Kingdom of Loango

Kingdom of Loango (1300s-1883) was an influential kingdom founded by the Vili centered in present day Democratic Republic of Congo. Loango dominated coastal trade 200 km north to Gabon and south to Cabinda, Angola. The kingdom also wielded influence 200 km deep into the interior. The kingdom started to decline in the 1800s with the opening of the interior and the end of the slave trade. In 1883, a treaty was acquired by Pierre Savorgnan de Braza that ceded political authority to France.

 

Origins


The origins of the kingdom remains vague and obscure. It seems to overlap with that of Bakongo and Téké. From oral tradition the Vili migrated from the Nguunu Kingdom to the coast, during the 1300s. For most of the 1400s, Loango was a tribute paying state to Kongo. 

Organization


The Loango Kingdom was rule by the semi-devine maloango. Over-time, with the decline of the Kongo kingdom, the maloango assumed more authority. The kingdom was divided into 4 provinces. The maloango came from someone who assumed the governorship of one of the provinces. Local office positions were assigned by the maloango. They were typically royal family members. Office holders were typically appointed for life. They made decisions on legal disputes, collected taxes, and formed the army during time of war. 

The population lived in villages of 100 people. They farmed sorghum, cassava, and maize(corn). They fished and hunted.

Commerce


The kingdom had extensive trade routes along the coast and the interior. All routes converged to Loango Bay at the capital of Buali, with a population of 15,000. The Kingdom traded with surrounding peoples, the Mpongwe to the north and the Bakongo to the south. They traded ivory, copper, and dyewood. Vilis on the coast produced salt. They traded mainly ivory and slaves with Europeans( Portuguese and Dutch), for salt and manufactured goods. Slave trading took off in the 1630s with the Dutch.

Works Cited

Appiah, Kwame Anthony and Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.(1999). Africana: the Encyclopedia of African and African American Experience. Basic Civitas Books, p. 1187. ISBN 0-465-00071-1