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Name[ edit ] The origin of the name Kongo is unclear, and several theories have been proposed. The prefix "mu-" and "ba-" refer to "people", singular and plural respectively. The region is close to East Africa, considered to be a key to the prehistoric human migrations.
This geographical proximity, states Jan Vansina , suggests that the Congo river region, home of the Kongo people, was populated thousands of years ago. However, the site does not prove which ethnic group was resident at that time. Detailed and copious description about the Kongo people who lived next to the Atlantic ports of the region, as a sophisticated culture, language and infrastructure, appear in the 15th century, written by the Portuguese explorers.
The evidence suggests, states Vansina, that the Kongo people were advanced in their culture and socio-political systems with multiple kingdoms well before the arrival of first Portuguese ships in the late 15th century. Archaeological evidence, Portuguese documents and Kongo oral tradition suggest that the Kingdom of Kongo was founded in the 14th century. This required the king to win his legitimacy by a process of recognizing his peers, consensus building as well as regalia and religious ritualism.
In , south of the Congo river they found the Kongo people and the Kingdom of Kongo, which had a centralized government, a currency called nzimbu, and markets, ready for trading relations. They also found exchange of goods easy and the Kongo people open to ideas. Soon thereafter they began kidnapping people from the Kongo society and after , they provoked military campaigns in nearby African regions to get slave labor.
Finally, he succumbed to the demand and accepted an export of those who willing accepted slavery, and for a fee per slave. The Portuguese procured 2, to 3, slaves per year for a few years, from , a practice that started the slave export history of the Kongo people.
However, this supply was far short of the demand for slaves and the money slave owners were willing to pay. This created, states Jan Vansina, an incentive for border conflicts and slave caravan routes, from other ethnic groups and different parts of Africa, in which the Kongo people and traders participated.
This war unexpectedly led to a flood of captives who had challenged the Kongo nobility and traders, and the coastal ports were flooded with "war captives turned slaves".
This caricature of the African people and their dehumanization was vociferous and well published by the slave traders, the missionaries and the colonial era Portuguese historians, which helped morally justify mass trading of slaves. The map emphasizes the rivers and Portuguese churches.
Modern scholars such as Estevam Thompson suggest that the war was a response of the Kongo people and other ethnic groups to the stolen children and broken families from the rising slavery, because there is no evidence that any "Jaga kingdom" ever existed, and there is no evidence to support other related claims alleged in the records of that era.
The weakened Kingdom of Kongo continued to face internal revolts and violence that resulted from the raids and capture of slaves, and the Portuguese in established the port city of Luanda now in Angola in cooperation with a Kongo noble family to facilitate their military presence, African operations and the slave trade thereof.
In , the Portuguese army invaded the Kingdom, killed the Kongo king, disbanded his army, and installed a friendly replacement in his place.
Kongo kingdom disintegrated into smaller kingdoms, each controlled by nobles considered friendly by the Portuguese. The Loango was in the northern part, above the Congo river, a region which long before the war was already an established community of the Kongo people.
The old capital of Kongo people called Sao Salvador was burnt down, in ruins and abandoned in She created a movement among the Kongo people which historians call as Kongo Antonianism.
She was declared a false saint by the Portuguese appointed Kongo king Pedro IV, with the support of Portuguese Catholic missionaries and Italian Capuchin monks then resident in Kongo lands. The 22 year old Dona Beatriz was arrested, then burnt alive at the stake on charges of being a witch and a heretic.
The Kongo people were now divided into regions, each headed by a noble family. Christianity was growing again with new chapels built, services regularly held, missions of different Christian sects expanding, and church rituals a part of the royal succession.
There were succession crises, ensuing conflicts when a local royal Kongo ruler died and occasional coups such as that of Andre II by Henrique III, typically settled with Portuguese intervention, and these continued through the mid 19th-century.
This effectively ended whatever sovereignty had previously been recognized and the Kongo people became a part of colonial Portugal.
African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo: Tying the Spiritual Knot, Principles of Life & Living
Posted on August 5, Leave a comment I posted the following essay on my original blog waaay back on November 28, And I doubt anyone really looked at this back at the time, so here it is bumped up with some fresh edits for your current review. Would seriously like your feedback on ideas in this little philosophical tract. Talk about it! Towards the end of hate and the culture of violence! Towards sisterhood and brotherhood between black folks, and no more horizontal violence in the streets or in Afrika!
African cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo : principles of life & living
African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo: Tying the Spiritual Knot- Principles of Life & Living