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Periodical article Periodical article ASC Leiden catalogue ASC Leiden catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Origins and Early History of the Kingdom of Kongo, c. 1350-1550
Author:Thornton, John K.
Year:2001
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume:34
Issue:1
Pages:89-120
Language:English
Geographic term:Central Africa
Subjects:Kongo polity
history
traditional polities
History and Exploration
Link:http://www.jstor.org/stable/3097288
Abstract:This article reconstructs the earliest history of the Kingdom of Kongo (c. 1350-1550) using the earliest recorded sources. It argues that historians of Kongo tradition have not taken into account that accounts of history from oral sources are themselves interpretative histories that incorporate primary sources and secondary explanatory narrative, and thus have their own historiography. By understanding Kongo oral tradition and sorting out what is primary and what is secondary it is possible to better use tradition as a source for history. The fact that traditional histories have been recorded frequently in the past makes this task easier and produces a new and somewhat different version of Kongo's origin. In this interpretation, the origin of Kongo begins around 1350-1375 with Nimi a Nzima, ruler of Mpemba Kasi. The Kingdom of Kongo was founded around 1390 by Nimi a Nzima's son Lukeni lua Nimi and expanded until the 16th century. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]