The Kongo kingdom, which arose in Central Africa’s Atlantic coast region, is an emblem of
Africa’s past and an important cultural landmark for Africans and the African Diaspora
(Figure 1). As a result of its early involvement in the trans-Atlantic trade and its early
introduction to literacy, the history of this part of sub-Saharan Africa from AD 1500 onwards
is better known than most other parts of the continent. Nonetheless, still very little is
understood about the origins of the kingdom.