List of rulers of Kongo

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This is a list of the rulers of the Kingdom of Kongo known commonly as the Manikongos (KiKongo: Mwenekongo). Mwene (plural: Awene) in Kikongo meant a person holding authority, particularly judicial authority, derived from the root -wene which meant, by the sixteenth century at least, territory over which jurisdiction was held. The ruler of Kongo was the most powerful mwene in the region who the Portuguese regarded as the king (in Kikongo ntinu king upon their arrival in 1483.

Kandas, Gerações and Houses[edit]

The kingdom of Kongo had a formal state apparatus, in which most positions (rendas in Portuguese-language documents, meaning income bearing positions) were in the hands of the king, and the king himself was elected by powerful officials. Kings sought and held office with the assistance of a kanda. Each kanda (plural: makanda) was a faction which organized people according to a common goal, often but not always rooted in a kin-based relationship.[1] Kandas generally took the name of a person (i.e. Nimi, Nlaza or Mpanzu), but could also take the name of a location or title such as Mbala (court)[2]) or birthplace (Kwilu or Nsundi[3]). The Kikongo prefix "ki" is added onto these names to mean "people with something in common".[4] These factions were recorded as gerações or casas (lineages or houses) in Kongo documents written in Portuguese. Until the mid-seventeenth century, following the Battle of Mbwila, these factions were short lived and fluctuating, but following the battle, factions were much firmer and lasted for generations, particularly the Kimpanzu and Kinlaza.[5] The Quilombo dos Palmares a Maroom Kingdom formed in Northeast Brazil. Was founded by Princes and Nobles who were enslaved and transported to Portuguese Brazil after the Battle. There they retained their titles and their lineage survived even after the kingdom itself was destroyed.

Dynasties[edit]

When the Portuguese arrived in Kongo in 1483,[6] the reigning king represented the Nimi kanda.[7] This kanda was probably descended from Nimi a Nzima, father of the founder of Kongo.[8] Divisions emerged within the kanda during succession disputes, for example, following the death of Afonso I in 1542, his son Pedro I and grandson Diogo I formed two opposed factions, that of Pedro was called the Kibala (court) faction, and the other, whose name is unknown that followed Diogo.[9] Other elections in the sixteenth century probably also involved similar factions, though the details are unknown.

King Álvaro I was the first king of the House of Kwilu (Portuguese: Coulo). This kanda or lineage was named for the birthplace of Álvaro,[10] north of the capital city. The Kwilu reigned until 1614 when Antonio da Silva, Duke of Mbamba intervened to place Bernardo I on the throne, in place of Álvaro II's minor son, who would eventually take office as Álvaro III.

Another kanda, the House of Nsundi, later known as the Kinkanga a Mvika, took control of Kongo in 1622 under Pedro II, and retained it through the reign of his son, Garcia I.[11] Garcia never held power strongly, and the Kimpanzu returned to power under Ambrosio I. Kimpanzu domination ended in 1641 when two brothers Álvaro and Garcia of the new House of Kinlaza overthrew Álvaro V and took power.[12] The members of the Kikanga a Mvika were all killed or absorbed into the Kinlaza by 1657.[13] The Kinlaza dynasty would reign until Kongo's catastrophic civil war following the 1665 Battle of Mbwila, when sporadic and violent alternation followed.

The capital was destroyed in 1678.[14] Its destruction forced the claimants from both sides of the conflict to rule from mountain fortresses. The Kinlaza retreated to Mbula where they founded the capital of Lemba.[15] Earlier another branch of Kinlaza, under the leadership of Garcia III of Kongo founded a settlement at Kibangu. The Kimpanzu based their struggle for the throne at Mbamba Luvota in the south of Soyo.[16] A new faction appeared in the form of the Água Rosada kanda, headquarteredd at the mountain fortress of Kibangu. This might be considered a new house formed from both the Kinlaza and Kimpanzu, its founders were the children of a Kimpanzu father and a Kinlaza mother.[17] All parties claimed kingship over Kongo (or what was left of it), but their power rarely spread outside their fortresses or the immediate surrounding area.

The country was finally reunited by Pedro IV of the Água Rosada kanda. Pedro IV declared a doctrine of shared power by which the throne would shift (in due time) from Kinlaza to the Kimpanzu and back.,[18] while the Água Rosada appear to have continued as neutral in Pedro's fortress of Kibangu.[19]

The system functioned sporadically, with considerable fighting, until 1764 when José I of the Kinlaza faction usurped the throne and thrust the country back into civil war. The Kinlaza enjoyed a short lived second dynasty that ended in 1788. After that, the throne moved through various royal hands until the kingship was extinguished in 1914.

Elections[edit]

The selection of kings of Kongo was by a variety of principles, as kings themselves evoked different methods of selection in their letters announcing their succession. Typically the kingdom was said to pass by election,[20] though the electors and the process they used changed over time and according to circumstances. Frequently election seems to have been a combination of elective and hereditary principals.[21]

Kings of Kongo[edit]

The following section is divided into periods based on kanda or house rulership. Most houses reigned of a distinct period with few if any intervals. This is not the case, however; after the Kongo Civil War. During this period you will note the name of each king's kanda alongside their reign.

pre-colonial rulers[edit]

Awenekongo of the Lukeni kanda[edit]

Awenekongo of the Kwilu kanda[edit]

Awenekongo of the Nkanga a Mvika kanda[edit]

Mwenekongo of the Kwilu kanda[edit]

Awenekongo of the Mpanzu kanda[edit]

Awenekongo of the Nlaza kanda[edit]

Awenekongo during the Civil War[edit]

Awenekongo of Kibangu[edit]

Awenekongo of Lemba (Mbula) for the House of Kinlaza[edit]

Mwenekongo of Mbamba Lovata for the Kimpanzu[edit]

Awenekongo after the Reoccupation of São Salvador[edit]

Awenekongo after becoming a vassal of Portugal[edit]

The Portuguese abolished the title of King of Kongo following the revolt of 1914.

Pretenders to the throne since 1914[edit]

Brazilian branch of Palmares[edit]

The Quilombo dos Palmares was a Maroon Kingdom formed in Northeast Brazil by Princes and Nobles captured and transported there as slaves after the Battle of Mbwila. After escape slavery they retained their noble titles. They belonged to the Awenekongo of the Nlaza kanda lineage of Antonio I.

  • Ganga Zumba King (ruled 1630–1678). son of Princess Aqualtune daughter of an unidenfied king of kongo. she was present at the Battle of Mbwila.
  • Ganga Zona. King (ruled 1678–1678). Brother of Ganga Zumba.
  • Zumbi also known as Francisco. King (ruled 1678–1695). nephew of Ganga Zumba. Son of Princess Sabina. Today a National Hero in Brazil.
  • Camuanga. King (ruled 1695–?). son of Zumbi. last known menber of the lineage in the Americas.

Further reading[edit]

This list is constructed primarily from that found in Graziano Saccardo, 'Congo e Angola con la storia dell'antica missione dei cappuccini (3 vols, Milan, 1982–83), vol. 3, pp. 11–14. Saccardo bases his reconstruction on several kinglists produced over time, by António da Silva, Duke of Mbamba in 1617, by António de Teruel in 1664, by Pedro Mendes in 1710 and by Francisco das Necessidades in 1844. In addition many of the kings wrote letters and signed them with both their names and their numbers, and Saccardo has found many of these to verify the kinglists.

Saccardo's king list has been modified in the following manner: the Kikongo names of the kings have been given in a Kikongo form following norms established in Joseph de Munck, Kinkulu kia Nsi eto' (Tumba, 1956, 2nd ed, Matadi, 1971). The Christian names of the kings are given in modern Portuguese spelling. In addition Saccardo's entries have been updated by a number of sources, most notably the kinglist, unknown to him found in the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro) Manuscritos, Lata 6, pasta 2. "Catallogo dos reis de Congo" MS of c. 1758.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Thornton, "Elite Women in the Kingdom of Kongo: Historical Perspectives on Women's Political Power", Journal of African History 47 (2006): 439.
  2. ^ Thornton, John: "Elite Women" p. 445.
  3. ^ Thornton "Elite Women," p. 449.
  4. ^ Thornton, "Elite Women", p. 445.
  5. ^ Thornton "Elite Women ", p. 449.
  6. ^ Oliver, Roland and Anthony Atmore: Medieval Africa, 1250–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001 p. 168.
  7. ^ "Elite Women", p 445.
  8. ^ Thornton,"Elite Women", p. 445.
  9. ^ Thornton, "Elite Women", p.
  10. ^ John Thornton, The Kingdom of Kongo: Civil War and Transition, 1641–1718 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983)
  11. ^ Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo, p. 449-50.
  12. ^ Thornton, Kingdom of Kongo.
  13. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 39. Cambridge University, 1998
  14. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 23. Cambridge University, 1998
  15. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 39. Cambridge University, 1998
  16. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 39. Cambridge University, 1998
  17. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 40. Cambridge University, 1998
  18. ^ Thornton, John: "Elite Women in the Kingdom of Kongo: Historical Perspectives on Women's Political Power", page 455. The Journal of African History, Vol. 47, 2006
  19. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 201. Cambridge University, 1998
  20. ^ Thornton, John: "Elite Women in the Kingdom of Kongo: Historical Perspectives on Women's Political Power", page 439. The Journal of African History, Vol. 47, 2006
  21. ^ Thornton, John: "Elite Women in the Kingdom of Kongo: Historical Perspectives on Women's Political Power", page 439. The Journal of African History, Vol. 47, 2006
  22. ^ Thornton, John: "Elite Women in the Kingdom of Kongo: Historical Perspectives on Women's Political Power", page 445. The Journal of African History, Vol. 47, 2006
  23. ^ Shillington, Kevin: " Encyclopedia of African History, Vol. 1 ", page 776. Routledge, 2004
  24. ^ Shillington, Kevin: " Encyclopedia of African History, Vol. 1 ", page 776. Routledge, 2004
  25. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 79. Cambridge University, 1998
  26. ^ Thornton, John: "Elite Women in the Kingdom of Kongo: Historical Perspectives on Women's Political Power", page 456. The Journal of African History, Vol. 47, 2006
  27. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 79. Cambridge University, 1998
  28. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 39. Cambridge University, 1998
  29. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 20. Cambridge University, 1998
  30. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 36. Cambridge University, 1998
  31. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 79. Cambridge University, 1998
  32. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 38. Cambridge University, 1998
  33. ^ Thornton, John K: "The Kongolese Saint Anthonty: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684–1706", page 79. Cambridge University, 1998
  34. ^ Thornton, John: "The Origins and Early History of the Kingdom of Kongo, c. 1350–1550", page 100. International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2001

External links[edit]