Kingdom of Ndongo

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The Kingdom of Ndongo , also Ngola kingdom , was in the west of present-day Angola located Bantu -Königreich. Its center was in the 16th century between the Cuanza and Lukala rivers , east of the Portuguese trading city of Luanda . It was one of a number of vassal states of the Congo Empire , of which it was described as the most powerful. The name Ngola (also Ngola a Kiluanji ), with which the kings of the African empire were designated, appears again today in the name of the state of Angola.

History in the 16th century

The empire was first mentioned in writing in the 15th century when Portuguese seafarers tried to establish trade contacts with Ndongo. In 1571 the Portuguese crown gave Paulo Dias de Novais financial means and an order to build a trading settlement on the Atlantic coast south of the Congo Empire. Novais then founded Luanda in 1575/76 and initially concluded an alliance with Ndongo, but as early as 1579 war broke out between Portugal and the African empire, which ended with a defeat for Dias de Novais. Nevertheless, a small Portuguese colony consolidated around Luanda and in the Cuanza river valley, thanks largely to a slave trade in which Ndongo and Matamba acted as trading partners. From 1615 the governors of the colony entered into alliances with the Imbangala and were able to enlarge the area they controlled, especially at the expense of Ndongo. This expansion met with fierce and at times successful resistance under Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba .

War and resistance against Portugal

Nzinga seized power in Ndongo around 1624 when King Ngoli Bondi ( mbande a ngola ) died under mysterious circumstances. The country was then in a serious crisis, which was triggered in 1618 by a successful advance of the Portuguese military leader Louis Mendes de Vasconcellos . The royal residence was conquered and numerous leaders executed. A subsequent drought and famine further weakened the empire. Nzinga took advantage of irregularities at the royal court to seize rule as a woman against the tradition of the empire.

Since Ndongo was weakened by the wars with the Imbangala , Nzinga sought - at least temporarily - a compromise with the Portuguese. She accepted the Catholic faith from them and concluded contracts with them that gave the missionaries and slave traders access to the kingdom of Ndongo. With the arrival of a new Portuguese governor , relations deteriorated. After Ndongo took in runaway slaves from Portuguese plantations , the Portuguese managed to depose Nzinga in 1629 and replace it with a ruler who was more favorable to them.

Enslavement and decline

The situation in Ndongo worsened with the increasing influence of Portugal. The population continued to shrink as a result of the slave trade . It is estimated that in the first half of the 17th century around 10,000 slaves were brought to America annually from the Ndongo area . The neighboring kingdom of Matamba , which supported Portugal in the slave trade and was ruled by the escaped Queen Nzinga, who still claimed the throne of Ndongo, also played a minor role .

In 1671, after years of resistance, Ndongo was finally incorporated into the Angola colony through a Portuguese campaign.

See also


  • Beatrix Heintze : Unknown Angola: The state of Ndongo in the 16th century. In: Anthropos, Vol. 72, Heft 5./6, 1977, pp. 749-805

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ David Birmingham: Trade and Conflict in Angola: The Mbundu and their Neighbors Under the Influence of the Portuguese, 1483-1750 . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1965; Joseph C. Miller: Kings and kinsmen: early Mbundu states in Angola . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1976