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The kingdom of Kongo began with several groups of people that lived near the Malebo Pool of the River Congo. In the early 1400s, these groups came together under a king and formed the Kongo Kingdom.

In an effort to sustain their growing food supply, trips were funded for exploration of nearby lands. This allowed the Kongo Empire to claim these territories and expand their rule.

With the appearance of Portuguese explorer Diogo Cao, Kongo was able to set up trade with Portugal. However, with the growth of slave trade, the kingdom of Kongo was stripped of its people.



(A drawing depicting Portuguese explorer Diogo Cao taking over the people of Kongo.) 


(The map above illustrates where the kingdom of Kongo was located.)


Kongo Kingdom was located on the western coast of Central Africa in an area that is now northern Angola. It spanned from the edge of the coast all the way east to Kwango River. With its capital, Mbanza Kongo, near the River Congo, the Kongo Kingdom was rich with fertile land and fish.



Unlike most empires, Kongo didnít grow through violent conquests, but rather through trading their crafty creations. Through the trading of their unique crafts, such as pottery and cloths, people of Kongo were able to form associations with other African cultures and European explorers.

With the presence of Portuguese explorers, Kongo had more of a European culture than the other African civilizations.  The presence of Portuguese missionaries converted people to Christianity.  Artists from Portugal also inspired the creative endeavors of the Kongo people. 

(These women were showing me some ancient Kongo pottery.) 

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