The Kinlaza were members of the Nlaza kanda or House of Kinlaza, one of the ruling houses of the Kingdom of Kongo during the 17th century. It was one of the main factions during the Kongo Civil War along with the Kimpanzu and Kinkanga a Mvika kandas.
In KiKongo the language of the kingdom of Kongo, the name of the kanda is Nlaza. The class ki- /-i form, which often refers to membership in a category (and thus includes, for example, village names) is Kinlaza. Thus, the Portuguese reference to the faction as the "House of Kinlaza" can be understood as the "House of Nlaza".
The House of Kinlaza was formed from the dynasty started by King Álvaro VI. The Kinlaza came to power by overthrowing the House of Kimpanzu, which had occupied the throne from Garcia I's overthrow until Álvaro's ascension. The Kinlaza continued to rule Kongo until its civil war, when Kimpanzu and Kinlaza kings occupied or claimed the throne. After the restoration of the kingdom in 1709, and Pedro IV's power sharing scheme, the Kinlaza shared power with the other branches. Its northern branch, founded by João II at Mbula (or Lemba) made a claim on the throne, but the branch of this family that supported Pedro IV and opposed João's sister Elena in the 1710s eventually was able to become kings of Kongo when Garcia IV came to power in 1743. A southern branch, led by Ana Afonso de Leão did not hold power for a long time, and indeed, her home territory of Nkondo (Mucondo) was their primary base. However, in 1779, the southern Kinlazas came to power with the ascent of José I, and held power until when Afonso V succeeded his brother José in 1785. The crisis that followed Afonso's death in 1787 however, left the southern Kinlazas out.
The second king Pedro V (1856–85) may have had connections to the southern Kinlazas in the ninteeenth century, since his base at Mbembe was close to the lands of the Nkondo, though no clear connection has been established.
Graziano Saccardo, Congo e Angola con la storia della missione dei Cappuccini (3 vols, Venice, 1982–83).
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