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THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED KONGO (Central Africa)

Posted by The Reunion Black Family on March 2, 2014 at 9:20 AM

THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED KONGO (Central Africa) the Kongo and the Portuguese

 

Extending over a large portion of South-West Africa, borders covering the current country of Congo and his alter ego Zaire, Angola, a small part of Mozambique and Gabon is about more than 300 000 km2 of land controlled by a Christian ruler, the Mani Kongo (or MweneKongo).


From the seventh century, the Kongo Empire is already known in the Western world. But with the Quattrocento, it will take on an international dimension. Led by the Portuguese explorer Diego Cao met for the first time the ruler of Kongo in 1482 not without taking a few aristocrats or members of the royal family hostage for the return as proof of their discovery to the court of Portugal. Arrived in Lisbon, they are exhibited at the royal court and placed in convents or 8 years, they learn to read and speak Portuguese, math, theology.

 

For the Portuguese remained in Africa, Mani (Mwene) Kongo allows them to settle on the coasts, to open an embassy there and even who wanted to profess their Christian religion. Moreover Nkuwu Nzinga, Almighty Ruler of Kongo * succumb to the lure of itself Portuguese Catholicism and will be baptized May 3, 1491 under the name of John I. Former governor of the northern province of Nsundi and Nzaza Vumbi, he came to power in a coup d'état

The Queen, meanwhile, had to wait a month with his son Mpanzu A Nzinga respectively to be baptized together under the name Dona Eleanor the Queen and the name of Alphonse for the Crown Prince. Even the capital Mbali was renamed San Salvador in a flamboyant and drew a coat worthy of the best European monarchies for the sovereign. The arrival of March 29, 1491 Mpinda missionaries was organized in a big way by the Kongo monarchy. Mani (King) Soyo had deployed an audience of 3,000 traditional warriors honor to welcome the head of the Portuguese expedition, Dom Ruy De Sousa. Conversion April 3, 1491 under the name Manual Soyo had impressed Nzinga Nkuwu which had sent the Portuguese in the capital.

 

The history of Kongo was therefore on. The Nzinga ruler Jean did not want to do that agricultural trade with the Portuguese and did nothing to support any sales of slaves on its territory. Relations between the Portuguese and the Kongo monarchy tarnished very quickly. The missionaries were arrested and imprisoned, schools burned. The son of Mani Kongo, Mpanzu A Nzinga, who favors the royal council (the Kongo monarchy was elective but among members of the ruling dynasty) did not hide his desire to end the Portuguese. Amplified the crisis between the Portuguese and the royal court as and attempts slave traders to capture villages for the purposes of their trade of ebony. In 1499, the island of Sao Tome (hereditary fief given to the Governor Fernando De Mello 1486) became the scene and the scene of anti-Kongos conspiracies by some slave traders forcing the Portuguese crown to intervene and dismiss the governor's son .

 

John I was now less sensitive to religious discourse. How could she the bible prohibit polygamy, social institution spread throughout the kingdom and guarantor alliances with minor kingdoms. This issue deeply divided the court, but John died without setting the question

* The term significant Kongo word varies according to various sources. For some, it could mean "the panther ally" or is simply a throwing weapon called Kong Kong which is served the people of Angola future. It is noted that although the term has become generic Kng to designate the kingdom of the same name, only residents of the capital Mpemba is reserved in use (Esi-Kongo)

The Mani Kongo Alfonso I

Mpanzu ascended the throne in 1506 (or 07?) But he had a few hours to enjoy. Day celebrations of his accession to the throne, he was assassinated. Nzinga Mbemba said his brother Alfonso I immediately took power without consulting the council which suggests that a plot had been organized between the prince and the Portuguese. 51 years old, the new Mani Kongo was not unanimous. Kitima his brother, who was sickened by this crime renounced the Christian religion, took up arms. He besieged the capital, but was quickly defeated by the king Alfonso. Legend has it that the rebel brother was seized with a panic at the sight of the sky, the appearance of Saint Jacques ... And beyond the crest was designed that would be one of the royal family until 1860.

 

Anyway, the King "by the grace of God, King of Kongo, Loango, Kongo and Ka-Ngoyo, to of it and beyond Zaire Lord Ambundus .... "Alfonso I could sit back on the throne and be the first African king recognized by a European court. He undertook to Christianize his empire, a mere copy of the state of Portugal (and to the various existing taxes), opened a school which counted 400 students in exchange for more missionaries to his kingdom, he educated his son Henry to the court of Portugal, sent ambassadors to Rome in 1513. Henry was even appointed Bishop of Utica in 1517, he served as the office of Governor of Mpanza until his death in 1531 (or 1539). The slave trade could take off within the Empire vassals of Kongo king seeing a lucrative gradually turned away from him to join the Portuguese protectors (ethnicity Teke was finally submitted by Alfonso I of the leading troops armed with rifles, weapons then little known in Africa). The Portuguese used among prisoners Mani Kongo for their slave trade but did not disdain to use in villages to see the Empire among the nobility itself. When Alfonso I learned this, he hastened to write to his Portuguese counterpart specifically asked to stop these practices. The end of his life was marked by a series of conspiracies organized both by the Portuguese (1526 assassination attempt in 1539, Easter made a dead and two wounded ..) who accused him of losing interest in both Catholicism members of his own clan who wanted to get rid of. Conspiracy in which he died tragically

C) The Manikongo Peter I

. In 1543, his son Peter I succeeded in an atmosphere heavy and threatening civil war. Besides the royal court of Portugal not mention his death in the annals of history. For two years, Peter I had to struggle against his own court did not hide his desire to submit to the benefit of one of his son Diego (Nkumbi Mpudi) or Francis (Mzinga Mbemba) who also claimed the throne. Indeed, despite the introduced European modernism in the kingdom, notables and aristocrats wanted the customary principle continued to prevail over the hereditary succession established by Alphonse in Kongo. I saw the stone to escape it, beaten by the troops of his nephew Jacques took refuge in the main church of the city. His son Diego who was crowned respected the sanctity of the sanctuary of the church and left alone his father took refuge in the island of Sao Tome. A lull since Mani Kongo Peter I was finally assassinated the same year of his testimony as he tried to regain power, imploring the Holy See and Portugal for help in vain .. The son of Peter I, Francis told Mani Kongo turn but he had a short reign and his cousin Jacques, who in turn took the royal title. Diego I quickly put an end to the anarchy of sovereign.

 

The assassination of Pierre led a series of internal conflicts within the royal court, leaving the field to continue their Portuguese slave trade without any opposition. Diego meanwhile tolerate Christianity as long as it serves their interests. In 1546, he sent a Creole as Ambassador to Portugal with a mission to bring some church but two years later he denounced as conspirators plaguing these priests in the kingdom. It is true that many of them had writing to King John III of Portugal to the deposed king Kongo too independent in their eyes. Diego eventually expel all. The Franciscans who are present in the country in 1557 will struggle to write Kikongo in the Bible. Diego I died 4 November 1561 and as usual, the estate will be tough.

D) Civil war in Kongo.

 

Pretender to the throne was assassinated. Alfonso II placed by the Portuguese as Mani hereditary reigned only one year before being deposed by a popular uprising. Besides its original subsidiary is the object of all suspicion. Son of the sister of Diego, maybe even see the result of incest, it was not recognized by his contemporaries saw him as the puppet of the Portuguese. Riots broke out, many Portuguese were killed as the King. I. Bernard whose lineage is equally uncertain succeeded him and lead the Empire until 1566, when he died in an ethnic conflict with Tekes and Ba Yakas. His successor Henry II had also to face an uprising organized one after his accession to the throne by his son and cousin, Lua Nimi A Lukeni Mvemba. Henry II was assassinated in 1568 and Nimi was crowned under the name of Alvaro I, inaugurating the reign of a new branch of the royal family known as Kwilu.

 

Far from being a cure for the crisis of the kingdom, the reign of twenty years of Alvaro I (which said it was the little son of Alfonso I. by his sister who married her cousin Henry I) was a disaster for the Empire .. The new king was quick to seize the throne of his cousin with his army was quickly routed by the enemy. The Yakas (Jagas) are offered the luxury of seizing the capital (1569) and burn, its population massacred. Refuge in the mountains with his court, the king will soon begging for food. Slaves will be killed, dismembered in order to survive, children sold to the Portuguese who took advantage of the crisis to increase the slave trade. Even the nobles sold them.

 

Threatened by invasions Yakas, Mani Kongo sent an embassy to Sebastian I of Portugal to beg him for help. The Portuguese king sent an armed force of 600 men in Kongo restore the sovereign prerogatives after a year of fighting. Governor Francisco Gouveia Sottomaior him sign an agreement of vassalage before taking him to join the royalist troops in Luanda headquarters of the Portuguese and was outside the kingdom. A ruler suffering from dropsy. Alvaro wanted to give a reward to the ruler of his empire that Portugal refused but asked in return granting gold mines in the country. Mani Kongo ungrateful ultimately gave false information to the Portuguese who were lost en route. Curiously, it is a Portuguese priest who had advised the king to hide its natural resources to Western alter ego. Alvaro was then assassinate the governor and totally denied having signed any agreement vassalage. Joining his troops, he was soon enough in number to directly threaten its allies.

 

Alvaro I soon reestablished the alliance with the Portuguese who took the opportunity to restore the authority of the clergy in the country somewhat battered by wars of succession. Since they could appropriate the sovereignty of the Kongo, the Portuguese started up the colony of Luanda in southern kingdom. Mani Kongo then had to deal with the push Yakas who came to invade the country before princes dismiss some rebels who caused him a lot of trouble.

 

The evangelization of the country became difficult during the reign of Alvaro I.. Portugal was slow to send missionaries to the country cools the generosity of Mani Kongo. And finally Spain in the sixteenth century who came to annex Portugal answered his expectations despite some logistical difficulties. Alvaro began to modernize his country like the lifestyle of European force during this century. Counties, duchies and marquisates were created throughout the Empire. A cathedral was built in San Salvador.

In March 1587, Alvaro passed away in a country ravaged. His son of the same name succeeded him. Alvaro II Nkanga Nimi was quickly exposed to the ambitions of his brother and sister. Supporters of the two candidates clashed in the capital, undermining the borders of the Empire. He even had to recognize the independence of Miguel Count of Soyo in the kingdom. Alvaro II eventually assert themselves and to reward the nobles who had supported him, created the Order of Christ despite the complaints of plagiarism of Portugal to the Pope.

Pope .... Alvaro sends an ambassador to the Vatican to plead his cause, and a full recognition. The Ambassador-designate reached Rome January 3, 1608 after almost four years of traveling there and delivers his message: The king demanded the same privileges as other Christian kings of the world, asked the Bishop of Kongo remains within the limits of its authority . It is not Portuguese. Because if he was, he should align the positions of Kongo. Exhausted, he died 24 hours after his arrival. But history has recognized it as the first African ambassador to the Vatican.

E) The anarchy

The Mbemba (Duke) Antoine Da Silva decided it was time to end the reign of Alvaro II. In 1614 with his army, he threw in favor of Bernard II (son) and then a year later (August), he replaced by Alvaro III (brother of Bernard II). Antoine Da Silva was the true master of the kingdom until his death in 1620. Alvaro III was surrounded by his supporters to protect themselves from the expansionist governor of the Portuguese colony of Angola Luanda now called. In fact, since 1617, it sent mercenaries to operate raids on villages in defiance of Kongos agreements signed between the two monarchies. Tensions were increased to the death of Alvaro III May 4, 1622. The new ruler appointed by the electors of the kingdom (the heir Ambrose considered too young had been removed), the Mbemba (Duke) Pierre II dia Ya Nkanya MVikade Nsundi royal lineage, liked to hide all runaway slaves to Angola. The governor of Angola immediately invaded the southern kingdom in retaliation.

 

Portuguese armies swept into the kingdom. They meet the soldiers of Peter II Mbanda Kasi. The stinging defeat for the Portuguese Kongos face combined with other African tribes. Furious II Peter responds quickly by executing four governors who had refused to commit troops alongside those of Mani Kongo. Taking fear throughout Kongo armed himself while Peter Ii said more or less the entire war in Portugal. Their soldiers finally beaten Mbanda Kasi, Portuguese merchants settled in the kingdom who naturally supported this invasion will now denounce, fearing for their lives. Pierre II wrote letters of protest to the Pope and the King of Spain. Riots erupt in anti-Portuguese throughout the kingdom. Anxious to preserve his business, Peter II put an end to the riots. Hero for some, Pierre II became the "King of the Portuguese" to his opponents.

 

In Angola, the Portuguese had rebelled against their governor (Joao Correia de Sousa) with the help of the Jesuits and is a Bishop who will ensure the interim of the colony. Him, Pierre II wrote: "It has no nobility, no heart or so"

Categories: Africa, Congo, World

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