Central Africa

The huge swath of territory from Chad in the north to the Zambezi river in the south; a region hidden by equatorial rain forests and virtually impenetrable by outsiders for most of recorded history. What follows is a tentative approach to a study of the area.

At the moment this includes: Aluyana, Angola, Ascension, Bamoun, Bangassu, Barotseland, Bemba, Cabinda, Central African Empire, Central African Republic, (Old) Congo, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Congo Free State, Dar al-Kuti, Douala, French Equatorial Africa, Katanga, Kazembe, Kololo, Kom, Loanga, Lozi, Luba, Lunda, Mandara, MasekoNgoni, Nzakara, Rafai, Sabhanga, St. Helena, South Kasai, Tristan da Cunha, Tyo, and Zemio.

ANGOLA A vast region lying to the south of the Congo basin, in western Central Africa.

BAMOUN A tribal Kingdom in western Cameroon, it's chief city is Foumban, 140 miles (225 km.) north of the national capital at Yaounde, on the southern slopes of the Gotel Mountains.

BANGASSU A provincial capital (Mbomu province) located on the Mbomu river and the border with Congo (Kinshasa) in southeastern Central African Republic.

BEMBA A state founded by the Bemba, a Bantu tribe closely related to the Lunda, in the 17th century. In 1969, the Republic of Zambia cancelled the recognition of all traditional entities, including Bemba. The Bemba land corresponds to Zambia's Northern Province.

CABINDA A chip of Angolan territory (2807 sq. m. / 7270 sq. km.) separated from the bulk of the nation by the Congo estuary.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC A land-locked region north of the Congo Basin, and south of Chad. See also Bangassu, Dar al-Kuti, Rafai, and Zemio.

CONGO (Brazzaville; French Congo)
A state in equatorial Africa, lying on the west bank of the Congo River.

CONGO (Zaire, Kinshasa; Belgian Congo) An enormous state, one of the largest in the world in terms of area, extending over much of equatorial Africa in the Congo Basin. See also, Lunda.

DOUALA A city on the coast of Cameroon, founded in 1792. It served as the colonial capital of Cameroon territories 1914-1922 and 1940-1946. Some of the later members of its royal family were practicing Jews, including American actor Yaphet Kotto.

DAR al-KUTI A district in northeastern Central African Republic, comprising the area on the frontier with Chad, south of the Aouk River in modern Bamingui-Bangoram province. It was the site of a local Sultanate founded in the 19th century by an exiled Baguirmid prince.

KAZEMBE A large and vigorous Bantu state in what is now the Katanga region of the Congo (Kinshasa). At the height of its power, c. 1800, it dominated the entire region of southeastern Congo, but factional disputes weakened the Kingdom which led to its collapse by the end of the century.

KOM A tribal Kingdom in far western Cameroon, on the northern side of the Gotel Mountains.

LOANGA (Brama) A tribal kingdom along the coast of Congo (Brazzaville), established in the 15th century by the Vili people. The monarchy was ceremonial, increasingly so over time, and marked by long intervals of interregnum (one important reason for the long gaps is that a candidate must undergo a demanding series of magical and ritual tests of his worthiness, which last for seven years from his nomination) - after 1787 administration was completely decentralized. From an early date the Portuguese had exercised a vague protectorate over this general region, without having much impact on locals, but in the late 19th century the French actively sought territory in the region, resulting in most of Loanga falling within French Equatorial Africa; the Portuguese retained an enclave at Cabinda.

LOZI (Barotseland) The Lozi are a people dwelling in west-central Zambia who established a stable kingdom adjacent to the Zambezi River. Owing to a number of agreements and concessions with the British in the 1890's which were later included in the constitution of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), the Lozi retained noticeably more autonomy than usual and, after the independence of Zambia in 1964, were a source of turbulence inasmuch as there was a movement afoot in Barotseland to secede from Zambia and re-establish the old Kingdom.

LUBA A Bantu people living in southeastern Congo (Kinshasa), primarily Katanga province. They maintained a state of considerable size, often referred to as an Empire, into early modern times.

LUNDA A Bantu people living primarily in what is now southern Congo (Kinshasa) and northeastern Angola. Composed of numerous local sub-groups. The Lunda Kingdom which exercised paramount chieftaincy over many local Lunda septs was centered at Kapanga, in northwestern Katanga province of the Congo, quite close to the modern Angolan border. Note also, the following ephemeral states which emerged in this area when Congo became independent of Belgium...

MANDARA A tribal Kingdom located in northern Cameroon, about 100 miles (160 km.) southwest of Fort Lamy, Chad. Its first capital was at Dulo, c. 1580-1894, then at neighbouring Mora 1894-c. 1940's.

MASEKO (Gomani)
An offshoot of the Ngoni, within modern Malawi.

A tribal kingdom in what is now Malawi, founded by the warlord Zwangendaba, who fled his homeland in what is now Zululand to escape the rising power of his enemy Shaka Zulu. See also, the Maseko.

RAFAI A small town in southeastern Central African Republic, Mbomou province, roughly 75 miles (120 km.) east of Bangassu. It was the site of a local Kingdom and later Sultanate.

SAINT HELENA and DEPENDENCIES Several widely scattered volcanic islands in the South Atlantic. St. Helena is about 1150 miles (1850 km.) west of Angola, and a roughly equal distance south of the equator. Ascension is about 800 miles (1288 km.) northwest of St. Helena, 8 degrees south of the equator. The Tristan Da Cunha group of islets is roughly due south of St. Helena, about 1100 miles (1770 km.) west of Capetown, South Africa.

TYO (Téké) A tribal kingdom in the hilly country behind the coast of southwestern Congo (Brazzaville).

ZEMIO A local state in extreme southeastern Central African Republic, in Haute Mbomou province. **************************************************