The Lunda (Balunda, Luunda, Ruund) originated in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo along the Kalanyi River and formed the Kingdom of Lunda in the 17th century under their ruler, Mwata Yamvo or Mwaant Yav, with their capital at Musumba. From there they spread widely through Katanga and into Eastern Angola, north-western Zambia (the Kanongesha-Lunda and the Ishindi-Lunda) and the Luapula valley of Zambia (the Eastern Lunda or Kazembe-Lunda).
The Lunda were allied to the Luba, and their migrations and conquests spawned a number of tribes such as the Luvale of the upper Zambezi and the Kasanje on the upper Kwango River of Angola. Today the Lunda people comprise hundreds of subgroups such as the Akosa, Imbangala and Ndembu, and number approximately 500,000 in Angola, 750,000 in the Congo, and 200,000 in Zambia. Most speak the Lunda language, Chilunda, except for the Kazembe-Lunda who have adopted the Bemba language of their neighbours.
The Lunda people's heartland was rich in the natural resources of rivers, lakes, forests and savannah. Its people were fishermen and farmers, and they prospered. They grew maize, millet, yams, sorghum, squash, beans, sweet potatoes, oil palms and tobacco. Their traders came into contact with the Portuguese, and Arab and Swahili traders of East Africa. They played a large role in the slave and ivory trade that moved goods and people from central Africa to the coasts for export.
The people of the Lunda Kingdom believed in Nzambi as a Supreme Creator of the world who created everything of existence on earth. Their religion did not address Nzambi directly, but through the spirits of their ancestors.
- General references
- "Lunda and Chokwe Kingdoms." Country Study: Angola. Library of Congress (October 2005).
- "Lunda" Art and Life in Africa Project. University of Iowa Museum of Art
- Allafrica.com, Mwati Yamv Preaches Peace At Lunda Lubanza Ceremony, 3 September 2009.
- "A crown on the move: stylistic integration of the Luba-Lunda complex in Lunda-Kazembe performance", A crown on the move: stylistic integration of the Luba-Lunda complex in Lunda-Kazembe performance, 2006.
Some of the information is based on the German Wikipedia article on the Lunda (Königreich), which gives two sources:
- Pogge (1880). Im Reich des Muata Jamwo. Berlin.
- Buchner (1883). "Das Reich des Muata Jamwo". Deutsche Geographische Blätter. Bremen.
- Pritchett, James Anthony (2001). The Lunda-Ndembu : style, change, and social transformation in South Central Africa. Madison: University of Wisconsin.
- Pritchett, James Anthony (2007). Friends for Life, Friends for Death: cohorts and consciousness among the Lunda-Ndembu. Charlottesville: University of Virginia.
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- New International Encyclopedia. 1905. .