M'banza Kongo is introduced in the Brave New World expansion pack.
Musical Theme: ?
Situated on a low plateau in northwestern Angola, M'banza-Kongo was home to the Manikongo, absolute ruler of the Kingdom of Kongo, founded c. 1390 AD. At its peak, the Bantu warriors of M'banza-Kongo controlled a territory that reached from Africa's mid-Atlantic coast to the Kwango River, and from Point Noire in the north to the Loje River in the south. The city supported itself through taxes, forced labor, and royal levies; at times, to finance his military, the Manikongo traded slaves, copper and ivory with the Europeans on the coast. It was also supported by exhorting tribute from neighboring cities and kingdoms, making M'banza-Kongo one of the wealthiest African cities in the 1500s.
In 1568 AD, the king was compelled to allow the Portuguese to establish a colony in the Luanda province. From this base the Portuguese would gradually gain control over most of the territory surrounding M'banza-Kongo, leading to increased tension. At the Battle of Ambuila in 1665, a force of Portuguese musketeers and light cannon decisively defeated the Manikongo's army; casualties among the native warriors were in excess of 5000, including the king, effectively ending M'banza-Kongo's military supremacy in the region. The battle is generally regarded as the decisive turning point in the city's history, for it was sacked several times during the civil wars that followed the king's death, and it was largely abandoned by 1678.
M'banza-Kongo was re-occupied by the Portuguese-supported native Christian prophet Beatriz Kimpa Vita and her followers in 1705 AD and restored as Kongo's capital in 1709. Although now effectively a vassal of Portugal, the kingdom continued to exist for another 150 years, until divided between Portugal, Belgium and France at the Conference of Berlin in 1884. M'banza-Kongo never returned to its former glory, even after Congolese independence was granted in 1960.