As is made clear in the debunking of the lie of St. Maurice page, the nonsense stories of St. Maurice and the Ambassador/Visitors from Kongo/Congo Africa, are some of the Albino peoples favorite ways to hide and obfuscate the reality of Black European Royals, Nobles, and Knights, during the medieval period. Please remember, as you study these exhibits that are offered as evidence, the Albino people have total control over all artifacts: they can Change them, Lie about who they are, Add labels that weren't originally there, and create copies looking however they want them to look. Accordingly, here you will find some artifacts that were obviously recently created to support this totally incredulous and stupid story of the Kongo Ambassador to the Vatican. Please read the text carefully, sound logic, common sense, and attention to detail, are the tools that we use to uncover and expose the Albino peoples false histories and general disinformation. Luckily for us, one of our most useful tools is the simple fact that no one person knows all history. So it is often the case that one Albino lie can be debunked by another Albinos simple presentation of what is presumed to be unimportant history.
All manner of Albino institutions love to tell the fantasy story of the Kongo kingdom and the Vatican, because it is so supportive of the Albinos overall fantasy history. Here is another source of this silly fantasy story. (Thankfully some do not).
To illistrate - we offer this example of the silly story.
BY: JOHN THORNTON AND LINDA HEYWOOD
Posted: Aug. 12 2011
A year before Columbus set sail for America, an African king was baptized and converted his kingdom into a Catholic nation that lasted nearly 370 years. King Nzinga a Nkuwu, ruler of Kongo, located in what is now northern Angola, decided to become a Christian not long after Portuguese mariners reached his shores in 1483. He was baptized in May 1491, became João I Nzinga a Nkuwu, and many of his noble followers followed suit. But when he died, two brothers contested the throne, one of whom, Afonso Mvemba a Nzinga, represented a Christian party and the other, Mpanzu a Kitama, opposed both Afonso and Christianity.
In the war the brothers fought, Afonso and the Christian party triumphed. Our only account of the war comes from the pen of Afonso, and therefore has an inevitable bias, but according to him, when the greatly superior forces of Mpanzu a Kitama were about to render a final assault against him in the square of Mbanza Kongo, the country's capital, they suddenly broke and ran, giving Afonso a surprising victory. When Afonso interviewed the survivors of the battle, he learned that they had been frightened by the appearance of a heavenly force of five horsemen led by St. James the Greater.
Afonso was so moved by this miracle that when he designed a coat of arms of the country, he included five arms holding swords to represent the events of that day. The coat of arms that appeared on seals on letters, on royal regalia and in the throne room continued in use until King Pedro V swore vassalage to Portugal in 1859.
St. James' Day, the 25th of July, was Kongo's national holiday, as much in memory of the king and his victory as it was of the Portuguese saint. Every year the day was celebrated with feasting and military reviews, and people crowded in from the countryside to Mbanza Kongo and some of the provincial capitals to revel and to pay their taxes. Mbanza Kongo, which still exists as a medium-size provincial capital in northern Angola, continues to celebrate the day, now called a "cultural celebration," which lasts from July 20 to 25.
Afonso did much more than create a coat of arms and a holiday, though. He devised the institutional framework for the growth of the Catholic Church into a lasting part of Kongo culture that reached from the capital, with its dozen churches, to remote country villages. His son, Henrique, became the first bishop of Kongo in 1518, and along with his father, Portuguese priests and educated Kongolese, created a marriage of African spirituality and Catholicism that would be the distinctive feature of its religion.
Kongo's Christianity did not break completely with its older religious tradition. The Kongo High God, Nzambi a Mpungu, became identical to the Christian God, and thanks to a number of apparitions and miracles, many local territorial deities became incorporated into Catholic saints.
The ancestors, venerated as active spiritual forces in Kongo as everywhere in Africa, were given a special place in the religion, and All Hallows' Eve (Halloween) was dedicated to them. On that day, Kongolese gathered at the graves of their family ancestors, kept an all-night vigil with lighted candles and prayed for them. In the morning, All Souls' Day, they heard Mass.
Even magical charms, physical items into which spiritual forces were compelled or cajoled to enter, were integrated. Such charms were called nkisi in Kikongo, the national language, and religious literature in Kikongo used the term or variants of it to mean "holy" so that the Bible was nkanda wakisi (either holy book or charm in book form, depending on how you choose to translate it), and a church was nzo wakisi (holy house or charm in the form of a house). Christian priests, like their traditional religious counterparts, were called nganga.
Not everyone was happy with this arrangement. When the Portuguese persuaded the Vatican to give them the right to appoint bishops to Kongo's church, the bishops, always Portuguese, refused to ordain enough Kongolese priests to run the church. The kings of Kongo appealed to Rome and, in a compromise, agreed to allow the functions usually performed by parish priests to be done by Capuchin missionaries, mostly from Italy, a country considered neutral in Europe. These priests were militant followers of the Counter-Reformation, a movement within the Catholic Church dedicated to wiping out, among other things, the folk Christianity that did not fit into their revised vision of the Christian religion.
These Capuchin priests took their campaign with them to Kongo and literally made war on the practices of Kongo associated with the traditional religion. They wrote lurid accounts describing these practices as diabolical and burned all manner of "idols." But they made little impact on the religion.
When Kongo was deprived of clergy by the Portuguese bishops, they turned to the laity, and noblemen, educated in the country's schools, served as the prime interpreters and teachers of religion. These mestres de escola, as they were called in the official Portuguese documents of Kongo, continued the tradition, and the Capuchins were relegated to performing the sacraments, since these could be done only by priests. Capuchins wrote in their reports of performing tens of thousands of baptisms and thousands of marriages and confessions during grueling tours of parishes. They taught and they preached, but they could not force the religion to change.
If Kongo resisted Portuguese attempts to enslave its people, unfortunately, it also engaged in the practice through civil war. Succession to Kongo's throne was often hotly contested, and the country's history was littered with internecine conflict. In such wars, the losers, branded as traitors by the victors, were often sold to slavery wholesale.
These wars became frequent in the 1600s, and after 1665, when a succession crisis was triggered by a military setback on the Kongo-Angola frontier, civil war became a near-permanent fixture of Kongo's history. Thousands and tens of thousands of losers in this endless struggle for the throne were captured and exported to French, English, Dutch and Portuguese shippers and spread all over the Americas.
About 1 in 5 Americans of African descent come from Kongolese stock, with the greatest percentages being concentrated in South Carolina and Louisiana. They carried their religion with them, as well; the Stono Rebellion in 1739, the largest slave uprising in the U.S. before independence, was led by Kongolese Catholics anxious to escape slavery in Protestant South Carolina to freedom in Catholic Florida.
In some parts of the Americas, Kongolese actually created their own missionary activity. George Christian Andreas Oldendorp, a Moravian missionary, reported that Kongolese slaves in the Virgin Islands baptized and catechized incoming slaves from non-Christian Africa; the Brazilian Inquisition examined the activities of Pedro Congo, who dressed in priestly garb and said Mass to a congregation drawn mostly from non-Christian parts of Africa.
This complex story reveals an important aspect of the African-American past: that 20 percent of African Americans descend from Africans who came to these shores from a region that had sustained its own version of Christianity for four generations before the first Africans arrived in Virginia. In Kongo's case, internal dissension as much as European activities and demands led to massive enslavement and deportation. Twentieth-century colonialism erased the kingdom.
Quote from above: the Stono Rebellion in 1739, the largest slave uprising in the U.S. before independence, was led by Kongolese Catholics anxious to escape slavery in Protestant South Carolina to freedom in Catholic Florida.
Let us now deconstruct the above nonsense:
This from PBS (Public Broadcasting Service)
South Carolina, September 9, 1739: A band of slaves march down the road, carrying banners that proclaim "Liberty!". They shout out the same word. Led by an Angolan named Jemmy, the men and women continue to walk south, recruiting more slaves along the way. By the time they stop to rest for the night, their numbers will have approached one hundred.
What exactly triggered the Stono Rebellion is not clear. Many slaves knew that small groups of runaways had made their way from South Carolina to Florida, where they had been given freedom and land. Looking to cause unrest within the English colonies, the Spanish had issued a proclamation stating that any slave who deserted to St Augustine would be given the same treatment. Certainly this influenced the potential rebels and made them willing to accept their situation.
A fall epidemic had disrupted the colonial government in nearby Charlestown (Charleston), and word had just arrived that England and Spain were at war, raising hopes that the Spanish in St. Augustine would give a positive reception to slaves escaping from Carolina plantations. But what may have actually triggered the rebellion on September 9th was the soon-to-be-enacted Security Act.
In mid-August, a Charlestown newspaper announced the Security Act. A response to the white's fears of insurrection, the act required that all white men carry firearms to church on Sundays, a time when whites usually didn't carry weapons and slaves were allowed to work for themselves. Anyone who didn't comply with the new law by September 29 would be subjected to a fine.
Whatever triggered the Rebellion, early on the morning of the 9th, a Sunday, about twenty slaves gathered near the Stono River in St. Paul's Parish, less than twenty miles from Charlestown. The slaves went to a shop that sold firearms and ammunition, armed themselves, then killed the two shopkeepers who were manning the shop. From there the band walked to the house of a Mr. Godfrey, where they burned the house and killed Godfrey and his son and daughter. They headed south. It was not yet dawn when they reached Wallace's Tavern. Because the innkeeper at the tavern was kind to his slaves, his life was spared. The white inhabitants of the next six or so houses they reach were not so lucky -- all were killed. The slaves belonging to Thomas Rose successfully hid their master, but they were forced to join the rebellion. (They would later be rewarded. See Report re. Stono Rebellion Slave-Catchers.) Other slaves willingly joined the rebellion. By eleven in the morning, the group was about 50 strong. The few whites whom they now encountered were chased and killed, though one individual, Lieutenant Governor Bull, eluded the rebels and rode to spread the alarm.
The slaves stopped in a large field late that afternoon, just before reaching the Edisto River. They had marched over ten miles and killed between twenty and twenty-five whites.
Around four in the afternoon, somewhere between twenty and 100 whites had set out in armed pursuit. When they approached the rebels, the slaves fired two shots. The whites returned fire, bringing down fourteen of the slaves. By dusk, about thirty slaves were dead and at least thirty had escaped. Most were captured over the next month, then executed; the rest were captured over the following six months -- all except one who remained a fugitive for three years.
Uncomfortable with the increasing numbers of blacks for some time, the white colonists had been working on a Negro Act that would limit the privileges of slaves. This act was quickly finalized and approved after the Stono Rebellion. No longer would slaves be allowed to grow their own food, assemble in groups, earn their own money, or learn to read. Some of these restrictions had been in effect before the Negro Act, but had not been strictly enforced.
Note the clever use of words to suggest a false claim.
Point: those slaves wanted to go to Florida because freedom and land was there, NOT because "CATHOLICISM" was there!
Quote from above: About 1 in 5 Americans of African descent come from Kongolese stock, with the greatest percentages being concentrated in South Carolina and Louisiana. (Keep this one in mind - it will be dealt with later).
This whole nonsense about a Kongo Ambassador to the Vatican seems to have started when someone realized that people would ask questions about this Bust of a Black European Huntsman/Knight/noble, that is mounted in the Saint Mary Major Basilica. As with the statues of Black Knights in European Churches, that were falsely called Saint Maurice, many statues and Paintings of Blacks in the Vatican also had to be explained, so they were attributed to the Kongo Ambassador to the Vatican. Whether that is because of laziness or stupidity we do not know. As should be expected from a silly, made-up story: there are many names/spellings used. And because these are real people, who identities are being usurped, they all look different.
Quote: For a few years there was no response to Pope Clement’s request for a Kongo ambassador, but in 1604 King Alvaro II of Kongo decided to send a cousin, Antonio Manuel, Marquis of Ne Vunda, as an official and high-level envoy to the pope. This embassy took well over three years to arrive in Rome, traveling via Brazil, Lisbon and Madrid. The Spanish, who had annexed Portugal and its empire in 1580, were also loathe to permit direct contact between the pope and Kongo, and Clement VIII had died and been replaced by Pope Paul V before Ne Vunda was able to reach the Eternal City.
Pope Paul, however, was extremely eager to greet this embassy, and had arranged an elaborate protocol for Ne Vunda’s entrance during the first week of 1608. He was to be officially received in the Sala Regia at the Vatican (where the leaders and emissaries of foreign states were given papal audiences), and there was to be a procession on Jan. 6, the feast of the Magi (Epiphany). But the long trip had taken its toll, and Ne Vunda was very ill when he entered Rome on Jan. 2. He was immediately given comfortable quarters in papal apartments in the Vatican, and the great honor of a papal visit to what proved to be his deathbed. He died on the evening of Jan. 5. The Sala Regia reception – which the Spanish envoy had objected to on the grounds that the kingdom of Kongo was not an independent state but tributary to Spain – did not take place, and the Jan. 6 procession became a funerary one, though still quite splendid. Ne Vunda’s body accompanied by several members of his African entourage was brought to the great Early Christian basilica of S. Maria Maggiore rather as if his cadaver were one of the Three Kings coming to adore Mary and her Child.
Paul V immediately decided to have these events recorded visually. The sculptor Francesco Caporale was commissioned to produce a funerary bust from what must have been a death-mask; some sort of monument was already installed in S. Maria Maggiore later in 1608, though the bust in its current arrangement dates to 1629. The initial plan was to erect it in the chapel of the Presepio, but the 1629 version was placed in the Summer Choir, a chapel on the right side of the nave which now serves as the baptistry, where it is still visible.
The bust itself, in colored marble with a deep green-black stone denoting Ne Vunda’s complexion, equips him with a net-like shirt known as a nkutu, an article of clothing worn by Kongo nobles, and with a quiver of arrows. (The arrows evidently signify the arms that a person of his stature would be expected to bear, but with an exotic twist, though we are not sure if Ne Vunda himself appeared with them.)
However, we did find Africans wearing "Fishnet clothing in this "Supposed" 1740 illustration. But because this illustration cannot be authenticated, and there is no other example of such clothing, we must assume that this illustration was simply created as a part of the Ambassador story.
The bearded head with its close-cropped hair and staring inlaid eyes is stiff but dignified. The use of colored marble fit the taste and techniques of the day, and also may have been prompted by familiarity with the many cameos of black Africans carved in dark stone produced in the preceding decades.
The classicizing architectural forms of the wall tomb also frame an engraved Latin inscription which makes clear the additional patronage of Urban VIII, the ruling pope in 1629. There are few European precedents for such a monument to a contemporary black African. Its creation under the auspices of two ambitious popes, Paul V and Urban VIII, and its installation in such a major Roman church, reveals how symbolically important Ne Vunda’s embassy was to a papal Church seeking to reassert both its evangelical mission and its political sovereignty. If the envoy’s unfortunate demise prevented Paul V from using him as a living component of public pageantry, the memorializing visual arts could make the same sort of statement. As the construction of the bust and tomb went forward, other related initiatives were undertaken. A medal was struck in 1608 showing a kneeling Ne Vunda, wearing a longer nkutu made of the same net-like fabric seen in the bust, pledging his fealty to Paul V, who in turn offers the envoy a benediction. The inscription reads: “and Kongo acknowledges its shepherd.”
Because of Ne Vunda’s illness, such a ritual encounter never took place, but a fresco by G. B. Ricci in the Sala Paolina in the Vatican palace from 1610-1611 actually shows a moving event which did occur. In this scene from a series of compositions narrating the life of the pope, Paul V offers a benediction to a bedridden Ne Vunda, who clasps his hand in prayer and looks gratefully toward the pontiff. Three of the black African members of Ne Vunda’s entourage kneel and stand nearby, showing their appreciation of this exceptional papal visit.
To further broadcast news of Ne Vunda’s embassy and death – which were also extensively reported in European diplomatic dispatches – at least two engravings approved by the papal authorities appeared in 1608. One, designed by Guillermus Du Mortier, depicts Ne Vunda with the netted nkutu shirt and quiver, as he appears in the funerary bust, although here he also holds a bow and arrow in one hand.
In the other engraving Ne Vunda is shown in elegant European dress and holds a document, presumably a letter from King Alvaro II to the pope. Six small scenes of his departure, arduous travel by land and sea, arrival in Rome, deathbed papal visit and funeral procession are also included.
We know that foreign dignitaries visiting the pope were often required to wear prescribed courtly garments, but there is also evidence that European dress had already been adopted by some members of the Kongo elite. The elaborate inscription on this engraving notes at the end that black Africans often wear next to nothing, but that Ne Vunda chose to wear European dress for his visit to Rome. In any case, it is fascinating that printmakers perceived there was an audience for Ne Vunda’s likeness in both forms of dress, which speaks to one of the paradoxical elements of the envoy’s appeal: that he was both immeasurably foreign – coming from 8,000 miles away according to one observer – and in his Christianity and loyalty to the pope reassuringly attached to European culture. There is a further Roman depiction of Ne Vunda which in many ways is even more significant than those already considered, though it is part of a fresco decoration with many other components. The papal summer palace of the Quirinal (now the residence of the Italian president) was built in 1573, and Paul V had a new wing constructed beginning in 1606. In 1616-1617 one of the most imposing rooms of this new zone, the Sala Regia, was frescoed by a team of painters, in cluding Giovanni Lanfranco, Carlo Saraceni, and Agostino Tassi. Like the Sala Regia in the Vatican – where Ne Vunda had been scheduled to meet formally with the pope – this room was a ceremonial space for the pope to receive rulers and envoys of sovereign states.
The elaborate faux architecture of the frescoes emphasized a series of eight balconies, each packed with a dynamic group of representatives of distant nations. One of these balconies is dominated by Antonio Manuel Ne Vunda, instantly recognizable from his likeness in the 1608 engravings and Caporale’s bust. Flanked by two young European courtiers, he gazes down toward one end of the floor of the room, while his right hand points downward in the opposite direction, as if gesturally encouraging a group of envoys to make their obeisance to an enthroned pope. His mouth is open, as if he is speaking such encouragement as well. Ne Vunda wears simple clothing of European type, and in fact his group is the only one of the eight not to show some hint of exotic dress or adornment; perhaps his complexion was sufficient in this regard. But, remarkably, Ne Vunda is far from being the only person of color in the room’s frescoes.
Other dark-skinned figures appear on three more of the balconies, so that fully half of the groups include characters with dark complexions. The clearest and most distinguished of these three is a powerfully built man with deep brown skin and African features and hair who dominates his balcony. He has a furious expression but a calm pose, and points to one end of the room. His simple but voluminous yellow robe might almost be antique in design, but under it there appears a greenish garment with a net-like design (nkutu) similar to that worn by Ne Vunda in Caporale’s bust and Du Mortier’s engraving. The five figures around him are all light-skinned. While it is conceivable, given the fabric worn by the African, that he was intended as another emissary from Kongo, a 1677 history of the popes indicates that the room’s frescoes included an ambassador from the Christian emperor of Ethiopia, and he is a plausible candidate for this role.
The Portuguese succession crisis of 1580 came about as a result of the death of young King Sebastian I of Portugal in the Battle of Alcácer Quibir in 1578. As Sebastian had no immediate heirs, this event prompted a dynastic crisis, with internal and external battles between several pretenders to the Portuguese throne; in addition, because Sebastian's body was never found, several impostors emerged over the next several years claiming to be the young king, further confusing the situation. Ultimately, Philip II of Spain gained control of the country, uniting Castile, Portugal and Aragon along with their respective colonial possessions into the Iberian Union, a personal union that would last for 60 years. With this, what had been the Portuguese Empire became part of the Spanish Empire.
The Habsburg king Philip II, son of Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was the only element in common between the multiple kingdoms and territories of the consolidated Empires.
From: BIBLIOTECA UNIVERSITY,
ARIA DI GENOVA
Portuguese trader to Congo and Angola
who wrote one of the earliest descriptions
of Central Africa. Lopez first left Portugal
for the Congo in April 1578, sailing on his
uncle’s trading vessel. After a stay of
several years, and having accumulated
some wealth through his enterprises, he was
appointed as ambassador of Alvaro II, king
of the Congo, to the pope and Philip II of
Spain, which at that time was unified with Portugal.
The mission had originally been entrusted
to SEBASTIAN DA COSTA, who had
been sent to the Congo in 1580 to announce
the accession of Philip and to gain the
consent of Alvaro to seek out certain
supposed silver mines.
Da Costa was returned to Portugal, carrying
a letter from Alvaro, but died on the voyage, and
Duarte Lopez was appointed in his stead. As ambassador to Philip, Lopez was to offer specimens of
local minerals and to open the region for free trade with Portugal and Spain, while also informing
of the need for missionaries. However, during his return to Portugal, Lopez was
shipwrecked on the coast of Venezuela and forced to spend a year there. Although his submissions
to the pope and Philip were largely ignored, Lopez was able to relate everything he knew about the
Congo to Filippo Pigafetta, who had been charged with the task of collecting information about the
region. The result was published by Pigafetta in 1591, although much of what it contained bordered
on the fabulous. Lopez returned to the
Congo in 1589, after which nothing more is heard of him.
Pigafetta’s work was translated into English by Abraham Hartwell at the request of Richard Hakluyt, into Latin by Augustin Cassiadore Reinius, and placed at the head of De Bry’s Petits Voyages. It has been suggested that the narrative was used by Daniel Defoe for his Captain Singleton. Pigafetta, Filippo [after Duarte Lopez], Relatione del Reame di Congo e della circonvicine contrade tratta dalli Scritti e ragionamente di Odoardo Lopez Portoghese... (Rome 1591; German trans. by Augustine Cassio, pub. by De Bry, Frankfurt 1597, 1609; Latin trans., pub. by De Bry, Frankfurt 1598, 1624; Dutch trans. by Martin Everart Bruges, Amsterdam 1596, 1658; English trans. by Margarite Hutchinson, London 1881 [below]) . Pigafetta, Filippo [after Duarte Lopez], A report of the kingdom of Congo, a region of Africa. And of the countries that border roundeabout the same... drawen out of the writings and discourses of Odoardo Lopez a Portingall, by Philippo Pigafetta (trans. by Abraham Hartwell, London 1597; in Samuel Purchas, Pilgrimes [London 1625]; in Thomas Osborne, A collection of voyages and travels , vol. 2 [London 1745, 2 vols]; abstract in Thomas Astley, A new general collection of voyages and travels, vol. 3 [London 1 745 - 47, 4 vols]). Hutchinson, Margarite (trans.), A report of the kingdom of Congo... drawn out of the writings and discourses of the Portuguese, Duarte Lopez, by Filippo Pigafetta , in Rome, 1591 (London 1881). Santos, Maria Emília Madeira, Viagens de explo ração terrestre dos Portugueses em África (Lisbon 1978). Defoe, Daniel, The adventures of Captain Singleton (London 1720). See PAULO DIAS for a general bibliography, and PIETER VAN DEN BROECKE for the Dutch in Angola. Cfr.: Samples from the book, Vol I - THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EXPLORATION by Raymond John Howgego in Hordern House.
In 1491, King Nzinga converted to Christianity of his own free will, urging the Kongo nobility and peasant classes to follow suit. To varying degrees, the Kongo kingdom remained Christian for the next 200 years. Scholars continue to dispute the authenticity of Kongolese Christian faith and the degree to which the adoption of a new faith was motivated by political and economic realities. From the time of Nzinga’s conversion until the seventeenth century, Kongo leadership engaged in extensive communications with religious and political leaders from Europe, including the pope and other members of the Vatican, who accepted the Kongo church as orthodox.
The Kongo kingdom was one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa during this period; spanning over 115,000 square miles, it had a highly centralized monarchy as well as a powerful noble class. The urban nobility sustained its luxurious lifestyle through a heavy tax system levied on the rural peasant class. Bulk products from the provinces, including copper, salt, wild animal products (hides and ivory), as well as cloth and later slaves, were traded to the Portuguese, Conversion to Christianity solidified these important trading relationships.
The Kongolese nobility swiftly adopted Christianity for several reasons. The first is that the nature of the centralized government and the hierarchically structured society facilitated the dissemination of information. The translations of Christian doctrine into the local language, KiKongo, was done such that words like spirit, god, and holy were rendered directly equivalent to existing concepts in Kongo cosmology. Missionary documents from the seventeenth century claimed that they had found a people who believed in a single god but did not know his name. This tolerant version of conversion practice differs dramatically from the often violent Spanish equivalent in the Americas, which was based on a principle requiring a “change of heart.” In parts of Kongo, Christianity was accepted not as a new religion that would replace the old, but rather as a new syncretic cult that was fully compatible with existing structures.
Portuguese missionaries wrote KiKongo dictionaries and grammars and brought many translations of Portuguese religious texts, thus through the process of ordination a local literate class of priests developed. Afonso I, the Kongo king who reigned from 1506 to 1543, was not only literate but also spoke and wrote in Portuguese, and his son Henrique was sent to Europe to complete his religious training. Afonso’s many articulate letters to the Vatican and to Portuguese bishops are some of the most important records of precolonial Africa and the Kongo Christian faith.
Emma George Ross
Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
IN NOVEMBER 1975, after nearly five centuries as a Portuguese colony, Angola became an independent state. By late 1988, however, despite fertile land, large deposits of oil and gas, and great mineral wealth, Angola had achieved neither prosperity nor peace-- the national economy was stagnating and warfare was ravaging the countryside. True independence also remained unrealized as foreign powers continued to determine Angola's future.
But unattained potential and instability were hardships well known to the Angolan people. They had suffered the outrage of slavery and the indignity of forced labor and had experienced years of turmoil going back to the early days of the indigenous kingdoms. The ancestors of most present-day Angolans found their way to the region long before the first Portuguese arrived in the late fifteenth century. The development of indigenous states, such as the Kongo Kingdom, was well under way before then. The primary objective of the first Portuguese settlers in Angola, and the motive behind most of their explorations, was the establishment of a slave trade. Although several early Portuguese explorers recognized the economic and strategic advantages of establishing friendly relations with the leaders of the kingdoms in the Angolan interior, by the middle of the sixteenth century the slave trade had engendered an enmity between the Portuguese and the Africans that persisted until independence.
Most of the Portuguese who settled in Angola through the nineteenth century were exiled criminals, called degredados, who were actively involved in the slave trade and spread disorder and corruption throughout the colony. Because of the unscrupulous behavior of the degredados, most Angolan Africans soon came to despise and distrust their Portuguese colonizers. Those Portuguese who settled in Angola in the early twentieth century were peasants who had fled the poverty of their homeland and who tended to establish themselves in Angolan towns in search of a means of livelihood other than agriculture. In the process, they squeezed out the mestiços (people of mixed African and white descent) and urban Africans who had hitherto played a part in the urban economy. In general, these later settlers lacked capital, education, and commitment to their new homelands.
In the middle of the fifteenth century, the Kongo Kingdom was the most powerful of a series of states along Africa's west coast known as the Middle Atlantic kingdoms. Kongo evolved in the late fourteenth century when a group of Bakongo (Kongo people) moved south of the Congo River into northern Angola, conquering the people they found there and establishing Mbanza Kongo (now spelled Mbanza Congo), the capital of the kingdom. One of the reasons for the success of the Bakongo was their willingness to assimilate the inhabitants they conquered rather than to try to become their overlords. The people of the area thus gradually became one and were ruled by leaders with both religious and political authority.
By the middle of the fifteenth century, the manikongo (Kongo king) ruled the lands of northern Angola and the north bank of the Congo River (present-day Congo and Zaire). Kongo was the first kingdom on the west coast of central Africa to come into contact with Europeans. The earliest such contact occurred in 1483 when the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cao, reached the mouth of the Congo River. After the initial landing, Portugal and Kongo exchanged emissaries, so that each kingdom was able to acquire knowledge of the other. Impressed by reports from his returning subjects, Nzinga Nkuwu, the manikongo, asked the Portuguese crown for missionaries and technical assistance in exchange for ivory and other goods. The ruler who came to power in 1506 took a Christian name, Afonso. He too admired European culture and science, and he called on Portugal for support in education, military matters, and the conversion of his subjects to Christianity. Many historians, in fact, maintain that Afonso behaved more like a "Christian" than most of his teachers. Afonso, therefore, soon came into conflict with Portuguese bent on exploiting Kongo society. The most insidious and lasting aspect of this exploitation was the slave trade.
Not long after Afonso became king, Portugal began to turn its attention to the exploration of Asia and the Americas. As Portugal's interest in another of its colonies, Brazil, increased, its interest in Africa declined. Over time, the Portuguese crown came to view Kongo primarily as a source of slaves. Slaves were used first on the sugar plantations on nearby Portuguese-claimed islands but later were sent mainly to Brazil. Once Kongo was opened to the slave trade, halting or limiting it became impossible. Afonso's complaints to the Portuguese crown about the effects of the trade in his lands were largely ignored. By the 1520s, most of the missionaries had returned to Portugal, and most of the remaining whites were slave traders who disregarded the authority of the manikongo's.
In addition to the slave trade, Kongo faced other challenges in the sixteenth century. After the death of Afonso in the 1540s, the kingdom endured a period of instability that culminated in an upheaval in 1568. This rebellion was long attributed by Portuguese sources and others to the invasion by a group of unknown origin called the Jaga. Others, however, believed that the attack was probably launched by a Bakongo faction opposed to the king that may have been joined or aided by non-Bakongo seeking to gain control over the Kongo slave trade and other trading routes. In any case, the assault on the capital (which had been renamed São Salvador) and its environs drove the king, Alvaro I, into exile. The Portuguese governor of São Tomé, responding to pleas from Alvaro I, fought the invaders from 1571 through 1573, finally ousting them and occupying the area until the mid-1570s.
A few years earlier, Sebastião, the Portuguese king, had granted the area south of the Bakongo as a proprietary colony to Paulo Dias de Novais, an associate of Portuguese Jesuits and an experienced explorer of the West African coast. In 1576, in effective control of the countryside and facing no organized Kongo opposition, the Portuguese founded the town of Luanda, in effect establishing the colony of Angola. Other African leaders, however, continued to resist the Portuguese, and the Europeans only managed to establish insecure footholds along the coast. Concerned that African attacks might impede the stream of slaves to Brazil and Portugal, in 1590 the crown assumed direct control of the colony.
Alvaro I and his successor, Alvaro II, brought stability to the Kongo Kingdom by expanding the domain of their royal authority while keeping at bay encroachment by the Portuguese, whose colony during the late years of the sixteenth century remained confined to the area south of Kongo. But after the death of Alvaro II in 1614, conflicts over access to cultivable land between Kongo and the Portuguese colony of Angola soured formerly amicable relations, and in 1622 the Portuguese governor of Angola launched an attack on Kongo. Although not entirely successful from the Portuguese point of view, the war had a number of lasting effects. First, the colony captured a large number of slaves, which demonstrated how rewarding slave raiding could be. Second, the Portuguese came out of the war convinced of the existence of silver and gold mines in Kongo, a belief that encouraged a series of conflicts between the colonists and the Kongo Kingdom for the next half century. The war also created a xenophobia among the Bakongo of the interior, who drove away many Portuguese. Because the trading system depended largely on the Bakongo, commerce was greatly disrupted, with effects on the Angolan colony as great as those on the Kongo Kingdom.
Adding to Kongo's troubles in the early 1600s was a general dissatisfaction among the Bakongo with their rulers, some of whom were greedy and corrupt. Consequently, conflicts arose over succession to the throne, and more and more sections of the kingdom gained substantial degrees of autonomy and established local control over the trade that had so enriched the monarchy in earlier years.
Shortly after Cão made his initial contact with the Kongo Kingdom of northern Angola in 1483, he established links farther south with Ndongo--an African state less advanced than Kongo that was made up of Kimbundu-speaking people. Their ruler, who was tributary to the manikongo, was called the ngola a kiluanje. It was the first part of the title, its pronunciation changed to "Angola," by which the Portuguese referred to the entire area.
Throughout most of the sixteenth century, Portugal's relations with Ndongo were overshadowed by its dealings with Kongo. Some historians, citing the disruptions the Portuguese caused in Kongo society, believe that Ndongo benefited from the lack of Portuguese interest. It was not until after the founding of Luanda in 1576 that Portugal's exploration into the area of present-day Angola rivaled its trade and commerce in Kongo. Furthermore, it was only in the early seventeenth century that the importance of the colony Portugal established came to exceed that of Kongo.
Although officially ignored by Lisbon, the Angolan colony was the center of disputes, usually concerning the slave trade, between local Portuguese traders and the Mbundu people, who inhabited Ndongo. But by mid-century, the favorable attention the ngola received from Portuguese trade or missionary groups angered the manikongo, who in 1556 sent an army against the Ndongo Kingdom. The forces of the ngola defeated the Kongo army, encouraging him to declare his independence from Kongo and appeal to Portugal for military support. In 1560 Lisbon responded by sending an expedition to Angola, but in the interim the ngola who had requested Portuguese support had died, and his successor took captive four members of the expedition. After the hostage taking, Lisbon routinely employed military force in dealing with the Ndongo Kingdom. This resulted in a major eastward migration of Mbundu people and the subsequent establishment of other kingdoms.
Following the founding of Luanda, Paulo Dias carried out a series of bloody military campaigns that contributed to Ndongo resentment of Europeans. Dias founded several forts east of Luanda, but--indicative of Portugal's declining status as a world power--he was unable to gain firm control of the land around them. Dias died in 1579 without having conquered the Ndongo Kingdom.
Dias's successors made slow progress up the Cuanza River, meeting constant African resistance. By 1604 they reached Cambambe, where they learned that the presumed silver mines did not exist. The failure of the Portuguese to find mineral wealth changed their outlook on the Angolan colony. Slave taking, which had been incidental to the quest for the mines, then became the major economic motivation for expansion and extension of Portuguese authority. In search of slaves, the Portuguese pushed farther into Ndongo country, establishing a fort a short distance from Massangano, itself about 175 kilometers east of Angola's Atlantic coast. The consequent fighting with the Ndongo generated a stream of slaves who were shipped to the coast. Following a period of Ndongo diplomatic initiatives toward Lisbon in the 1620s, relations degenerated into a state of war.
The Defeat of Kongo and Ndongo
The Portuguese imposed a peace treaty on the Bakongo. Its conditions, however, were so harsh that peace was never really achieved, and hostilities grew during the 1660s. The Portuguese victory over the Bakongo at the Battle of Mbwila (also spelled Ambuila) on October 29, 1665, marked the end of the Kongo Kingdom as a unified power. By the eighteenth century, Kongo had been transformed from a unitary state into a number of smaller entities that recognized the king but for all practical purposes were independent. Fragmented though they were, these Kongo states still resisted Portuguese encroachments. Although they were never again as significant as during Angola's early days, the Bakongo played an important role in the nationalist and independence struggles of the twentieth century.
The Ndongo Kingdom suffered a fate similar to that of Kongo. Before the Dutch captured Luanda in 1641, the Portuguese attempted to control Ndongo by supporting a pliant king, and during the Dutch occupation, Ndongo remained loyal to Portugal. But after the retaking of Luanda in 1648, the ngola judged that the Portuguese had not sufficiently rewarded the kingdom for its allegiance. Consequently, he reasserted Ndongo independence, an act that angered the colonists. In 1671 Ndongo intransigence prompted a Portuguese attack and siege on the capital of Pungu-a-Ndondong (present-day Pungo Andongo). The attackers killed the ngola, enslaved many of his followers, and built a fort on the site of the capital. Thus, the Ndongo Kingdom, which had enjoyed only semi-independent status, now surrendered entirely to Portugal.
The Dutch Interregnum, 1641-48
During the first half of the 1600s, when Portugal became involved in a succession of European religious and dynastic wars at the insistence of its ally, Spain, the Portuguese colonies were subjected to attacks by Spain's enemies. Holland, one of Spain's most potent enemies, raided and harassed the Portuguese territories in Angola. The Dutch also began pursuing alliances with Africans, including the king of Kongo and Nzinga of Matamba, who, angered by their treatment at the hands of the Portuguese, welcomed the opportunity to deal with another European power.
When it rebelled against Spain in 1640, Portugal hoped to establish good relations with the Dutch. Instead, the Dutch saw an opportunity to expand their own colonial holdings and in 1641 captured Luanda and Benguela, forcing the Portuguese governor to flee with his fellow refugees inland to Massangano. The Portuguese were unable to dislodge the Dutch from their coastal beachhead. As the Dutch occupation cut off the supply of slaves to Brazil, that colony's economy suffered. In response, Brazilian colonists raised money and organized forces to launch an expedition aimed at unseating the Dutch from Angola. In May 1648, the Dutch garrison in Luanda surrendered to the Brazilian detachment, and the Dutch eventually relinquished their other Angolan conquests. According to some historians, after the retaking of Luanda, Angola became a de facto colony of Brazil, so driven was the South American colony's sugar-growing economy by its need for slaves.
ANGOLA IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
Slave trading dominated the Portuguese economy in eighteenthcentury Angola. Slaves were obtained by agents, called pombeiros, who roamed the interior, generally following established routes along rivers. They bought slaves, called peças (pieces), from local chiefs in exchange for commodities such as cloth and wine. The pombeiros returned to Luanda or Benguela with chain gangs of several hundred captives, most of whom were malnourished and in poor condition from the arduous trip on foot. On the coast, they were better fed and readied for their sea crossing. Before embarking, they were baptized en masse by Roman Catholic priests. The Atlantic crossing in the overcrowded, unsanitary vessels lasted from five weeks to two months. Many captives died en route.
During the sixteenth century and most of the seventeenth century, Luanda had been the main slave port of the Portuguese, but toward the end of the 1600s they turned their attention to Benguela. Although the first efforts at inland expansion from Benguela failed, the Portuguese eventually penetrated the Ovimbundu kingdoms and subjected their people to the same treatment that had earlier befallen the Mbundu. By the end of the eighteenth century, Benguela rivaled Luanda as a slave port.
According to historian C.R. Boxer, African slaves were more valued in the Americas than were American Indian slaves because Africans tended to adjust more easily to slavery and because they were less vulnerable to the diseases of the white man. Boxer also suggests that Jesuits in the New World opposed the notion of using Indians as slaves, whereas they were less resistant to the use of Africans as slaves. Many of these African slaves were sent to Spanish colonies, where they brought a higher price than they would have if sold in Brazil.
From the late sixteenth century until 1836, when Portugal abolished slave trafficking, Angola may have been the source of as many as 2 million slaves for the New World. More than half of these went to Brazil, nearly a third to the Caribbean, and from 10 to 15 percent to the Río de la Plata area on the southeastern coast of South America.
Originally by JOHN THORNTON AND LINDA HEYWOOD:
Quote: About 1 in 5 Americans of African descent come from Kongolese stock, with the greatest percentages being concentrated in South Carolina and Louisiana.
JOHN THORNTON AND LINDA HEYWOOD'S BULLSHIT DOESN'T REALLY FIT IN - DOES IT?
U.S. Library of Congress - Country Studies
Considering the number of slaves that actually arrived, and taking into account those who died crossing the Atlantic or during transport from the interior to the coast for shipping, the Angola area may have lost as many as 4 million people as a result of the slave trade.
By the end of the eighteenth century, it became clear that Lisbon's dream of establishing a trading monopoly in its colonies had not been achieved. Competition from foreign powers contributed significantly to Portugal's inability to control the slave trade, either in Angola's interior or on the coast. In 1784, for example, the French expelled a garrison that the Portuguese had established a year earlier in Cabinda. Portugal was also concerned about the northward expansion of Dutch settlers from the Cape of Good Hope area. Moreover, at this time the British, Dutch, and Brazilians, not the Portuguese, were contributing most of the capital and vessels used in the slave trade. Furthermore, many of the European goods arriving at Angolan ports were coming from nations other than Portugal.
Lets see if there is any reality to their nonsense.
Lets compare Kongo/Angola to some American countries:
Columbia = Roman Catholic 90%
Venezuela = Roman Catholic 96%
Ecuador = Roman Catholic 74%
Peru = Roman Catholic 81.3%
Some of these countries are almost 100% Catholic. Yet NO ONE has ever heard of their Ambassador to the Vatican!
Now lets compare Kongo/Angola to it's neighbors.
CIA World Factbook:
CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE
over 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu; the four largest tribes - Mongo, Luba, Kongo (all Bantu), and the Mangbetu-Azande (Hamitic) make up about 45% of the population
French (official), Lingala (a lingua franca trade language), Kingwana (a dialect of Kiswahili or Swahili), Kikongo, Tshiluba
Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%
CONGO, REPUBLIC OF THE
Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%
French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)
Roman Catholic 33.1%, Awakening Churches/Christian Revival 22.3%, Protestant 19.9%, Salutiste 2.2%, Muslim 1.6%, Kimbanguiste 1.5%, other 8.1%, none 11.3% (2010 est.)
Ovimbundu 37%, Kimbundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, mestico (mixed European and native African) 2%, European 1%, other 22%
Portuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages
indigenous beliefs 47%, Roman Catholic 38%, Protestant 15% (1998 est.)
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