Congo, Democratic Republic of the

  • Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


Bantu tribes migrated to the Congo basin from the northwest in the first millennium AD, forming several kingdoms and many smaller forest communities. Congo emerged as a kingdom on the Atlantic coast in the 14th century. King Nzinga Mbemba entered into diplomatic relations with Portugal after 1492. The Luba kingdom was centred on the marshy Upemba depression in the southeast. Expansion began in the late 18th century under Ilungu Sungu. In central Congo the Kuba kingdom was established in the 17th century as a federation of Bantu groups. Agriculture became the mainstay of the Kuba economy, strengthened by the introduction of American crops by Europeans. Trade made the Kuba elite, especially the Bushoong group, wealthy and encouraged the development of art and decorated cloth. Kuba thrived until the incursions of the Nsapo in the late 19th century.


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Further Reading

  1. Gondola, Didier, The History of Congo. 2003Google Scholar
  2. Hochschild, Adam, King Leopold’s Ghost: A Study of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa. 1999Google Scholar
  3. Melson, Robert, Genocide and Crisis in Central Africa: Conflict Roots, Mass Violence and Regional War. 2001Google Scholar
  4. Renton, David, The Congo: Plunder and Resistance. 2006Google Scholar
  5. Stearns, Jason, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: the Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa. 2011Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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