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Description:This fine, original copper-plate engraved antique print, view of the city of Mbanza Loango in the pre-colonial African Kingdom of Loango - now part of the of western part of the Republic of the Congo - by Jakob van Schley in 1755 - after Olfert Dapper - was published in Antoine François Prevosts 15 volumes of Histoire Generale des Voyages written by Prevost & other authors between 1746-1789.
General Definitions:Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stablePaper color : - off whiteAge of map color: -Colors used: -General color appearance: -Paper size: - 14in x 10in (355mm x 255mm)Plate size: - 12 1/2in x 9 1/2in (320mm x 240mm)Margins: - Min 1/2in (5mm)
Imperfections:Margins: - NonePlate area: - NoneVerso: - None
Background: The Kingdom of Loango was a pre-colonial African state, during approximately the 16th to 19th centuries in what is now the western part of the Republic of the Congo. Situated to the north of the more powerful Kingdom of Kongo, at its height in the 17th century Loango influence extended from Cape St Catherine in the north to almost the mouth of the Congo River.Loango exported copper to the European market, and was a major producer and exporter of cloth.The English traveller Andrew Battel, when he was there in about 1610, recorded that the predecessor of the unnamed king ruling at that time was named \"Gembe\" or Gymbe (modernized as Njimbe), possibly the founder of the kingdom. With the death of King Buatu in 1787, the succession of leadership is uncertain.The kingdom is certain to have come to an end with the Conference of Berlin (1884–1885) at the latest, when European colonial powers divided most of Central Africa between them.The origins of the kingdom are obscure. The most ancient complex society in the region was at Madingo Kayes, which was already a multi-site settlement in the first century CE. At present archaeological evidence is too scarce to say much more about developments until the late fifteenth or early sixteenth centuries.Loango is not mentioned in early travelers\' accounts of the region, nor is it mentioned in the titles of King Afonso I of Kongo in 1535, though Kakongo, Vungu, and Ngoyo, its southern neighbors. It is therefore unlikely that there was a major power on the coast of Central Africa north of the Congo River.The earliest reference to Loango in a documentary source is a mention around 1561 by Sebastião de Souto, a priest in Kongo, that King Diogo I (1545–61) sent missionaries to convert Loango to Christianity. Duarte Lopes, ambassador from Kongo to the Holy See in Rome in 1585, related that \"Loango is a friend of the King of Congo and it is said that he was a vassal in past times\" which is consistent with Loango\'s origins from Kakongo, a vassal of Kongo.Dutch visitors recorded the first traditional account of the kingdom\'s origin in the 1630s or \'40s. In their account as reported by the geographer Olfert Dapper, the region where Loango would be constructed was populated by a number of small polities including Mayumba, Kilongo, Piri and Wansi, \"each with their own leader\" who \"made war on each other.\" He recorded that the founder of Loango, who boasted hailing from the district in Nzari in the small coastal kingdom of Kakongo, itself a vassal of Kongo, triumphed over all his rivals through the skillful use of alliances to defeat those who opposed him, particularly Wansa, Kilongo and Piri, the latter two of which required two wars to subdue. Once this had been effected, however, a range of more northern regions, including Docke and Sette submitted voluntarily. Having succeeded in the conquest, the new king moved northward and after having founded settlements in a variety of places, eventually built his capital in Buali in the province of Piri (from which the ethnic name \"Muvili\" eventually derived).The English traveller Andrew Battel wrote when he was there in about 1610, that the predecessor of the unnamed king ruling at that time was named \"Gembe\" or \"Gymbe\" (modernized as \"Njimbe\"). A Dutch description published in 1625 said that a ruler who had died sometime before that date had ruled for 60 years and thus had taken the throne around 1565. The documentary chronology thus makes it very likely that Njimbe was the founder and first ruler mentioned in the traditions, and this supposition is supported by traditions recorded around 1890 by R. E. Dennett which also named Njimbe as the first ruler.On the basis of later traditions from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that linked the founding of Loango to that of Kongo, Phyllis Martin posited a much earlier foundation, the late fourteenth or early fifteenth centuries. She then argues that the absence of Loango from early titles of the king of Kongo is evidence that Loango was already independent at that time.Njimbe had created a rule of succession which was in place around 1600, in which the king gave command over four provinces to members of his family, called the provinces of Kaye, Boke, Selage, and Kabango, and the king was to be chosen from a rotation between them. When the king died the ruler of Kaye took over, as he did indeed in the pre-1624 succession, and if the rule was followed then the ruler of Boke took his place; the other two provincial rulers advanced as well, and the king appointed a new ruler for Kabango.In 1663, the king ruling then was baptized as Afonso by the Italian Capuchin priest Bernardo Ungaro, but there was considerable opposition to this from within the country, and indeed when he died, a non-Christian took over, but this one was himself overthrown by one of the Christian party in 1665. This civil war was still ongoing in the 1670s. In the aftermath of this civil war, a number of the Christian party fled to neighboring territories, one of whom, known to history as Miguel da Silva, was elected ruler of Ngoyo and was ruling there in 1682.When Nathaniel Uring, an English merchant came to Loango to trade in 1701, he reported that the king had died and the power of the administration was in the hands of the \"Queen or Chief Governess of that Country,\" named \"Mucundy\" and with whom he had to deal as if with the ruler. This title referred to a woman with a regular role in the administration as overseer of women\'s affairs.Many years elapsed before we have another snapshot of Loango\'s government; during this time the rules of succession, whether formal or informal seem to have changed. When the French missionaries directed by Abbé Liévin-Bonaventure Proyart came to Loango in 1766, they noted that there was no clear succession to the throne, that anyone born of a person regarded as a princess (only female succession mattered) could aspire to the throne. Moreover, the death of a king was cause for a frequently long interregnum; the king ruling in 1766 had come to power only after an interregnum of seven years, during which time the affairs of the country were managed by a regent called Mani Boman. The Mani Boman was appointed by the king during his lifetime. Usually two were appointed to cover the eventuality of the death of one of the two. They, in turn received the petitions of a number of eligible candidates for the throne.Eventually, the electors of the kingdom, who were those who held offices appointed by the late king, met to decide on the next king. In theory, as the old constitution maintained, the king named his successor as well and placed him as ruler of Kaye, to succeed him at his death, but as there was so much contention as to who should hold the position, the late king died without naming a Ma-Kaye.Historian Phyllis Martin contends that the external trade of the country had enriched some members of the nobility ahead of others and had thus put pressure on the older constitution as wealthier upstart princes pressed their case forward. She argues that important members of the council were people who had obtained their positions through contact with external trade, particularly the slave trade, and they had come to share power with the king. She posits that this alteration in relative power allowed the council to dominate the king by forcing longer and longer interregna. In fact, after the death of King Buatu in 1787, no king was elected for over 100 years.However, to some extent royal authority remained in the hands of a person entitled the Nganga Mvumbi (priest of the corpse) who oversaw the body of the dead king awaiting burial. Several of these Nganga Mvumbi succeeded each other in the late eighteenth and through the nineteenth centuries.