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  •  Fantastic post! (12+ / 0-)

    Love African history.  It dispels so many lies about Africa and Africans.

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    by TomP on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 01:39:13 PM PST

    •  Thanks Tom, the fact so much of it is written in (10+ / 0-)

      Arabic is the second biggest reason (behind race) for why its kept hidden and under reported.

      -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

      by dopper0189 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 01:42:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but slavery had (7+ / 0-)

        such an effect.  Europeans and then Americans had a monetary incentive to portray Africans as without a history, as not fully human.  Even today, most white Ameircans do not know the history you described.  

        If you ever get a chance, look at the history of Kongo.  It's spelled that way to differenitate between the modern Congo.   A guy named Thornton (can't recall his first name) wrote an excellent book about the impact of Portuguese and slavery to undermine the kingdom over 150 to 200 years.  I did my senior thesis in history on issues related to it.  I recall reading translations of Ibn Battuta who had writtenb about the kingdon in the 1400s or 1500s.  (I cannot read arabic.)  One of the early kings even visited Portugal.

        I'll see if I can find a link to the book.  Thornton's thesis was that the slave trade undemrined the kingdom my orienting trade to the coast (along the Congo river and other trials) and broke down the economy, creating a cycle of wars to obtain slaves to sell to the Portuguese.

        Here's something from wikepdia:


        Thornton focused initially on the history of the Kingdom of Kongo. From the start of this work, Thornton became convinced that the status of Kongo as a Christian country had not been fully recognized through his work on missionary baptismal statistics which he sought to show reflected large scale baptism and used this material to write a treatise on Kongo demography. His work on baptismal records resulted in the publication of the article "Demography and History in the Kingdom of Kongo" (1977),[3] and a contribution on another baptismal document in the First Edinburgh Conference on African Historical Demography (1978).[4]

        Thornton's thesis, published as The Kingdom of Kongo: Civil War and Transition, 1641-1718 (Madison, 1983) advanced the idea that Kongo's centralization was the result of a massive build up of slave worked plantations in the vicinity of its capital during the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, and allowed kings of be overwhelmingly powerful. However, he argued, the persistent civil wars of the seventeenth century and the rise of a new population center in the coastal province of Soyo led to the depopulation of São Salvador and the loss of its centralization. In addition to this larger theme, Thornton also tried to integrate a history from below description of daily life and culture in the country by mining carefully the extensive documentation of the Capuchin missionaries in the country.


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        by TomP on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 01:59:54 PM PST

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        •  Here's some more about the Kingdom of (8+ / 0-)

          Kongo.  What I took from my studies was not only did Eurpopeans (and Americans later) destroy the memories, the history of many proto-states, but the slave trade also destoryed these kingdons.  In other words, it interfered with a natural process of centralization and development of nascent nation-states.  So when more Europeans would land in the 19th century and colonize, they were seeing the furits of centuries of deliberate underdevelopment by Europeans, of destruction. As late as the 1920 and 30s, some would exclaim that African has no history.  

          Kongo, kingdom of

           (kông´gō, kŏng´—) , former state of W central Africa, founded in the 14th cent. In the 15th cent. the kingdom stretched from the Congo River in the north to the Loje River in the south and from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to beyond the Kwango River in the east. Several smaller autonomous states to the south and east paid tribute to it. Kongo was ruled by the manikongo, or king, and was divided into six provinces, each administered by a governor appointed by the manikongo.

          In 1482, Diogo Cão, a Portuguese explorer, visited the kingdom, and the reigning manikongo, Nzinga Nkuwu, was favorably impressed with Portuguese culture. In 1491, Portuguese missionaries, soldiers, and artisans were welcomed at Mbanza, the capital of the kingdom. The missionaries soon gained converts, including Nzinga Nkuwu (who took the name João I), and the soldiers helped the manikongo defeat an internal rebellion.

          The next manikongo, Afonso I (reigned 1505—43), was raised as a Christian and attempted to convert the kingdom to Christianity and European ways. However, the Portuguese residents in Kongo were primarily interested in increasing their private fortunes (especially through capturing Africans and selling them into slavery), and, despite the attempts of King Manuel I of Portugal to channel the efforts of his subjects into constructive projects, the continued rapaciousness of the Portuguese played a major part in weakening the kingdom and reducing the hold of the capital (renamed São Salvador) over the provinces.

          After the death of Afonso, Kongo declined rapidly and suffered major civil wars. The Portuguese shifted their interest southward to the kingdom of Ndongo and helped Ndongo defeat Kongo in 1556. However, in 1569 the Portuguese aided Kongo by helping to repel an invasion from the east by a Lunda ethnic group. The slave trade, which undermined the social structure of Kongo, continued to weaken the authority of the manikongo.

          In 1641, Manikongo Garcia II allied himself with the Dutch in an attempt to control Portuguese slave traders, but in 1665 a Portuguese force decisively defeated the army of Kongo and from that time onward the manikongo was little more than a vassal of Portugal. The kingdom disintegrated into a number of small states, all controlled to varying degrees by the Portuguese. The area of Kongo was incorporated mostly into Angola and partly into the Independent State of the Congo (see Congo, Democratic Republic of the) in the late 19th cent.

          Kongo, kingdom of

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by TomP on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 02:09:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes I studied about Kongo (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            In fact at one point the Kongolese and Belgium Kings signed a pact that made them the equivalent of brothers! There is a letter where the king of Kongo writes the king of Belgium (Leopold? can't remember) begging him to stop the slavers from destroying his country, its heart breaking...

            Yes there is also a religion that develop in Kongo from the 1st interaction of Christians, and before the reintroduction of Christianity by missionaries in the late 1800's. It part animist, but uses lots of crucifixes.

            -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

            by dopper0189 on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:42:39 AM PST

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