1650 map entitled 'Regna Congo et Angola' by Joannes (Johan) Jansson - Janssonium
Ghent University, Belgium  Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium  Brussels Free University, Belgium

Kongo kingdom map showing its extension
during the 16th-17th centuries
(© KongoKing project).

Religious artefacts found during excavations
at the Ngongo Mbata and Kindoki sites by
the KongoKing project.
Bronze church bell, copper crucifixes and
cross, religious medals, all dated early 17th
to early 19th centuries

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 USA.

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.