What were the reasons for the rise of the Kingdom of Kongo?

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  • What were the reasons for the rise of the Kingdom of Kongo?
    • migration
      • growth was accomplished by migrations aimed at acquiring neighbouring lands
        • drawn from the centre of the kingdom
          • strong connections with provinces closer to Mbzana Kongo
      • nine related clans migrated under a single authority
        • c1390 - some went north-east to Nsundi and Mpanga
        • other areas then developed
      •  led by a chief selected by the manikongo, who was accompanied by representatives from each of the main Kongo clans
      • Cavazzi: “gave the districts to his followers and paternal relatives”
    • geography
      • Mbzana Kongo which was the confluence of various trading routes
        • forest products and costal products, like salt and nzimbu could be exchanged
      • on a high plateau
      • located near the Congo River at Bangu
        • initial cluster of Kongo settlements in Mpemba, south of the Kongo river
      • created the nucleus of Kongo on the northern edge of the Angola plateau where there was larger amounts of ore
    • submission
      • Mbata
        • Pigafetta: "joined...of its own free will"
      • Soyo
      • both had stronger bonds with Kongo as perpetual 'uncle' districts
    • adminstration
      • ties through perpetual kinship to northern areas such as Vungu and Ngoyo
      • Pigafetta: the entire territory was governed by six provinces which each having many sub-provinces
        • the principal chiefs were appointed by the king, each of them taking as the main symbol of his allegiance a brand from the royal fire
      • 1375 - the ruler of Mpemba Kasi made an alliance with the ruler of the neighbouring Mbata kingdom
        • 1390 - through the political marriage of Nima a Nzima and Luekni lua Nimi the alliance was consolidated between the two KiKongo speaking people
        • Thornton: the origin was in the small state of Mpemba Kasi
    • military
      • neighbouring areas lacked the necessary resources to produce superior weapons to defend themselves against expeditionary parties
      • military expansion based on the possession of copper and iron deposits on the borders of Kongo and Teke country


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