The Congo (realm)

Historische Karte des Kongo
historical map the Congo

the Congo realm was a Bantureich in central Africa of 14. Century to in 17. Century. The prominent Central African commonwealth extended over parts today's Angola , the Republic of the Congo and the democratic Republic of the Congo and was its time.

Table of contents


at present its discovery by the Portuguese took the Congo realm with its expansion of approximately 300,000 km ² the entire western quarter the today's Congo as well as parts of the today's north of Angola and the Republic of the Congo(to the comparison: the reunited Federal Republic of Germany is scarcely 357,000 km ² largely).


as in many regions of west and Central Africa applied also in the Congo realm on the four day week of based calendars. Applied:

  • Week = 4 days
  • month = 7 weeks
  • year = 13Months + 1 day

with the assumption of the Christianity the Christian calendar displaced increasingly the use of this calendar.

national organization

administrative arrangement

the realm was at first into the levels province, district and village arranged and into the sixProvinces Mpemba, Nsundi, Mpangu, Mbata, Mbamba and Soyo partitions. With the contractual integration of the States of Kakongo, Loango and Ngoy later a federation from four partial states, only the partial state the Congo developed was subordinate thereby to far directly for the Mani the Congo, the further arrangementremained unchanged.

Basis of the administrative arrangement was the village, whose guidance was organized hereditary and matrilokal. The leadership level of the village led no formal title and did not count therefore not to the aristocracy of the realm.

The districts as those the villages superordinate level led in each case of oneAn official, who was used either by the governor of the province or the Mani the Congo and will at any time again recall could. Apart from administrative tasks these officials were active also as judges of the districts. Some districts, e.g. the district Wembo lain in the south, were direct the ManiThe Congo subordinates, which were most however into one of the six provinces integrated.

By the Mani the Congo were appointed the officials of the provinces, which were also usually its advisors. In addition they would fulfill in principle the same tasks as the district officials, only evenly on province level.


The Mani the Congo became originally from the descendants of the founder father Ntinu Wene and starting from 1540 from those by Afonso I. of a committee from nine to twelve electors selected (under them the Mani Soyo, the Mani Mbata as well as the Mani Kabunga, which possessed a right of veto).The throne candidates began already years in advance a supporter network to develop, which became strongest in each case parliamentary group mostly confirmed by the choice committee. The supporters of the new Mani the Congo were recompenced afterwards with offices on province or district level.

The zwölfköpfige advice Ne Mbanda was associated to the Mani the Congo,with important decisions like e.g. during the installation of an official, the explanation of wars, as well as the opening and locking of roads possessed a right of veto. Starting from 1512 these also still another Portuguese councellor was provided, after 1568 moved the royal Beichtvater in its place.

ThatMani the Congo sat on a throne from wood and ivory, Insignien of its power was a whip from the tail of a Zebras, one with skins and animal heads behängten belt as well as a small cap. Its subjects had to approach it on all four and were allowed itneither when eating nor when drinking, did they watch the latter nevertheless, threatened them the death penalty.

the title Mani carried social structure all officials from the district level (and/or. in the north of the realm Ne), followed of the name of the district or the province, forthey responsibly thus e.g. were. Mani Wembo, Mani Mpemba and evenly Mani the Congo (responsible for the realm). Together with the function carriers at the yard, which likewise carried the title Mani, supplemental around a designation of their function, the Manis formed the aristocracy class. They possessed as onlythe privilege, iron to schmieden, since the state founder Wene forge had been.

Beside the noble ones and the “normal” citizens it gave also indebtedness, punishment to slaves, by war shank, or as family dowry payment. Similarly as in antique Rome or Greece was this slavery however -compared to the later form of the Europeans - a slavery with “human” face, slaves could recover here their liberty or with free ones marry themselves.


most judge positions were part of the offices of the Manis, from district up to realm level. Highest judgeand specialist for cases of adultery was at the royal yard the resident Mani Vangu Vangu.


from a royal body guard apart, existed originally no army being located in the Congo. If necessary a people army was summoned together. The level of organization of this untrained army was small, gave itmilitary title carriers (Tendala, Ngolambolo), but no detailed knowledge over strategies or tactics. Wars were decided by individual battles, since there was no Versorgungswesen, which could have supplied armies over longer time.

1575 became two standing military formations equipped with Arkebusen in the lifecalled. One served as new body guard of the king, a further was stationed with the Mani Mbata. To this time it came also to tactical advancements.



the incomes of the state existed to a large extent of taxes as well as to carrying outWork services (similar the European Fron). Also tributes in special form (Raffiagewebe, ivory, millet, slaves), tariffs and fines flowed to the state. The entire state income supervised a committee named Mfutila together with the Mani Mpanza and the Mani Samba, related became it to a large extent the alimony of theroyal yard, in addition, smaller yards of the Manis on province and district level.

Taxes were paid once in the year in ritual form, since 1506 with the celebration in honours Jakobus of the older one to 25. July. The delivery ceremony took place before the palace of the Mani the Congo. Steppedthe Manis of the districts and provinces individually forwards, handed the taxes over and renewed their loyalty oath for a further year. Depending upon its satisfaction the Mani the Congo confirmed it for a further year or relieved it of its office.

A singular characteristic was complete control thatCurrency by the Mani the Congo. At the island lain before the coast shells, whose bowls (Nzimbu, were Luanda) became related as money. The island belonged to the Mani the Congo and the shell fishery in its waters was its privilege. Itself the possibilities resulting in from itfor a consistent fiscal policy remained however unused, the currency was constantly inflationary.


of markets on regular took place changing places. There were no professional dealers, the producers offered their surplus itself.


apart from the treatment of iron became alsoCopper processes.


as in most Central African Savannenstaaten supported itself rural economy also in the Congo by a building of travelling waves accompanying with Brandrodung, a little effectively and only for the Subsistenzwirtschaft suited. Were cultivated beans, Sorghum, Hirsen, eye beans as well as othersclassical African vegetables, starting from that 16. Century also increasingly from South America or Asia imported arable crops such as Maniok, corn, peanuts, sweet potatoes, Yams or bananas, isolates also Zuckerrohr. For the production of textiler raw materials Raffiapalmen were cultivated.

As domestic animals chickens were, goats and dogs spreads, since that 18. Century also pigs and ducks. Sheep, these were likewise common were subject however frequently to taboos. Cattle are only isolated, usually in the possession of Manis.


the original religious conceptions of the populationthe Congo realm divide their bases with those of the surrounding peoples, have however some special characteristics to exhibit. As everywhere into the Savannenstaaten Central Africa there was a creator God. This was considered as mirror-image-ritual figure to each individual as directly accessible, in contrast to the nature spirit (only northernthe Congo river admires) and Fetischen (however only south the Congo river a faith which can be found), which were attainable for oldest ones or priests only. Likewise was in the Congo like everywhere in western Central Africa the faith in Hexerei and Zauberei. Nearly only in the Congo however was as characteristicthe ancestor cult spreads to find otherwise in this culture area rather rarely.


establishment of realm

the Congo realm developed around 1370. Establishment father was mentioned , that the rule area of its father, the master principality Bungu, close to Ntinu Wene, traditionally also Nimi A Lukenithe today's city, left Boma.

Its conquest placed the beginning of the establishment of realm from Ambundu - and Ambwelavölkern settled Congo plateaus around the later capital M'banza the Congo. By the marriage Wenes with a woman from the Nsaku Vunda clan (that the mirror-image-ritual rights at the countrypossessed) and the ritual acknowledgment by the Mani Kabunga, which administered the right at the country as Kitomi (earth priest), strengthened Wene its position and took the ruler title Mani the Congo and/or. Ne the Congo on.

From this basis Wene in fast consequence subjected the later provinces Mpemba, Nsundi, Mbamba and Soyo, also two kingdoms which were in the east because of the Inkisi were taken in, Mpangu by a campaign of the governor von Nsundi and Mbata by freiwillige subjecting the Mani Mbata, which remained also thereby as a governor in the office (office remained being hereditary).He merged at this time the independent Kingdoms of Kakongo , Loango and Ngoy contractually into the realm. In its second Mpemba conquered area, the province, created Wene at the today's border to the DR the Congo in Angola the M'banza Congo (too German “king yard the Congo “,in the colonial age renamed to Sao Salvador). For the remainder of its history it remained capital of the realm.

the contact with Portugal

one after first reaching the Congo delta 1482 by Diogo Cão Portuguese expedition sent led 1489 to the first European contactwith the king in the M'banza Congo. The acting Mani Congo Nzinga, son of the Nkuwu, sent in response an emissary to Portugal, left themselves already 1491 as João I. baptize (fell however 1493 or already 1494 again from the new faith) and received in response military assistancethe Portuguese, who helped to consolidate its regional supremacy.

After death Nzinga á Nkuwus gave it a struggle for power between the Christian Mwemba and its traditional-religious brother to Mpanzu, which did not accept the election result. In the “battle of the M'banza Congo” Mwemba could become generally accepted against its brother, thatPutting one after however only with the “assistance of God” in the form of armed riders, who appeared from the sky down. As cathedral Afonso I. Mwemba 1506 took over the rule over the Congo.

Afonso I. and the Regimento Manuels

Afonso had been born around 1456and prevailed 37 years long over the Congo, longer than every other ruler before or after it. It operated a policy of selective modernization in close support at Portugal as a piously Christian ruler. He understood the European great powers as Christian brother states, began with the structurea native Klerus, student sent to Europe and tried European craftsmen and university graduates into the Congo to get. Its hope was by a forced Christianisierung and co-operation of the Portuguese and its royal condition comrade Manuel durably as equivalently to be recognized a strategy, at firstwas successful. Portugal recognized the Mani Congo (contrary to all other European king houses) as a king, although (for formal reasons) not as a “sovereignty “.

1512 however came it to the “Regimento so mentioned” Manuels, an instruction to its Ambassador. It planned that thosePortuguese the Mani Congo at the organization of its realm aside to stand should, including the structure of a juridical system after European sample and the structure of an army. Also missionary commitment, which support with the building of churches as well as the instruction of the yard were in Portuguese label angedacht, in responsethe Congo should fill the Portuguese ships with valuable freight, in the letter Manuels with concrete demand:

This expedition cost us, it much would be wrongly it with empty hands back home to be sent. Although it is our zuvörderster desire, to serve God andthe Mani Congo the Congo to please, were intended their nontheless to it in our name to clarify, what he has to do around the ships to fill, is it with slaves, copper or ivory.

Again and again however itself Afonso had already briefly after its Inthronisation disappointed, above all from it as greedy and “shameless” if felt behavior of the mission acres and the arising slave hunt of the Portuguese, who made no more difference between “normal” slaves, free ones or even noble ones, see, it led to the fact that it several times letters to the Portuguese king and even emissariesinto the Vatikan sent, in order to become cooperative the problem gentleman. There however he found no hearing and limited 1526 the power of Portugal, by referring the Portuguese of the country, a request, which mission acres and official ones followed, not however the feared slave hunters. DuringPortugal its interests as reaction to the kingdom that Luanda shifted, purged the Congo gradually, since it had become dependent on Portugal economically and structurally long.

decay and smashing of the realm

after Afonsos death 1543 should it actually Pedro I. follow, thatbut by Afonsos grandchild, Diogo I., in a directly following argument around the succession to the throne, was entmachtet. Although originally rather Portugal-hostilely adjusted, Diogo loads 1546 again mission acres into the country. An attack by the people of the Jaga 1569 from today's Tanzania, that on the insideunstable realm become not alone could have withstood, led to an assistance call Alvaro I. at Portugal, which saved the country from the Jaga. But this release was a Pyrrhussieg, Alvaro I. had in the Vasallendienst of Portugal to go and the Congo became tributary, also formalthe equal rights and equivalence of the two kingdoms ended with this step. Alvaros desperate act stabilized the Congo on the inside and afterwards tried Alvaro clasping by Portugal to solve, this failed however and in such a way made Alvaro I. finally Portugal the wayfreely, in order to make from the Congo a place of transshipment for the expanding slave trade. This led to the depopulation of whole regions and let the Congo realm gradually disintegrate, in particular after death Alvaro II. in the year 1614, as Alvaro III. the breaking out civil wars, rebellions and rebellions not gentlemanto become was able, particularly since it and its successor itself in a network between Portugal, that had to move new power Spain and their Selbstständigkeit fighting for dutchmen.

Only Garcia II. tried from 1641 - 1661, in an alliance with the Netherlands, approximatelyto place the ever more excessively becoming slave trade and the Portuguese supremacy. As however 1665 its successor Antonio I. , defeated a Portuguese army in the battle of Ambuila that demanded all contracts for invalidly explained and the return of all of Portugal of annektierten areas, locked with PortugalCongolese army, beheaded Antonio as well as numerous its Höflinge (under it the yard priest and writer Manuel Roboredo) and seized final control of the country, which became to smash afterwards to its single provinces. Starting from 1718 the remaining provinces disintegrated finally into Häuptlingstümer, the Congo realm had in itsoriginal form after something over 300 years to exist stopped.

Since the reappearance of a king in the year 1793 the office continued to exist however as ethnical and cultural institution into the present. Since 1962 no office holder was confirmed more by the state, is apparentbut Dona Isabel Maria there Gama, widow of Antonio III., at present the acting Regentin (at the same time the first female office owner). Some sources report however of an end of their rule in the year 1975.

The Kingdom of the Congo gave its two modern states to names: the Republic of the Congo and the democratic Republic of the Congo. For the history of the latters see history of the democratic Republic of the Congo.

list the Mani Congo the Congo

the Mani Congo by the Council of Elders either from the Kimpanzu or Kimulazu clan, give however exceptions, these were selected are inthe list characterized.

the Mani Congo of the realm

  • Ntinu á Nimi Wene Lukeni (ABBOTT 1370 - ABBOTT 1420, state State of - Ne the Congo)
  • Nanga á Nimi kia Ntinu the Congo (ABBOTT 1420 - ABBOTT 1450)
  • Wene á Ntinu Ne the Congo (ABBOTT 1450 - ABBOTT 1470)
  • Nkuwuá Wene (ABBOTT 1470 - ABBOTT 1480)
  • João I. (Nzinga á Nkuwu) ABBOTT 1480/BEF 1482 - 1505)
  • Afonso I. (Mvemba á Nzinga) (1505 - 1543)
  • Pedro I. (Nkanga á Mwemba) (1543 1545)
  • Francisco I. (Mpudi á Nzinga Mvemba) (1545-1545)
  • Diogo I.(Nkumbi Mpudi á Nzinga) (1545 1561)
  • Afonso II. (Mvemba á Nzinga) (1561-1561)
  • Bernardo I. (Mvemba á Nzinga) (1561 1566)
  • Henrique I. (Mpudi á Mvemba Nzinga) (1566 1567)
  • Alvaro I. (Mpangu á Nimi Lukeni lua Mvemba) (1568 1587)
  • Alvaro II.(Mpangu áNimi Lukeni lua Mvemba) (1587 1614)
  • Bernardo II. (Mpangu á Nimi Lukeni lua Mvemba) (1614 1615)
  • Alvaro III.(Mpangu á Nimi Lukeni lua Mvemba) (1615 1622)
  • Pedro II. Afonso (Nkanga á Mvika lua Ntumba á Mvemba) (1622 1624)
  • Garcia I.(Mvembaá Nkanga Ntinu) (1624 1626)
  • Ambrosio (Mvemba á Nkanga Ntinu) (1626 1631)
  • Alvaro IV. (Mvemba á Nkanga Ntinu) (1631 1636
  • Alvaro V. (Mvemba á Nkanga Ntinu) (1636-1636)
  • Alvaro VI. (Mvemba á Nkanga Ntinu) (1636 1642) not from traditional clan
  • Garcia II.(Nkangaá Lukeni) (1642 1661)
  • Antonio I. (Vita á Nkanga) (1661 - 1665), the last independent Mani Congo of the Congo realm

the Mani Congo of the provinces

the Mani Congo in Mbanza the Congo, (São Salvador)

  • Alvaro VII. (Mpangu A Nsundi) (1665 1666) not from traditional clan
  • Alvaro VIII. (1666-1666) not from traditional clan
  • Rafael (1669 1674)
  • Daniel (Mpangu A Miyala) (1674 1678)
  • unknown (1678 1694)
  • Pedro IV. Nsaku A Mvemba (1694-1718) painted from traditional clan, later
  • Pedro Constantino (Mpangu) (1718?) after cancellation of the predecessor also as Pedro IV. led
work on []

The Mani Congo in AI-Mpangu

  • Afonso III. (1667-1669)
  • Garcia III. Nkanga A Mvemba (1669-1678)
  • André I. Nlaza (? - 1679)
  • Álvaro IX. Nimi A Mvemba (? - 1680) not from traditional clan
  • Manuel I. Nzinga (? - 1680)
  • Pedro IV. Nsaku A Mvemba (1694-1718) not from traditional clan

the Mani Congo in Mbula

  • Pedro III. Nsuku A Ntamba (1667-1683)
  • João II Nsuku A Ntamba (1683-1717)

Obskure period

the Mani Congo of this time would have to include the following rulers due to the numbering of later office holders:

  • Alvaro X.
  • Antonio II.
  • Garcia IV.
  • Henrique II.
  • Manuel II.

Their sequence and existence in detail are not secured however.

The Mani Congo as cultural institution

  • Henrique III. (1793-1802)
  • Alvaro XI. (1802-1802)
  • Garcia V. (Nkanga A Mvemba) (1802-1830)
  • André II. (1830?)
  • André III. (? - 1842)
  • Henrique IV. (Lunga) (1842-1858)
  • Alvaro XII. (1858-1859)
  • Pedro V. (Kivuzi) (1859-1891)
  • Alvaro XIII. (Mfutila) (1891-1896)
  • unknown (1896-1901)
  • Pedro VI. (1901-1912)
  • Manuel III. (1912-1915)
  • Alvaro XIV. (1915-1923)
  • Pedro VII. (1923-1955)
  • Antonio III. (1955-1957)
  • Isabel (1957-1962), Regentin
  • Pedro VIII. (1962-1962)
  • Isabel (1962-1975?), again Regentin


  • Bernd Ludermann (Hrsg.), the “Congo - history of a maltreated country”, “world mission today 55 - land booklet”, Hamburg 2004, ISSN 1430-6530, (very good total summary to history,Culture and society the Congo)
  • of January Vansina: “Les anciens royaumes de la savane”. Univ. Lovanium, Léopoldville, 1965 (also in English. as “The Kingdoms OF the Savanna”, 1966, on-line one:
  • Peter N. Stearns (Hrsg.), “The Encyclopedia OF World History: Ancient, Medieval, and decaying ", bad clay/tone, 2001,,, (accessed 12. November 2004)
  • Adam high sign, “shade over the Congo - the history of a nearly forgotten mankind crime”, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3608919732, (mainly to the despotism Leopolds and its end)
  • Wyatt MacGaffey, “Crossing the River: Myth and Movement in cent ral Africa ",Internationally symposium Angola on the move: Transport Routes, Communication, and History, Berlin, 24-26 Septembers 2003, on-line one:
  • Georges Balandier, “DAILY one would run into the Kingdom OF the the Congo: From the sixteenth ton the eighteenth century ", 1968
  • Anne Hilton, “The Kingdom OF the Congo”, 1985, ISBN 0198227191
  • JohnK. Thornton, “The Kingdom OF the Congo: Civil was and Transition, 1641-1718 ", 1983, ISBN 0299092909
  • John K. Thornton, “The origins and early history OF the Kingdom OF the Congo, c.1350-1550”, internationally journal OF African Historical Studies 34: 89-120, 2001
  • Elise LaRose, kind. The Congo, kingdom, in: Religionin history and present, 4. , completely again treatment. Aufl., Bd. 4, 2001, 1577-1579. - ISBN 3-16-146944-5. (Lit.)

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