7 less-known ancient African civilisations that you might not find in colonisers’ books

Luba Empire

The Luba empire also known as the Kingdom of Luba existed in modern-day Republic of Congo that existed between 1585 to 1889. The kingdom rose from the Nkongolo dynasty in the Upemba depression, a mashy bowl area in Congo. According to the Mdubye traditional state, the kingdom was established by King Nkongolo in 1585  and his nephew  Kalala Ilunga, who conquered the cruel Nkongolo ruler and expanded the empire.

Kalala Ilunga is also said to have introduced advanced iron forging techniques to the Luba people. Luba kings were turned into deities after their death and their huts residences were turned into shrines. The Luba empire had close to 1 million people during its peak.

The empire has a successful governing system which was later adopted by the Lunda Empire. The government was a great balance between strong and flexible and one of the main reasons why the kingdom lasted.  The kingdom was blessed with farmers, hunters, fishermen and was very rich trading its natural resources like oil and copper but the trade led to the decline of the kingdom in the 1880’s when Europen colonies raided the empire in search of slaves and ivory.


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