The Defeat of Kongo and Ndongo

Angola Table of Contents

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.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress