José’s plans for reunification of the country under the southern Kinlaza were strongly resisted by the northern branch, including Manga, Sumpi, and Mpangu, as well as the ancient northern Kinlaza capital, Lemba.49 Still, the southern Kinlaza retained control of the areas they had already won, and by 1781 they had wrested Mpemba and perhaps Mbamba Kongo away from the Kimpanzu faction.50 When José died his brother Afonso immediately succeeded him in office on 5 January 1784 as King Afonso V, apparently without much challenge by the other factions.51 But Afonso V did not last long, dying in 1786 under suspicious circumstances.52 Afonso’s sudden death led to a crisis, and the Agua Rosadas, secure in their base in Kibangu and conscious that four kings were buried there, intervened. They established a regency under a “prince,” probably the prince of Kibangu, which they shared with some other officials who probably represented other factions that had been excluded by the Kinlaza’s gambit.53 The southern Kinlaza rejected the idea of a regency and looted the court. They fought with regency officials, and tried to carry both Afonso V’s goods and the priests of São Salvador back to Mukondo.54 Given the southern Kinlaza’s rejection, the Agua Rosadas allowed the northern Kinlaza from Mafinda to establish their own partisan, 47 48 49 50 51

52 53 54

ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” p. 59. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” p. 118. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 142–146. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 59, 72. AHU, Cx. 68, doc. 92, Angolan officials to Martinho de Melo e Castro, 25 May 1784. Although Afonso numbered himself “Quinto” in his correspondence, see AHU Angola, Cx. 70, doc. 8, Afonso V to Governor of Angola, 11 April 1785; I cannot find evidence for any king numbering Afonso IV. The king list of 1758 carries the name only to III, while the das Necessidades list has only an Afonso IV listed as José’s successor, and it would appear that Afonso V misnumbered himself, or counted a more ephemeral Afonso that das Necessidades’s informants did not accept. ACL MS Vermelho 296, de Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” p. 260. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” p. 295 refers to this prince. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 260–262.

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crowned king, Álvaro XII, on 22 June 1787.55 But he was as much a stakeholder as a real king, so old that he could scarcely “put his foot on the ground,” and three other rivals faced him beside the southern Kinlaza candidate.56 Garcia Agua Rosada e Sardonia, the new leader of the Agua Rosadas following his father Pedro’s death, led the regency, composed of the “major councilors,” the marquises of Vunda, Ololo, and Wembo, “who governed the kingdom” under Antonio’s feeble rule.57 Álvaro XII was forced to seek peace by granting various members of other factions knighthoods in the Order of Christ.58 The enfeebled government of the regency could not maintain general order, and banditry and disorder reigned. The most notorious of the bandits was “a small Infante” nicknamed “Mbwa Lau” (Mad Dog), who robbed travelers on the roads and villages and sold them as slaves to Vili merchants. The matter became of concern to the Church, not so much on humanitarian grounds but because they were exported to Protestant lands in America. While Mbwa Lau was notable for his role in the export trade, he represented a new force in Kongo politics, an entrepreneurial noble who engrossed territory within the traditional provinces, founded new villages, and populated them with people that he captured or attracted to his camp. One strategy was to lure people away from weaker nobles by paying debts of subjects who could then transfer loyalty, and ignore complaints of the original authority, or use force against him, or wage a small campaign against neighboring villages.59 Such a noble’s role in the external slave trade was a part of this trend, but he also benefited from the captured people to build up his own population center. Mbwa 55

56 57

58 59

De Castello de Vide does not name the king, but on 11 August 1787, Barão de Mossamedes, governor of Angola, wrote to King Álvaro, noting the death of his predecessor Afonso: AHNA Cod. 82, fol. 67v. The kinglist of das Necessidades in “Factos Memoraveis,” no. 642, p. 3 gives António II and Álvaro XI (XII in late eighteenth-century reckoning) as the successors of Afonso IV (V in the late eighteenth century). His faction membership is in ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 262, 283. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” p. 284. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” p. 286 (the councilors), 295 (prince of Kibangu), 296 (new prince). This new prince gave his name in a letter to de Castello de Vide in 1788, reproduced in Carlo Toso, L’informazione sul regno del Congo di Raimondo da Dicomano (Rome, 1977), p. 308. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” p. 297. Raimondo da Dicomano, “Informazione sul regno del Congo,” fols. 13–14, ed. António Brásio in Studia 46 (1987): 303–330. I have cited it via the pagination of the original, marked in this edition and on the internet edition of Arlindo Correia (www.arlindo-correia.com/101208.html), and footnote to the section.

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Lau was not alone, as there were others like him, but they were more contrite when confronted by the priest.60 The disorder led the governor of Angola to write to Álvaro XII to complain that no Kongo kings had been successful in preventing their vassals from robbing travelers from Angola, including priests.61 He organized, along with the bishop of Angola, a campaign to bring the noble entrepreneurs under control and to channel the slave trade to Portuguese merchants by determining that there would be no sale to “heretics,” as the Vili sold slaves primarily to English and Dutch merchants. When the Álvaro XII wrote out a royal order to desist and sent Rafael de Castello de Vide to deliver it, Mbwa Lau accused him of witchcraft, and even fired on his train, creating a major scandal.62 Álvaro XII or his advisors sought ecclesiastical support for the succession of his son as king.63 But there would be no easy road for the northern Kinlaza, and when António II died sometime before 1792 he was succeeded by two kings in rapid succession, first Alexio I, and then Joaquim, who took the throne in 1793. Such a rapid turnover of rulers kept the regency established after Afonso V’s death more or less in force, and Kibangu’s Prince Garcia Agua Rosada e Sardonia, who had supported Alexio, helped lead “great opposition” to Joaquim, who was unable to gain a firm hand on the throne in spite of his coronation, and was shortly afterwards overthrown by Henrique I on 10 January 1794.64 Henrique may well have been behind the death of Aleixo, for when Garcia Agua Rosada e Sardonia wrote to the governor of Angola in 1803, he accused Henrique of poisoning Alexio, as a justification for why he overthrew Joaquim by force.65 As the Kinlaza branches fought among themselves, the Kimpanzu, although excluded from the struggle over the kingship since José I defeated them in 1780, continued to assert their claims, and established a counter kingdom in the areas they controlled along the southwest coast of Kongo and Mbamba. Their royal burial place at Sembo was regarded

60 61 62 63 64

65

ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Vaigem,” pp. 291–294. AHNA Cod. 82, fol. 67v, Barão de Mossamedes to António II, 11 August 1787. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 292–293. ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 288–295. Manuel de Almeida e Vasconcelos to Raimondo da Dicomano, 9 February 1794; same to Martinho de Melo e Castro, 3 March 1794, pp. 86 and 89–90; Almeida e Vasconcelhos to de Melo e Castro, 3 March 1794, in Toso, Informazione, pp. 82, 86, 89–90. Garcia V to Governor of Angola, 6 July 1803, in Arquivos de Angola 2nd Series, 19 (75–78) (1962): 56.

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as an important cemetery even a half century later.66 Thwarted in Kongo, they looked southward toward Angola. In 1787 forces from Musulu, under Marquis António Manuel, part of the Kimpanzu-held Duchy of Mbamba, began harassing adjacent territories in Angola; to counteract this threat, Portuguese sought but failed to receive assistance from their nominal vassals at Nambu a Ngongo and Mbwila to attack António Manuel. Their refusal, the governor told the Dembo Nambu a Ngongo, was “the revolution which would take place in the uprising of the mountains.”67 Then, in 1790, Musulu forces pushed across the Bengo River to the outskirts of Luanda, capturing a fair number of Portuguese subjects, whom they sold to the French as slaves.68 The Portuguese mobilized an army, effectively stopping the attack by the end of 1790, and launching a counterattack that penetrated as far into Kongo as the town of Mbumbi and the Loze River.69 The penetration into Kongo was deep enough that both the duke of Mbamba and King Alexio sent embassies to Luanda to complain. The Portuguese then organized a major attack on the whole of the territory north of Angola in 1792, deploying over 2,000 regular troops and a large African army recruited from allies along the way, focusing their attention on Nambu a Ngongo. At least some Portuguese officials thought that by occupying this whole stretch, from Musulu to Encoge, they could completely control trade.70 The army took a long route up the coast through Musulu, then across to the main attack on Nambu a Ngongo and its allies, and finally to Encoge. It burned thousands of houses and destroyed all in its way, but 66 67

68 69

70

Adolph Bastian, Ein Besuch in San Salvador (Bremen, 1859), p. 124. AHNA Cod. 82, fol. 111 et seq., Barão de Mossamedes to Antonio Ferreira da Sylva, 1 January 1788, fol. 107; Barão de Mossamedes to Antonio Ferreira da Sylva, 12 January 1788; fol. 108, same to Paulo Marques, 23 January 1788; and fol. 108v, Barão de Mossamedes to Nambu a Ngongo, 25 January 1788. The marquis’s name come from a vassalage agreement he signed in 1792: AHU, Cx. 77, doc. 25, Vassalagem Marquis of Mussulo, 25 April 1792. It is not clear if he was also ruling in 1788. AHU Angola, Cx. 76, doc. 88, Discussion of reports, 20 September 1791. AHU Angola, Cx. 76, doc. 28, Paulo Martins Pinheiro de Lacerda, 20 May 1791; doc. 34, Service record Felix Xavier Pinheiro de Lacerda, enclosure, Diary of Paulo Martins Pinheiro de Lacerda, 1790; doc. 88, Discussion of reports, 20 September 1791; da Silva Correa, História, 2: 172–179. AHU, Cx. 76, doc. 77, unsigned memo of 12 August 1791; Manoel de Almeida Vasconcellos to Martinho de Mello e Castro, 17 March 1792; AHNA Cod. 83 (response to the Kongo embassies).

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suffered extremely heavy casualties itself.71 Touted by its commander Pinheiro de Lacerda as a major victory, it was in fact a disastrous defeat.72 All along this front the Portuguese found themselves exhausted, hemmed in, and under constant attack into 1794.73 They were not going to be able to stop trade across Kongo through conquest, and even less to intervene in its royal politics. The Kinlaza areas continued to be contested between the two branches. Henrique’s principal base was in the “very large forest,” probably Mafinda (Kikongo for forest) where the northern Kinlaza had its base, and so continued the line of Álvaro XII.74 Like that of his predecessors, Henrique’s power was firmly based in the lands held by his own faction, governed for him by a nephew while Henrique and a small number of soldiers and supporters, but sufficient to force his election and maintain himself, occupied São Salvador.75 Under the regency, three factions were contesting the throne, all three basing their claim on descent from Afonso I, as the factions had in the days of the Kinlaza dynasty: the northern Kinlaza, the southern Kinlaza of the middle Mbidizi Valley, and the Agua Rosada, anchored in Kibangu. The Kimpanzu, defeated and humiliated in 1781, were no longer regarded as players in the game of Kongo politics, and were engrossed in their war with Angola.76 71

72

73

74

75

76

Da Silva Correa, História, 2: 179–233. Certidao de Paulo Martins Pinheiro de Lacerda, 11 September 1794. For Pinheiro de Lacerdo’s much celebrated but disastrous career see, Ariane Carvalho da Cruz, “Militares e militarização no Reino de Angola: patentes, guerras, comércio e vassalgem (Segundo metade do século XVIII)” (Master’s thesis, Universidade Federal Rural de Rio de Janeiro, 2014), pp. 154–167. AHU Cod. 1633, fols. 76–76v, Manoel de Almeida e Vasconcellos to Martinho de Melo e Castro, 20 July 1793. Also see the much grimmer report on the continuing disaster on fols. 110–110v, same to same, 7 July 1794. Garcia V to Governor of Angola, 6 July 1803, Arquivos de Angola 2nd series, 19 (75–78) (1962): 56–57 (forest base); ACL MS Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 141–142. Dicomano, “Informazione,” fols. 7–9. A contemporary Portuguese translation has been widely cited following the publication of a French translation by Louis Jadin, “Relation sur le Congo du P. Raimondo da Dicomano, missionaire de 1791 à 1795,” Bulletin de l’Académie Royale des Sciences Coloniales NS 3 (1957): 307–337 (the original was published by António Brásio in “Informação do Reino do Congo de Frei Raimondo de Dicomano,” Studia 34 (1972): 19–42). In the internet edition, Correia demonstrated that the Portuguese version was not done by da Dicomano himself. There is an Italian translation of the Portuguese version in Toso, Informazione, valuable for its appendices and annotation. When Garcia claimed power as Garcia V in his letter to the governor of Angola in 1802, he anchored the claim on his descent from Afonso: Garcia V to Governor of Angola, 6 July 1803, Arquivos de Angola 2nd series, 19 (75–78) (1962): 57; ACL MS

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Henrique was very weak as king, “whose authority remains only in his mind,” as described by the visiting Capuchin priest, Raimondo da Dicomano, who crowned him. He had no right to tax, no professional army under his control, and had only “twenty or twenty five soldiers,” while he, and his nephew, whom he had placed in control of the lands held by his faction, were “very poor.”77 Most of the nobles in the provinces had complete control of their affairs and could not be removed by the king, though he raised money by giving them official titles such as marquis, and knighthoods, for a fee. During the regency, real power was held by the prince of Kibangu, Garcia Agua Rosada e Sardonia, and the marquis of Vunda.78 The prince was called the “outside king” (re di fuori), and when he was in Kibangu the position at the capital was held for him by his official, the Mwene Lumbo, or major councilor. While his strength might vary according to the number of his supporters in the city, it was often the case that he was more powerful than the king. The marquis of Vunda was an ancient title, and still called “grandfather of the king,” as in the seventeenth century. He had been a royal elector for centuries, and the others, Mbata and Soyo, had long since ceased to participate in the politics around the capital. The marquis of Vunda held considerable powers over justice (being the highest authority and last appeal), exceeding the king, and was required to bless the king at his coronation. Henrique had to share decision making with the prince and the marquis of Vunda, including the power to make war.79 Weak as Henrique was, he decided to drive Garcia Agua Rosada from the court back to his own lands. He raised an army and attacked the court unsuccessfully, “without killing anyone,” and returned later with “another very large army,” which was defeated this time with heavy losses. In his account of events Garcia gave it biblical overtones: “his brother, nephew, Master of Congo and many people were killed, outside of those who were seized and then killed, drawn and quartered and burned as God’s punishment, for the war was unjust.” Garcia Agua Rosada succeeded as King Garcia V and wrote to Angola to ask the governor to send a priest there to crown him. Garcia was at pains to explain that the kingship in Kongo was elected, and that

77 78 79

Vermelho 296, Castello de Vide, “Viagem,” pp. 127, 131; da Dicomano, “Informazione,” fols. 8–10 and note 8. Da Dicomano, “Informazione,” fol. 9. Almeida e Vasconcelos to Melo e Castro, 3 March 1794, in Toso, Informazione, p. 90. Da Dicomano, “Informazione,” fols. 9–11.

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he was both properly descended from Afonso and duly elected to his office.80 He opened relations with Angola in hopes of getting a priest to crown him, and asking that his nephew be trained as a priest. In reply the governor noted his interest in establishing commercial relations, no doubt in some way helping the Portuguese plan to block foreign trade.81

THE CENTRAL KWANGO VALLEY Lunda had conquered significant kingdoms on both banks of the Kwango in former Kongo territory on the north of its western conquests, but it had not sought to conquer the more powerful kingdoms of Matamba and Kasanje in the central reaches of the valley. By the 1760s there was a balance of power established between Kasanje, Holo, and Matamba on the left bank on the Kwango River, and Malundo, a large and powerful state that remained in power on the right bank. Malundo took the brunt of the initial Lunda attack in the 1740s and 1750s, but withstood it. According to the Portuguese diplomat and trader Manoel Correia Leitão, who visited Kasanje in 1756, Malundo was “a great Potentate, bigger than Cassange, in all his power over vassals who are themselves divided into sobas and potentates.” His domains stretched far into the east.82 Lunda pressure was greatest just north of Matamba. Here, Hungu, which had earlier been the site of contestation between Matamba and Nsonso, was now responding to Lunda pressure along the Kwango. Muxinda, then the most powerful ruler in Hungu, sought to pull the region together under his authority. In the process he also impinged on Kahenda, where there was a Capuchin mission under Portuguese protection, and he threatened the new Portuguese fort at Encoge. As a result, in 1762 the Portuguese cobbled together forces from Ambaca and Encoge, along with the Imbangala ally Kalandula, and intervened in Hungu, wining a notable victory over the Hungu leader, killing Muxinda and enslaving or killing 15,000 of his subjects.83 80

81

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Garcia V to Governor of Angola, 6 July 1803, Arquivos de Angola 2nd series, 19 (75–78) (1962): 56–57. On the correspondence and the response to the requests, Saccardo, Congo e Angola, 2: 464–465. Correia Leitão, “Viagem,” fol. 9. AHU Angola, Cx. 45, doc. 44, Francisco Xavier de Mendonça Furtado and Antonio de Vasconcellos, 12 June 1762.

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Muxinda’s defeat now gave Nsonso’s king, Mujinga a Teka, an opening to expand further into Hungu, having recovered from initial Lunda defeat in the mid-eighteenth century. Pressing southward and westward along a long front that stretched from Mbwila and the duchy of Kina (at the headwaters of the Lukala River) in the south to Wandu and Nkusu in the north, Mujinga a Teka built solid fortresses in the new zone, following the Lunda style with triple walls of solid construction. Portuguese authorities dubbed Mujinga a Teka’s dominion the “Empire of the Sosos.” The Nsonso threat was sufficient for most of the powers bordering Hungu, led by Wandu’s Queen Violante, to put aside their misgivings about the Portuguese fort at Encoge and join with Portuguese forces in attacking the Nsonso forts in January 1766. The alliance was not complete, as Mbwela under Pumbapumba took advantage of the crisis to threaten Encoge. Despite this diversion, the combined force had sufficient success by attacking Nsonso fortifications with flaming cannon balls to be able to take three forts in succession, and killed Mujinga a Teka. Among their spoils were his royal regalia from the “house of idols,” including a beautiful image of Our Lady of the Conception, a reminder of Nsonso’s connection to both Kongo and Christianity.84 Not only was Nsonso taking advantage of the situation in Hungu, but there was a crisis in Kongo caused by Pedro V’s taking power out of turn on behalf of the Kimpanzu. Queen Violante of Wandu had deployed an army to attack São Salvador only a few years earlier, forcing Pedro to abandon it and opening the way for Álvaro XI to be elected.85 In 1766 her successor, Brites Afonso da Silva, had to turn again to facing the Empire of Nsonso, sending one of her sons, Grand Duke Afonso Branco da Silva, to assist the Portuguese.86 In the treaty that followed, Mujinga a Bunga, the new king of Nsonso, signed a treaty of vassalage to Portugal, while Brites Afonso da Silva, her son, and Francisco Afonso Álvares of Mbwila made separate agreements to end the war and settle the boundary between Nsonso and their zone.87 Sousa Coutinho, the Portuguese governor, believed, probably hyperbolically, that his triumph over Nsonso opened 84

85 86 87

AHU Angola, Cx. 45, doc. 50, Inocencio de Souza Coutinho to Francisco Xavier Furtado, 4 March 1766. Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fol. 42v. AHU Angola, Cx. 45, doc. 50, Souza Coutinho to Xavier Furtado, 4 March 1766. AHU Angola, Cx. 50, doc. 60, Souza Coutinho to Brites Afonso da Silva and her son Grand Duke D Afonso Branco da Silva; and Dembo Ambuila D. Francisco Afonso

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commerce for Portugal into the area, and would allow merchants from as far north as Kongo’s province of Zombo, who had been shipping as many as 5,000 slaves a year to the Loango coast, to now carry them to Portuguese buyers.88 In 1767 Lunda armies, led by Kapend, a part of Kambund’s movement, whose northern expansion had nearly conquered Nsonso a decade or so earlier, now struck southward farther up the Kwango, attacking Holo and Kasanje. They established a fortified base at Kapenda ka Mulemba which would coordinate efforts going both west and south.89 The panic of the attack on the Kwango reached Sousa Coutinho, as these territories all had vassalage agreements which should have obliged Portugal to assist them. But he was reluctant to commit forces so far away against such a redoubtable enemy, and only Mujeto, a Portuguese vassal ruling east of Ambaca, went to assist, though Sousa Coutinho did move troops closer to the border.90 However, the Lunda attacks did not ultimately breach the Kwango, and both Holo and Kasanje held on. As this battle over Hungu and control of the Kwango was taking place, Matamba was unable to assist her southern neighbors facing the Lunda challenge thanks to a revolt within its borders. Ana II died in 1756, and Verónica II, who claimed the throne, faced a challenge from a nephew who lived in Ambaca and held the post of capitão mor. Though his election might benefit Portugal, they were not prepared to support him, and Verónica took over in 1758.91 Verónica II died

88 89

90

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Álvares, 28 November 1766; Cx. 52, doc. 74, Vassalage of Dom Andre Muginga Bunga Mane Mussosso and Pandatua, Marquez of Mussosso, 1768. AHU Angola, Cx. 45, doc. 50, Souza Coutinho to Xavier Furtado, 4 March 1766. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 92–94. This was based on testimony collected in 1886 from Quinonga and two other nobles of Kapenda ka Mulemba, Mona Mahongo and Mutombo, the Mona Cafunfo: see Dias de Carvalho, Descripção da Viagem, 3: 6–16, 35, 42. AHU Angola, Cx. 51, doc. 58, Souza Coutinho to Xavier Furtado, 16 December 1767; BNL MS 8742, fol. 73, Sousa Coutinho to Joze de Souza, 14 September 1766 (the arrival of the survivor). BUC MS 2529, papel 64, an undated but contemporary statement of Verónica. The candidate in question, not named, was described unfavorably as the “insolent son of a black woman and a mulatto raised in the bush and practically a heathen, who has been invited to be king as the nephew of Queen Ginga”: AHU Cx. 42, doc. 7, Antonio de Vasconcelos to Conselho Ultramarino, 4 January 1759. Verónica identified the black woman in question as Suzana, sister of Ana II, who fled to Ambaca “because she wanted to be a Christian,” according to Verónica. Verónica was queen in 1758: BUC MS 1505, papel 50 (sheet 247), a declaration made on 3 February 1758, of one of her letters.

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after some years in office, and was succeeded by Ana III. In 1764, even as the Nsonso and Hungu alliance was proceeding, and Lunda threatened, Queen Ana III was under attack from her nephew, Kaluete ka Mbande, supported by a segment of the population in the district of Lukala lua Kiyanga. The queen wrote to Angola asking for support, and sent an embassy, quickly renewing the terms of the vassalage arrangement of 1744. Governor Sousa Coutinho scolded her for blocking trade and told her he would “not give her any aid at all” and would “treat her as an enemy” unless she “allowed merchants to pass through her lands, to Holo, to Cassange or any other people, quickly giving them carriers.” She signed a treaty of vassalage on 26 May 1765, but it was too late to save the queen from her rival.92 Kaluete ka Mbande killed Ana III and most of her family, with the exception of two nieces, and was installed as Francisco II Kaluete ka Mbande. These two surviving nieces, Kamana and Murili, fled to the Portuguese, creating a panic at Mpungu a Ndongo. Sousa Coutinho had to consider how to respond to their pleas to continue to honor Ana III’s vassalage treaty, but Angolan resources were exhausted from the Nsonso war, and experience had shown that wars in the deep interior were expensive and dangerous.93 As something of a compromise, Sousa Coutinho recognized Francisco II as the ruler of Matamba, but also allowed Kamana to establish a parallel court on the Islands of Kindonga, the one-time capital of Njinga, and certainly a place of great symbolism, which Matamba had never surrendered after its recapture in the 1630s.94 Princess Kamana, however, was not content to remain quietly in exile, and began immediate planning for war to the south, into what might be vulnerable territory in Songo and Malemba, specifically targeting Bomba a Sucila. Sousa Coutinho opposed the plan, thinking it might impede commerce or damage Portuguese merchants in

92

93

94

ANTT Condes de Linhares, liv. 50, fol. 132v, Sousa Coutinho to Ana Gutteres, 26 May 1766 (noting that he received her letter of 12 January). AHU Angola, Cx. 51, doc. 58, Souza Coutinho to Xavier Furtado, 16 December 1767. AHNA Cod. 79, fol. 73v, Sousa Coutinho to Manoel Monteiro [date lost, post7 January 1768], notes receiving his letter of 12 December 1767 (allowing princess to remain); 80v, Sousa Coutinho to Joze Mauricioda Gama e Freytas, 15 February 1768 (on beheading of Ana III); and 82v, Sousa Coutinho to D Calluete Cambande, 26 January 1768 (recognizing him as king).

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the area.95 Unfortunately the documentation does not reveal how much of this plan Kamana was able to carry out. Whatever Kamana did to the south of the Islands of Kindonga, she was likely to clash with Kasanje, which also operated regularly in Songo. In 1777 Kasanje was ruled by “Cassange Caquinguri Lucallo aginga,” and the extension on his title suggests that a new lineage was in place, derived directly from the original ruling lineage, but including Njinga as a component.96 Given that the 1850 tradition derived one line from Njinga’s, it is possible either that Kamana or one of her close relatives derived from Njinga’s line had been able to garner enough influence and power to form a royal line, or that Kasanje had otherwise absorbed lands that Njinga held. In 1792, in any case, Kasanje waged a war in Songo, which threatened Portuguese commercial interests, although a long-term Portuguese resident in Kasanje assured the authorities in Angola that Kasanje was waging the war only to gather captives to “satisfy his heathen rites” and that such a war would only be waged after giving fair warning to merchants to avoid the area in question, and promise indemnity should they lose property in the war.97 Such rites often accompanied the emergence of a new ruler, though we do not know if this represented a new lineage or not.

ANGOLA In the mid-eighteenth century, Portugal went through a revolutionary change that was mirrored in other countries in Europe. A series of reforms, championed in Portugal by the marquis de Pombal, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, sought to increase royal revenues, reduce the influence of hereditary nobles, heighten centralization of authority in professional bureaucrats, and regularize administration. The governors who came to Angola, beginning with António Álvares da Cunha, who arrived in 1753, but especially Francisco Inocêncio de 95

96

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AHNA Cod. 79, fol. 108v (the address of letter is lost in water damage, but its position in the codex points to early July 1768). The water damage also prevents a clear reading of the last part of Bomba a Sucila, though this was an important title in the area. AHNA Cod. 82, fol. 23, Governor Antonio de Lencastro to Cassange Caquinguri Lucallo aginga, 17 August 1777. AHU Cod. 1634, Directorio para o Capitao Francisco das Chagas como estabelecimento da nova regulação do comércio, 22 August 1792.

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Sousa Coutinho (governor 1764–1772), were tasked with instituting these changes to the degree they could.98 They faced a serious challenge in implementing any reforms because they lacked most of the coercive forces that would make it possible to effect real changes. The colony was short of revenue, counting on taxing its exports to generate the funds necessary to make the government of Luanda (and the governor’s salary) viable. A survey of revenues collected by the dizimos, the primary tax, in the 1770s showed that taxes on the export of slaves equaled some 88 percent of its revenue; much of the remaining income not from the slave trade came from cotton growing and weaving in Ambaca and Cambambe.99 Furthermore, by the mideighteenth century the slave trade was being systematically syphoned off by tax evaders from the colony itself, and by traders based in independent African countries and connected to the trading networks that led to Kongo’s coast, or the Loango coast further north.100 Furthermore, the Portuguese had never quite solved the problem of money that they had addressed in the late seventeenth century. A report of 1769 noted that the ordinary money in Angola was “cloths of straw made in Congo,” and nzimbu shells. Even Portuguese in Angola “use them for their purchases just as civilized nations customarily use money of gold, silver or copper.” The best the Portuguese could do was to import Indian cloth or other cloth from elsewhere to meet the daily currency needs of the subjects of the colony, which was not particularly profitable, and bore considerable competition from local cloth and that imported from outside the colony.101 Here, as in so many other places, Pombaline intentions could not make the Africans accept currencies under the terms that the government wished to impose. Given the shortage of resources, much of what the reformers did in Angola was as much symbolic as effective. They did many reorganizations and began conducting censuses, writing geographical treatises, and other social reconnaissance, as a way of planning for a reconfiguration that was unlikely to be carried out. They also hoped to tie the colony

98

99 100 101

Catarina Madeira Santos, “Um governo ‘polido’ para Angola: Reconfigurar dispositivo de domínio (1750–1800)” (Ph.D. dissertation, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2005). Da Silva Corrêa, História, 1: 167. Miller, Way of Death, pp. 570–633. AHU, Cod. 408, fols. 174–197, “Instrução sobre o abuso das livrancas e sobre a iniquidade do monópolio que os contratadores e administradores das rendas reais de Angola tem feito naquele reino,” 1769.

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more tightly to the metropole, as it had become more dependent on Brazil since the mid-seventeenth-century restoration. To achieve this latter objective, the reformers planned to fill top-level administrative positions with Portuguese ones, and to displace people of local origins, or to drive them further down the chain of command. However, lacking qualified personnel, they could not make much headway on this either. Lusitanizing the army, and giving command to supposedly better qualified and more modern-thinking officers from Portugal, was perhaps the most important part of their plan, but both cost and operational capabilities prevented this from happening.102 In fact, the reforming officials were forced to accept that the traditional leadership, and the important role of the guerra preta, locally recruited African soldiers under their own tactical command, were the only armed force capable of conducting effective operations, and for this the Portuguese officers had little more than bluster. Perhaps the most famous of these officers was Paulo Martins Pinheiro de Lacerda, whose highly touted military operations in the 1780s and 1790s were costly failures.103 Not all of the Portuguese activity was symbolic, however. When Sousa Coutinho decided to initiate iron production at a foundry called Nova Oeiras in Ilamba, he was responding to the proactive Pombaline policy. This foundry was to employ advanced European techniques, and was considered a potential source of iron and steel products for export elsewhere in the empire as well as Angola. Sousa Coutinho started the works in 1768, but the foundry did not live up to the high expectations of revolutionizing iron production by employing European technology and African labor. Low-level but effective local resistance to the social reorganization it required as well as the technical blindness of the factory managers rendered it another failure. But the local African smiths, using their traditional techniques, did manage to find a market for their products, ironically by selling them to the factory.104

102

103 104

Flávia Maria de Carvalho, Sobas e homems do rei: A interiorzação dos portugueses em Angola (Séculos XVII e XVIII) (Macéio, 2015). Carvalho da Cruz, “Militares e militarização no Reino de Angola.” There is a long historiography on this project, starting with the celebratory works during the twentieth century New State colonial government and then more revisionist in the following period; a thorough and impressive study (followed here) is found in Crislayne Gloss Marão Alfalgali, “Ferreiros e fundadores na Ilamba. Uma história social da fabracação de ferro e da Real Fabrica de Nova Oeiras (Angola, segunda metade de século XVIII)” (Ph.D. dissertation, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 2017).

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In spite of its weak internal revenue sources, the Kingdom of Angola did control considerable territory, albeit with differing levels of intensity. Luanda, its capital, required a hinterland of agricultural producers to meet its need for food, and, more to the point, to feed the some 8,000–10,000 slaves that passed through the city every year while they sojourned in the prisons and stockaded yards awaiting shipment. And as they left, the ships that carried them also required foodstuffs for the transatlantic journey, almost always to Brazil. Thus maintaining the slave trade took some 10 percent of the total revenue of the colony.105 The need for foodstuffs to feed the slaves was met by the most completely dominated areas of the colony: the land around Luanda and the rich agricultural lands that lay along the banks of the Kwanza and Bengo Rivers, where landholders holding titles to land that dated back to the days of the first conquest managed their arimos. The populations of these areas were mostly slaves, held on the estates, but they were interspersed with lands still held by sobas, some of whom participated in food production and export using either their own subjects or slaves. These producers yielded most of the non-export revenue of the government. Local power in Luanda and the lands where the earliest arimos had been established along the Bengo and Kwanza and around the easternmost presidios was in the hands of ancient and well-established families. While many had some African ancestry the top group was usually considered to be white, and those with greater African ancestry were described as “pardo” or “mestiço.” They were a factious lot; Sousa Coutinho, the most vigorous of the Pombaline governors, saw them fighting among themselves, especially when estates were litigated.106 The Angolan government and its wealthier local supporters held fairly strong control over the lands close to Luanda, as complaints about abusing labor there suggest. The administration of eastern Angola was fairly limited, unlike the lands around Luanda and along the Bengo and Kwanza Rivers up to Cambambe and Ambaca; the Portuguese there had a weak and dependent administration. The Portuguese had some administrative posts, manned by primarily Luso-African capitães mores, and recruited from the merchant community or a few professional soldiers. They served as local authorities for resident merchants, their slaves, and dependents of

105

106

Da Silva Corrêa, História, 1: 112–116 (including calculations of total production and consumption on slave ships). BNL FG Cód. 8554, fols. 27–28, Letter of Francisco Innocencio de Sousa Coutinho, Luanda 1765.

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people living immediately around the post. One of their most important roles was to manage mucanos as local legal proceedings governed by a mix of Portuguese and African law.107 The local authorities drew labor for their projects, but particularly for carrying goods to markets, on labor dues changed to the sobas. The authorities often abused this authority, seizing people and at times enslaving them or selling them. On occasion, local settlers were accused of depopulating the country by demanding forced labor from their dependents in Massangano and Ambaca.108 Similarly, local officials were often accused of effectively abducting free people for slavery, a matter which Sousa Coutinho revealed in an order of 1771.109 The sobas who controlled the vast majority of the remaining population were mostly vassals, but the acts of vassalage called for little more than military support, accepting Christianity, and agreeing not to trade outside Portuguese channels, especially with the Vili northern traders from Loango, Ngoyo, or Kakongo.110 Vassalage agreements, however, did not automatically grant Angola control over its own subjects; in 1767 a letter preserved in the archives of the soba Kahende showed Sousa Coutinho demanding that he be granted this right.111 Sousa Coutinho gathered copies of the acts of vassalage in 1771 and renewed them, producing a systematic enumeration of the sobas in Angola.112 A handful of documents show that some sobas took formal steps to delineate the borders of their lands during and after this period. These delineations sometimes included a legitimizing record of tradition of the founding of the sobado, but the highlight was when the soba in question walked his lands, noting important landmarks. As he passed along, the sobas of the adjoining lands would walk with him hand in hand, as though confirming the deed.113 107 108 109 110

111

112 113

On the mucanos, see Ferreira, Cross Cultural Exchange, pp. 98–115. AHU, Cx. 40, doc. 63, António Álvares da Cunha to Crown, 11 December 1755. AHU, Cx. 55, doc. 1, Bando of Sousa Coutinho, 2 January 1771. For an examination of post-1660s acts, see Beatrix Heintze, “Luso-African Feudalism in Angola? The Vassal Treaties of the 16th to the 18th Century,” Separata da Revista Portuguesa de Historia 18 (1980): 111–131. Sousa Coutinho to Dembo Paulo Sebastião of Kahenda, 1767, in Tavares and Madeira Santos (eds.), Africae Monumenta, pp. 374–375. AHU, Cx. 55, doc. 6, Sousa Coutinho, 10 January 1771. The earliest of these in public archives, from Candumba (in Sanza Cajú), dates to 1689 and was found in the Arquivo Provincial do Kwanza-Norte in 1988 showing the specifics of the delineation was earlier, involving the two or more sobas walking jointly around their lands; the rest are from Eva Sebastyén’s collection: from archives in Caculo Cangola: Luamba (1717 and 1796); Ngolombe a Queta (1770); Samba Cajú (1689); and Tuto (1671).

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To the degree that local archives reveal Portuguese activities, they show that Portuguese officials often played a role in succession disputes, sometimes as moderators, or in peacekeeping, as when they assisted in stopping civil wars in Kahenda in 1768 and 1772.114 They also assisted in settling disputes between sobas, who might otherwise fight wars, as took place in the dispute between Kahenda and Ngombe a Mukiama.115 The archives show trade and marital disputes being mediated by Portuguese officials at Kahenda, and Bango a Kaputo in 1767 and Gombe a Kijengo in 1772.116 Making census counts was a new feature of the Pombaline period, and a major census conducted in 1776 and 1777 revealed the results of Angola’s long engagement in the slave trade. The most striking feature of the census was the remarkable absence of adult males, making up only forty-three males for every hundred females (over age fourteen), even as the sex ratio among younger age groups was more or less even. The Angola results probably mirror similar processes in the larger region, especially given that many interior areas under nominal Portuguese control participated in a similar manner. The imbalance between adult males and females probably had two causes: the importation of females from other regions (and their retention relative to males), and the export of adult males to the external slave trade, given the preference for adult males among American buyers (preferring in general two males per female). Both factors had been present in West Central Africa from the very earliest periods – as we have seen, a response in some measure to the need for elites to concentrate productive populations around their courts and towns – but the extent of the demographic distortion that the continued and heightened export of slaves caused was probably quite unprecedented. The consequences of this imbalance were potentially many: a problem in the sexual division of labor where tasks performed by males might not be fully done given their absence, with the shortfall 114

115

116

Certificate of Fernando Sanches e Sousa, 23 October 1720; António Anselmo Duarte de Siqueira to Dembo Paulo Sebastião, April, 1768 and same to same, n.d. (1768); António de Lencastro to Dembo of Mufuco and sobas of Hungo, Danla and Malundu, Mani Quissele and Bambi-ia-Sumba, 25 November 1772, in Tavares and Madeira Santos (eds.), Africae Monumenta, pp. 55–56, 376–377. António de Lencastro to Dembo Paulo of Cahenda, 21 August 1772, in Tavares and Madeira Santos (eds.), Africae Monumenta, p. 376 (dated via Almeida, “Relações,” p. 40). Sousa Coutinho to Dembo Paulo Sebastião, 1767, and Processo of 1772 Tavares and Madiera Santos (eds.), Africae Monumenta, pp. 374, 377.

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either falling on females or being made up by imports (where commodities were involved). The import strategy could include more importation of commoner oriented textiles from Europe or India; or from the cloth-producing belt to the north. To this would be added the non- or underperformance of tasks in agriculture normally undertaken by males, which would include land clearance for the most part, as the actual planting and harvesting of crops was women’s work in Angola, as everywhere else in West Central Africa.117 In addition to this direct impact, the shortage of adults in general would greatly raise the dependency ratio (the ratio of non-producers, the elderly but especially children) to producers. The burden of this problem would fall on women, who needed to do more dependentcaring duties (or leave them less well done). It is possible that the impact was the greatest in the colony itself, though it seems just as likely that other regions suffered similar sorts of economic and social consequences. External wars waged by African powers outside Angola contributed to the export slave trade: for example, a report of 1784 noted what it described as a “general rebellion,” but one that was waged by vassals on the margin of the colony where local leaders had much more to say about governance. It affected travel since the wars blocked roads, but it was surely a source of slaves as well.118 However, a good deal of the enslavement took place within the colony. Most sobas and settlers had private armies, and these in turn raided the lands of the neighboring sobas, frequently to resolve disputes, but always with the underlying idea of enslaving people, some of whom would be exported. There were frequently complaints, such as one from the governor in 1792, that these armed disputes disrupted life and threatened even the capitães mores.119 As the Pombaline project proceeded at the grand-scale level, there was considerably less success at the local level. Pombal’s lieutenants had an idea of Lusitanization as well as domination, but they lacked the means to enforce this, as with other polities. The local archives also reveal that Portuguese was a language frequently in use by the Africans, at least the elite, far into the interior. Many of the documents also show 117

118 119

Thornton, “The Slave Trade in Eighteenth Century Angola”; John Thornton, “The Demographic Effect of the Slave Trade on Western Africa, 1500–1850,” in C. Fyfe and D. McMaster (eds.), African Historical Demography, vol. 2 (Edinburgh, 1981), pp. 691–720. AHU, Cx. 68, doc. 57, Official statement of the internal government, 24 March 1784. AHU, Cod. 1633, fols. 50–50v, Manoel de Almeida e Vasconcellos to José de Seabra da Silva, 25 January 1792.

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a strong influence of Kimbundu, with many loan words from that language, even in core vocabulary items, and even some influence on syntactical elements, such as word order.120 To the Pombaline reformers, however, the spread of Portuguese was countered by the frequency with which Kimbundu language and Mbundu cultural practice had affected the colony.121 The resident Angolan community, aside from whatever their racial identity might have been, spoke Kimbundu, either as bilingual speakers or as their primary language. Sousa Coutinho complained that even in city council meetings, Portuguese from the metropole were in some ways excluded by the frequent untranslated use of Kimbundu. His successor, António de Lencastre, prohibited its use, even seizing catechismal literature, contending that Portuguese alone should be the language of Angola.122 It is unlikely that the orders were systematically carried out, and Kimbundu continued to be widely used. The Pombaline authorities were also shocked, and did what they could to stop the penetration of local religious practice into the Christianity of the Angolan population. Even people regarded as Portuguese paid religious attention to their ancestors, and made sacrifices to the kilundus (territorial deities) in wartime. They often ascribed a local meaning to feast days, much of which derived from the very early syncretization of Kongo religion with Christianity, but which took on a local flavor in the Angolan context. The commentators were particularly concerned about tambos (funeral customs), which were far more Mbundu than Portuguese or Christian, at least in the eyes of the reforming governors.123 As one might expect, the efforts to make changes in either language or religion had little impact, since there was no effective mechanism for 120

121

122

123

For a comparative view of Angolan Portuguese in the larger Atlantic world, see Thornton, Cultural History, pp. 328–330. The linguistic observations are my own, made from my experience in Kimbundu as a language and from reading the texts, and not a systematic observation. For a more thorough review of this period, see Linda Heywood, “Portuguese into African: The Eighteenth-Century Central African Background to Atlantic Creole Cultures,” in Linda M. Heywood (ed.), Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 91–114. AHU, Cod. 472, fols. 1–53; For a longer history of Kimbundu use in the colony of Angola, see Ferreira, Cross Cultural Exchange, pp. 138–143 and Jan Vansina, “Portuguese vs. Kimbundu: Language Use in the Colony of Angola (1575–1845),” Bulletin de Séances, Academie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer 47 (2001–2003): 267–281. BNL MS 8554, fols. 28v–29v, Sousa Coutinho, 10 January 1769; AHU, Cx. 73, doc. 28, Report of Bishop Alexandre, 20 June 1788.

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enforcement (even the Inquisition was functioning at a very low level in this period), and no resources could be spared for widespread public education or more systematic reevangelization. A report in 1791 by the bishop revealed no significant change in religious life after two decades of discussion and decrees.124

KAKONDA’S EXPANSION When the era of the Pombal reforms started, there was a somewhat different approach in the Benguela colony than in Angola. While smugglers and foreign ships did reach Benguela, the constant loss of revenue caused by trade with the north coast was not seen as pronounced there. Smuggling was more likely to be within the Portuguese ambit, and the major problem for the reformers was the large number of traders who spread outside the zone of Portuguese control, people whom Sousa Coutinho labeled as “vagabonds.”125 These traders lived in all the major Ovimbundu kingdoms, and were not subject to even nominal control, paid no taxes, and were well positioned to evade regulations on their activities. Restoring or rather establishing better control was the work of a major campaign launched from Caconda in 1755–1756, directed against “Cabundas and their allies the Ambuellas,” a nominal vassal whose lands were near Ngalangi and whose larger group was known as the “Five Sobas.”126 It would be the extreme eastern end of the lands that Portuguese-led armies had penetrated in the war against Kiombela in the 1720s, and they had hope of some support from their vassals in the region. The Ambuellas, for their part, were a group with whom Portugal had no vassalage agreement, and their leaders, Muxinda and Cingolo, attacked the Portuguese vassal state of Quitata.127

124

125 126

127

IHGB, Lata 214, Pasta 5, Dedução dos factos do Bispo de Malaca e do Barão de Moçamedes, Governador de Angola, n.p., n.d. (post-1792). Souza Coutinho, 18 October 1769, in Felner, Angola, 1: 163–169. AHU, Cx. 40, doc. 73, António Álvares da Cunha, 22 June 1756; Cx. 40-A, doc. 130, Francisco Negrão, 20 April 1756; IHGB DL106, 15, “Rellação que faço coriozam.te assim da viagem como das mazelas, sitios e provincias donde passou o exercito que se mandou ao Reino de Beng.a castigar aos souvas cabundas e seus aliados,” 27 December 1756; Feo Cardoso, Memorias, p. 257 (noting Bembe as well). AUC VI-3ª-1–2-13, doc. 177, Joze Pinto da Fonseca to Governor, 17 August 1756; doc. 184, Francisco da Silva Guimaraes to Álvares da Cunha, Quitata, 6 July 1756.

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While the war netted a substantial haul of slaves, it did little to alter the balance of power within the region. Sousa Coutinho, however, decided to undertake more decisive action after his arrival in Angola in 1764. In order to control the traders better, in 1768 he ordered that official markets be opened for Portuguese and Luso-Africans in “Lueque, Quitala, Quipeyo, Galangue, and Quilenges,” and then in 1769 came a more dramatic move: closing the old presidio of Caconda and moving its personnel into the interior high flatlands.128 He also proposed settling “whites” in many of the feiras (official markets) as a sort of garrison to protect Portuguese interests.129 Sousa Coutinho also realized that the emerging kingdoms of Viye and Mbailundu, as well as more familiar kingdoms such as Wambu and Ngalangi, were not likely to be so easily controlled. As he departed he was determined that only by waging war against the major new kingdoms could Angola gain control over the commerce and merchants of the Highlands.130 Sousa Coutinho also saw other possibilities, and of these one of the most important was the prospect of outflanking the powerful states on the Kwango, particularly Kasanje, which had determinedly prevented Portuguese merchants from trading with Lunda. Viye, in particular, was positioned so that there was a possible route to the south of Kasanje; and he elaborated a plan to open a route across Africa to connect to Mozambique. When the soba Kanina challenged the new presidio at Caconda in 1770, he sought to attack it, and in 1771–1772 used the base to attack Humbe, a land farther south where ivory traders had been going.131

THE MBAILUNDU WAR AND ITS AFTERMATH Jahulu, whose reign probably covered the late 1740s and 1750s, was the first king of Mbailundu to make major expansions. His successor, Cingi, was much more visible. By 1767 Sousa Coutinho was complaining 128

129 130 131

AHU Angola, Cx. 52, doc. 45, Bando que ordena as feiras nos sertões de Benguela e Caconda, 23 September 1768. A complete list for about 1770 is in undated memo of Sousa Coutinho in Felner, Angola, p. 187. AHU, Cx. 52, doc. 45, Sousa Coutinho to Cabido Sede Vacante, 9 December 1768. AHU, Cx. 56, doc. 79, Sousa Coutinho, 26 November 1772. IHGB DL Lata 81, doc. 2/18, fol. 59, José António Nogueira to unnamed general, 22 June 1771; IHGB DL Lata 81, doc. 02/20, fol. 62, Sousa Coutinho, 15 January 1772.

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about him as the principal “thief” of the region who should be put down, but also recognized that it would require a great deal to subdue him.132 Therefore he only proposed threats to keep Mbailundu back, but became much more alarmed when Cingi made “famous actions” in 1769: attacking westward, he “subjected Gunza Cabolo and more Sumbes,” thus forming a threat to the Kwanza region as well as in the Highlands. But the Portuguese did not feel ready to take this task on, and only offered careful threats.133 While Sousa Coutinho complained about the “robberies” of Mbailundu, it was his successor, António de Lencastre, who decided on a major war to bring Mbailundu to heel, and to use the occasion to make a major challenge to the emerging and established powers of the flatlands. To that end he mobilized one the largest forces the Portuguese had ever put together to invade Mbailundu, and along the way to subjugate the entire region south of the Kwanza. A northern column using effectively all the resources available to the colony of Angola was to push south and meet a great southern thrust up from Benguela and Caconda somewhere in or near Mbailundu’s territory. Preparations took a whole year, and the size of the army caused at least a temporary alliance against it. The route from Caconda to Mbailundu necessarily took the Portuguese forces through the territory of Wambu, an “implacable enemy” of Mbailundu but now prepared to thwart the Portuguese expedition. Cingolo, who had fought them in alliance with Ngalangi in the 1756 campaign, would require a second expedition to attack. The Portuguese force managed, after several sieges of Mbailundu, to capture Cingi, “who only came into our hands through treason.”134 He remained in Portuguese hands for the rest of his life, probably in Luanda, though one tradition recalls that he was assigned to keeping pigs in Ambaca. His survival earned him the nickname in tradition of “Cipuke ka liwa lonjila” (an insect that is not eaten by birds), because he was captured by the whites, but not killed.135 132

133

134

135

AHNA Cod. 79, fol. 69v, Souza Coutinho to Joze Vieira de Araujo CM Benguela, 28 December 1767. AHNA Cod. 79, fols. 183v–184, Sousa Coutinho to Captao Mor Benguela, 7 January 1769 (subduing Sumbes); and fol. 94, Souza Coutinho to Joze Vieira de Araujo, CM Benguela, 29 March 1768 (threats). Da Silva Corrêa, História, 2: 48–70 (relying on currently non-extant local documentation); Feo Cardoso, Memorias, pp. 268–270. A number of detailed reports are found in service papers: AHU Angola, Cx. 76, doc. 69, with enclosures dated in 1773 and 1774. UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74 “Esapulo Bailundu,” p. 1, informant 2.

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The Portuguese hoped to impose Cingi’s brother Kapangano as ruler in Mbailundu, and de Lencastro, writing in 1776, noted conspiracies that he hoped to thwart against Kapangano. It is clear, however, that Kapangano was eventually overthrown and that Cingi’s son Ekwikwi came to the throne.136 Mbailundu tradition only remembers Ekwikwi I and not Kapangano as Cingi’s successor, but also recalls that Ekwikwi spent time himself in Portuguese hands and that he returned surreptitiously to Mbailundu via Mpungu a Ndongo.137 The traditions suggest a fairly long period before Ekwikwi became king; the documents only reveal that the transition had not happened in the first year, and Kapangano is not remembered in tradition. The most important result of the Mbailundu war was that it regularized the status of Portuguese merchants and their servants and slaves in their lands. After obtaining vassalage agreements from various rulers, the Portuguese established a system of regencies, in which an official would be stationed in the capitals of various Ovimbundu kingdoms, supposedly to govern them with the king, but in fact without any real power. They did represent the interest of merchants, but also sought to control them on behalf of the Crown, always a problem. These merchants in turn began to penetrate more deeply into the interior than those in other parts of the colony, particularly the community in Viye, which was eventually able to bring trade across the Kwango, a route that Kasanje had effectively blocked for years.138 Mbailundu had been set back by the war – in fact, the ruler was not considered nearly as powerful as before – but by 1785 was notably regaining strength.139 It was probably Ekwikwi I who continued the growth of Mbailundu, following the same path as his predecessors had. Conducting wars northward toward the Kwanza, according to tradition, he captured many people who he settled in Cilume, very close to his capital, where they were considered “the people of the king.”140 Undoubtedly many of the people he captured were sold to merchants from Angola and Benguela resident in his lands, but the goal

136

137

138 139 140

AHU, Cx. 61, doc. 18, António de Lencastre to Martinho de Mello e Castro, 1 June 1776. UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundu,” p. 1, informant 2 (the tale of raising pigs and his son’s fate); and p. 53, informant 5 (where he remained in Luanda). Vellut, “Lunda,” pp. 94–104. AHNA Cod. 82, fol. 103, Baron de Mossamedes to CM Benguela, 12 January 1788. UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundu,” p. 1, informant 1.

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of increasing population was also clearly indicated by tradition. After the wars the “king took the survivors back to his kingdom and made all of them his slaves (apika),” but after a time “the king let them go, saying to them, ‘go and build wherever you want.’” Tradition has them going to several different places but remaining in Mbailundu. Although they were his slaves, they became in effect his subjects, who, at least in the eyes of tradition, would be his most reliable ones.141 Given the population buildup, Ekwikwi was able to organize a police force, or perhaps an army loyal to the king. A Portuguese report of 1785 noted that Mbailundu possessed some 3,800 guns, more than any other Ovimbundu state, and well of ahead of Viye with 2,000.142 The Ekwikwi of tradition is most likely the king of Mbailundu known in written documents as Manuel Messo Ababo, who came to power before 1794.143 Although tradition in retrospect says he was much liked, the documents show that his immediate family and the nobles were ready to overthrow him if they could.144 The wars that Ekwikwi waged to capture and relocate people in tradition certainly fit Messo Ababo’s activities in the 1790s, with near-constant warfare widely ranging over the area. Messo Ababo played his role as a Portuguese vassal carefully, extending his own rule under the guise of protecting and supporting Portuguese interests, a tactic the Portuguese themselves understood.145 If the tradition that he was taken to Luanda and spent time in Portuguese hands is true, it might explain his capacity to understand how to deal with them; one traditions says he was a mulatto, probably meaning that he spoke Portuguese well.146 He worked with the 141 142

143

144

145

146

UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundu,” p. 1, informant 1. AHU, Cx. 71, doc. 39, Baron de Mossamedes to Martinho de Mello e Castro, 15 July 1786. The name Messo Ababo does not appear in “Esapulo Bailundo.” Assuming that Messo Ababo was ruling before 1794 and died before 1801, if he began his reign around 1778, or shortly after Kapangano was installed, he would have ruled twentythree years (recalling that this is a maximum number and that he was a youth and lived some time among the Portuguese). Most of the documentation in this period does not refer the ruler of Mbailundu by name, but as simply “Soba Balundo” or “Potentado Balundo.” AHNA Cod. 89, fol. 14, Manoel de Almeida e Vasconcellos to Antonio Jose Regildas, 25 January 1796. AHNA Cod. 89, fol. 51v, Manoel de Almeida e Vasconcellos to Antonio Jose Regilde, 3 April 1796. UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundu,” p. 1, informant 2, “eye omu nu waco kala omulatu.”

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Portuguese to strengthen his position, asking for powder to help put down disloyal vassals (who would be disloyal to him as a vassal of Portugal). He conducted campaigns in 1975 on behalf of Portugal in Ganda, Kibula, and other districts lying between his lands and Kakonda, from which he obtained the spoils.147 Clearly balancing his alliance to gain more power through gathering people and holding off claims against him by his nobles, he was still considered in danger of being overthrown in 1796.148 However, he was not overthrown, and in 1797 launched a major campaign to the south, first despoiling Viye, before passing Mucunya at the headwaters of the Kwanza River, “cutting off its land, pressing it and reducing it to a state of barely subsisting,” and then on to the “Ngangela” lands farther south.149 A ruler of Mbailundu died in 1801, perhaps Messo Ababo or Ekwikwi.150 Viye was less set back by the Mbailundu war, but had less ambition than Mbailundu. Viye’s earlier history was marked by the struggle between the king and the nobles over the degree to which power and decision making would be centralized in the hands of the kings. When Cibala died, perhaps around 1770, he was succeeded by his son, Jahulu. Jahulu was described in tradition as a “turbulent character,” probably because he was seeking to overthrow the balance of power between him and the powerful vassal sobas of his domain, who accused him of making “commerce with the filhos do pais, a designation given to those who are not nobles nor possess any titles.”151 Perhaps Jahulu started the system, first described by the Portuguese resident trader João Nepomucena Correia in 1797, of having a group of wholly dependent servants, styled macotas and drawn from “the slaves of the State left by his ancestors, among others,” those ancestors being 147

148

149

150 151

AHNA Cod. 88, fols. 134–135v, Manoel de Almeida e Vasconcellos to Messo Ababo, 1 August 1795. AHNA Cod. 89, fol. 14, Manoel de Almeida e Vasconcellos to Antonio Jose Regilde, 25 January 1796. BNL, Reservados, códice 8094, Elias Vieira de Andrade, 18 November 1797, from Sambo; Francisco Conceição, CM Bie, undated 1797 letter, quoted in Ralph Delgado, Ao sul do Cuanza: ocupação e aproveitamento do antigo Reino de Benguela, 2 vols. (Lisbon, 1944), 1: 337–338. Delgado, Sul do Cuanza, 1: 383 (his doc. 81). Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 166–167. I have modernized the names of the Viye rulers in accordance with their spelling in Child, “Chronology.” In a later tradition, recorded in the reign of Ciyuka (1928–1940): UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder “Esapulo Bie,” p. 12, Kangombe is credited with engaging in illicit affairs with Jahulu’s wives, perhaps a translation of the story and its details to another king.

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the two further generations of sobas between Jahulu and Baxo-ababa, who was ruling by then. Slaves of the state, in turn, were not war captives or purchased slaves, but were drawn mostly from debtors and could not be sold.152 The macotas served as “ministers and war leaders called Quisongos who the souva appointed for his State,” and who lived in the capital, or “outside in territories.” It may have altered an older system of having a group of nobles, perhaps of the subordinate rulers, choose the ruler, for Nepomucena Correia wrote in 1797 that “when they acclaim the souva, the macotas and fidalgos [nobility] customarily vote for the most powerful and respected person among [the sons and brothers of the former soba] to succeed to the State.” In this way the dependent administration played a role, along with the nobility, which included the soba’s brothers, cousins, and their children, who typically had their own estates, in choosing the next king.153 Jahulu was jealous of his brother Kangombe, accused him of “murderous intent” and witchcraft, and sold him to the Portuguese as a slave. The Portuguese had him baptized as António de Lencastre in honor of the governor, and when the war against Mbailundu began in 1774, the Portuguese army brought Kangombe with them and aided him in overthrowing his brother.154 After Kangombe unseated him, Jahulu withdrew to nearby Bumba, and he held on to enough power and influence that Kangombe had to recruit outside help, in the form of an allegedly cannibalistic group of Nyemba from Dumba a Mutombo on the other side of the Kukema River. He overwhelmed Jahulu’s forces, and sold many into slavery, while his Nyemba allies supposedly ate others. He waged many wars, enhancing the population of his capital region with relocated people and conquering many neighboring places.155 The major powers of the Central Highlands were now reaching important strength, and Viye and Mbailundu would be the factors in nineteenth-century history.

152

153

154

155

IHGB DL 29, 17, Nepomuceno Correia, “Costumes da província de Behe,” fols. 7–7v. IHGB DL 29, 17, Nepomuceno Correia, “Costumes da província de Behe,” fols. 2–2v. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 167; also Serpa Pinto, Atrevessi África, 1: 134; and IHGB DL 29, 17, Nepomuceno Correia, “Costumes da província de Behe,” fol. 2, where the brother is named “Minuio” (perhaps a given name). Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 167–168.

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SOYO AND THE NORTH COAST Just as Nsonso had broken free of Kongo and reoriented itself into the Kwango Valley in the early eighteenth century, so Soyo gradually reoriented its politics away from active participation in the struggle for the crown of Kongo, to pursuing its northern interests more fully as the eighteenth century went on. Loango probably remained the most important power north of the Congo River, though Soyo, had been successful in dominating Ngoyo and Kakongo during the earlier part of the century In the 1760s Soyo was ruled by Miguel da Silva e Castro, who “held his court with more magnificence than the king himself.”156 The Baretto da Silvas had dominated the principality since the late seventeenth century and were still in power in the 1750s, but now a new subgroup, the Silva e Castros, had come to the front. While the Silva e Castros still claimed the same ultimate root from Miguel da Silva, the independentminded count of the 1650s, a new branch had taken over. Jeronimo Constantino de Castro da Silva, one of Miguel da Silva e Castro’s successors, was described in 1779 as being, along with the king of Loango, the most powerful ruler on the coast, and his lands reached from the Mbidizi River to the Congo River, and counted an army of 30,000 soldiers.157 The Portuguese regarded him as hostile to them, and he specifically wanted Italian Capuchin missionaries to support the still vibrant Church.158 His ample supply of weapons was bought not by selling slaves directly to visiting European vessels, but through transport and sale of them across the river to the ports to the north.159 Miguel and Jeronimo Constantino dominated the lands to the north. When the king of Ngoyo died around 1771, there was an interregnum in which the heir apparent, the Ma-Kaya, lined up against a rival, the Manbuku, who was “beneath him in dignity but surpassed him in power.” Still, when faced by the royal army the Manbuku sought the aid of Miguel da Silva e Castro, and quickly received it. Soyo’s aid was 156 157

158

159

Da Savona, “Breve Ragguaglio,” fols. 42–42v. AHU, Cx. 63, doc. 13, Relatório Antonio Maximo de Souza, 16 March 1780. Soyo’s strength in numbers and weapons was noted earlier, too: AHU, Cx. 57, doc. 17, Antonio Maximo de Sousa Magalhães, 18 March 1773. AHU, Cx. 67, doc. 18, Francisco Xavier de Lobão Machado Pecanha, 6 October 1783. AHU, Cx. 62, doc. 73, Antonio Maximo de Souza e Magalhães, 22 June 1779.

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decisive, and the king was defeated and beheaded, but Miguel demanded that he had rights to the country, and as a result another war resumed, lasting “several years,” ending only in about 1775.160 Soyo also continued its influence in Kakongo. French missionaries coming to Kakongo in 1766 noted that people regularly mixed from both sides of the Congo River, so that there were a great many Christians in the country, not to mention the substantial colony of Manguenzo, which had several subject villages and thus formed a little province.161 This colony probably came into existence in the 1750s, and in 1773 was led by a “governor general” named João Mvemba Etona, though its political influence outside the region seems to have been limited.162 Loango was the most powerful of the northern kingdoms, retaining control of its core regions, though some lands, which it had claimed in the seventeenth century as vassal regions, were less well integrated. Local traditions of the time claimed that Loango had once controlled Kakongo and Ngoyo, recognized by the sending of a gift of women each year from their lands, and although the tradition, as so often is the case, is not historically accurate, it did reflect the situation of the time. At Loango’s core was the royal council, including, among many others, the Magovo and his associate the Mapouto managing foreign affairs, the Makaka was the minister war and commander of the army, commercial affairs was in the hands of the Mfuka, and the Makimba was the “grand master of waters and forests.” Each minister in turn employed a number of slaves to carry out ministerial tasks.163 The king, as the executive authority, devoted much of his attention to judicial matters, and much of his time was spent in hearing cases and resolving disputes.164 This administration could function in the absence of a monarch, and even challenged the monarch for control of the country.

160

161 162

163 164

Proyart, Histoire, pp. 132–135; I have opted to have Miguel da Silva e Castro as prince in this period, although the chronology is problematic both in Proyart’s vague wording and in the uncertain reign lengths in Soyo. Miguel was reigning in Soyo when Cherubino da Savona wrote his treatise on Kongo, which covered the mid1760s to the early 1770s. Jeronimo de Castro da Silva is first attested in 1780, and was still ruling in 1788. There may well have been an unknown intermediate prince or two. Proyart, Histoire, pp. 315–319. The full form of his name is given in Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Fondo Borgia 766, in the baptismal register at the end of the “Dictionaire Congo,” fol. 348v (as “dominio regionis”). Proyart, Histoire, pp. 124–126. Proyart, Histoire, p. 124.

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The rotational scheme designed in the early seventeenth century did not survive for long, and by the eighteenth century the office of king was elective, and the electors would choose someone from the royal family to succeed following the death of a king.165 However, succession provided problems; as early as 1701 there was a long interregnum following the death of a king, with executive power held in the hand of a regent, this case, the Makunda, or queen mother. But when King Makossa died in 1766 the interregnum lasted seven years. Custom called for the king to select a regent, called the Mani Boman, to manage affairs following his death, and Makossa had picked two in case one died. The two Mani Bomans, named Macosse and Pombe Jobbe, were effectively ruling (as “kings”) and doing business with Dutch merchants in 1771.166 As the regents ran affairs, the various candidates for the throne “formed their conspiracies and through presents and promises sought to make the electors favor them,” the electors being a wide circle of members of the royal family and officials. Two factions formed, one favoring burial in the city of Buali the other in the traditional burial ground of Loangiri.167 The interregnum after Makossa was only a rehearsal for a radical change, though. In 1772 Buatu was finally elected king, but when he died in 1787, no king was elected for nearly a century.168 This time, although there were no Mani Bomans, executive power was held by the Nganga Mvumbi (priest of the corpse), whose nominal duty was to oversee the body of the king as he awaited burial. During that hundred years at least seven people holding this title oversaw the body and ran the state.169

165

166

167

168

169

There is a veritable “dark ages” in the period between Uring’s visit and that of the French missionaries. Oral traditions of earlier kings collected in the late nineteenth century by the German Loango Expedition are found in Bastian, Deutsche Expedition, 1: 266–267. Stacey Sommerdyck, “Trade and the Merchant Community of the Loango Coast in the Eighteenth Century” (Ph.D. thesis, University of Hull, 2012), pp. 147–148. Proyart, Histoire, pp. 129–130. The predecessor’s name was supplied by oral tradition, noted by Eduard Pechuël-Loesche, Volkskunde von Loango (Stuttgart, 1907), pp. 155 and 185 (with chronology). Buatu’s death in 1787 was attested by Louis Degrandpré, Voyage à la côte occidentale d’Afrique: fait dans les années 1786 et 1787 (Paris, 1801), 1: 116; Pechuël-Loesche, Volkskunde, p. 155, gives him a name (while referencing Degrandpré). Martin, External Trade, p. 169; Bastian, Deutsche Expedition, 1: 266–267. Bastian’s text reads like undigested field notes and is not easy to decipher, hence the uncertainty of his list, which also includes people without the title nganga mvumbi. Another list compiled by Dennet, At the Back of the Black Man’s Mind, pp. 5–6, listed only four holders of the title.

THE WEIGHT OF LUNDA ON THE WEST

Their rationale was anchored in a tradition that the mythical founder had established Loango as both an absolute and benevolent monarchy by right of conquest, to which only the best successors could aspire, and as it happened, no suitable candidate emerged. Power therefore devolved to the council of state, composed of the nganga mvumbi as its chief executive, holding powers more or less of those of the kings, assisted by the same administrative officers that had assisted the past kings. These offices were not hereditary, but held at the pleasure of the Nganga Mvumbi. The council was supposed to choose among the many princes who were eligible for the throne, but they never did, in order to preserve their power and not to lose their place.170 The development of a century-long rule by the Nganga Mvumbis did not interfere with the government of the kingdom, which remained centralized in the hands of its bureaucracy, who exercised power in the name of the king.171 Taxes were collected from all free people by a calculation of the land they cultivated, number of slaves and livestock they owned, and their persons. Local government was in the hands of government-appointed officials, which included both tax collection and adjudication. As might be expected, these officials sometimes exceeded their authority, for example, taking four goats when they were only entitled to three.172 At the time, royal officials acting in the king’s name might make demands that would inflict “trouble and desolation on an entire province.”173

LUNDA REACHES ITS HEIGHT Yavu, the beneficiary of the long struggle over control of the Lunda heartland, having set up a peace with the Kanyok, turned to a lengthy war on the Akwanda to their west, probably around 1785. This war was waged ostensibly to recover the skull of Mukaz, who had died at their hands in 1755. The campaign was a difficult one, and the Mwene Taba fought an effective defense, but was eventually sufficiently worn down 170 171

172 173

Degrandpré, Voyage, 1: 174–184. Both Proyart and Degrandpré described the situation on the coast in general terms, conflating the specifics of Loango, Kakongo, and Ngoyo into a single account. Occasionally, their accounts give specifics for particular countries, but usually one can only assume that if Loango were exceptional the case would be noted. Proyart, Histoire, pp. 119–121, 126–127. Proyart, Histoire, p. 124.

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to agree to pay tribute and an immediate indemnity of 600 slaves to Lunda.174 Tradition credited Yavu with carrying the Lunda Empire to its maximum extent, and this was probably realized by campaigns directed to the south, first into the Cokwe region and later into the larger territory of Luvale.175 Much of this expansion would be under Kapenda, whose settlement at Kapenda ka Mulemba was the center for the attacks on Kasanje in 1767. Two more branches of the Kapenda group occupied areas to the south, first was Kapenda ka Malundo, and the second Kapenda ka Songo. In 1755 the southern regions west of the Kwango were controlled by Malundo, Kasanje’s chief enemy at the time, which remained outside Lunda control, suggesting that the expansion there was still forming by mid-century.176 Malundo was still a factor as late as 1795, but soon virtually all its land would be tributary to Lunda.177 By 1804 Malundo was gone as an independent entity, and at that time the larger region had some 200 sobas who “render [Lunda] obedience, bordered by the lands of Great Bomba Songo and the Jaga Casange” (that is, west of the Kwango River) over a stretch of country that took some two months to cross, which probably meant everywhere west of the Kwango.178 A significant part of the Portuguese strategy to control trade in West Central Africa was to bypass Kasanje and contact Lunda directly from the west. In spite of considerable diplomatic activity since Correia Leitão’s mission in 1756, merchants, at least those connected to the Angolan government, were unable to penetrate that far. However, at the end of the eighteenth century, especially as Bembe and Mujumbo a Kalunga broke up, they were able to capitalize on the new situation. The Portuguese community in Viye was particularly active, as were those in Mbailundu and Caconda. They began to visit Luvale regularly around 1790, and witnessed the arrival of Lunda armies there. The conquest of Luvale, according to Lunda tradition, was achieved by Chinyama, who was presented as a karula in the early Lunda court.

174 175 176

177

178

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 551–552. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 552–553. Correia Leitão, “Viagem,” fol. 12v; additional details in AUC VI-3–2-13, doc. 204, “Fronteiras ao Cassange, e seus antigos inimigos . . . .” AHNA Cod. 88, fol. 14, Governor to Joaquim Correa Pinto, 17 January 1795. These instructions relating to trade with the “Potentado Malundo” may reflect out-of-date information, though probably only a few years. Honorato da Costa to Governor of Senna e Tete, 11 November, 1804, AMC 3, 238.

THE WEIGHT OF LUNDA ON THE WEST

However, an account of a still independent “Lobal” in 1794 described it as an extensive kingdom, whose most powerful soba, to whom “18 male and female sobas” owed obedience, was Quinhama (Chinyama).179 João Nepomucena Correia, for his part, held that Luvale in 1797 was “tributary to the King Muata-Iamfu, of the Muluá nation,” an indication that Yavu’s armies had brought it under Lunda’s control three years later.180 As in Cokwe, the incorporation of prestigious local authorities into Lunda’s tradition was at a genealogical level appropriate to its perceived importance; and it continues until today.181 Lunda forces probably approached Luvale from the Musumba following a course similar to or from the same bases as led to the conquest of Kosa and subsequent establishment of the Kazembe title in the 1730s and 1740s. The Luvale kingdom that Lunda armies usurped was well established. Traditions of the title Chinyama count a number of incumbents, each linked to the remains of their capitals, abandoned when they died.182 It seems likely that this list could make its foundation reach back as far as the mid-eighteenth century.183

179

180 181

182

183

Alexandre da Silva Teixeira, “Relação da viagem q. fis desta Cidade de Beng.ª para as do Louar, no anno de 1794”, in Felner, Angola, 1: 236–237. Two other sources give his name as “Luinhama,” probably a mistake in transcription: “Epanofora dos dias de viagem, que se gastão desde a Libata do Sova de Caberabera . . . (ca. 1800), Arquivos de Angola 1 (1933), n.p.; Honorato da Costa to Governor of Senna e Tete, 11 November, 1804, AMC 3: 238. IHGB DL 29, 17, fols. 10–10v, Nepomucena Correia, “Notícia Geral.” Robert Papstein, “The Upper Zambezi: A History of the Luvale People, 1000–1900” (Ph.D. dissertation, UCLA, 1978). Papstein, taking the traditions he collected in the field, traced the migration of Cinyama (Chinyama) from the Lunda court, and established a chronology based on its origin in Lunda and the pursuit of Kinguri, held in those days to be the touchstone for chronologies, that went back to 1500. It seems likely that what he found was in fact the local history of Lobal. Papstein’s collection of traditions (pp. 120–121) that focus on the history of the Chinyama title count seventeen holders up to 1964: the title as measured by royal graves and settlement remembered in tradition, which he, using a formula of long reigns of thirty years and short reigns of five years, takes back to around 1500, which also fit the putative Lunda chronology. I have revised Papstein’s chronology by noting that the movement of the Chinyama title from Lunda did not happen, and the region was not conquered by it. The first seven titles in his list are, I believe, charters for some the sobas that made up Luvale in the 1790s (said to be eighteen) rather than successors (pp. 133–157); the real genealogy begins with Chinyama cha Mukwamayi, but skips to Kakoma ka Pezo, and then follows with another Chinyama before going into the Kakenge title. The possibility that Kakoma represents a period of Luyana rule (under Kakoma Milonda) is tempting. As a potential better gauge, Lunda counted thirteen such burial sites in 1876, for a dynasty that was likely to have started in 1700. Using this

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South of Luvale, another important kingdom, Luyana, ruled the southern portion of the Upper Zambezi River. According to its traditions noted in the 1840s, an early king, Rilundo, was a great hunter who married a Lunda woman named Chaboji while hunting in the area to the north. This tradition, like those of Lunda, was as much to give a place to powerful neighbors as provide a historical tale, since Chaboji, was also held to have given birth to a crocodile, which in turn delivered a herd of cattle.184 Traditions set to writing in 1846 noted two kings following Rilundo, Sanduro and Hipopo, who in turn were followed by the great king Cacoma Milonga, and each had lived long enough to be both remembered and have their abandoned capitals become shrines “where people make their offerings.”185 In 1797 Nepomucema Correira described the Zambezi as being very wide and having “many potentates along its banks.” Among those potentates was “a great souva called Cacoma Milonga situated on one great island and the people in another.”186 This detail suggests that the Luyana kingdom was probably founded in the early to mid-eighteenth century. The traditions also claimed that Cacoma Milonga had conquered many other territories (in fact over twenty) and had greatly expanded his realm.187 At about this time, Cacoma Milonga probably also made a brief conquest of Luvale. Luvale traditions describe a brief rule by someone

184

185

186

187

standard, Luvale’s seven pre-1890 rulers could count back half as far, to the end of the eighteenth century. Colonial politics have greatly interfered with all the traditions, however (my recollection of a discussion held in the University of Zambia Department of History seminar with Papstein in 1981). Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 107. Da Silva Pôrto gave his name as Rilundo, when he wrote about his personal visit in 1853 (da Silva Pôrto or his agents had operated in the region since 1845). Da Silva Pôrto’s orthography is problematic and today’s Silozi is not a direct descendent of Luyana, the language at the time. Matumba Bull’s account of modern traditions suggest Rilundo’s connection to Mulunda Mwanasilundu, also known as Mboo: Bulozi under the Luyana Kings: Political Evolution and State Formation in Pre-Colonial Zambia (London, 1973), p. 23. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagems, pp. 109–110. The published account is based on a manuscript from Porto; a similar but earlier MS in the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa, 146-C-6, p. 173 differs in details, and I have followed the earlier MS on this section. Both texts are ambiguous. IHGB DL 29, 17, João Nepomuceno Correia, “Notícia Geral dos costumes da província de Behe, em Benguela”(ca. 1797), fols. 10–10v. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 106 names Sandúro (see variations in SGL 146-C-6, p. 173), which connects him to the name Mulambwa Santulu, by which he is known in more recent tradition: Bull, Bulozi, p. 203; C. N. M. White, “The Ethno-History of the Upper Zambezi,” African Studies 27 (1962): 10–27, 27. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 110.

THE WEIGHT OF LUNDA ON THE WEST

called Pezo ya Kakoma, perhaps a Luyana or an instrument of Luyana, before being overthrown by Chinyama cha Ngambo who restored the rule of Chinyama. But this rule would be short-lived, since Lunda intervened and at least for a time took over Luvale.188 But Lunda’s control over this southeastern area might not have been particularly strong, and a number of smaller independent polities existed between the Kwango and the Zambezi, among them “Vionga, Mistumda, Ambulla, and Quiboque,” provinces and regions with dominant sobas, not integrated kingdoms, such as the Bundas and Ambuellas to the south and “Quiboque” (Cokwe) on the north. The Cokwe traditions recall that it was Andumba, identified in Lunda tradition in 1885 as being a karula, who led the group to Cokwe, but as the Lundas do not seem to have been successful, this figure, who is attested in the Kwango in the seventeenth century, was probably, like Kinguri, a local figure written into the Lunda history.189 Not only did the Cokwe manage to fend off Lunda’s attacks, but they would have their own revenge in the nineteenth century.

188

189

Papstein, “Upper Zambezi,” pp. 157–159. Both Papstein’s other informants and Mose Kaputungu Sangambo, one of his primary informants (The History of the Luvale People and Their Chieftainship, ed. Art Hansen and R. J. Papstein [Los Angeles, 1979], pp. 33 and 40), mention this ruler briefly and indicate a short reign without making any reference to possible connections to Luyana; my only evidence is the name. But it should be said that Sangombo and many other Luvale historians had been struggling with the British colonial authorities to avoid being attached to Luyana (Lozi) administratively, and claiming Lunda roots while denying any to Luyana was part of their cause. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 89–91. Dias de Carvalho used both Cokwe traditions and those from Lunda to write this section, he learned of the Cokwe from Xa Cumba, who taught him much about the “language and history” of the Cokwe long before his arrival in Lunda, so this section represents, at least in part, a Cokwe point of view: see Dias de Carvalho, Expedição, 3: 162–163. The early attestation of Andumba around the headwaters of the Kwanza is from Cavazzi, Istorica Descrizione, Book 2, paras. 2–4 (as Tembo Andumba).

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8

Culmination: Lunda, Luba, and the Ovimbundu

LUNDA The middle of the nineteenth century saw the Lunda Empire reach its height, culminating in the reign of Nawej II. At that point the empire stretched to the Kwango in the west nearly a thousand kilometers to Lake Mweru in the east; it controlled a significant portion of the textile belt, and hosted trans-African trade and travel. Encompassing more than a quarter-million square kilometers, in African history only the medieval empires of Mali and Songhai controlled a larger area, although its population probably did not exceed a million souls. As the nineteenth century opened, Yavu was emperor and the final steps toward Nawej’s reign were being laid. Yavu began serious overtures to Portugal to create an extensive trade with both Mozambique and Angola, a program that was already potentially in the air in the mid-eighteenth century. The southern conquests at the end of the eighteenth century, in particular, had brought about a situation which would allow this trade to pass south of the traditional guardians of the trans-Kwango trade, particularly Kasanje and Matamba, but also Bomba Songo. Between 1806 and 1811 pombeiros Pedro João Batista and Amaro José, working with Honorato da Costa, the captain of the Portuguese community in Kasanje, sought to develop a cross-African trade route to connect Angola and Mozambique, using Lunda as its core. João Batista, upon returning from his arduous journey, which involved long delays and hold ups, could nevertheless testify about the empire. In an inquest following their return, João Batista was asked if they lacked food or supplies for the entire trip; he said they did not. They did not encounter any robbers or marauders, and moreover they met with great liberality. 312

CULMINATION : LUNDA , LUBA , AND THE OVIMBUNDU

Their route journal showed that they made stops routinely at various inhabited spots, but that even in deserted regions they found prearranged stopping places. Where both population and sponsored stopping places lacked, they were offered warning and provisions in advance.1 In the course of planning this trip, da Costa’s pombeiros learned that Yavu was open to seeking ways to assist Portugal in getting past Kasanje’s monopoly of access. Da Costa’s first efforts led to Yavu deciding to send an embassy to Angola to secure a trading relationship. The embassy went through Kasanje, where it was much delayed, though the ambassadors finally arrived in the Luanda in 1808. Yavu died, tradition relates, of old age a bit before 1820.2 As in the past, the succession would be problematic, since the elites of the capital and potential pretenders jockeyed for position. For some years, Yavu had given his son Kapend Yavu the position of Swan Mulop with the expectation that he would succeed him, but Kapend Yavu did not survive, and at Yavu’s death the position was held by his brother Cikomb.3 Cikomb’s succession, however was challenged by Yavu’s dynamic son Nawej Yavu, and at the very least a struggle if not a civil war developed between them. In some traditions the aged Cikomb yielded peacefully to Nawej; but others claimed that both Cikomb and his son Dalej held the title of Mwant Yavu for a time, before Nawej Yavu eventually won out in 1820, beginning his long reign that would stretch for more than thirty years.4 Lunda traditions assigned the creation of the Lunda state to Nawej I in the early eighteenth century. Among the important components of this state were the institutions of the queen mother and heir apparent, which clearly were very early innovations. But the officers of state, particularly the cilolos and kukwatas, nobles and royal officials, cannot be confirmed as being in existence until the early nineteenth century, 1

2 3

4

Honorato da Costa interrogation, ca. 1812, AMC 3: 237. An English translation of the larger series of documents in AMC 3 is found in Burton, Cazembe, pp. 165–244 (the translation is sometimes inaccurate). For analysis and context, see François Bontinck, “Le voyage des pombeiros: essai de reinterpretation,” Cultures au Zaire et en Afrique 5 (1974): 39–70. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 553. “Capenda Hianvo” held the position of Swan Mulop in 1806, according to Pedro João Baptista, who stayed in his residence in 1806: Burton, Cazembe, pp. 169 and 203. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 553–554; on the reigns of Cikomb and his son Dalej, they are listed as rulers in Buchner, “Reich,” p. 59.

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when eyewitness testimony confirms them. Such evidence appeared in 1808, when the Portuguese governor António Saldanha da Gama addressed letters to the ruler, “Muata Yamvo,” his wife (probably the Swan Mulund), and the “Lucoquexa” (Rukonkesha). In the same exchange, he also mentioned the office of kukwata (“cucuata” in the text) as enforcers of order and taxation.5 Cilolos were also noted at about the same time, as noble officers of state throughout the empire.6 They were probably creations of the earlier period, and products of imperial expansion and the consolidation of royal authority in the mideighteenth century. Lunda was potentially helped by the emerging Luba Empire, which would soon distract Lunda’s former northern enemies with a new threat from the east. The various Luba federations, Kalundwe, and Kanyok were all involved in a struggle against Luba claims and campaigns. At the end, however, both Kalundwe and Kanyok survived the assault, but in the process were weakened enough that Lunda was able to extract tribute from Kanyok, while Kalundwe was not a threat.7 Nawej was, however, anxious to prove himself in battle, and in the late 1830s took on a major campaign against one of his own cilolos and a karula, Kayemba Mukulu, who fended his attack off, killing Nawej’s kalala (general). Kayemba Mukulu ruled a Luba-speaking region, and was part of what would be a buffer zone against expansion from Luba; thus the campaign had more than simple vanity behind it. Although the nobles of the court dissuaded him from continuing the war, Kayemba did agree to pay tribute, and was thus left in peace.8 Having some success there, Nawej then turned to the Akwanda region to the north, a traditionally difficult region for Lunda’s attacks. Nawej used the pretext of demanding the return of Mukaz’s head, 5

6 7

8

AHNA Cod. 240, fols. 70–70v, Saldanha da Gama to Muata Yanvo, 5 December 1808; fols. 69v–70, same to Lucoquexe, mother of the Potentate Muata Yanvo. Diary of Pedro João Batista, “Lembranças,” passim. For early Luba history and the wars with Kanyok and Mutombo Mukulu, see Reefe, Rainbow, pp. 120–124. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 557–558. At this point, Dias de Carvalho is no longer dealing with tradition, as some of his informants for this were contemporary witnesses to the events; this campaign is not described in the summary of Lunda history he sent to Portugal on 30 December 1885, BSGL 6 (1886): 148–149. He probably got it from Nawej II’s son, the would-be Mwant Yavu, Xa Madiamba (Kibwinza Yanvo), whom he interviewed on 18 February 1886 (Dias de Carvalho, Expedição, 2: 58), as it is found in his 1887 account in AHU SEMU LV 1, Cx. 1092, fol. 2v.

CULMINATION : LUNDA , LUBA , AND THE OVIMBUNDU

captured almost a century earlier, but the court nobles were reluctant to allow him to go off into this difficult war. They suggested that he send an important and powerful cilolo to do this, and reserve his own participation in case the attack failed. Nawej chose Anguvo, who was descended from a cilolo who had served Mukaz in the first war, and appointed him governor of the district of Mataba with order to demand the return of the head. The Akwanda insisted that they no longer had the head; that it was in the possession of the Tubinje, but agreed to a tribute. The matter of the head was still unresolved, and so began a long war. When Nawej wanted to intervene to assist Anguvo, the court again opposed him, saying he should not expose his life, and needed to attend to matters of state.9 Nawej faced additional problems in maintaining central control. During the period of expansion, nobles undertook campaigns to take over land; some of the titled nobles, such as Muland, did this by abandoning claims on the monarchy in order to have security in their properties in the Lunda heartland and in the frontier. However, as the conquests were completed and the nobles entrenched in new estates, their governance became more difficult, although the institution of kukwatas gave an authority under royal control that could discipline them if needed. But as frontier cilolos became settled rulers they chafed under central control. To meet this, Nawej began to demand higher payments from the cilolos on his frontier, sequestered the goods of cilolos when they died, and sent troops under the commands of kukwatas, who served as tax collectors and carried out military/police functions, to enforce his law. He worked to concentrate the trade in Musumba, seeing alternate routes being sponsored by the cilolos of the border lands to divert it to their lands, and Nawej used the powers of the state to demand they send caravans on to him, although this was not always successful.10 Portugal sent an informal mission to Lunda, led by a prominent trader named Joaquim Rodrigues Graça, in 1846. He was instructed to seek support from all political authorities he met for a closer alliance with Portugal, and even to break their own allegiance to Lunda in exchange for support. When Rodrigues Graça crossed into Lunda

9

10

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 558–559; AHU SEMU LV 1, Cx. 1092, fols. 2v–3, is textually different but the same tenor; it contains numerous small emendations, but some of the printed text is probably Dias de Carvalho’s comments. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 567.

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territory, he was met along the way by disgruntled cilolos who complained bitterly of high taxes and violent repression. Much as the idea that they might seek protection from Portugal appealed to them, they wisely decided that it was too far away to be able to honor Rodrigues Graça’s promises; Nawej was far too powerful and far too close. There were a few who defied Nawej, notably Kayemba Mukulu, who won limited autonomy on the northern frontier, even though Nawej punished his insubordination.11 Katende, on his southern frontier, was able to mollify Nawej; even as neighboring cilolos fled beyond his reach, but he still feared Nawej enough not to entertain an independent relationship with Angola.12 Lunda still had power there; when Scottish missionary David Livingstone passed in 1852, a kukwata arrived making demands, and reminding people of Nawej’s tyrannical rule, and they were clearly deferential.13 Those who lived where Lunda power was a bit weaker could afford to play a game of loyalty. Katema, a cilolo on the upper Zambezi who bordered on Katende, told Livingston, “I am the great Moene (lord) Katema, the fellow of Matiamvo. There is no one in the country equal to Matiamvo and me. I have always lived here, and my forefathers too.”14 Lunda pioneers had gone far enough there to be able to rule with more independence and claim both Lunda and local origins. By the 1850s it appeared as though Lunda was doing little in the way of governance in Luvale as well, though it was under their rule in 1797. Luvale tradition, as noted earlier, mentioned a rapid shift in the most powerful titles, first an unnamed holder of Chinyama, then Pezo ya Kakoma (possibly a brief period of Luyana rule), and then a new Chinyama, who ultimately faced competition from another preeminenmt authority named Kenge.15 When Magyar, who claimed to have visited twice before 1855, described it, he reported more directly on this period. In the 1850s the territory was divided among many “barbarous [grausamen], tyrannical leaders [Häuptlingen] of great and small size called Muanagana and are independent of each other and under them are even more lesser leaders [Herzoginen] (Ssonán).” 11 12 13

14 15

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 557–558. Rodrigues Graça, “Expedição,” pp. 418–419. David Livingstone, Travels and Missionary Researches in South Africa (London, 1859), pp. 189–190. Livingstone, Travels, p. 193. Mose Sangombo, The History of the Luvale People and the Chieftainship (Los Angeles, 1979), pp. 40–42 has Chivongo Sakavongo as the first to be called Kenge.

CULMINATION : LUNDA , LUBA , AND THE OVIMBUNDU

The most powerful of the princes was the “so-called Ka-Kenge,” the winner in the tradition of the struggle with the Chinyamas, “who has for half a century ruled the eastern region through his bloodthirsty, tyrannical will,” more or less placing these events in the early years of the nineteenth century.16 Kakenge’s reign of terror had kept caravans from visiting Luvale, preferring to pass north through the more secure districts of Katema and Katende to avoid the threat. But Magyar also noted that Chinyamas had held out, for he related that, in addition to Kakenge, there was also “Prince Kijama (Lion)” (Chinyama) who, in Magyar’s opinion, had “considerable power, and was as well-known as Ka-Kenge,” who managed to protect caravans that otherwise avoided Luvale. Magyar had visited him twice and thought him to be over one hundred years old.17 Tradition called this period, in which there was much violence and strife, the Ulamba Wars, and it can perhaps be associated with either the end or the weakening of Lunda control of the area.18 The Cokwe also lay on Lunda’s frontier, in a loosely governed territory, called Kiboko. It was divided into a number of more or less independent petty rulers, who, as Magyar, who visited it in the 1850s, noted, were called mwanangana, the most important of whom were Kanjik on the northwest, Ndumba in the north, Pehu in the middle and Diu Kala along the Lungebungu River.19 Traditions recorded in 1885 held that Ndumba Tembo was considered supreme, in a land that was relatively poor but known for iron production and a place that could produce beeswax and ivory. In 1841 Nawej invited Cokwe hunters, who were renowned for the ability to hunt elephants for a booming export trade of ivory, to his capital, and appointed their leader Xa Makeka a Ngombe, as his cibinda or chief hunter.20 16

17

18 19 20

Papstein, “Upper Zambezi,” pp. 156–158, 164–166. Papstein’s chronology appears to be close to a century too early for these events, the result of a fairly generous decision on how long reigns lasted, as he believed the list had to stretch back to the foundation of Lunda, then reckoned as starting around 1500. “Ladislaus Magyar’s Erforschung von Innern-Afrika,” Petermann’s Geographische Mittheilungen (1860): 227–237, 233. See Papstein, “Upper Zambezi,” p. 121. Magyar’s contemporary description suggests that Luvale was no longer under Lunda authority. Papstein, “Upper Zambezi,” pp. 179–185. [Magyar], “Erforschung,” p. 229. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 556–557. Dias de Carvalho obtained this information from Mona Quiessa, an elder from Kiboko who was well versed in history and much respected: see Dias de Carvalho’s original 1887 MS history, AHU SEMU Lv 1, Cx. 1092, fol. 2, with a note regarding him written in the margin of the text along with corrections (and repeated in the published text). Dias de Carvalho calculated the date

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Xa Makeka a Ngombe was impressive enough that Nawej invited Ndumba Tembo to send his nephew Cisenje to found a settlement within Lunda’s domains, while Nawej sent a cilolo named Cimbundu to oversee their settlement. Cimbundu settled his own forces and people at Mona Kimbundu, which became an important commercial center. However, the local people were not pleased with Cokwe conduct, claiming that the Cokwes stole their women, and indeed, taking in women by capture or inducement became a major strategy for Cokwe expansion, building on the long-standing custom of concentrating people either from slave raids or resettlement, and retaining women in particular. The growth was such that within a short time Muanasasa, the local authority, objected to the settlement and soon advised Cimbundu to eject the Cokwe colony, which Cimbundu attacked, killing Cisenje. Ndumba Tembo then sent a second Cisenje to reestablish the colony, and both parties complained to Nawej. But the Mwant Yavu would have none of it, and scolded the two, eventually releasing a decree: “I sent Quimbundo to these lands to live well with our relatives and not to make war on them. In the State, it is I, Muatayamvua who declares wars,” calling their dispute a fight “between boys.”21 While the matter was settled then, Cokwe penetration of Lunda lands would continue, and after 1866 became a serious problem that would eventually disrupt Lunda affairs fatally.22

THE LUYANA–LOZI KINGDOM Lunda’s last expansion at the start of the nineteenth century, and the momentum of that push, carried just a bit farther south and east than Luvale, into the headwaters of the Zambezi River, where they met Cacoma Milonga’s powerful Luyana kingdom. There is no contemporary text that has Cacoma Milonga surrendering to Lunda, but the

21 22

of the mission at this point as 1842–1843, but changed it to 1841–1842 in the published text. Mona Quiessa was probably contemporary to these events, as Dias de Carvalho estimated his age as around seventy years old in 1887, thus twenty-five years old at the time. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 560–563. For a descriptive history of the Cokwe and their expansion, see Joseph C. Miller, “Cokwe Expansion, 1850–1900” (MA thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1967); a shorter summary is Joseph C. Miller, “Cokwe Trade and Conquest,” in David Birmingham and Richard Gray (eds.), Pre-colonial African Trade: Essays on Trade in Central and Eastern Africa before 1900 (London, 1970), pp. 175–201.

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Lunda tribute list that Rodrigues Graça recorded in 1846 listed Cacoma Milonga as a subject whose payment was the highest on the list, presumably using his name as the name of the territory.23 Forces other than Lunda played a role in the Upper Zambezi. Shaka Zulu’s revolution in southeastern Africa would have its echoes much farther north, as Zulu-led armies fanned out over Southern Africa. In 1823 Cacoma Milonga allowed the army led by the Makolo (Zulu) general Sebetwane, coming northward from South Africa, to establish himself within the territory of Luyana. Cacoma Milonga’s successor, Na-Mbanda, three or four years into his reign, enlisted Hieguér, a noble from Tutembo (in the Mbunda area) to murder his rival brother Biumbo, but the intended victim turned the tables and overthrew his brother. Still, within two years another brother, Rimbúa, sent to the south to contact Sebetwane, leader of the Makolo, whom Cacoma Milonga had allowed to settle in the lower Zambezi area. Sebetwane, with the opening created by this civil war, invaded and occupied the capital in 1850 “without the least resistance.” Other members of the Luyana elite managed to avoid conquest and remained in the northern parts of the old kingdom, waiting to reestablish themselves (which only took place in 1864).24

KAZEMBE The massive Lunda domain of Kazembe presented another entity that might easily see an opportunity to break free from Nawej and his demands, and it did start moving away from Lunda’s orbit. It had subdued most of the Shila, but now fought furiously with the Bisa on their eastern frontier. This war prevented the Angolan traderambassadors from passing from Kazembe to Mozambique for four years between 1806 and 1810.25 Perhaps because of the insecurity, the Lunda rulers ordered the Kazembes to remain fixed in their states and not travel to the capital to prevent rebellions should they leave. The Kazembes did, however, send regular tribute to the capital, accompanied by their ambassadors.26

23 24 25 26

Rodrigues Graça, “Expedição,” p. 468. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagems, pp. 109–111, read with SGL 146-C-6, pp. 173–174. João Batista, “Derotta que eu Pedro Joãm Batista faço . . . 1806),” AMC 3: 189–190. João Batista, “Lembranças,” AMC 3: 439.

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The third Kazembe, Hunga Anmomga’s son Lukwesa, came to power after 1799 and was on the throne in 1806 when João Batista arrived.27 Lukwesa had to fight his older brother Kapaka over succession, since although Hunga Anmomga had earlier stripped Kapaka of his office and banished him to “Cassange,” apparently on the eastern side of their domains, Kapaka sought to claim the crown. There was an active war between the two in 1806, but Lukwesa won, and conducted inquests into the plots that surrounded it. His mother was implicated; she in turn blamed the nobles, and they each other. One way or the other, Lukwesa eventually exiled or punished those who he determined had rebelled or conspired against him.28 Lukwesa died in the early part of the century, and his son was ruling in 1831, when the visiting Portuguese diplomat Joaquim Pedroso Gamitto arrived with the less ambitious mission of establishing connections across the continent than that Rodrigues Graça would undertake fifteen years later. Kazembe had moved farther from Lunda at that time, seeking more complete autonomy. At least, such a desire may explain the radically different way in which the history of Kazembe was related to Gamitto compared to how João Batista had heard just twenty years earlier.29 However, some of the same elements were present: a Kazembe was dispatched to go eastward, and there was a drowning incident which caused a change of leadership; but the names were different. For one thing, in 1831 the primary motivation for sending Kazembe eastward was to explore possible trading connections with Portugal, and not for copper or salt. In addition, the Kazembe title holder was named Kanyembo (Canhembo), as was his son, who continued the conquest after his father was drowned. The third Kanyembo, although the son of the second one, decided to use his given name of Lukwesa as well as the perpetual name of Kanyembo. His task, the tradition claimed, was to set the region up to become independently administered, although still retaining the formal ties of allegiance.30 These arrangements 27

28 29 30

Gamitto, Muata Cazembe, p. 373. I have followed Gamitto’s account here, only as it relates to the name of the Mwata Kazembe ruling in 1810, and have retained the details of the period as related by João Batista’s account from 1806 to 1810 which does not name the ruler when he was there, though the dating, and the statements in Gamitto, suggests it was Lukwesa. João Batista, “Lembranças,” AMC 3: 432. Gamitto, Muata Cazembe, pp. 370–373. The twentieth-century traditional collection, organized by the Mwata XIV Kazembe in the 1940s, had Mucanza do a symbolic division of Lunda and Kazembe on behalf of a Mwata Kazembe named Kanyembo Mpemba: Ifikolwe, pp. 27–28. Twentieth-

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notwithstanding, the country apparently maintained its older payment of tribute. In any case, Lunda still claimed a large tribute payment from Kazembe in 1846.31 The kingdom that Gamitto saw was strongly centrally administered by a hereditary class of people drawn from Lunda, who still spoke their own language and intermarried among themselves, as least as far as marriages that would produce heirs were concerned. Territorial titles were held by the Mwata Kazembe and given or taken at will. Commercial rights and even the production of some products were royal or Lunda monopolies.32 The problems that Kazembe faced with its uneasy frontier were strongly exacerbated when the Bemba began raiding, and partially conquering the Bisa areas that Kazembe had won in the early nineteenth century in the 1820s and into the 1850s. While these raids damaged Kazembe’s prestige and some of its control in the area, the Bemba did not persist in that direction in the following decades.33 But Kazembe faced a far more difficult problem created by the contest with the Bemba: the expansion of the new and powerful Luba Empire.

LUBA If Nawej was troubled by his cilolos on the frontiers, there was a larger threat of the emerging Luba Empire, which now began to stretch into areas that Lunda controlled or wanted to control. Ilunga Sunga, the creator of the Luba Empire, looked westward when he had consolidated his control over the Luba heartland as the eighteenth century drew to a close. But his efforts were thwarted by the determined resistance of

31

32 33

century versions of the tradition vary from Gamitto’s and João Batista’s accounts, often profoundly, possibly because of the need to include more titles in the story and to incorporate written texts. However, the two nineteenth-century sources are within the living memories of their informants, and thus not traditions at all. Rodrigues Graça, “Expedicão,” p. 468. Apparently the amount (the second largest on the list), from “Great Kazembe” and “Little Kazembe” was collected, since on p. 455 he makes note of those provinces not obeying him anymore. There is only “Grande Cazembe mukulu” on this list, presumably “old Kazembe” though it is not clear which one this is of those on the list. Gamitto, Muata Cazembe, pp. 350–370. Macola, Kazembe, pp. 104–107; for the Bemba perspective, see Andrew Roberts, A History of the Bemba: Political Growth and Change in North-Eastern Zambia before 1900 (London, 1973), pp. 115–142.

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Kanyok and Kalundwe, and so his successor, Kumwembe Ngombo, the eventual winner of a strongly contested election, switched to drive northward in the 1810s and 1820s. The region upstream from the Luba heartland was composed of many small polities, but they put up spirited resistance, as happened so often in small-scale but fiercely independent societies. After initial campaigns, Kumwembe Ngombo left the completion of the conquest to one of his captains, probably his son, named Buki. Buki established a domain centered initially in Kansimba, on the banks of the Congo River, and pushed northward, creating a new center in Kwizimu, drawing on local competition to gather allies, most notably two regional notables named Kimbambaleya and Lupembwe, to impose Luba tribute demands on the rest of the group.34 Subsequently, in the 1830s, Kumwembe Ngombo also expanded to the south and east, primarily toward the east, as Lunda’s eastern province of Kazembe blocked southern expansion. He further integrated Kinkonja, an ancient Luba-speaking kingdom which had a long history of contact and interrelationship with Luba, and its ruler, Mutonkole Umbunda, had married into the Luba royal family. Elsewhere Ilunga Sunga relied on earlier friendship and exchange to expand, but eventually armed resistance developed. Many of the people between the Upper Congo River and Lake Tanzania created an alliance with Kazembe, who supported them against Luba, though Luba forces initially prevailed. Luba continued from there to Lake Mweru, with its valuable salt deposits, and Kumwembe Ngombo’s armies took vassalage arrangements with local elites and left them with royal wives. Although many of these relationships were more clientage than direct domination, Kumwembe Ngombe established one domain, that of Mseka, as a sort of overlord for the area.35 In the late 1830s, Kumwembe Ngombo had gathered enough strength to feel that he could take on Kazembe. His forces, reinforced by his new vassals to the east of the Luba heartland, attacked the capital of Kazembe directly, but they were overwhelmingly defeated.36 Luba was blocked there, and abandoned southern expansion. The Luba Empire reached westward as well as eastward, into the lower Kasai region, bypassing Kalundwe, which had held them off 34 35 36

Reefe, Rainbow, pp. 130–132. Reefe, Rainbow, pp. 134–138. Reefe, Rainbow, pp. 138–144.

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before. These regions had always had decentralized polities, but were also famous textile makers whose products were valuable further south. But if Kumwembe Ngombo had wanted to control the whole belt, he could not. The kingdoms of Kuba, Makoko, Ngeliboma, and Bolia, ancient kingdoms of the area, were protected from his advance by the Luba-speaking belt of smaller polities that lay to their south, which buffered them against the developing Luba Empire in the same way they had protected them from Lunda expansion half a century earlier.

PORTUGUESE ADMINISTRATION IN ANGOLA Portugal’s determined effort to establish a workable relationship with Lunda, either in the east as Gamitto sought to align a policy with Kazembe, or on the west as Rodrigues Graça tried other efforts to create a trading relationship, was anchored on Angola’s increased participation in the slave trade. The slave trade, backbone of the colony’s income for virtually all its existence, grew dramatically in the first half of the nineteenth century. While much of the trade from West Africa declined as the English decision to end the slave trade in 1807 took effect, followed within a few years by many other countries, these strictures did not apply south of the equator until 1839, and as a result West Central Africa’s share of the total trade to the booming new American economies, particularly in Brazil and Cuba, grew. More than three and a half million Africans left West Central African ports for the New World in the first half of the nineteenth century; in fact, more in each decade than in any other decade in the previous history of the trade. While West Central Africa exported about 40 percent of the slaves leaving Africa in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, thanks to the steady attempt to abolish the trade elsewhere, it contributed over 50 percent in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, and 55 percent in the second quarter. The official end of Portugal’s slave trade in 1840 made little difference as long as Cuba and Brazil were importing slaves: 1846–1850 was the highest single half-decade (over 260,000 people) in the entire history of slave exports from West Central Africa. Of these many people the majority, nearly 90 percent, were carried in ships flying the Portuguese or Brazilian flag.37 37

Statistics from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, Estimates tables and Domingues da Silva, “Atlantic Slave,” p. 122. Contraband trading by ships of

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The revenues that attached to this increasing slave trade were a bonanza for the colonial government in Angola. Given the degree to which Angola’s income, especially that available to Portuguese officials and the Portuguese government, was anchored on returns from the slave trade, it is hardly surprising that the government focused on maximizing its share of the bounty. Although the Pombaline episode in Portuguese history ended officially with the end of the marquis’s authority, the general purposes to which his policies had been directed continued and intensified in the nineteenth century. A study of early nineteenth-century censuses for Cambambe showed that population in at least parts of Angola grew dramatically, and the proportion of slaves in the population also grew. The causes of this were the constant shifting of population into the colony coupled with the export of males, as we have already observed. At the same time it is clear that a great number of the imported slaves came from within the colony and its vassals, or nearby kingdoms whose populations spoke Kikongo or Kimbundu.38 Among the continuing Pombaline objectives, the early nineteenthcentury governors wanted to steer trade into the hands of metropolitan shipping, and particularly to move Brazilian shipping out, given that Brazil became independent in 1822. They also wanted to insure that the risks of acquiring and shipping slaves was borne mostly by the nonwhite merchants, and all merchants based in the east of the colony.39 One way they responded to the challenge was to tighten up their insistence that trade pass through Luanda or Benguela, where the favored merchants could benefit from it. But in fact, the trade, which still originated more in the interior, diverted to the coasts, and even if the buyers continued to be Portuguese or (frequently) Brazilian, they could avoid the irksome taxes and monopolies of the metropolitan merchants. Indeed, the sale of slaves from the ports outside government control, at Ambriz, the Congo River, and the ports of Cabinda and Malemba along the north coast, saw exports jump dramatically. In the 1850s shipping out of Ambriz and the northern ports reached over 135,000 people, more than the officially managed trade of Luanda and Benguela

38

39

many countries would probably reduce the Portuguese share a bit, but the magnitude would not change much. Carolina Petpétuo Corrêa, “População e sociedade no Presidio de Cambambe, Angola durante os últimos décadas do licitude do comércio Atlântico dos escravos (1797–1829),” Ponta da Lança, São Cristovão 12 (2018): 118–165. Miller, Way of Death, pp. 207–244.

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combined (at just over 90,000).40 This new situation shaped a good deal of how the Portuguese government sought to deal with its eastern regions, which continued to ship slaves to Ambriz or to Vili merchants from the north coast. As pressure to end the slave trade increased, however, many slave owners and traders in Angola looked for alternative exports. One possibility was to develop export crops, of which coffee was an early prospect. One of the earliest of the coffee experimenters was the wealthy mulatta merchant of Luanda, Ana Joaquina dos Santos da Silva, who owned a coffee plantation in Icolo e Bengo and sugar estates elsewhere, and supplied both through participation in a widespread slave trade, particularly in the east. She and her business partner, Joaquim Rodrigues Graça, were active in the trade with Lunda, and Rodrigues Graça undertook a mission to Lunda in 1846–1847 with the dual goal of supporting Angolan efforts to ally with Lunda and to continue promoting their business. Don Ana was well known in Lunda as Na-Andembo, from the territory she controlled in eastern Angola.41 Nawej was particularly connected to her, approaching her as a friend, and sending his kukwatas directly to her with goods to sell. Lundas believed she was the “greatest quilolo in Muene Puto.”42

THE KWANGO VALLEY: MATAMBA Lunda had long stopped advancing westward by 1800, and the kingdoms to the west of the Kwango continued as before, participating in and attempting to dominate commerce with Lunda. Matamba had split into two kingdoms in 1765, with the contested election that left Kaluete ka Mbande in charge of the capital, and Ana III Kamana with her followers in the Kindonga Islands. However, around 1810, Ndala a Kamana, Ana Kamana’s son, was recognized as king of Matamba, united once again.43

40 41

42 43

Domingues da Silva, “Atlantic Slave Trade,” p. 122. Douglas Wheeler, “Angolan Women of Means: Dona Joaquina dos Santos e Silva, Mid-Nineteenth Century Luso-African Merchant Capitalist of Luanda,” Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies Review 3 (1996): 284–297; Vanessa Oliveira, “Slavery and the Forgotten Women Slave Owners of Luanda (1846–1876),” in Paul Lovejoy and Vanessa Oliveira (eds.), Slavery, Memory, Citizenship (Trenton, NJ, 2016), pp. 129–147. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 567–569. Campos, “Conflitos na dinastia Guterres,” p. 36 (no source is cited).

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Ndala a Kamana enjoyed a long reign, for he was still ruling when in 1830 an Ngana Mona (prince of the realm), resident in Lenge, on the east bank of the Lukala River, was raiding commerce to the point that it disrupted trade to the court. Ndala a Kamana asked the capitão mor of Ambaca, whose region was also suffering depredations, to offer military assistance. But when queried, the Angolan governor, José Maria Barão de Santa Comba Dão, pleaded lack of funds, and the joint operations were scrapped. The governor continued to oppose any intervention in the area even after Kiteta, one of the Ngana Mona’s allies, killed Ndala a Kimana’s son Kamuleke, and the king again proposed joint operations to suppress him in vain. Eventually this rebellion fell into the hands of Kiluanji kia Samba, and in 1837 his group, in alliance with other local nobles, attacked the Portuguese vassal state of Hari a Sima, seizing people and cattle.44 This time the governor wrote to ask for Ndala a Kamana to “punish these rebels.”45 As this latest phase of rebellion was unfolding, Ndala a Kamana died in March 1838, and was immediately succeeded by his niece, Kimpanga kia Nkange a Kalanda, the daughter of Katala ka Kamana. The succession was contested by her cousin Mbala Kambu August, who claimed, in spite of Matamba’s two-century-long tradition of accepting female rulers, that a woman should not head the state. Feeling unable to resist him, she retreated toward the Lukala River and established herself as “Ngana Muheto” (Lady Royal) in a counter kingdom.46 During her brief time on the throne, Kimpanga kia Nkange a Kalanda received the requests from Ambaca to assist in the attack on their vassals at Hari a Sima, but she was unable to respond given the rebellion of her cousin. Portuguese troops from Ambaca therefore attacked the outlawed Kiluanji kia Samba without help from Matamba. They were unsuccessful in early 1838, and attacked again with more success later that year. In the course of the otherwise 44 45

46

AHNA Cod. 101, fols. 1–1v, Oficio ao Rey Jinga, 7 December 1837. A report was published: “Relatório dos acontecimentos que deram principio e foram causa dos iniulços Quiluange Cassamba e outros sobas reunidos, com o mesmo gentio rebello, e pertencente ao rei dos estados da Ginga rebellados ha annos contra o ditto rei que não obedcem, os quaes invadiram as terras de Sua Magestade Fidelissima, no dia 15 de Novembro de 1837, como abaixo se declara,” ACU 2 (1856): 131–133. BNL MS 10978, Garcia Fragoso dos Santos, “Compendio dos factos mais notaveis da Campanha da Ginga . . . ” (1838), p. 24 and unnumbered page following. This report places the events in a much wider context, and gives background to the dispute, of which Jan Vansina made an example of chaotic disorder in “Ambaca Society and the Slave Trade, c. 1760–1840,” Journal of African History 46 (2005): 1–27, 14–16.

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indecisive campaign, they constructed a new fortress on the Lukala called Duque de Bragança, and obtained acts of obedience from surrounding sobas, which would serve as a new presence for operations there and in Kasanje. The expedition entreated support from King Mbala Kambu of Matamba, who had either won out over his rival or marginalized her, but he ignored the pleas.47 While the foundation of Duque de Bragança was of little interest to Matamba, it would serve as Portuguese local headquarters for further adventures in the future. The Portuguese envisioned that, like Ambaca and Encoge, Duque de Bragança might be able to stem at least some of the trade northward that they considered contraband. The new presidio would play a role in affairs further south; it had little to do with Matamba, and very little was reported about the country except that by 1865 the king swore vassalage to Portugal.48

THE KWANGO VALLEY: KASANJE As Matamba continued on the margins of Portugal and Lunda, Kasanje was becoming increasingly enmeshed in both. Kasanje had evolved a great deal since its foundation in the 1630s, as was manifested in the traditional accounts of the history and government recorded in the 1850s. We know from contemporary documentation the history of the establishment of the Imbangala band along the Kwango in the 1620s and 1630s, along with its own version of that establishment from local ancestors around the Kwango such as Ndonji, Njimbe, and Tembo Andumba, set to writing in the 1660s. The traditions of 1850, however, were completely different, as befits its transformed constitutional nature. In 1850 Kasanje historians spoke of their kingdom being founded by immigrants from Lunda, led by a man named either Kinguri kia Bangala or Kulaxingo, with one or the other being senior. In this way

47

48

The campaign is described in full in BNL MS 10978, Fragoso dos Santos, “Compendio,” including many items of correspondence; a summary version is “Relatório do Comandante da Coluna de Operações contra varios potentados Jingas . . .,” 16 March 1839, Arquivos de Angola 1st series, 2 (7–8) (1937): 97. Mario Milheiros, Índice Histórico-Corográfico de Angola (Luanda, 1972), p. 142. A new soba was elected in 1874, named Mbando a Ngola: AHNA Cx. 5099, doc. 26, letter of Geraldo Antonio Victor, 26 October 1874 (thanks to Linda Heywood for this reference).

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Kasanje linked its origins to Lunda, probably as a means of establishing a special relationship with its primary eastern trading partner since the 1650s.49 Lunda traditions, at least as recorded in the 1870s, reciprocated by explaining the story of their western expansion as a search for a runaway son of Luwej named Kinguri. When Kasanje contacted Lunda originally before 1660, they called their leader Kasanje ka Kinguri which, if read as a personal name, would make Kinguri the original “father” of the kingdom. That name, perhaps at the hands of Lunda historians, had then become widespread as part of the reimagining of the past of many of Lunda’s trading partners.50 According to the tradition, of which three somewhat different versions were retold at the time, the founder subsequently crossed the Kwango, allied with the Portuguese and fought for them, and eventually settled in the core region of Kasanje. Over time other groups joined them, one group led by Ngunga, who came from Libolo in flat land south of the Kwanza, and a second, led by Kalunga, came from the “States of Ginga” or Matamba. These three groups, which came at different times, could not agree on who should be king, and decided to take turns leading the community in rotation.51 It is unclear when the idea of succession by election from three families developed, but as noted earlier, the occasional appearance of a new formal name of the leader suggested changes, starting as early as 1713. The specific groups in play in the tradition are confirmed by an account of a mission to Kasanje in 1815. From instructions to the leader, the Kasanje king, probably Kitambo kia Ngongo, was a member of the Kulaxingo faction, as his brother, and the “macotas of Culaxingos” were also noted in the document.52 Since its organization as an Imbangala band was now in the distant past, Kasanje had developed a complex administration, in which there was a powerful central government along with a large number of locally

49

50 51

52

Compare the version of origins in IHGB DL 29, 17, “Custumes do Behe,” with Magyar, Reisen, p. 266. Whatever people believed in Magyar’s day had been lost by 1940: see UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 40, “Esapulo Bie,” p. 1, which derives their origin from a hunter from Humbe (i.e. locally). Vansina, “It Never Happened.” The three versions are reported in Francisco de Salles Ferreira, “Memoria sobre of sertão de Cassange,” ACU 1 (1854): 26–27; a different one in AHU Papeis de Sa de Bandeira, maço 823, doc. 117, fols. 1–2, 20 April 1853; and Neves, Memoria, pp. 96–108. AHNA Cod. 92, fol. 93, Governor to Honorato da Costa, 5 October 1815. Miller, “Kings, Lists and History,” pp. 73–74 provides a complex and at times speculative connection between this document, the king lists, and faction memberships as recalled in the first king list to record faction membership, compiled only in 1952.

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influential sobas, many of whom had smaller jurisdictions, or sobetas, in the Portuguese terminology, under them. Of these sobas the most important were the Makita, or electors, who in addition to having local power, were also stakeholders for the three families descended from the founding group in tradition. There was also a central administration, the Council of State, composed of the sobas of Gunza a Bangela, Riabunda, Ndala Maunyo, and Tendala, each of which was supported by its own sources of income, both slave-worked estates and the revenue of other territories. A central army commanded by Kituxe ka Kilwanje was stationed around the capital. In addition to this there was another network created by the ancestor cult of previous kings, each of whom had been buried in their previous capital, and these were spread out all over the country and served by a permanent body of slaves.53 As far as Kasanje’s external relationships were concerned, the key issue was its monopoly of the trans-Kwango trade. It had to share this status with Matamba, but it hoped to work with Angola to gain control at least of the official trade of that country, a goal which coincided with the concerted efforts that governors had made since the Pombaline era at least to monopolize trade in their hands. However, in the late eighteenth century Kasanje’s central government’s control over trade was threatened by renegade Portuguese traders and some of its own sobas. Kitamba kia Xiba, Kasanje’s ruler in 1789, was anxious to centralize control of trade in his capital and its related Portuguese feira, to be achieved by restricting merchants of both parties to this market and fixing prices.54 In 1804 his successor, Malenge a Ngonga, fined a number of Portuguese traders, who then complained to Luanda. Governor António Soares da Noronha dispatched a small armed force to respond to these claims in 1805, but it lacked sufficient power to engage Kasanje directly. Instead, it began a process, which Luanda merchants favored, of moving the market from Kasanje to Mbondo, a semi-autonomous district of Kasanje, where it might be more carefully supervised.55 Feliz 53 54

55

Neves, Memoria, pp. 110–119. Miller, “Kings, Lists and History,” p. 72; his name is given in the official statement, “Termo de Felicidade e Vassalagem que jouro o Iaga Cassange . . .,” Arquivos de Angola 11 (1936): 341–343. For Portugal’s pressure on Kasanje, see Jean-Luc Vellut, “Le royaume de Cassage et les réseaux luso-africaines (ca 1750–1810),” Cahiers d’études africaines 15 (1975): 117–136.

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Velasco Galiano, the commander, managed to do some pillaging along the way as he began the process of moving the market to Mukari on Mbondo’s border. Among the victims was one of Malenge a Ngonga’s sons, whose embassy to Luanda demanded their return, a demand which the government worked feverishly to meet, retaining only four of the over two hundred captives.56 The following Portuguese governor of Angola, António Saldanha da Gama, envisioned a grand plan to open commerce and break bottlenecks when he came in 1807 and demanded that Kasanje, as well as the other Kwango states such as Matamba and Holo, allow direct communication with Lunda.57 While his aggressive goals were not ever seriously attempted, Portugal’s impatience with the Kasanje’s control of the shortest route to Lunda was sufficiently strong for Honorato da Costa, the capitão mor of the feira, to work actively to find a southern route around it, and engaged, as we have seen, with the Lunda rulers and made exploratory voyages with African merchants in his employ, especially Pedro João Batista.58 However, in 1824 another Kasanje ruler, calling himself “Cassange Caquinguri quiabangula,” wrote a letter to Luanda asking that he be allowed to swear vassalage to Portugal, obtain a market in his lands, and have a Portuguese flag as a symbol of his allegiance, all things which Kasanje had done for years. His name suggests, however, that he was claiming to represent the faction of Kinguri kia Bangala, who one version of tradition in 1850 claimed was the ultimate founder and immigrant from Lunda.59 As the founder, he would also represent the Kulaxingo faction, possibly attempting to maintain that lineage in power past its stay. Whatever his legitimacy, by 1835 Kasanje was ruled by Kamasa ka Kiwende, and as neither Kasanje nor Luanda could control trade, thanks to the now much more open southern routes from Viye or through the Songo lands south of Kasanje, the centralized market was 56

57 58

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For a detailed account of Galiano’s pillage, see AHNA Cod. 91, fols. 3–3v, 6, and 9v– 11; José Curto, “Experiences of Enslavement in West Central Africa,” Histoire sociale/ Social History 41 (2008): 381–415, 396–398. Vellut, “Royaume de Cassange,” pp. 125–128. For documentation and analysis of this search, see Bontinck, “Le voyage des pombeiros.” AHNA Cod. 95, fol. 53v, Christovão Avelino Dias to Jaga Cassange, 3 de Janeiro de 1824. Miller, “Kings, Lists and History,” p. 74, proposes an origin with a Kabalabased title of the same name, though he cites no direct evidence; it is certainly plausible that he originated there.

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effectively lost to both sides. Luanda sent a military force to Kasanje to remove the market and its merchants and relocate them in Songo in 1838, or rather to repeat the earlier attempt to do so.60 In 1846 Mbumba a Kasanje, a member of the Kulaxingo faction, ruled Kasanje. He faced internal opposition, as at his request the governor of Angola proposed sending him troops to assist in fighting “rebels.”61 In the end, questions of unpaid debts and the like led to a Portuguese military expedition against him in 1850, commanded by the experienced soldier António de Salles Ferreira. After an extended engagement, Mbumba a Kasanje was forced to abandon his capital, and retreated with his followers to Yongo, north of the city. Salles Ferreira then sponsored an election of Kalunga ka Kisanga, a member of the Ngunga faction, and when he was killed in a reckless campaign against Mbumba a Kasanje, the electors chose another Ngunga, Kambolo ka Ngonga. One of the candidates, the Makita Kiluanje kia Ngonga, attempted to bribe a Portuguese participant in this election, so it was probably not without their interference.62 Mbumba remained active, meanwhile, and so the matter was hardly finished. The Portuguese and their ally Kambolo ka Ngonga exchanged raids with Mbumba, settling into a sort of stalemate that would continue for some years, with Mbumba returning as the ruler of Kasanje, and renewing the ancient vassalage arrangements in 1857.63 Perhaps the most significant development was the end of Kasanje’s control of access to Lunda, as goods and people passed through, including a Lunda kukwata along with another kukwata and three women, on a mission from the Mwant Yavu in 1852.64 60

61

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Neves, Memoria, p. 109, recalling the incident as an important part of the history of that reign; for the larger context see Joseph C. Miller, “The Confrontation on the Kwango:Kasanje and the Portuguese, 1836–1858,” in Maria Emília Madeira Santos (ed.), I Reunião da história de África: Relação Europa-Africa no 3o quartel do século XIX (Lisbon, 1989), pp. 538–544. ANHA Cod. 240, fol. 147, Governor General, 20 August 1846. This text, cited in Miller, “Confrontation” p. 545 and fn. 47 and probably read in 1969, was so deteriorated and disturbed by holes when I read it in 2002 that the address was lost, but I did make out that rebels were involved. Neves, Memoria, pp. 122–126. Miller, “Confrontation,” pp. 552–557. Henrique Dias de Carvalho, O Jagado de Cassange na Provincia de Angola (Lisbon, 1898), pp. 131–132. The kukwata was from the “sertão de Lunda”: AHNA Cod. 111, fols. 125–125v, Governor to Chefe de Talla Mugongo, 8 November 1853 (they passed on 4 October 1852).

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THE OVIMBUNDU KINGDOMS: VIYE AND MBAILUNDU The Lunda presence and the prospects of greater involvement in a larger commercial network drew the Ovimbundu kingdoms into closer ties to their east. Portugal for its part, responding to the expectation that treaties with the major powers of the Highlands in the eighteenth century were actually meaningful vassalage arrangements, hoped to use these kingdoms as springboards for its own commercial control of the routes to Lunda. In 1797–1798 the government took a survey of the highland traders and found a community of some 6,000, mostly pardos and pretos, under the nominal control of the regidores (themselves often of the same origin), but noted that many other traders had eluded even this nominal control.65 The Pombaline spirit was such that the governors, at least in their official capacity, believed that they were now governing the kingdoms they had defeated, and so the capitão mor title was replaced with regidor, or regent. But the holder of this title was without power to control even the traders, especially as many were themselves Luso-Africans drawn from the trading community. For example, in 1789 the regidor of Mbailundu was accused of suppressing Portuguese merchants and trading through local Luso-African merchants in Benguela with the French.66 When queried about issues in Mbailundu in 1810, the regidor simply informed the governor that he had no real power in that country, even to collect information, that the rulers did exactly as they pleased, and that his advice was “like the songs of birds.”67 The young dynasties of Viye and Mbailundu pursued parallel and sometimes colliding courses of action: on the one hand, each was characterized by a struggle between the king and the nobility; while they also competed with each other. Messo Acaba in Mbailundu, ruling at the dawn of the nineteenth century, had pursued expansion southward into the hinterland of Viye, and in 1801 an unnamed Mbailundu ruler, possibly Messo Acaba, died.

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IHGB DL, Lata 31, doc. 5, fols. 2–6, Relação feita por João da Costa Frade, do Presídio de Caconda em Benguela, 31 December 1797. AHU, Cx. 74, doc. 49, “Devaça a que procedeo o Dr. João Alvares de Mello,” 10 November 1789. AHNA Cod. 446, fol. 51v, Capitão mor Benguela to Governor, 26 February 1810.

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His successor, probably Cisendi I, sought to continue southward and make war on Wambu in 1803, but was unable to muster strength to do it, so instead he worked on internal consolidation. He clearly pressed them hard, for in 1806, concerned that his subordinates wished to unseat him, Cisendi said “he would rather die than be deposed by his vassals and the principal leaders of his sobado” and blew himself up in his powder magazine, dressed in the best clothes of his estate.68 Indeed, the only notable thing that tradition recalled about Cisendi I was that he was “burned in his own house.”69 Cisendi’s successor, known to us only by his Portuguese name of Lourenço Ferreira da Cunha, seems to have been more inclined to military adventures than to challenging his nobles – at least, the written record recalls him being at wars waged against rebels, including those along the middle Kwanza near the Portuguese positions, and even into areas near Kasanje.70 His successor, Cingi II, is far better known. Cingi II became ruler in 1820 while still a young man (rapaz) and “very powerful,” who hoped to capitalize on Mbailundu’s growth as a power to take on Viye, which had become an important rival.71 In 1823 he learned of a treasonous plot to overthrow the king of Viye, led by

68

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Delgado, Sul do Cuanza, 1: 383, quoting a document of 1801; AHNA Cod. 240, fol. 15v–17, 17 September 1803 (on the war in Wambu); note of 1 March 1806, Arquivos de Angola 2nd series, 19 (75–78) (1962): 140; and AHU, Cx. 115, doc. 24, Fernando Antonio Dantas da Noronha, 18 February 1806 (on the rising against him). UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundo” p. 4, informant 5. The tradition says he ruled only a year, so perhaps he was not the same ruler who made war in 1803. Letters under this name are attested from 1812 to 1816: AHNA Cod. 507, fol. 44v, unnamed soba Bailundo to governor, 22 August 1813; AHNA Cod. 240, fols. 101– 101v, 19 October 1814; fols. 108–108v, 5 September 1815; fol. 111, 10 February 1816; fol. 117, 29 August 1816; fol. 117. Delgado published two letters of his in Sul do Cuanza, 2 March 1813, 2: 622–623 and p. 624, 4 May 1813, and transcribed his name as “Ngiraulo” and “Gira Hulo.” It is possible that these could be read as Hundungulu I, who was said according to Ekwikwi I’s section, informant 2, in “Esapulo” as being trained by Ekwikwi: UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, p. 2. They offer no other testimony about him. AHU, Cx. 140, doc. 20, João Sodré Pereira da Nobrega to Governor, 10 November 1820; he was baptized on 27 March 1821: AHNA Cod. 156, fol. 43v, and did the formal act of vassalage to Portugal on 27 April 1821: AHNA Cod. 156, fol. 44. These documents, though they do not name the king, establish the date of a king’s coronation. This clearly forces a recalculation of Childs’s chronology of Mbailundu. Minto’s traditions (UML, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundo,” pp. 51–52, informants 1 and 5), and his own research, place the ruler they call Cingi I before the Cingi II who fought the Portuguese in the war of 1774–1776. Informant 1 notes that his successor was Gunji, whose reign fits better in the post-1820 period.

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Njimbe and Cinge Liyabane, and saw the opportunity to test himself in battle by invading Viye on their behalf.72 According to Mbailundu’s traditional account, Cingi II occupied the Viye capital, Ekovongo, and seized the king and his cattle, but when he sent his army out to look for more captives, he was surprised by Viye citizens. They burst into the room where Cingi was staying and asked, “Where is the king?” In a desperate bid to save his own life, he pointed to one of his officials (ukenji), the Muekalia. But the Muekalia, quite dismayed, was said to have shouted, “King, we are dead now! Do not make me king, for the king is you,” and at that point the Viye soldiers beheaded Cingi.73 Gunji, the son of the suicidal Cisendi who died in 1806, followed the debacle in Viye by being crowned in 1823. Gunji’s name meant “he is like a post (ongunji): when he left, whatever he held up would fall.”74 Warfare had proved expensive and did not result in much gain, and Gunji looked to consolidate control in the same way his father had, rather than take on Viye. The nobility, who had forced Cisendi I to blow himself up, were powerful and held their territories as hereditary lords.75 The institutionalization of noble power was through what was called the Impunga court, led by the ruler of Cipeyo, one of the southern provinces.76 Their power was why the visitor Candido de Sandoval described Mbailundu in 1837 as “democratic,” and held that the nobles elevated their kings, and so could put them down.77 Gunji was prepared to press against the nobles and assert royal power. Tradition contends that he betrayed a “great noble” (osekulu yinene), the Muekalia, an official whose duties probably included assisting in the transition between reigns, early in his reign, possibly the same 72

73

74 75

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Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 86–87 (a detailed account undoubtedly told by eyewitnesses). Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 86–88; UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundo,” pp. 51–52, informants 1 and 5. While the account could read as if Muekalia is a personal name (onduko yaye Muekalia), it is more likely that this is the name of an official, since he is also called ukuenje. The Muekalia was noted specifically as having many powers in later traditions: see Fernando Florêncio, “Un reino dos reyes: diferentes legitimidades en Bailundo (Angola),” Revista CIDOB d’Afers internacionales 87 (2009): 167–189, 173–174 (from testimony of the King Ekwikwi IV in 2004). UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundo,” p. 5, informant 1. Magyar, Reisen, p. 387, who wrote “soveta erombe” or “elombe sekulu” at various times. Elombe refers to a noble residence, and thus the term implies fixity. Magyar, Reisen, pp. 386, 389. Candido de Almeida Sandoval, “Noticia do sertão do Bailundo . . . 1837,” ACU 1 (1867): 519.

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Muekalia who had served Cingi II in the war against Viye.78 But he also used his dependents to push nobles out of positions to check him. By tradition the noble leader of the southern province of Kapitango was commanding general of Mbailundu’s armies, perhaps since the time of the Portuguese invasion.79 It was through his general, named Cimanda, that tradition holds Gunji waged many wars. Cimanda was a mighty warrior, and was particularly remembered for a devastating attack on Civula, carrying off its people and their cattle, including a beautiful woman whom Gunji married. But the “people” (omanu), probably working through the Impunga court, feared that Gunji’s wars were ruining the country and decided to overthrow him, though first they had to kill Cimanda to open the way.80 Once that was done, “the people began to accuse [Gunji] of various crimes that he had already committed,” including his mistreatment of the Muekalia. Determined to replace him, they looked for a replacement in another region, and told him, “our king is in Mbailundu and now we do not want him anymore.” When Gunji saw this, he thought “it would be shameful as a king for me to be deprived of my kingdom, therefore I would rather kill myself than to be removed by force,” and following the example set by his father in 1806, killed himself.81 The people brought the foreign successor they had sought, named Civukuvuku, and put him on the throne. The incident was recalled to Almeida Sandoval in 1837, who described the king he called “QuionqueVuque” as a man of “gigantic stature” with “firmness of character” who took power when his predecessor “seeing himself betrayed by his principal macotas [sekulu elombe], preferred death to captivity; and killed himself.” Although Civukuvuku was holding his own, Sandoval thought the politics were so unstable that he could potentially be overthrown at any time.82 If the nobles had asserted themselves, though, the army

78

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Florêncio, “Un reino,” p. 174. In “Esapaulo Mbailundu” Muekalia is called ukenji in the account of the war against Viye, but osekulu yinene in Gunji’s reign. In this case, we should think of the Muekalia as both an official (ukenji generally means a young man or servant, but can mean an official) and a great noble. Magyar, Reisen, p. 388. Magyar visited Mbailundu in the 1850, but his statements about the Impunga court cannot relate to the ruler in his day (Bonge Nala), whose rule started in 1842, but rather to this period when we see a ruler overthrown. Omanu in Umbundu has a broad general meaning of “everyone” rather than a specific social class. It seems likely, though, that in this case the people able to carry this out were the nobles and their followers. UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo, Bailundo,” p. 5. Almeida Sandoval, “Noticia,” p. 519.

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command had moved from Kapingano to Lomanganda, a territory close to the capital whose leaders were “always close relatives and true devotees” of the king.83 Civukuvuku was indeed overthrown, by Mbonge, in 1842. But the turbulence in politics continued: when da Silva Pôrto visited Mbonge in 1852, he heard the king had overcome three conspiracies “arms in hand.” Still, he had managed to be well liked by the general population, in the eyes of da Silva Pôrto, and in retrospect, by tradition.84

VIYE Viye’s tradition of struggle between kings and nobles was already being waged fully in the late eighteenth century. On the death of Kangombe, who came come to the throne under the auspices of the Portuguese after the Mbailundu war, his firstborn son Kawewe took over the throne, a man whose high-handedness led to major revolts that soon cost him his life, putting his brother Moma on the throne sometime before 1797. Moma had the throne name Basso-Baba, but kept his father’s baptismal name of António de Lencastre as his own.85 Moma fought regularly against his neighbors, and significantly “defeated them and made them servants [vumbi] of Ekovongo [the capital city],” thus continuing to develop his central regions with relocated captives.86 Moma, whose development efforts and wars left him poor died in 1813 “without having cloths to cover his corpse,” and was followed by his brother Mbandua, also known by a baptismal name of João Nepomucena, and sought to recover costs by launching “a torrent of mucanos” or lawsuits, to regain the finances of the state.87 Viye was 83 84

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Magyar, Reisen, p. 388. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagems, pp. 86–87. Minto’s collection of traditions has nothing to say about him, aside from his being well liked: UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo Bailundo,” p. 4, informant 2. IHGB DL 29, 17, Nepomuceno Correa, “Costumes da provincial de Behe, fol. 2; da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 86–87. UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 40, “Esapulo Bie,” p. 14. Umbundu has several words for servile people, vumbi is better translated as servant (the verb -vumba means “to serve”) than slave. It reflects, perhaps, the status of people who were relocated without the expectation of sale outside. Details of his life come from da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 168, but his chronology is completely unsustainable, here having Basso-Baba dying in 1833, and a document, João Nepomucena to Governor of Benguela, 15 April 1813, quoted without source citation in Delgado, Sul do Cuanza, 1: 341–342, establishes the actual date. Mbandua

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benefiting greatly by turning to trade with Lunda, and the income of the international trading community was easily accessed through lawsuits in courts he controlled. In 1823 the long-term rivalry with Mbailundu came to a head (as noted earlier). Mbandua or his successor Kakembembe faced a treason by his brother Njimbe and a general named Cinge Liyabane.88 They invited King Cingi II of Mbailundu to invade, and the plotters, along with seventeen other regional rulers, formed their own court. From there, they sallied out “on every side, fighting, imprisoning the major part of the Bianos’ forces, commanded by Capomba.” In spite of Kapomba’s spirited resistance Mbailundu troops occupied the capital of Ekovongo, and, thinking they were invincible, spread into the countryside to seize people and cattle. But, as noted above, the surviving Viye soldiers were able to surprise the overconfident invaders, and beheaded Cingi and many of his people.89 Kakembembe, Mbandua’s successor, found the treasury empty, and indeed the state owed considerable debt to the great Luso-African merchant Ana Joaquina dos Santos. He sought to recover some by reneging on existing debt and using judicial judgments. He also went to war in the Ngangela region to the south. After he spoiled Ngangela they retaliated by blocking Viye caravans going east and sequestered their goods. But his efforts were not always successful: in one operation, he captured the abandoned capital, Luimbe, and burned it, but, retiring home carelessly, fell into an ambush and was badly defeated. The disaster “came to be proverbial, with the designation of the “War of Riêmbas.”90

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was still ruling in 1815: AHNA Cod. 240, fol. 116, Governor of Benguela to João Nepomucena, 12 August 1815. The date is from da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 87, Jean-Baptiste Douville, Voyage au Congo et dans l’intérieur de l’Afrique équinoxiale, 3 vols. (Paris, 1832), 2: 117 has 1826. Douville was certainly not a visitor, as is well established, but drew information from traders in Mpungu a Ndongo; however, he is very close in time to the event, and moreover, da Silva Pôrto was in Viye much later and has many of the dates for this period wrong. The Viye ruler is uncertain: Mbandua was ruling as late as 1815, but no further documentation is available until 1841; his successor, Kakembembe, was his brother, the last of Kangombe’s sons. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 86–88 and 168; for Mbailundu traditions, UWL, Childs Paper, Box 3, folder 74, “Esapulo,” pp. 51–52, informants 1 and 5; Box 3, folder 40, “Esapulo Bie,” does not mention the war. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 168; UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 40, “Esapulo Bie,” p. 14.

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Kakembembe’s brother, Miambula (or Liambula) was held, at least by the Portuguese merchant da Silva Pôrto, to be a model ruler, in whom the people of Viye and foreign merchants “placed absolute confidence.” He opted to substitute warfare for legal judgments (called mucanos by the Luso-African merchants) as the primary way of raising capital and settling finances. He also made two wars against the Nyemba, mostly in revenge for their own attacks on him when he was governing a subordinate territory of Viye. His war against Mandombe was also proverbial as the “war of Canduco.”91 Kakembembe died in 1841, and with him the long generation of the children of Kangombe ended; his grandson Kayungula took the throne, bearing, as his father had, the Christian name António de Lencastre. Kayungula wanted to gain control, and moved against the nobility. This is why da Silva Pôrto said that he “did not know how to balance the interests of his own numerous family with those of the magnates who elected him” and used his power to transfer positions from established families to his own, dispossessing a number of powerful people.92 He worked through a group of close allies, “50 sergeants and macotas,” who executed what the Portuguese representative Francisco Xavier Lopes called his “arbitrary and stupid orders.” It was perhaps because of this tension that Mbailundu began encroaching on Viye again. In 1847 it was noted that Caquengue, Donde, Cambeese, and Capango had switched their ancient allegiance from Viye to Mbailundu, “entitled the invincible king” of the whole region.93 He met his biggest challenge when seeking to depose his nephew Kikupia, who was lord of Kanjungo, a longstanding part of Viye. Kikupia, along with other disgruntled lords, plotted with Mbailundu to overthrow him, which intervened and besieged his city. However, Kayungula was able to drive the Mbailundu forces away with heavy casualties. In spite of the victory, however, the remaining nobles rose up and forced him to flee to Ngalangi, where he secured asylum, but gave up power to his nephew Mukinda in 1850.94 The Hungarian adventurer Lázló Magyar, who arrived at the end of this fairly long struggle between the rulers, their closest supporters, and the nobility, depicted a country that contrasted with that described in 91 92 93

94

Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 168–169. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, p. 170. Francisco Xavier Lopes to Governor of Benguela, 4 November 1847, quoted in Delgado, Sul do Cuanza, 1: 346–347. Da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 170–171.

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1797. In the mid-nineteenth century Magyar saw the government of Viye as divided into two classes of nobles, the elombe ya soma, or descendants of the rulers, and the elombe ya sekulu, heads of local territories, two groups which seem to some degree to coincide with those located as macotas and fidalgos in 1797, or “sergeants” of Xavier Lopes’s account in 1847. Magyar believed that the two groups hated each other, and there was certainly a struggle over power. Local government remained in the hands of the elombe ya sekulu, but the higher ranks of that group were slipping into the hands of the royal class (fidalgos, or elombe ya soma). The striking difference was that the group that were most loyal to the kings in 1797 were drawn largely from slaves, while a half century later they were a now bloated class of descendants of the rulers, grasping power. The army seems to have been an important part of this movement, for a central standing army, the “sons of elephants,” had emerged, and it was engrossing regional commands into a central military organization which also operated openly as an instrument of the elombe ya soma’s centralization of authority.95 Magyar also noted a difference in the way Viye was characterizing its history. Like Kasanje to the north, mid-century Viye, unlike its eighteenth-century version, presented its origins as being founded from Lunda, by Kinguri. Surely this reflected the connections that Viye merchants had been making with Lunda, and in fact, da Silva Pôrto, who also recorded traditions of Viye, made no mention of this connection.96

NGALANGI Ngalangi was attacked along with the other larger Ovimbundu kingdoms in the 1776 war, and according to its traditions, the ruler at the time, Cisanje, was captured and taken to Cape Verde, while Cihongo was established as his successor and signed a treaty of vassalage. As elsewhere, the vassalage arrangements had no long-term consequences, including even the merchants who were settled in the capital, as indeed they carried out private feuds among themselves.97 In 1786 95 96

97

Magyar, Reisen, pp. 279–280. Magyar, Reisen, pp. 265–267; da Silva Pôrto, Viagens, pp. 165–166 (actually collected in 1860). CM Mor Galangue to Governor, 26 February and 15 March 1801, in Delgado, Sul do Cuanza, 2: 645–647.

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Ngalangi attacked Portuguese settlements in the surrounding areas.98 By 1796–1797 Ngalangi’s ruler, Dumba dia Mbanda, was “powerful” and considered a threat to his neighbors.99 Ngalangi was again leading a coalition against Kakonda in 1811–1813, nearly destroying the Portuguese position and forcing many of the sobas loyal to Portugal to flee.100 Sometime around 1840 another Dumba became king, and enjoyed a long reign, lasting at least to 1884. A great friend of Portugal, he was given a rank of colonel in the Portuguese guerra preta.101 Although documents present Ngalangi as being centralized, or least showing no tendency toward civil war or dissension, traditions describe a period, probably in the early nineteenth century, in which the nobility had great strength. According to this traditional account, the Portuguese captured the ruler, Ngangwe, whom they took into military service (kusualali). In his absence, the nobles chose Civuki to replace him, but he did not remain king long, retiring to his home area to take up beekeeping, and was replaced by Cikuetekole, whom the nobles (olosekulu) replaced for “being disorderly.” Mbunda Kambuakatepa, serving temporarily, then took charge of finding a new king, and finally hit upon Cingelesi. But that king was not satisfactory, for after a few years, there was a major drought and the electors opted to replace him as well. After having a vision of the right king, they managed to bring Ngangwe back from his captivity among the Portuguese, but hearing rumors against him, he decided to leave the throne, although his replacement, Ndumbu, managed only two years before being replaced for having “few words.” Not deterred, the people once again went to Ngangwe, telling him that “the rumors that made him leave the throne have already been analyzed by us and were not real.” So he returned, but was removed by

98

99

100

101

AHU, Cx. 71, doc. 60, “Memoria sobre o abuso do comercio . . .,” 15 November 1786. For names, I have generally followed the king list given in Keiling, Quarenta anos, pp. 9, 100, 109–110. For the name of the ruler in 1797, see IHGB DL31, 05, fol. 12, “Relação feita por João da Costa Frade, do Presídio de Caconda em Benguela, sobre moradores, escravos, forros, mantimentos e gados existentes no presidio,” along with documents cited and quoted in Delgado, Sul do Cuanza, 2: 644–645. AHNA Cod. 445, fols. 88–88v, CM Mor Caconda to governor, 16 March 1811; fol. 93v, 22 September 1811; fol. 94v, 2 October 1811; fol. 171v, 8 June 1812; CM Mor to Caconda, 16 July 1813, in Delgado, Sul do Cuanza, 2: 377–387. Relatório de João José Lobório ACU 1 (1854–58), p. 442, giving his age as thirty-eight in 1856; Magyar, Reisen, p. 398; AMC (parte oficial) 1 (1867), p. 551 (given rank of honorary colonel).

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the Portuguese for failing to send tribute, and replaced by Cingolo, who then ruled a fuller term. The whole sequence took place within fifteen or twenty years.102 Ciongo, who tradition says followed this ruler, must have done a great deal to consolidate authority, for according to Magyar in the 1850s, Dumba, who had then been ruling for at least a decade, had “undiminished power,” and specifically that the nobility had “no such influence as in Bailundo.” In fact, he understood the government to be composed of a large number of elombe ya sekulu, all directly bound to the ruler.103 The strategy of concentrating population, while exporting some as slaves, is revealed in the distribution of population in the two states. In Viye, the royal district had easily ten times greater density than the surrounding territories. The royal lands of Mbailundu were much denser than the outside areas, but considerably less than Viye’s ratio. The very size of the royal lands and its division into the estates of the nobles surely revealed that they had benefited from the population movement along with the king. Cipeyo, home of a powerful noble, had one of the densest populations of all the districts in the country. Earlier estimates suggest that the population of the region had grown dramatically: a comparison with less detailed data from 1799 shows that population had grown by 40 percent for Viye and 130 percent for Ngalangi, with Mbailundu approaching 100 percent. We know that this region participated in the export of slaves to the Americas, and yet these rates of net growth suggest that they resulted from moving population from what appear to be much more sparsely populated outer regions into their cores. Douville learned from merchants operating in Viye that of the 6,000 slaves that appeared on the slave market in the mid-1820s, captured in war from nearby areas, there were three women for every two men.104 By adopting a strategy of keeping women and 102

103 104

UWL, Childs Papers, Box 3, folder 11, “Efetiko lio Ombala yo Galangue,” p. 2. This tradition, probably recorded in the 1940s, has very few names in common with that of Keiling, compiled at the very beginning of the twentieth century: Quarenta anos, pp. 109–110. Childs himself compiled a king list which differs quite a bit from that of Keiling and “Efetiko” in “Chronology of Ovimbundu Kingdoms,” even though he had “Efetiko” in his collection. In 1966, while compiling the work on Ovimbundu chronology for the Journal of African History, he wrote to the soba Gonga asking for information and complaining that the chronology of Ngalangi was too confusing (UWL, Childs Papers, Box 2). Magyar, Reisen, pp. 397–398. Douville, Voyage, 2: 145.

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moving men out, they could support high rates of natural increase, as suggested by both age–sex ratios and growth rates of the later period.105

KONGO TRANSFORMED If mighty kingdoms and more centralized administrations were acquiring power in the southern half of West Central Africa, Kongo had become more decentralized. It continued to be ruled by a regency at the start of the nineteenth century. Powerful local nobles with related commercial interests ran Kongo as much as the king did, although the battle over the crown was still a significant part of politics. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Garcia V had established himself as king and was widely accepted, though without much power. In 1820, after more than fifteen years on the throne, he was still regarded as a “king in name only, no one obeys him.” He lacked sufficient forces to enforce his will, received only nominal tributes, and his most reliable revenues derived from two markets near São Salvador. The form of the regency remained, for power was shared between the king, his secretary, and “a judge,” undoubtedly the marquis of Vunda.106 Garcia V died in the first half of 1830, and, as expected, the succession was contested. One unnamed pretender obtained the throne, and requested a Capuchin, Bernardo da Burgio, to come and bury Garcia. But, in a break from longstanding tradition and reflecting what was probably a weak claim, he also asked Portuguese soldiers come to assist him. Indeed, violent resistance broke out “between factions” so that da Burgio was unable to crown a king and had to flee the city.107 André II Vuzi a Lukeni eventually emerged as the winner in this contest, probably after 1831.108 Tradition says he came “first from Sumpi and Manga,” the northern Kinlaza home base, and had built a series of settlements. “He founded (tungidi) Ngandu . . . he founded Mbanza Lombo and then Mbanza Kioto. From Kioto he went to rule in 105 106

107

108

Heywood and Thornton, “Fiscal Systems.” “Relazione dello Stato in che attualmente se trova il Regno de Congo” (1820), in Teobaldo Filesi, “L’epilogo della ‘Missio Antiqua’ dei cappuccini nel regno de Congo (1800–1835),” Euntes Docete 23 (1970): 377–439, 432 (based on a report of Pietro Paulo da Bene). AHU, Cx. 180, Governor Barão de Santa Comba Dão to Governo, 14 December 1830; Cx. 181, same to same, 5 August 1831. Das Necessidades, “Factos memoraveis”, no. 642, p. 3 gives his name as “Nebigia-Luqueni,” which I am reading as Vuzi a Lukeni.

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Kongo.”109 This pattern of founding villages, forcing or cajoling others to settle in his domain, and thus increasing his power, already visible in the eighteenth century, would be come much stronger in the nineteenth. If André II’s rule established some stability, it did not prevent further challenges, particularly from the southern Kinlaza (now known as Kivuzi). In the late 1830s Henrique II, nicknamed “Fu kia Ngo” (customs of the leopard), was based along the Mbidizi River in the southern Kinlaza (then known as Kivuzi) territory of Madimba. His predecessors had built a group of settlements capped by Nsongela, then ruled by his uncle Ne Nsala. According to tradition, Ne Nsala expelled him following charges of witchcraft, giving him “30 guns” (nkele) and telling him to found a town of his own. This he did, raiding or drawing subjects from less powerful lords as his strength grew, first founding Kapela, which he left in the hands of Pedro Ndazi, “a son born of his father [mwana wawutidi S’andi].” Later, he augmented Nkonko, where Ne Wilu, his father’s brother (“mpangi a S’andi”) lived. Next was Tuku dia Ngunlungu, which he put under another brother named Ne Fulu and continued, founding Ntala, Bindimba, and Yadi. With this behind him, he approached his senior relatives in Nsongela, saying, “I have many troops (ndonga) from the villages I have founded, who are very faithful to me and I will go to rule in Kongo.”110 Henrique’s efforts in building supporters and gradually coming to head the entire Kivuzi had resulted in his ability to mobilize many troops, numbering some 12,000, in 1845.111 This was less than the 30,000 that the Kinlaza had once gathered in 1780, but enough to overcome his opponents. By 1840 Kongo’s electoral system had altered since the regency that had ruled in the late eighteenth century. Now it appears that the former marquis of Vunda, known as Ntinu Nsaku (King Nsaku), had the power to install kings as the sole traditional elector still involved in Kongo’s elections. However, there was also a new force – the 109 110

111

Joseph de Munck, Kinkulu kia nsi eto, 2nd ed. (Matadi, 1972 [1956]), p. 46. KADOC 7.2 (8), Anonymous MS, “Lusanzu lua Kivuzi” 26 October 1929, published by Jean Cuvelier (without date or title) in “Mambu ma kinza nkulu a nsi a Kongo,” Kukiele (5) (1931): 55–56, and in French translation of a substantial portion in “Traditions Congolaise,” Congo 2 (2) (September 1931): 205–207. Nkele, which means “guns,” is intended to mean regular infantry. Ndonga basically means a throng or multitude; but its use throughout this text applies to large numbers of followers, which I have translated in the military sense as “troops.” António Joaquim Castro, “Roteiro da viagem ao Reino de Congo . . .,” Boletim da Sociedade de Geographia de Lisboa 2nd series, no. 2 (1880): 66.

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ecclesiastical bodies in the capital – a development which was notable in Soyo as well.112 Consequently, Henrique appealed to Ntinu Nsaku to allow him to dislodge André, a request the elector allowed. Henrique drove the king from the capital, though André survived and managed to hold on to Mbanza Mputu, a few miles northeast of the capital.113 In 1841 the former slaves of the Hospice of Santo Antonio (the Capuchin hospice) and those of the cathedral sought to overthrow Henrique in favor of his nephew Álvaro Mabambo, which the king was able to put down, forcing Álvaro to flee “to his lands” but not pursing him. So Henrique asked the governor of Angola to supply him with troops, supposedly because the rebels were ecclesiastical and thus fell under Portuguese jurisdiction.114 No military support, however, was forthcoming. Henrique subsequently distributed provinces to his followers; his younger brother received Wembo, while his older brother got Mbamba, and other provinces went to other relatives. They were anchored by their own followers in their provinces, and did not pay tribute or necessarily follow orders from the king, although they allowed him to hear judicial appeals.115 Henrique II sold off the prisoners from the civil war “as is the custom in these parts.” Indeed, when the Portuguese diplomat António Joaquim Castro approached him in 1845 with the idea of the “total abolition of the slave trade” Henrique responded that while the “nations of Europe” had many means of subsistence, the “black kings have no other means than the slaves that they take in war, or tribute they gain from selling them.”116 Nor was Henrique finished with warfare, for in 1848 he was acquiring munitions from Angola to fight against rebels.117 The forced movement of ordinary people, whether as slaves or on voluntary or semi-voluntary basis, continued to underlie any political success, and the overseas sale of some underwrote purchases of overseas products. 112

113 114

115 116 117

The “slaves of the church” were called, in Kikongo, nleke (youth), and were not vulnerable to the sort of issues that most slaves (usually called mvika) in the country faced. KADOC 7.2 (8), Anonymous, “Lusanzu lua Kivuzi.” Henrique II to Governor General of Angola, 4 July 1845, in Mário António Fernandes de Oliveira (ed.), Angolana, 4 vols. (Lisbon, 1968–1995), 3: 413; António Joaquim Castro to Governor of Angola, 27 June 1845, in Fernandes de Oliveira (ed.), Angolana, 3: 470; Castro, “Roteiro,” p. 66. Castro, “Roteiro,” p. 66. Castro to Governor, 27 June 1845, in Fernandes de Oliveira (ed.), Angolana, 3: 470. AHNA Cod. 240, fols. 170–170v, Governor to King of Congo, 27 December 1849.

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THE LOANGO COAST By 1800 Loango had been ruled by the Nganga Mvumbi, a priest overseeing the body of the deceased king Buatu, for over a decade, and he and his successors in office (at least half a dozen by 1870) would continue that practice for much of the century.118 The office of Nganga Mvumbi was held by noble families, and passed on in much the same way as the royal title had been.119 The absence of a formally elected and crowned king did not change the structure or governance of the country much, as the Nganga Mvumbis served effectively as chief executives. Descriptions of Loango in 1874 show a country firmly in the hands of the Nganga Mvumbi and his officers, although in the coastal areas where trade was concentrated, local officials had often usurped official titles, such as the Mafuk title, which was being more or less sold to prominent families.120 However, there was not quite the same level of state functioning as in the days of the kings, with officials collecting taxes, even if corruptly at times. Instead, there was substantial local activity, so that while there was still a very strong sense of the royal elite class as a caste, they were in fact prohibited from intermarrying with each other. But wealth tended to be focused on local people who often did hold the lowest level noble title of Mfumu Nsi, who built up power and authority by attracting followers or recruiting slaves and other dependents, and offices and prerogatives were still passed on by heredity. The tendency was most concentrated on the coast; inland territories had a somewhat more formal system.121 South of Loango the early nineteenth century saw dramatic changes, as Soyo continued its movement northward, expanding a deep influence in both Ngoyo and Kakongo, following up on the colonization plans and the seizure of royal power in Kakongo. Kakongo was in Soyo’s hands in the late eighteenth century; Ngoyo followed later. In this poorly documented period, king lists from the 1870s call the Soyo

118

119 120

121

Pechuël-Loesche, Volkskunde, pp. 64, 188, 267; Bastian, Deutsche Expedition, 1: 203. Both these writers include the published eighteenth-century work in their discussion, along with what appear to be both living memories of their informants and tradition. Pechuël-Loesche, Volkskunde, pp. 185–190. Martin, External Trade, pp. 158–173 argues for a substantial decline in state power to the benefit of local officials. Pechuël-Loesche, Volkskunde, pp. 194–200.

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king of Ngoyo Kanga, but in both places local forces eventually expelled Soyo at least from direct governance. Kakongo led this drive against Soyo, and helped in the retaking of Ngoyo, along with the assistance of commercial elements that included a Brazilian born mulatta who married into the royal family. But the struggle was long, and involved repeated engagements.122 In Kakongo as well, king lists of the 1870s start with a Soyo ruler, “Masonho Umsovi,” followed by other kings linked to Kongo, but the restoration, if that is the correct term, was given by a second king list that has Bunsi as the founder and no Soyo links.123 As they recovered their independence, Kakongo and Ngoyo reformed in a somewhat different manner. In both countries, when kings died they were often mourned for longer and longer periods, as had already happened in Loango, and about the middle of the century neither country had a ruling king, though there was still a considerable apparatus of state, with offices and with the potential of crowning a king always in the air. But as in Loango, where this system first began, the probable reason that kings did not take up their office is because they would surely face opposition and would have to incur heavy costs to be ruler.124 In spite of being pushed out of ruling positions in Kakongo and Ngoyo, at mid-century Soyo still retained the north bank of the Congo River at Banana and near Umbala, as well as the colonies farther north still. Although Ngoyo and Kakongo retained their local religion, Christianity continued in the area controlled by Soyo. In 1876 the Nemlau, title of a territorial ruler on the north bank of the Congo River, was held by a King Pedro who had a whole church with equipment, and even at this date they still had their elite dead buried in Soyo.125 In 1816, when James Tuckey passed Soyo, he learned that the region was ruled by a “king” whose name he never learned, and he met a delegation of local officials who were visibly Christian, literate in Portuguese, and able to read Latin.126 It seems possible that at that

122 123 124

125

126

Bastian, Deutsche Expedition, 1: 217–218. Bastian, Deutsche Expedition, 1: 237–238. Phyllis Martin, “Family Strategies in Nineteenth Century Cabinda,” Journal of African History 28 (1987): 65–86. Vassalage treaties in “Zaire,” BSGL 3 (1883): 387–417, 390–393; Hippolyte Carrie in Les missions catholiques 9 (11 May 1877): 214. James Tuckey, Narrative of an Expedition to Explore the River Zaire, usually called the Congo in South Africa in 1816 (London, 1818), pp. 79–81, 87.

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point in time Soyo was more or less heir to its long tradition of centralized rule. But that would not last. Traditions of origin in Soyo that were recounted at the end of the nineteenth century look back to a very different past than the historically attested events; of a centuries-long domination of a large unified territory ruled by the branches of the da Silva family. Traditions of the 1880s describe Soyo as being an independent territory with its own king named Nekumbi, who granted hospitality to Nezinga, a renegade prince from Kongo who had killed the wife of King Álvaro Mpangu a Lukeni and fled from his vengeance. There is no basis in documentation for the story, but it has the appearance of an ancient connection. Having won the good graces of Soyo’s king, Nezinga married and had two daughters, Futila and Dilu, as well as other children. Nezinga returned to Kongo and offered to give Soyo to Kongo, but King Álvaro refused the offer and ordered Nezinga’s execution. Nezinga managed to escape, and returned to Soyo, where he “purchased” succession to the throne, although he never completed the payment. Upon Nezinga’s death, the country was divided between his daughters Futila and Dilu.127 The division was more likely a violent conflict of secession and not simply the division of goods between heirs, as appears in the tradition. In 1876 Spiritan missionary Hippolyte Carrie learned from older people in Soyo that there had been a split in their country sometime after the last Capuchin, “Father Serafino,” left (who they knew in their youth, probably Serafino d’Acqua), due to wars with “Zinga Mfutila,” whose lands lay to the south.128 The ruler of the north was called the king of Santo Antonio, named João, in 1876. It was in the hands of one family, since João was the brother of his predecessor Domingos.129 Governance was quite different from the earlier Soyo, however. Royal decisions were made in council with a body of princes – at least twenty were represented in 1876. In fact, these princes were numerous, powerful, and their offices were no longer the gift of the ruler or held on

127

128

129

Gil Marchal, “A origem da raça Solongo (Zaire) segunda a lenda,” Portugal em Africa 2nd series, 4 (1947): 78–86; a very similar French version is Gil Marchal, “Sur l’origine des Basolongo,” Aequatoria 11 (1948): 121–125. Serafino d’Acqua was the only priest named Serafino in Angola, and left in 1805. The slender historical record of his activities do not include a visit to Soyo, but he was stationed at Bengo and may have made the trip from there for a month or so: see Saccardo, Congo e Angola 2: 462–467. Carrie to Schwindenhammer, in Les missions catholiques 10 (30 September 1877): 486.

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revocable short terms. Treaties signed with Portugal in 1855 mentioned quite a few nearly independent princes on both banks of the river, and the ethnographer Adolph Bastian, who visited in 1876, listed some thirty villages, each with a ruler of its own, and all with the rank of “prince” (Fürst). Indeed, by the mid-nineteenth century most rulers along the Congo River were styled as “princes,” with the title king reserved for the rulers of Nelau and Santo Antonio (Soyo), on the north and south banks of the Congo respectively.130 If political tradition seemed broken, religion had not changed very much. Although no priest had visited Soyo since the early nineteenth century, later visitors from Tuckey onward commented on its adherence to Kongo’s own brand of Christianity. The role of the priest and even the mestre d’escola was taken up in Soyo by “gente de iglesa,” who formed their own settlement governed by its own elected leaders (in 1876 the aged Pantaleão was the seventh such leader since d’Aqua left) on the land on which the Capuchin hospice of Santo Antonio was built. They maintained a collection of religious artifacts as well as breviaries and other documents, sustained a literate group, and continued the use of Kikongo and Latin prayers.131 A similar role was played by the Church people in São Salvador during the accession of Henrique II in 1842, so it seems the consolidation of the older system of mestres had also merged with the staff and teachers of the Capuchins, even long after they had left. Soyo’s expansion meant that its territory controlled access to the Congo River, and the various princes cooperated to raid and pillage ships passing inland, earning the “Mussorongos” a fearsome reputation as “pirates.” Naval expeditions from England and Portugal attacked them and sought to gain military and political advantage from making treaties with some of the princes against others. In 1853 “king Nemblau” and “prince Mamputo and Prince Netombo” signed vassalage treaties with the Portuguese, and revealed a Christian heritage, further treaties mentioned Santo Antonio, Gango-Bunzo, Mangrongo, Mangrar, and Makatalla, which all cooperated with each other from both banks of the river.132

130

131

132

On the treaties, see “Zaire,” pp. 390–393; Hippolyte Carrie in Les missions catholiques (11 May 1877): 214–123; on the lists of political authorities, Bastian, Deutsche Expedition, 1: pp. 281–282, a passage which is particularly confusing. Much of Bastian’s writing reads like notes rather than explanations. Carrie and Schmidt’s descriptions are the most detailed, in Les missions catholiques; see also F. A. Pinto, Angola e Congo (Lisbon, 1888). For complaints, treaties, and attacks, see “Zaire,” pp. 387–417.

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KASAI The nineteenth century was marked by contestation between Ngeliboma and Bolia, its challenger from the north. Around 1800, having reconsolidated Ngeliboma’s power, another powerful king, Bomene, carried his own war into Bolia. Ngeliboma’s army captured its capital and ravaged the country, but also lost discipline, and as a result reformed forces in Bolia counterattacked and dealt them a serious defeat.133 Kuba’s history in the nineteenth century was a continuation of the centralizing tendencies that had been building for at least half a century. Mikomi Mbul, ruling at the start of the century, continued the tendency of building new villages, but faced a major rebellion, which he suppressed by mobilizing his own troops against it. He also allowed an opening in the royal family by allowing anyone to marry slaves. His successor, Mbop a Mabiinc MaBuul, whose long reign began in about 1835, also continued to fight to extend royal power. His sons, who were very numerous, formed a personal bodyguard and private army as well. He waged extensive wars in all directions, and founded numerous villages from those he captured. But he also faced a large and concerted rebellion which he put down with great force, earning a reputation for cruelty.134

THE END OF NAWEJ: LUNDA AT ITS PEAK In 1845 Nawej had become elderly, at least seventy years old, and when he took sick there were murmurs among the palace elite, suggesting that perhaps it was time for his life to end, and he “should take the road to the dead.” But he had his defenders, notably his nephews Muteb and Mwadiat, who knew of these plots and declared themselves his guards. When the plot unfolded the plotters were defeated, with even common people coming to the defense of their emperor.135 The matters were different in 1852, when Nawej’s final illness set in. As the certainty of his death approached, the would-be successors lined

133

134 135

Tonnoir, Giribuma, pp. 222–224, based on the oral chronicle of Giriboma, with chronology by genealogy of kings. Many of the Giriboma kings are remembered by name, but without any additional detail; these wars are associated with specific kings. Vansina, Geschiedenis, pp. 317–321; Vansina, Children of Woot, pp. 71–73. Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, pp. 563–565.

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up, and this time they did send him to the ancestors. His brother Mulaj came into his room as he slept and smothered him to death, leaving the Lunda Empire with many potential rulers.136 Between their squabbles and the Cokwe influence, the empire died a slow death in violence, and the old order merged into a new one that would come. Lunda had dominated the history of much of West Central Africa for more than a century; its domination was old. Events in the world were changing, and the instability that followed Nawej’s death would shape much of that region.

136

Dias de Carvalho, Ethnografia, p. 580.

Epilogue

The death of Nawej II in 1852 marks the end of this history. In some ways, this date, like any other, has only limited significance. One might as easily chose the death of Henrique II in Kongo in 1856, or the death of several other powerful or influential rulers, as the region was not so tightly integrated politically as to give precedence to any one or the other. But the mid-nineteenth century was a signal turning point for West Central Africa. In 1839 steamships from Europe began making regular stops in Africa, and for the first time in history it was possible to ship bulk commodities cheaply. The Industrial Revolution in Europe had reached a point where production of some vital commodities such as metal goods and textiles were sufficient in themselves to clothe and provide equipment for entire world regions, and export them there. The commodity revolution, the mass import of mundane products, began in earnest with that signal change. It is possible to argue that at the same time the closing of the export slave trade coincided with this change in trade relations. The ending of the demand for slaves from Brazil and Cuba as the 1850s wore on, even as the shift from slave labor to indentured contract labor (really the slave trade in disguise) also drew to a close, meant that West Central Africa’s prime export was also ending. The journalism of the time, and to some degree modern historiography, see a strong connection between the two, and perhaps there is, at a deeper level. But at the same time, the tendency for the political powers of Africa to shift population from one place to another – the target destination being those players who were growing and expanding, whether it was the core district of Lunda or the petty domains of Kongo nobles in the decentralized kingdom, did not cease. It was not as if a domestic slave trade replaced the

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export trade, only that the domestic trade and its violent and forceful methods of recruitment continued, with new destinations. West Central Africa was drawn into a new economy in which mass imports of consumer goods, often destined for the more humble classes, would be the norm. The production of the imports was outside Africa, and so imports had naturally to be paid for with exports. And so the scramble for a suitable export began: ivory, honey, beeswax came forward, along with peanuts, and, finally wild rubber all paid for imports of cloth and metal goods. The new economy often involved longdistance trade in African products and required huge amounts of labor to carry the goods, often overland, sometimes along river routes. The forcibly recruited workers who might have gone overseas were diverted to porterage to carry all the many commodities inland to the production centers and coastward to provide the payments. The new economy required the maintenance and security of large caravans of people, hundreds of thousands, along a number of routes. The caravans could pillage or be pillaged, and legal norms and armed forces often determined commercial success and failure. Porters, whether slave or free, if they survived the journey a few times, were able to acquire freedom, build a settlement, and populate it with others they purchased or seized along the way. In time, they could push for more authority and less control from the established authorities. Whether that was a newly enriched commoner in Viye, or someone like Garcia Mbumba in Kongo, they could and did challenge the authority of those who ruled over them. Often this challenge took place around legal proceedings, the powers of existing states to exercise justice and to suborn it to their own appropriation of the wealth generated by long-distance trade. Wealthy commoners might exercise power in caravans also. Ovimbundu merchants from Viye or Mbailundu, Imbangala traders from Kasanje, Cokwe hunters and merchants, Ambakistas from Angola, or Zombos from Kongo all dealt in the interior, and especially in Lunda. Succession disputes that had often troubled Lunda suddenly became the purview of these commercial groups, seeking a cooperative candidate to advance their trade and interests. Other groups, new to the region, also came into play. Lunda had united the east coast of Africa with the west coast when Nawej Yavu and Mukaz had deliberately connected the two centers of Portuguese power in Mozambique and Angola a century earlier. Now players from East Africa, following the same logic, came into the area from the east. Arab

EPILOGUE

traders such as Tibbu Tib or Msiri approached Luba and Kazembe as state builders in their own right, seizing territory and staking out monopolies. Ultimately they were joined by European state builders, anxious to extend trade and take up influence. Angola began a serious attempt at annexation of lands to its east in the 1880s, just as the Congo Free State, and French imperial interests, pressed west, following the Congo River inland and then southward. All of these state builders, with mercenary armies hired locally, such as the Zappo Zaps working for the Free State, or brought in from outside, such as Hausa mercenaries transported from distant Nigeria, conquered Central Africa. These European states or chartered companies that ended up in the hands of a sponsoring state eventually won the struggle for sovereignty, and West Central Africa was partitioned between Belgium, France, and Portugal (with a small southern component going to Britain). Thus the fifty years that marked the commodity trade revolution until the partition and conquest of West Central Africa belong to the same historical moment, one that happened to begin during the last years of Nawej II’s life. It seems a fitting place to end the old order of West Central Africa and anticipate the new one.

353

Index

adagueiros, 84, 85 administration Angola, 93–100, 120–121, 194–195, 250–253, 289–294, 323–325 Lunda, 231–232 Viye, 302–303 Afonso, duke of Mbamba 1780s, 278 Afonso, duke of Nsundi 1610s, 111 Afonso, king of Loango, 177, 178 Afonso, Mwene Nsundi 1592, 90 Afonso, son of Garcia II, 176 Afonso I, king of Kongo, 7, 8, 22, 31, 33, 35, 39–41, 54, 58 early reign, 42–45 Afonso II, king of Kongo, 68, 132 Afonso III, king of Kongo, 200 Afonso V, king of Kongo, 279 Afonso Álvares, Francisco, 286 Afonso Álvares de Pontes, king of Ndongo-Matamba, 239 Afonso Mvemba a Mpanzu, 127 Afonso Mvika Nzumba, duke of Nsundi, 133 Afonso da Silva, Brites, 286 d’Aguiar, Rui, 44 Agua Rosada, Kongo faction, 207, 277 Akwanda, 222, 223, 224, 226, 231, 232, 233, 268, 307, 314, 315 Alexio I, king of Kongo, 281 de Almeida, Francisco, governor of Angola, 93, 98, 100 de Almeida, Jerónimo, governor of Angola, 93 Álvares da Cunha, António, governor of Angola, 230, 241, 289 Álvares Reballo, Pedro, 101

354

Álvaro, marquis of Matari, 183 Álvaro, son of Pedro II, 173 Álvaro I, king of Kongo, 66, 75, 78, 83, 133, 149 Álvaro II, king of Kongo, 66, 89, 102, 109, 124, 125, 133, 183 Álvaro III Nimi a Mpanzu, king of Kongo, 125, 133, 153 Álvaro IV, king of Kongo, 154, 159 Álvaro V, king of Kongo, 159, 160 Álvaro VI, king of Kongo, 160, 164 Álvaro VII, king of Kongo, 177, 183 Álvaro VIII, king of Kongo, 184 Álvaro IX, king of Kongo, 184 Álvaro XI, king of Kongo, 277, 278 Álvaro Afonso, duke of Nsundi 1590s, 125 Álvaro Mabambo, pretender to Kongo throne, 344 Álvares, Gaspar, 121 Ambaca, 118, 135, 151, 194, 209, 251, 290 Ambriz, 324 Ambrósio I, king of Kongo, 149, 153, 154 Ambundu, v, 23, 36, 54, 56, 58, 67, 72, 82, 84, 85, 89, 94, 173, 255 amo, 98, 99 Ana II Guterres da Silva, queen of Ndongo-Matamba, 240 Ana III, queen of Matamba, 288 Ana Afonso de Leão, queen of Kongo, 186, 206, 208, 210, 214, 277 Ana Kamana, 325 ana murinda, 72 Ana Nzumba a Mvemba, third daughter of Afonso I, 133 Anastacio, ambassador of Kongo, 183 André, marquis of Mpemba 1780s, 278

INDEX

André I, king of Kongo, 344 André II Vuzi a Lukeni, king of Kongo, 342 Battell, Andrew, 65, 66, 96, 103, 104 Angola first contacts, 76–79 Angola Bumbambula, 57 Angola Inene, 57 Angola Mussuri, 57 Anguvo, 315 dos Anjos, Vicente, 38, 44 Antonian movement, 241–243 António, contender of throne of NdongoMatamba, 186 António I, king of Kongo, 176, 182, 241 António II, king of Kongo, 280 António Manoel, count of Soyo, 127 António Manoel, marquis of Funta, Kongo ambassador to Rome, 108, 111 António Manoel, marquis of Musulu 1780s, 282 d’Anville, Jean Baptiste, 229 Appolonia, 242 arimos, 99, 102, 156, 195, 251, 252, 292 d’Atri, Marcellino, Capuchin priest, 205, 214, 252, 253 Axila Mbanza, 105, 106, 107, 113 Baixa de Cassange, 155 Banha Cardoso, Bento, governor of Angola, 114, 128 Bantu migration, 2–4 Bantu speakers, 2 Barbara, sister of Njinga, 186 Barbuda d’Aguiar, Francisco, 79, 83 Baretto da Silva, António, prince of Soyo, 202 Baretto da Silva, António II, 203, 204, 205, 207 Baretto da Silva, Cosmo, prince of Soyo, 247 Baretto da Silva, Francisco, prince of Soyo, 248 Baretto da Silva, Pedro V, prince of Soyo, 247 Baretto da Silva e Castro, António III, prince of Soyo, 207, 246 de Barros da Silva, António, 229 Baxo-ababa, king of Viye, 303 Beatriz Kimpa Vita, 242 Being, 216

355 Bemba, 321 Bembe, 14, 23, 104, 189, 190, 191, 229, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 297, 308 Bengo River, 73, 85, 102, 157, 165, 195, 282 Benguela expansion, 259–263 Benin, 37, 38 Bernardo I, king of Kongo, 68, 74, 132 Bernardo II, king of Kongo, 124, 133 Bieeng, 274 Bienge, 236 Bisa, 270 Blaeu, Johannes, 143 Boke, 136 Bokila, 215 Bolia, 236, 272, 349 bolsa de mandinga, 253 Bom Mboshi, king of Kuba, 216 Bomba, 264 Bomba a Sucila, 288 Bongo Lenge, king of Kuba, 215, 216 Botero da Romano, Giovanni, Capuchin priest, 195 Brazil, 47, 53, 78, 88, 119, 129, 135, 140, 153, 156, 162, 163, 165, 166, 171, 173, 291, 292, 323, 324, 351 Buali, 65, 137, 306 Buatu, king of Loango, 306 Buki, son of Kumwembe Ngombo, 322 Bukkameale, 138, 177, 201 Cabambo, 235 Cabinda, 324 Cacoma Milonga, 310, 318, 319 Caconda, Portuguese presidio, 260, 297, 340 Calumba, 262 Cambambe, 93, 290, 292 Cambuinda, 261 Campoculo, 270 Cão, Gaspar, bishop of São Tomé, 62, 80 Capuchins, 166–169, 176, 177 Cardoso, Mateus, 25, 29, 113, 119, 126, 127, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 136, 138, 141 Carionguo, 115 Carmelites, 252 Carolos, 145 Carucuige, 235 Cassange Caquinguri quiabangula, Kasanje king, 330

356 de Castelo Branco, Mendes, 84 Castro, António Joaquim, 344 de Castro, Francisco, 205, 207 de Castro, Rafael, 112, 144, 218, 230 de Castro da Silva, Jeronimo Constantino, prince of Soyo, 304 Catumbela River, 115, 159 Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, Giovanni Antonio, 10, 26, 28, 29, 30, 57, 58, 63, 70, 106, 107, 116, 117, 121, 122, 141, 147, 164, 170, 171, 177, 178, 180, 186, 188, 189, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 198, 238, 250, 311 Cbo a Calunda, 115 census, Angola, 294 Cerveira Pereira, Manuel, governor of Angola and Benguela, 114 Cezar de Menezes, Pedro, governor of Angola, 164 Cezar de Menezes, Rodrigo, governor of Angola, 250, 257 Changala, 67 Cheques, Francisco, ruler of Nambu a Ngongo, 182, 257 Cheques, Joannes, ruler of Nambu a Ngongo, 182 Chibind [hunter] Yirung, 218 Chicova, 229 Chiloanga chia Mukango, 137 Chinyama cha Ngambo, 311 Chinyata, 234 Chishinga, 269 Chiwidi, 234 Christianity Angola, 86–87, 157–158, 195, 253–254 Kongo, 46–48 Cibala, king of Viye, 302 Cibend Kabwo, 219 Cikombo, 313 Cikuetekole, king of Ngalangi, 340 Cikulupi, 263 Cilemo, 266 cilolos, 221, 314, 315, 316, 318 Cimanda, 335 Cimbundu, 318 Cinge Liyabane, 334, 337 Cingelesi, king of Ngalangi, 340 Cingi I, king of Mbailundu, 298 Cingi I, king of Viye, 266 Cingi II, king of Mbailundu, 333, 337 Cingolo, king of Ngalangi, 299, 341

INDEX

Ciruelo, Pedro, 168 Cisanje, king of Ngalangi, 339 Cisendi I, king of Mbailundu, 333, 334 Cisenje, 318 Civuki, king of Ngalangi, 340 Civukuvuku, king of Mbailundu, 335 Civula, 335 Classic Kisalian, 18 Clement VIII, Pope, 108 Cokwe, 311, 317–318 copper, 14, 15, 26, 145, 196 Correia Leitão, Manoel, 230 Correia de Sá e Benevides, Salvador, governor of Angola, 171 Correia de Sousa, João, governor of Angola, 118, 121, 123, 128, 129, 130, 132, 134 Correia Samba a Ntumba, António, 118 Cosme, marquis of Mpemba, 131 da Costa, Honorato, 312 Council of Trent, 167 Counter Reformation, 157, 167, 168, 253 Cristina, mother of Garcia I, 148, 149 Cunene River, 19, 189 da Cunha, Luis, 229 Cuval River, 193 Dambi a Ngola, 118 Daniel I Miala mia Zimbwila, king of Kongo, 200 Dembo, 128 Dembo a Pe, 117, 151 Dembos, 23, 96, 102, 114, 129, 135, 152, 163, 165, 166, 172, 179, 181, 182, 194, 210, 222, 251, 257, 294 demography, 4–7, 71–72, 294–295 Dias Musungo, António, commander of guerra preta, 164 Dias de Novais, Paulo, governor of Angola, 68, 69, 74, 82, 84, 91 Dias Pilarte, António, 253 Diassa Bokulo, 212 Dilu, 347 Dingy, 137 Diogo Cão, 37, 39 Diogo I, king of Kongo, 59, 63, 67, 132 Donga, 240 Donge, 218, 219 Dumba, King of Ngalangi, 340 Dumba dia Mbanda, king of Ngalangi, 340 Duodo, Pietro, 112

INDEX

Duque de Bragança, Portuguese presidio, 327 Dutch, 110, 153, 198 Dweme, 273 Dzing, 222 Ekovongo, 265, 334, 336, 337 Ekwikwi I, king of Mbailundu, 300, 301 Elembe, 104, 105, 106 Elena, sister of Joao II, 207, 245 de Encarnação, Luiz, Franciscan priest, 192 Encoge, 257, 258, 282, 285, 286, 327 Escolastica, wife of Álvaro II, 149 Ethiopia, 39, 49, 50, 112, 143, 145 Evululu, 243 de Farias, Antonio, 260 Felipe Hari a Ngola, King of Ndongo, 165, 178, 179, 187 Fernando, count of Soyo, 110, 125 Feti la Choya, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 104, 263 da Firenze, Giacinto, Capucin priest, 205 Francisco I, king of NdongoMatamba, 239 Francisco II Kaluete ka Mbande, king of Ndongo-Matamba, 288, Fungeno, 141, 142 Funji, princess of Ndongo, 121 Funta, 108, 109 Furtado de Mendonça, João, governor of Angola, 93, 101 Futila, 347 da Galese, Filippo, Capuchin priest, 203 Gamitto, Joaquim Pedroso, 320 Ganda, 259, 260, 261, 302 Garcia I, king of Kongo, 136, 148, 153 Garcia II, king of Kongo, 160, 165, 171 Garcia III Agua Rosada, king of Kongo, 186, 202, 204 Garcia IV, king of Kongo, 245 Garcia V Agua Rosada e Sardonia, king of Kongo, 280, 281, 284, 342 genetic studies, 3 Gobby, 137 Gombe a Mukiama, 294 Gomes, Diogo (later Cornélio), Kongo ambassador, 61 Gomes, Fernão, 37 Gonçalves Pita, António, 97

357 Gongo Hamulanda, 265 de Gouveia, Francisco, Jesuit priest, 69 Gouveia Sottomaior, Francisco, governor of São Tomé, 77, 79, 82, 96 da Graça, Gaspar, 80 Great Bomba Songo, 308 Great Makoko, 22, 30, 43, 63, 80, 96, 138, 140, 142, 176, 201, 214, 236, 237, 272 Great Zimbabwe, 19 Gregorio, Kongo court noble 1637, 160 Gregorio, duke of Mbamba, 148 guerra preta, 100, 291 Gunji, king of Mbailundu, 334 Gunza a Bangela, 329 Gunza Cabolo, 299 Gunza Mbambe, 187, 188, 190, 191, 240, 250 Haku, 250, 266 Hanya, 159, 259, 260, 261 Hari a Kiluanje, king of Ndongo, 118, 151, 152, Hari a Sima, 326 Henrique I, king of Kongo, 74 Henrique II, king of Kongo, 343 de Herder, Jan, 143 heterarchy, 16 Heyn, Piet, 135, 136 Hoho ria Ngola, queen of Ndongo, 150 Holo, 231, 232, 240, 285 Hombi a Njimbe, Central Highlands ruler, 103 House of Kwilu, 134, 148, 149, 150, 154, 159, 160, 174, 183 House of Mbata, 134 House of Nsundi, 134, 148, 149, 153, 159, 160, 163, 173, 174, 175, 176, 183 House of Soyo, 110, 111, 124, 126, 132, 134, 148, 149, 150, 159, 160, 173, 174 Hunga Anmomga, 320 Hunga Munona, 269 Hungu, 213, 214, 228, 235, 237, 238, 276, 285, 286, 287, 288 Icolo e Bengo, 325 Ilamba, 54, 85, 87, 88, 92, 102, 114, 119, 165, 170, 291 Ilunga, 146 Ilunga Sunga, Luba ruler, 272 Imbangala, 119 origin, 104–106

358 Imbe Kalundula, 104, 106 Impunga court, 335 Indian cloth, 290 Inquisition, 79, 80, 81, 83, 95, 96, 243, 253, 254, 297 Isabela, sister of Maria Ne Kuku, 276 Isabella Manibuaxi, 277 Izabel Lukeni lua Mvemba, wife of Henrique I, 75 Jaga, 69, 74–77, 79, 80, 83, 102, 104, 114, 134, 138, 140, 176, 201, 220, 258, 259, 264, 330 Jaga invasion of Kongo, 74–76 Jahulu, 266 Jahulu, king of Mbailundu, 298 Jesuits, 5, 25, 29, 46, 56, 57, 61, 68, 69, 71, 72, 73, 79, 86, 87, 89, 90, 98, 99, 112, 120, 133, 134, 139, 149, 154, 156, 157, 158, 160, 167, 195 João, duke of Mbata 1610s, 127 João I Nzinga Nkuwu, king of Kongo, 30, 31, 39 João II Ngola Hari, king of Ndongo, 187 João II Nzuzi a Ntamba, king of Kongo, 204 João Batista, Pedro, 312 João Guterres Ngola Kanini, king of Ndongo-Matamba, 181, 186 Joaquim I, king of Kongo, 281 José I, king of Kongo, 278 Kaala, 111 Kabongo, 136 Kabasa, 58, 71, 92, 117 Kabey, 267 Kabuku ka Mbilo, 87 Kabuku ka Ndonga, Imbangala leader, 179 Kabunga, 29, 31, 58, 184 Kafuxi ka Mbari, 101, 105, 106, 107, 113, 151 Kahenda, 195, 209, 210, 214, 238, 252, 255, 257, 293, 294 Kakembembe, king of Viye, 337 Kakenge, 317 Kakonda, 198 Kakonda, Imbangala band, 259, 302 Kakonda, king in Benguela, 159 Kakongo, 22, 25, 64, 139, 203, 248, 305, 346 Kala ka Mfusu, also Joao da Silva, 38

INDEX

Kalala Ilunga, Luba ruler, 271 Kalandula, Imbangala leader, 240, 258 Kalanyi River, 146 Kali ka Nsamba, 103 Kalundwe, 146, 147, 218, 219, 223, 271, 272, 314, 322 Kalunga ka Kilombo, 238 Kalunga ka Kilungo, 238 Kamana, 288 Kamasa ka Kiwende, 330 Kambilambian, 18 Kambo River, 181 Kambo, princess of Ndongo, 121 Kambolo ka Ngonga, 331 Kambund, 231 Kamuleke, 326 Kangombe, Imbangla leader, 115 Kangombe, king of Viye, 303 Kanina, 298 Kanjungo, 338 Kanonkesh, 234 Kanyembo, 320 Kanyok, 147, 219–226, 231, 232, 233, 268, 269, 271, 272, 307, 314, 322 Kanyoka, 146 Kapaka, 320 Kapangano, king of Mbailundu, 300 Kapela, 343 Kapend, Lunda leader, 237, 287 Kapenda Yavu, 313 Kapomba, 337 karula, 145, 147, 221, 311, 314 Kasa ka Ngola, Imbangala leader, 117, 150, 154 Kasai River, 13, 15, 17, 18, 23, 64, 94, 142, 143, 146, 214, 216, 226, 230, 233, 235, 236, 272, 322, 349 Kasanje, 1, 188–192, 222, 285, 289, 300, 327–331 Kasanje ka Kinguri, king of Kasanje, 192, 208, 238 Kasanje Kalunga ka Kinguri, 189 Kasanje, Imbangala band, 122 Kasanje, Imbangala leader, 155 Kasanje, Imbangala kingdom, 146, 179, 187, 226, 237, 238 Kasanze, 128 Kashidishi River, 268 Kasikola, 87, 88, 89, 91, 103 Kasong, 227, 228, 231, 237, 274 Kasongo Muni Puto, 274

INDEX

Kassongo, 146 Katala, 250 Katema, 316 Katende, 316 Katira, 260 Kavulo ka Kabasa, 116 Kaye, 136, 137, 177 Kayemba Mukulu, 314 Kayungula, king of Viye, 338 Kaza ka Ndongo, Imbangala leader, 118 Kazembe, 234–235, 269–271, 319–321 Kebongo, 237 Keshila, 234 Kete, 216, 222, 268 Keve River, 191 Kiambela, 261, 263 Kiambole, 72 Kibaba, 265 Kibala, court faction, 58 Kibangu, 206, 242 Kibula, 302 kijiko, 72, 187 kikumba, 169 Kikupia, 338 Kilenjes, 261, 298 Kilonga kia Bungu, 69 Kilongo, 65 Kiluanje kia Ngonga, 331 Kimbangu, 186, 206, 208 Kimone, 250 Kimpanga kia Nkange a Kalanda, 326 Kimpanzu, Kongo faction, 184, 200, 206, 245, 247, 281 kimpasi, 168 Kina, 286 Kinanga, king of Kongo, 33 Kinda, Imbangala leader, 151 Kindoki, 7, 21 Kindonga Islands, 119 Kingdom of Benguela, 70, 103, 104, 105, 113 Kingela kia Ngombe, 106 Kingo a Hanga, 208, 239 Kinguri, 218, 226, 311, 339 Kinguri kia Bangala, 238, 327 Kinkonja, 322 Kinlaza, Kongo faction, 161, 183, 184, 185, 199, 245, 276, 281, 283, 343 Kinzamba, 261

359 Kiova, 14, 159, 199, 204 Kiowa, 4, 58 Kisalian, 18 Kisama, 85, 101, 105, 113, 172, 180, 222, 250 Kitamba kia Xiba, 329 Kiteki ki Mbangela, 193 Kitombo, 185, 197 Kitukulu ka Kariondo, 193 Kivuzi, 343 Kizua, 250 Kola, 231 Kolwezi, 234 Kongo, 16 factionalism, 173–174, 183–184, 206–207, 276–279 factions, 58–59, 159–160 origin, 24–37 social and political structure, 33–35 Kongo dia Nlaza, 79, 212 Kongolo, Luba founder, 147 Kont, 218 Kosa, 234, 309 Koto Nche, 236 Kuba, 13, 94, 144, 145, 215, 216, 236, 274, 323, 349 Kuete M’bogi, 236 Kukema River, 303 kukwata, 314, 315, 316 Kulaxingo, 238, 327, 328, 330, 331 Kumpukunu, 237 Kumwembe Ngombo, Luba King, 322 Kundi, 95, 111, 141, 196, 212, 214 Kutana kwa Mbuka, Yaka King, 190 Kuvo River, 193 Kwa River, xvii, xviii, 1, 5, 20, 23, 24, 43, 54, 55, 57, 64, 69, 70, 71, 73, 74, 78, 79, 84, 86, 93, 96, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 106, 107, 111, 113, 114, 117, 120, 136, 142, 143, 147, 152, 154, 156, 158, 166, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 194, 208, 217, 220, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 237, 239, 244, 250, 251, 257, 258, 263, 264, 266, 267, 268, 274, 275, 285, 287, 292, 293, 298, 299, 300, 302, 304, 308, 311, 312, 325, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 333 Kwengela ka Nkombe, 117 Kwilu River, 228

360 de Lacerda e Almeida, Francisco José Maria, 271 Lake Mai Ndombe, 17, 18, 50, 64, 142, 143, 236, 272, 273 Lake Mweru, 217, 269 Late Stone Age, 2 Lázaro, son of Pedro II, 173, 175 de Lencastre, António, governor of Angola, 296, 299 Leonor, sister of Daniel da Silva count of Soyo, 174 Leonor Afonso, daughter of Álvaro I, 148, 174 Leonor Nzinga a Nlaza, 40 Libolo, 190, 250, 328 libongo, 14, 196 da Licodia, Francesco, Capuchin priest, 185 Loango, 44, 136–139, 176–178, 249, 305–307, 336–339 origin, 64–65 Lobo da Silva, Luis, governor of Angola, 260 Lopes, Duarte, Kongo ambassador, 25, 41, 66, 75, 81, 91, 108 Lourenço Ferreira da Cunha, king of Mbailundu, 333 Lovo, 26, 27, 48 Luba Empire, 19, 147, 219, 271–272, 314, 321–323 Luba, Western, 226 Lubilashi River, 147 Lubolo, 189 Lucia Baretto da Silva, 248 Lueque, 298 Luimbe, 337 Luis Guterres, king of NdongoMatamba, 186 Luisa wife of Pedro II, 148 Lukala lua Kiyanga, 288 Lukala River, 73, 86, 92, 95, 106, 116, 117, 153, 286, 326, 327 Lukelo, 278 Lukeni lua Nimi, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, 133, 184, 274, 347 Lukeni lua Nsanzi, 27 Lukunga River, 208 Lukwesa, 320 Lulo, 79 Lulua River, 24, 147, 226, 234, 274 Lunda, 145, 217–221, 271, 275, 313–315

INDEX

expansion, 223–225 Lunda Empire, 1, 5 Lunda Plateau, 1 Lushiko River, 227 Luso-Africans, 70, 80, 84, 95, 96, 97, 131, 172, 187, 194, 251, 266, 292, 293, 298, 325, 332, 337, 338 Luvale, 308, 310 Luvota, 278 Luyana, 310–311 Macosse, 306 Madimba, 343 Mafinda, 279, 283 de Magalhães, João Jacques, governor of Angola, 250 Magyar, Lázló, 5, 338 Mai, 146 Makolo, 319 Makunda, 249 makuta, 14, 196 Malaji, 233 Malamba a Hoji, 194 Malebo Pool, 7, 13, 18, 20, 24, 30, 141 Malemba, 324 Malemba, region in Gangela, 288 Maluma Bieme, king of Ngeliboma, 142 Malundo, 285, 294, 308 Manbuku, Ngoyo title, 304 Mandongo, 273 Manga, 279 Manguenzo, 6, 9, 248, 305 Mani Boman, 306 Mani Damma, 213 Mani Ntangua, 213 Mani Sasa, 213 Manuel II, king of Kongo, 245 Manuel Afonso, duke of Mbamba, 148 Manuel da Silva, king of Ngoyo, 202 Manuel Jordão, duke of Nsundi, 149, 150, 154, 174 Manuel Messo Ababo, king of Mbailundu, 301 Manuel, Mwene Soyo, 1491, 31 Maria Ne Kuku, 276 Maria Nkenke, 248 Mashita Mbansa, 144, 227 Massangano, 92, 120, 194, 293 Matamba, 23, 92, 119, 156, 251, 285, 325 matrons, 148, 149, 174, 206 Mayumba, 64, 137

INDEX

Mbailundu, 5, 265–266, 298, 301, 332–336 Mbailundu war, 300 Mbal, Lunda ruler, 268 Mbala, 103, 104, 115, 193, 326, 327 Mbamba, 42, 282 Mbanda Kasi, battle of, 131 Mbande Ngola Kiluanje, king of Ndongo, 106, 107 Mbande Ngola Kiluanje, 107, 116, 117 Mbandua, king of Viye, 336 Mbanza Kongo, 25, 28, 29, 34, 36, 37, 39, 48, 53, 68, 71, 76, 77, 81, 85. See also São Salvador Mbanza Mbata, 7, 20 Mbanza Soyo, 6, 7, 197, 200 Mbata, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 41, 42, 43, 59, 60, 63, 64, 74, 76, 94, 96, 109, 127, 141, 148, 149, 160, 276, 284 Mbondo, 208, 329, 330 Mbonge, king of Mbailundu, 336 Mbop a Mabiinc MaBuul, 349 Mbula, 184, 200, 201, 203, 204, 205, 206, 241, 242, 246, 276 Mbumba a Kasanje, 331 Mbumbi, 95, 130, 131, 134, 184, 282 Mbunda Kambuakatepa, 340 Mbwa Lau, 280 Mbwela, 253, 257, 258, 286 Mbwila, 23, 102, 128, 152, 163, 172, 180, 182, 183, 185, 188, 193, 195, 210, 238, 242, 254, 257, 282, 286 de Medeiros, Francisco, 74, 76, 79, 80 de Melo, Fernão, 51 Mendes de Vasconcelos, Luis, governor of Angola, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 123, 128, 151, 152, 155, 163, 189 Mesquitela Lima, Augusto Guilhermo, 19 Mfinda Ngula, 185 Mfumu Maria, 242 Miambula, 338 Miguel da Silva e Castro, prince of Soyo, 304 Miguel da Silva, Kongolese priest, 253 Miguel, count of Soyo, 1590s, 91, 110, 125 Mikomi Mbul, 349 Mingole, 137 Moma, king of Viye, 336 money, 197–199 Monsol, 140 de Moraes, Vicente, 253 Mosongos, 143, 144, 145

361 Mozambique, 116, 193, 229, 230, 270, 298, 312, 319, 352 Mpangala, 25, 28, 29, 31 Mpangu, 60, 63, 69, 279 Mpanzalumbu, 32, 41, 43, 52 Mpanzu a Kitemu,, 40 Mpanzu a Nzinga. See Mpanzu a Kitemu Mpemba, 25, 28, 29, 31, 59, 90, 95, 109, 126, 130, 131, 148, 150, 173, 176, 184, 200, 206, 208, 253, 277, 278, 279, 320 Mpemba Kasi, 25, 26, 27, Mpinda, 39, 55, 67, 70, 80, 95, 97, 110, 211, 249 Mpungu a Ndongo, 114, 118, 144, 186, 187, 188, 250 Mput’iyola, 236 Mseka, 322 Mubanga, 117, 151 mubika, 53, 72 Mucunya, 302 Muekalia, 334 Mujeto, 287 Mujinga a Teka, 286 Mujmbo a Kalunga, 308 Mukaleng, 224 Mukari, 330 Mukaz, Lunda ruler, 225, 233, 267, 307, 314 Mukondo, 243 Mulaj II, Lunda ruler, 350 Mulaj a Cibang, 269 Muland, Lunda ruler, 224, 267 Mungi, 235 Munyanji, 215 Munza, Ambundu leader, 36, 42, 54 Murili, 288 murinda, 56, 57, 58, 73, 106 Mushie, 64, 273 Musulu, 29, 31, 43, 67, 282 Musumba, 6, 237 Mutanda, ruler of Kosa, 234 Muteb, Lunda ruler, 224, 225 Muteb, nephew of Nawej II, 349 Muteba Yinda, 274 Mutemo a Kinjenga, 255 Mutombo Mukulu, 146, 147, 218, 219, 221, 272, 314 Muxima, 86, 170, 171, 250, 253 Muxinda, 285 Muzumbu a Kalungu, 191, 192, 264 Mvemba Etona, João, 305

362 Mwadiat, nephew of Nawej II, 349 Mwanta Kumbana, 227 Mweka, 215 Mwene Kionzo, 120 Mwene Kudya, 72 Mwene Lumbo, 73 Mwene Misete, 73 Mwene Muji, 17, 22, 63, 64, 74, 76, 80, 142, 143, 236 Mwene Soyo, 31, 39 Mwenemutapa, 229 Nambu a Ngongo, 23, 96, 102, 103, 128, 129, 130, 165, 182, 282 da Navidade, Manuel, bishop of Angola, 203 Nawej, Lunda king, 219, 220, 223 Nawej, Lunda usurper, 232 Nawej I, Lunda ruler, 313 Nawej II, Lunda ruler, 313 Nbangu a Kutana kwa Mbuka, 190 Ndala a Kamana, king of Matamba, 325 Ndala K