▪ historical kingdom, Africa
      former African kingdom in the interior of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, bounded to the southwest by the Kasai and Lulua rivers and to the north by the Sankuru River, a tributary of the Kasai. Founded about 1600 by migrants from the lower Kasai River, it was actually a federation of smaller, nearly autonomous states such as the Bushongo and the Ngongo.

      In the 19th century, rebellions in the east and Lulua invasions in the south weakened Kuba to the point of civil war. About 1910 the colonial regime of the Belgian Congo extended its control over the area and quelled the disorders, strengthening the Kuba kings by excluding lesser officials and rivals.

also called  Bakuba, 

      a cluster of about 16 Bantu-speaking groups in southeastern Congo (Kinshasa), living between the Kasai and Sankuru rivers east of their confluence.

      Kuba cultivate corn (maize), cassava, millet, peanuts (groundnuts), and beans as staples. They grow raffia and oil palms, raise corn as a cash crop, and hunt and fish. They have kept aloof from modern life, and few have emigrated or engage in European-style occupations. The groups are divided into lineages related through matrilineal descent; the lineages are segments of numerous dispersed clans. The Kuba are united in a kingdom, ruled by the central Bushongo group, which emerged about 1600. The kingdom is a federation of chiefdoms, each ruled by a chief and two or three councils that represent the general population and noble clans. The ruling Bushongo chief is king by divine right. Uniting factors include bonds of common culture and group feeling, a royal army, and a common administration.

 Nature spirits, the spirits of dead kings, and witchcraft dominate Kuba religion. Nearly all objects of daily use are decorated, and carved wooden figurines, initiation masks, cups, and beautifully embroidered handwoven raffia cloth are especially prized for export (see photograph—>).

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Universalium. 2010.

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