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Macola, Giacomo (2000) A political history of the Kingdom of Kazembe, Zambia. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This is a study of the eastern Lunda kingdom of Kazembe, the political history of which has never received detailed treatment despite its indisputable regional significance between the mid-eighteenth and the mid-nineteenth century. This work differs from most monographic studies of the history of the eastern savanna of Central Africa in its attempt to examine both the pre-colonial and the colonial experiences of the Kazembe kingdom. This approach reflects awareness of the manipulability of historical consciousness and the extent to which oral sources were moulded by the colonial context. The implementation of a flexible set of symbols and institutions of rule was the principal contribution of the rulers of the Kazembe kingdom to the political transformation of the territory to the east of the upper Lualaba River. It enabled them to wield a measure of influence over peripheral societies in both southern Katanga and the plateau to the east of the lower Luapula valley, the heartland of the kingdom and an ecological niche conducive to the development of political complexity and centralization. The disparity between the articulations of political control in the heartland and the periphery, together with the role of long-distance trade and the growing importance of external influences and threats, are essential to understand the decline of the power of the eastern Lunda in the second half of the nineteenth century. It was a much enervated polity which faced British and Belgian empire-builders in the last decade of the century. The kingdom was easily subdued, but the aspirations of its rulers lived on throughout the colonial period. An examination of the interactions between Lunda leaders, British officials and subjects of both shows that the royal family was better placed than the aristocracy to take advantage of the new political circumstances and answer the challenges of economic change and mission education. The furtherance of a new ethno-history was another manifestation of the fundamental adaptability of the royal family.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:05

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