Sketching or simply reconstituting the historical characteristics of the territory now designated Cabinda, as well as those of its inhabitants and all that makes men, from the genesis to the present day, is a very complex, risky but noble adventure.
Complex because, on the one hand, the territory of Cabinda within its current geographic limits is a whole from which most of it has been extracted. On the other hand, if it is true that at the beginning this territory was in fact abandoned by the Portuguese Crown, it should be noted that from the end of the first half of the 17th century, appetites and rivalries between the European expansionist powers of the time and coveted by those same powers. Among them, the following stand out : Dutch (Landassi), Portuguese (Mputulukezo), French (Falansa) and English (Ngleze).
If the context and the conjuncture have changed or evolved towards other centers of interest, the status of coveted territory still prevails for purely economic reasons to the detriment of the dignity of the human person. If in the past, the objective was to control the ports of Malembo and Cabinda for the slave trade and the slave industry, today it is the exploitation of oil, gold, phosphate, timber and more, which constitute or stir up these appetites.
Risky insofar as the stakes linked to the multiple interests of this territory are such that everything becomes possible: from the multiplicity of interpretations, readings, constructions to the fabrication of tendentious and pernicious theses on the history of this territory. But for us, the biggest debate is not about what others say about Cabinda, its history, its people and its culture, but what Cabindans say about themselves. This angle of approach to the question prevents us not only from remaining in the infantile paternalism of which we are victims, but also from putting pressure on Father Valéry, who defends that “history justifies everything we want” and against naive subjectivism and against apathetic ethnocentrism.
Lastly, Noble, because behind these coexistence and these risks lie the moral, ethical, cultural, political and intellectual values of a people who have always known how to protect, promote, respect and preserve in their collective and genetic memory these values which constitute the true heritage which is also the object of greed. Freedom to write correctly, but also the responsibility to write. If today we are going through a period of crisis, let us attribute to the contradiction that some fertility and good can come from bad.
After this brief introductory note, let’s move on to what today may be called “the territory of Cabinda“. But in this first appearance, you will not be “fundubular”, that is to say, unwrap all the wealth. Proceed by chosen themes. This first presentation will be devoted to a brief and succinct overview of the pre-Treaty period.
The first contacts between the peoples of the three kingdoms and Portugal
The first contacts between Portuguese navigators and the coastal principalities of Loango, Kakongo and Ngoyo which form the current territory of Cabinda date back to the 15th century. What lessons can we draw from this historical fact ? It is true that although they are part of the great Bakongo ethnolinguistic family, like the peoples of Bakongo (DRC), Bakouilou and Nyari (R. Congo Brazzaville and Nyanga (R. Gabon), at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese, these three kingdoms enjoy real political and administrative autonomy vis-à-vis the Kingdom of Kongo and its Manikongo The African historian of Burkina Faso, Joseph Ki-Zerbo (General History of Africa. From yesterday to tomorrow, 1978, Hatier, Paris, p 330) declares in this regard : ” North of the Záire estuary, four little-known kingdoms (Anzique, Kakongo, Ngoio and Loango) seem to have as their first dynasties, the children of the legendary Ngonu and date from the same period as Kongo. ” Another historian, by O.DAPPER in his work, Description of Africa, original from 1670, states the following :” After the land of the Negroes comes the vast territory, usually called Lower Ethiopia, in opposition to Abysasia called Alta Ethiopia It rained their peoples, provinces and kingdoms, the main ones being: Louango, Kakongo, Goycongo, Kongo, Angola, (…) ”.
To conclude, let us keep in mind that the existence of the three kingdoms which are at the origin of the current territory of Cabinda is not a simple invention that dates back to Berlin. They are far prior to the arrival of Diogo Cão at the mouth of the Záire river and emancipated from the kingdom of Kongo even if they recognized a certain vassalage at the beginning of Manikongo. Its independence vis-à-vis the Kongo Kingdom and the political and administrative sovereignty that prevailed between the three kingdoms would justify.