Kongo kingdom map showing its extension
Engraving of Mbanza Kongo, 1668,
Olfert Dapper book
Kongo pot, XIXth-XXth centuries
National Museum of African Art,
KONGOKING : an interdisciplinary approach to the origins of the Kongo kingdom
KONGOKING is an interdisciplinary and interuniversity research group which aims
at contributing to a better understanding of the origins and early history of the Kongo
kingdom. Funded by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council under the
Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), KONGOKING is coordinated by Prof. Koen
Bostoen of Ghent University and unites researchers from Ghent University (UGent),
Brussels University (ULB) and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in
Tervuren (RMCA), as well as from several partner institutions in Africa, Europe and the
The magnificent Kongo kingdom, which arose in the Atlantic Coast region of Equatorial Africa, is a famous emblem of Africa’s past. It is an exceptionally important cultural landmark for Africans and the African Diaspora. Thanks to its early involvement in the Trans-Atlantic trade and its early introduction to literacy, the history of this part of sub-Saharan Africa from 1500 onwards is better known than most other parts of Africa. At the same time, still very little is known about the origins and early history of the kingdom.
The interdisciplinary KONGOKING team therefore wants to shed new light on the origins, rise and development of the Kongo kingdom. Archaeology and historical linguistics, two key disciplines for the reconstruction of early history in Africa, play the most prominent role in their innovative approach.