Congo, Democratic Republic of the
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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