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Central Africa Kingdoms

ole timer Jan 31, 2015

  1. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Central Africa is a fertile area, rich in mineral deposits. Here a number of states emerged with sophisticated metal working techniques after 1000 AD in what is referred to as the 'late iron age.' To the East, between the rivers Zambezi and Limpopo, the grassland zone was rich in cattle, and gold. A distinctive and elaborate form of pottery was made. By the 13th century an empire known as Great Zimbabwe emerged, which left stone ruins of what must have been a spectacular fortified palace.

    By the 15th century this empire had collapsed, taken over by the Mutapa rulers. The Portuguese appeared around the same time attracted by gold and slaves. They made commercial inroads across the width of southern Africa, from what is now Angola in the West, to Mozambique in the East.

    They came across a number of power kingdoms. Among them: the Kongo in the West (present day northern Angola and part of DR Congo); the decentralised and flexible state of Lunda in the centre; and the Lundu Kingdom in the east, which cultivated the cassava and maize which the Portuguese imported with great success.

    Also in the East, was Monumutapa, under Mutapa rule, which resisted all attempts by the Portuguese at subjugation. Reduced in size, it maintained its vigour under the military dynasty of Changamires. By contrast the Kongo Empire was, by the 17th century, devastated by the slave trade.

    By the 18th century the slave trade was sufficiently lucrative and brisk at the coast for the Portuguese to have not need to assert their power in any systematic way in the interior. The states and kingdoms of the interior confined their dealings to middlemen in search of ivory, slaves and gold for sale to coastal traders, both African and European
  2. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Great Zimbabwe

    The monument of Great Zimbabwe is the most famous stone building in southern Africa. Located over 150 miles from Harare, it stands 1,100 km above sea level on the Harare Plateau in the Shashe-Limpopo basin. It is thought to have been built over a long period, beginning in 1200 and ending in 1450.

    Not everyone agrees who the rulers of Great Zimbabwe were; but there is evidence that they were the Karanga, a branch of the Shona-speaking people. The pottery the Karanga make is very similar to that found in Great Zimbabwe.

    There is also a theory that the people of Great Zimbabwe may be descended from a community which lived on the site of Leopards Kopje, less than a hundred miles away from Great Zimbabwe, near present day Bulawayo. The remains of a prosperous iron age society, dependent for its wealth on cattle, have been discovered there.

    "When African nationalists were demanding independence in the 1960s, the Smith regime actually sanctioned historians to write a fake history on the origins of Great Zimbabwe, denying its African origins.

    This was not different from the accounts of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century antiquarians, which linked Great Zimbabwe with Phoenicia, with Saban Arabs, with the Egyptians and the rest of the near East. We would call that, in the scholarly world, 'antiquarian revisionism' - trying to use old values to support a wrong cause altogether. "

    Dr. Innocent Pikirayi, lecturer in history and archaeology, University of Zimbabwe.

    Click here to listen to Dr. Pikirayi

    In terms of political power and cultural influence, the archaeological evidence indicates Great Zimbabwe covered a huge area between the Limpopo River and the Zambezi River, spilling out into Mozambique and Botswana, as well as the Transvaal area of northern South Africa.

    The Great Zimbabwe monument is built out of granite which is the parent rock of the region - i.e. it predominates locally. The building method used was dry-stone walling, demanding a high level of masonry expertise. Some of the site is built round natural rock formations. The actual structure comprises a huge enclosing wall some 20 metres high.

    Inside there are concentric passageways, along with a number of enclosures. One of these is thought to be a royal enclosure. Large quantities of gold and ceremonial battle axes, along with other objects have been found there.

    There is also what is thought to be a gold workshop, and a shrine which is still regarded as sacred today.

    The wealth of Great Zimbabwe lay in cattle production and gold. There are a number of mines to the west of Great Zimbabwe, about 40 kilometres away. One theory is that the rulers of Great Zimbabwe did not have direct control over the gold mines, but rather managed the trade in it, buying up huge quantities in exchange for cattle.

    The evidence suggests that Great Zimbabwe was at the centre of an international commercial system, which on the continent of Africa, encompassed settlements on the East African Coast such as Kilwa, Malindi and Mogadishu. But this trade network also extended to towns in the Gulf, in western parts of India, and even went as far as China.

    There are several theories about the decline of Great Zimbabwe. One is environmental: that a combination of overgrazing and drought caused the soil on the Zimbabwe Plateau to become exhausted. It is estimated that between 5,000 to 30,000 people lived on and around the site. A decline in land productivity would easily have led to famine.

    The other explanation is that the people of Great Zimbabwe had to move in order to maximise their exploitation of the gold trade network. By 1500 the site of Great Zimbabwe was abandoned. Its people had moved in two directions: North to establish the Mutapa state and South to establish the Torwa state.

    "The Mutapa rulers continued the tradition of building structures in stone, similar to Great Zimbabwe, although considerably smaller in size. The Torwa state was established in south west Zimbabwe around the same time as Mutapa. The capital of the Torwa state was Khami.

    The Torwa were defeated during the 1640's in a civil war. From this period onwards we begin to hear about the Changamire Rozvi. They built their elaborate capital at Danangombe, in the middle part of Zimbabwe. This state was brought to an end by the Nguni during the 1830's, but before that the Rozvi had already broken up into several smaller groups.

    The Nambya established themselves near Victoria Falls, and their capital was probably Bumbuzi. The other Rozvi groups dispersed over most of the Zimbabwe Plateau.

    The most notable group of them all established its authority on the Venda people in the Zoutpansberg mountains in South Africa. Their capital was at Dzata."

    Dr. Innocent Pikarayi, lecturer at University of Zimbabwe
  3. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner


    The origins of the Kongo lie in a number of small Iron Age communities lying just north of the Malebo Pool in the River Congo (formerly River Zaire). This strategic location provided fertile soil, iron and copper ore, a rich source of fish, and a river which was navigable for thousands of miles upstream.

    By the early 15th century these communities had grown in wealth and size to form a loose federation centred on one kingdom, led by a king or Manikongo. Following the defeat of a branch of the Mbundu, the focus of power had shifted 200 kilometres south west, south of the River Kongo, where a capital was established called Mbanza Kongo (Sao Salvador under Portuguese rule).

    Click here to listen to Prof. Bethwell Ogot of Maseno University, Kenya, on the splendour of the Kongo

    A broad range of crafts emerged from the Kongo and its client states: metal work, pottery and raffia textiles, much of it practised exclusively by the ruling class. The expansion of the Kongo was effected less through military conquest, and more through trade, alliances and marriages.

    The sovereignty of the Manikongo was exercised through a number of governors. To the west and north were three important states, which were allies - Loango, Ngoyo and Kakongo.

    With increased population density in the region, food supplies began to be outstripped by demand. A number of expeditions were launched in search of new territory. These were headed by chiefs chosen by the Manikongo. They set off west, north east and south to establish new outposts to the Kongo empire.

    At its height, Kongo was the biggest state in western Central Africa. It stretched from the Atlantic in the west to the Kwango River in the east, encompassing what today is northern Angola, part of DR Kongo and part of Congo Brazzaville.

    On our departure from Kongo there were nine caravans under nine chiefs with their staff of office.
    We brought with us the basket containing the relics of our ancestors, which are used in the installation of chiefs.
    We brought the grass rings for the chiefs' roof-tops.
    The paths we travelled were safe.
    The villages we built were peaceful…
    We kept all together.
    We were careful not to separate.

    From a 'boasting song', collected by the Belgian missionary J. Van Wing, quoted by Roland Oliver and Anthony Atmore in The African Middle Ages

    The first European to arrive in sub-Saharan Africa was the Portuguese navigator, Diogo Cao. Having come south down the coast from what is now Elmina in Ghana, he sailed into the estuary of the River Congo. His initial encounter with the people of Soyo, on the coast, made it immediately clear that he was on the edge of a great empire.

    When asked who the ruler of the region was, he was told of the Manikongo and his seat of power in Mbanza Kongo, even though it was over 300 km inland.

    "People (the BaKongo) remember that the Manikongo (the king of the Kongo) agreed to open his kingdom to modern influences very early on. They say that they themselves are less civilized than white people, but more civilized than other Kongo people. They say the country can only be saved if the Kongo lead the country.

    The other people say to the Kongo people, 'you are too arrogant. You think that you are the only people that can save the country - why?' And this has created a big problem."

    Dr. Remi Bazenguissa, anthropologist at Ecole des Haut Etudes, Paris, France, who is making a special study of the BaKongo today and their sense of identity.

    Two years later Diogo Cao actually visited the capital. Trade began in earnest between the BaKongo and the Portuguese and the kings began to correspond.

    Gradually the Transatlantic slave trade began to overshadow the relationship between these two empires, and drain the region of its manpower
  4. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner


    Before the arrival of Europeans, the Kongo in the west and Great Zimbabwe in the south east of the continent offered two different trading models.

    Before the late 15th century, in the west, there was no Transatlantic trade, although there was commerce up and down the coast. Great Zimbabwe by contrast, through its management of gold production stood at the heart of a massive trade network which extended east across the Indian Ocean, though the Persian Gulf, to India and even as far as China.

    It was not until the 18th century that east-west trade routes on the continent were followed through by single caravans. Before that, there is evidence that goods and products could make their way across great distances, but only through a chain of transactions, involving many different traders. An interesting example of this is the discovery in the Great Zimbabwe site of five double-ironed gongs. These were manufactured in Katanga province, southern part of modern DR Congo.

    The BaKongo, located as they were in the lower basin of the River Kongo, traded copper and iron for salt, food and raffia textiles. Within a few years of the Portuguese arriving in the estuary of the River Congo, the BaKongo were trading with them. Slaves were an important aspect of that trade from the beginning, but the Portuguese also imported copper, silver, ivory and peppers.

    The BaKongo took a broader view of what they wanted from the Portuguese. They were interested in textiles, horses and crafted goods, in particular those made of metal. They also wanted to acquire skills - the skills of masons and carpenters to build European style buildings, and education and literacy, in order to communicate directly with Europe.

    The rulers of the Kongo, starting with Manikongo (or king) Nzinga a Nkuwu, demonstrated a strong fascination with the Christianity which the Portuguese brought with them.

    Trade between the two kingdoms became rapidly dominated by slaves, and the relationship between the two kings, which had started out as one of equals, rapidly became unequal. Portugal was importing slaves to satisfy a seemingly bottomless demand for manpower in Latin America.

    By the end of the 16th century an annual average of 5,000 to 10,000 slaves were leaving Luanda for Brazil. Kongo's alliance with Portugal increasingly benefited only one side: that of the Portuguese.

    By the second half of the 17th century, the Portuguese stopped launching any further military conquest. And while they continued to benefit from the slave trade, they began to lose control of the trade network which bought and sold the slaves.

    Aside from the Dutch, British and French appearing on the scene in the 17th century, a host of other communities and groups tapped into the trade network, both on the east and west of the continent. Increasingly, these traders acted independently of both the Portuguese crown and traders based in Lisbon.

    Among the many independent groups were the Portuguese pombeiros who went deep into western central Africa in the 16th century, initially acting on behalf of the Portuguese traders on the coast. There were also the Yaka and Imbangala, who although of different origins, were equally adept at making a living off other communities, ruthlessly pillaging crops and cattle, as well as slaves.

    With the defeat of the Kongo in 1665, the Vili, (located north of the Kongo estuary), took on a greater commercial role, travelling regularly the 800 km to Kasanje, a new powerful broker state bordering on the Lunda kingdom.

    The same destination attracted the Ambaquista, a community of traders of African-European descent, who lived in the Cuanza valley, south of Luanda.

    The slave trade, under the auspices of Portugal, ruined the economic and political stability of the Kongo. Ultimately it ruined Portugal too, as this small European kingdom let itself float in the destructive slip-stream of profit, without pausing to invest.

    The brutality of the slave trade was later echoed in Central Africa, in the 19th century, by the regime of forced labour imposed by the Belgians in the rubber plantations it set up.

    By the late 18th century, long distance trade routes began to be established, and by 1850, Ovimbundu traders (in the middle of modern Angola) had reached the Lamba of Northern Rhodesia. In 1856 the Nyamwezi trader king, Msiri, established his base in Katanga (in the southern part of what is today DR Congo), and sent out caravans both to the western and eastern coasts.

    On the Indian Ocean seaboard, the commercial scene was very different from the Atlantic sea board in the late 15th century. The Arabs had been trading with the Swahili coastal people for centuries before the Portuguese appeared. Trade went east through the Persian Gulf and India, and on to the Far East. The Portuguese arrived in the late 15th century with the principle aim of capturing the gold routes which drove this trade. In this they failed.

    The Shona kingdom of Mutapa, ruled by the Monumutapa (or Mwene Mutapa, as it is sometimes spelt) proved impossible to defeat. It was eventually displaced as the dominant power in the region by the Changamire of Burwa. In the process, Portuguese backwoodsmen, the sertanejos, found themselves pushed off the Zimbabwe Plateau in 1694.

    Having bullied the sultans of the east African coast for the last two centuries, the Portuguese found themselves by the end of the 17th century overwhelmed by the Arabs of Omani. However, a Portuguese commercial presence remained on the coast.

    At the same time, the mixed race prazeiros established themselves as traders in ivory and slaves in the Zambezi valley.

    Then in the first half of the 19th century a number of Portuguese and Brazilian traders experienced a final flush of prosperity. With the abolition of the slave trade by the British in West Africa, the demand in the Americas for slaves from southern Africa surged. This continued in concert with the Arab trade in slaves, until the British closed the slave market in Zanzibar in 1873.

    "I would like to think there could have been trade between the Kongo and Great Zimbabwe; it could have been indirect because we do not know much of what happened between the BaKongo and the Luba Lunda in the south eastern part of what is now DR Congo, and the Luba Lunda and the copper producers of central Zambia.

    But these commercial conducts did take place directly or indirectly
  5. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Portuguese Intervention In The West

    The main aim of the Portuguese, when they first came to sub Saharan Africa in 1443, was to enhance and enrich the Portuguese Crown. With a very small population, Portugal had for centuries struggled to define itself in Europe against its larger neighbour Spain. It had only acquired independence in the mid 13th century.

    By the 15th century Portugal was comparable to many kingdoms in Africa, although possibly less rich and less well endowed scholastically than Mali and Ghana. The Jewish and Moorish populations had been expelled from Portugal in the mid 15th century severely depleting the cultural and intellectual life. But already by the beginning of the 15th century Portugal had begun to excel in one area - navigation.

    In 1482 Diogo Cao completed a journey of nearly 8,000 km from Portugal, down the West African coast, arriving at the mouth of the River Congo. He was the first European to travel this far down the West African coast, and he quickly realised there was a very powerful ruler in the region.

    This Manikongo, or king, resided over 300 km inland at Mbanza Kongo, and yet everyone knew him and paid tribute to him at the coast. So for the Portuguese there was a leader to negotiate with, who had authority over many people, in a region with great commercial potential. The main commodities were ivory and copper, and of course slaves. Slaves were an important aspect of that trade from the beginning, but the Portuguese also imported silver and peppers.

    But there is another strand to the Portuguese intervention in West Africa. Having made contact with each other, the two kings - Nzinga a Nkuwu, the Manikongo, (or king of the Kongo), and King Joao II of Portugal began what in later years under their successors was to become an intensely religious relationship. And the Manikongo developed a fascination for all things European.

    Within eight years of first arriving, the Portuguese had made a deep impression on the ruling class of the Kongo. Four young Bakongo men were sent to be educated in Portugal. The Manikongo was baptised Dom Joao I (the same name as his Portuguese counterpart), along with his son, Nzinga Mbemba, who became Affonso.

    The newly named Dom Joao I took possession of an entourage of carpenters and masons, large amounts of European cloth, a selection of horses and cattle, and a piece of revolutionary technology: a printing press, complete with two German printers. The first printing press had only been invented forty years earlier.

    By the second half of the 17th century, the Portuguese stopped launching any further military conquest. And while they continued to benefit from the slave trade, they began to lose control of the trade network which bought and sold the slaves.

    Aside from the Dutch, British and French appearing on the scene in the 17th century, a host of other communities and groups tapped into the trade network, both on the east and west of the continent. Increasingly, these traders acted independently of both the Portuguese crown and traders based in Lisbon.

    When Affonso became king in 1506, he set out to learn everything there was to learn about the Portuguese ruling class, court etiquette, the laws of the country and the Catholic Church. (After an initial bout of enthusiasm, his father's commitment to Christianity had faded).

    Later, Affonso's son, Henrique, was to become the first black Bishop in the Catholic Church.

    The Franciscan missionary Rui d'Aguiar was amazed at King Affonso's piety and dedication:

    "It seems to me from the way he speaks he is not a man, but an angel, sent by the Lord in this kingdom to convert it. For I assure you, it is he who instructs us. He devotes himself entirely to study, so that it often happens that he falls asleep at his books, and often he forgets to eat and drink in talking of the things of our Lord."

    In 1512 the King of Portugal ordered a coat of arms be drawn up for the Manikongo. But good will between kings and the piety of the newly converted king were not enough to deal with the rush of commercial greed which soon enveloped the Kongo.

    The demand for manpower in the New World meant the slave trade soon took over all other commercial transactions, and it attracted a mass of rootless, ruthless entrepreneurs, some BaKongo, or neighbours of the BaKongo, some Portuguese and people from mixed races.

    Dona Anna de Sousa Nzinga first emerged in the Ndongo Kingdom in the 1620s. She dealt with a catalogue of disaster and disadvantages, emerging finally as an extraordinary strategist, warrior and negotiator. Her father, the king of Ndongo, was deposed, her son was killed by her half-brother, Mbandi, and she was driven out of the kingdom.

    Under pressure from the Portuguese, Mbandi finally called on Nzinga for help. She returned and negotiated with the Portuguese on his behalf, agreeing to a Christian baptism in the process.

    When the Portuguese betrayed their agreement, Nzinga sought allies among the Jaga people. She took the opportunity to avenge the death of her son by killing Mbandi.

    Forced out of her kingdom once more, she built up a huge military following with the help of the Jaga and a large number of slaves. From her base in Matamba she attacked Ari, the new king of Ndongo, whom she considered a puppet of the Portuguese.

    For nine years she fought the Portuguese relentlessly supported by the Dutch and the Jaga. Finally she was defeated in 1656. According to a Dutch emissary she dressed like a man and kept a harem of men at home. She died in 1663 and was succeeded by her sister Dona Barbara.

    As early as 1514, the Manikongo, Affonso I, complains, writing from his palace in Mbanza Kongo, to Manuel I about the behaviour of the former Governor of Sao Tome Fernao de Melo:

    "He sold our goods at the lowest price possible. With the money he bought a slave from Goa and another. He sent us them in one of the first ships, saying they were the carpenters. At the same time he sent us some blue cloth all gnawed by rats…all this we have been able to endure because of the love of our Jesus Christ."

    Listen to Paul Bakabinga reading a letter from King Affonso, Manikongo, to King Manuel I of Portugal

    Later on in Affonso's reign, it was obvious that whatever the initial rewards in terms of material goods and skills, the slave trade was beginning to undermine the fabric of the kingdom. On 18th October 1526, Affonso complained to the Portuguese King. He claimed the slave trade was robbing the country of its best men.

    "Sir, there is in our kingdom, a great obstacle to God. Many of our subjects crave the Portuguese merchandise which your people bring to our kingdom so keenly. In order to satisfy their crazy appetite they snatch our free subjects, or people who have been freed.

    They even take noblemen and the sons of noblemen, even our kinsmen. They sell them to white men who are in our kingdom, after having transported their prisoners on the sly in the dead of night. Then the prisoners are branded. The white men…cannot say from whom they have bought the prisoners. "

    Listen to Paul Bakabinga reading a letter from King Affonso, Manikongo, to King Manuel I of Portugal

    As the 17th century proceeded, the voracious demands of the slave trade and the breakdown of loyalty among Kongo's client states, all conspired to undermine the position of the Manikongo. The special relationship between the BaKongo and the Portuguese turned sour, as alliances and enmities increasingly turned solely on profit.

    In 1665 the Kongo army was defeated by the Portuguese at the battle of Mbwila. The head of the Manikongo was cut off and put in the chapel situated on the bay of Luanda.

    In 1704 a young Kongo woman called Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita claimed to be possessed by St. Anthony and declared it her mission to restore Kongo to its former glory. She founded a church in Mbanza Kongo, then called Sao Salvador by the Portuguese, which became very popular.

    Her following attracted jealousy and criticism. She was burnt at the stake for heresy, along with her baby son in 1706. Pedro IV, ruler of the Kimbungu, ordered her death with the encouragement of Catholic priests
  6. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Portuguese Intervention In The East

    The people of the east coast of Africa were not to be as easily impressed by European ways as those of the Kongo. They had, after all, already been importing ceramics and textiles from India and China for many centuries.

    The leader of the Portuguese expedition round the Cape, Vasco da Gama, was not intending to stay anyway, being on his way to India. But the prosperity of Mombasa and Malindi, and the existence of gold made east Africa worth more than an occasional stopping off point.

    "The king wore a robe of damask trimmed with green satin, and a rich turban. He was seated on two cushioned chairs of bronze, beneath a round sunshade of crimson satin attached to a pole. An old man, who attended him as a page, carried a short sword in a silver sheath.

    There were many musicians…two trumpets of ivory, richly carved, and of the size of a man, were blown from a hole in the side, and made sweet harmony… "

    Vasco da Gama's description of the ruler of Malindi, 1498.

    The east coast of Africa was part of a huge trade network, driven largely by the gold of Great Zimbabwe and extending as far as China. The trading partners of the coastal Swahili were Arabs and Persians. Many coastal rulers had converted to Islam; Christianity held little allure.

    In the long term, the Portuguese attempted to breach the Arab trade monopoly. They tried to force coastal rulers to take an oath of loyalty to the Portuguese crown. Then they built fortresses at Kilwa, Mozambique and Sofala. Later, in 1593, they built Fort Jesus, the biggest fortress of all in Mombasa, hoping to crush the opposition of the sultan permanently.

    Moving inland, the Portuguese seized Swahili trading posts at Sena and Tete. This meant they were able to deal directly with the ruler of the Mutapa state, the Monumutapa (Mwene Mutapa, meaning 'master pillager') and carry out trading on the Zimbabwean Plateau.

    For a time, a satisfactory trading relationship was maintained. But this was not enough for the Portuguese and they tried to gain total control of the gold mines. In 1571, they launched all out war, but were defeated by the Monumutapa. Thereafter, the Portuguese paid tribute to the Mutapa state in return for the right to limited mining.

    "It is a fair place, with lofty stone and mortar houses, well aligned in streets after the fashion of Kilwa. The wood is well-fitted with excellent joiner's work. It has its own king, himself a Moor. The men are in colour either tawny, black, or white and also their women go very bravely attired with many fine garments of silk and gold in abundance. This is a place of great traffic, has good harbour, in which are always moored crafts of many kinds and also great ships."

    ...AND AFTER
    "The king of this city refused to obey the commands of the King our Lord (of Portugal) and through this arrogance he lost it, and our Portuguese took it from him by force. He fled away, and they slew many of his people and also took captive many, both men and women, in such sort that it was left ruined and plundered and burnt.

    Of gold and silver great booty was taken here, bangles, bracelets, ear-rings, and gold beads, and also a great store of copper with other rich wares in great quantity, and the town was left in ruins."

    Portuguese trader, Duarte Barbosa, writing in 1517-1518

    With the defeat of the Swahili traders in the Zambezi Valley, Portugal asserted its commercial presence through the African-Portuguese prazeiros (estate owners) who settled in the area.

    In the 17th century the Mutapa state fell into decline. Other states emerged, such as Barwe, and most noticeably the Butwa state under its ruler who held the title of Changamire. In 1684, the Changamire called Dombe defeated the Monumutapa and went on to take control over a huge gold producing area.

    On the coast the Portuguese enjoyed considerable power for over 30 years, until 1631 when the Portuguese garrison at Fort Jesus was massacred by the ruler of Mombasa, Dom Jeronimo Chingulia, or Muhammad Yusif bin Hassan - his Muslim name.

    He was one of the many Swahilis whom the Portuguese attempted to convert to Christianity. In his case he was actually sent to Goa to study, but reverted to Islam as soon as he returned to Africa. Fort Jesus was rebuilt but finally fell to the Arabs of Oman in 1698.

    Once more Arab sea power dominated the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese meanwhile were confined to the coastland of what is today modern Mozambique, and experienced a late flush of prosperity when the British banned slave trading off the West African coast.

    The intervention of the Portuguese was periodically highly disruptive, but the people they encountered on the east coast had a more profound effect on them than vice versa. The Portuguese became in many ways Africanised, while the people of the Swahili coast retained their culture with remarkably little change over the centuries
  7. ole timer

    ole timer Forum Owner Forum Owner

    Congo & Great Zimbabwe & Portuguese Timeline

    2nd century AD - beginning of Iron Age

    10th century - Late Iron Age, cattle-keeping community established at Leopard's Kopje, near modern Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

    11th century - Late Iron Age

    1200 - Beginning of Great Zimbabwe state

    1400 - Most of Great Zimbabwe stone buildings completed. Capital of BaKongo kingdom fixed at Mbanza Kongo

    1482 - Portuguese adventurer, Diogo Cao, arrives at the mouth of the River Kongo.
    First European contract with BaKongo

    1491 - Manikongo (king) of Kongo, Nzinga a Nkuwu, is christened Joao II

    1500 - Great Zimbabwe finally abandoned

    1506 - Affonso I (formerly Nzinga Mbemba) becomes Manikongo (king) of Kongo

    15th century - Great Zimbabwe decline. Movement of people North East to found Mutapa state and towards the south to establish Torwa state

    1512 - Portuguese design coat of arms for Manikongo

    1593 - Portuguese build Fort Jesus in Mombasa

    1631 - Sultan Muhammad Yusif bin Hassan massacres Portuguese garrison in Fort Jesus

    1639 - Queen Nzinga of Ndongo, in modern Angola, begins military campaign against Portuguese

    1665 - Kongo defeated by Portuguese at battle of Mbwila

    1689 - Fort Jesus falls to Omani Arabs

    1704 - Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita claims to be possessed by St. Anthony. She founds a church and launches a mission to revive Kongo's former glory

    1706 - Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita burnt at stake for heresy

    1850 - Ovimbundu traders, in the middle of modern Angola, reach Lamba of Northern Rhodesia

    1856 - Msiri, Nyamwezi trading king, establishes his seat of power in Katanga, in the southern part of modern DR Congo

    1873 - Zanzibar slave market closed down