Complex of states that flourished in Central Africa in the 16th–19th centuries. In the late 15th century a small group of ivory hunters founded a state around which a number of satellites proliferated, spreading by the 17th century into the southern Congo basin and what are now western Angola, and Zambia. The northeastern portion was inhabited by the Luba and the southwestern portion by the Lunda. These groups traded slaves and ivory to the Portuguese for cloth and other goods. In the 18th century explorers founded Kazembe farther southeast; it flourished until late in the 19th century, when it was colonized by the British.
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