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  • Topic: Slavery, Trade, History of slavery
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  • Published : October 11, 2012
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Cinthya Perez
History 102
“Letters to King Jao of Portugal,” was written by the king of Kongo, King Affonso, who’s real name was Nzinga Mbemba. King Affonso writes this letter directed to the king of Portugal, King Jao, to inform him about his concerns of his people. The letter is dated 1526 and takes place in the Kingdom of Kongo, which by during this time slave trade is going on (705). Throughout the letter of King Affonso seems to beg King Jao for help rather than being demanding, “again we beg of your Highness to agree with it”(707), remarks King Affonso.

When the slave trade in Africa began, many authorities formed alliances with Europeans in hope of strengthening their government. This happened to be the case with the King of Kongo, he made a deal with the King of Portugal so that they could trade goods with each other. The Portuguese had their own plan for arriving to Kong, capturing people to turn into slaves. That is when King Affonso takes the initiative to write his concerns to King Jao. He states that King Jao’s merchants have come to Kongo to do great damage, they say they come to trade goods but end up taking his people to be sold. This is causing the population of his people to decline. King Affonso begs King Jao to stop sending merchants to his kingdom because he will not allow slave trade. To prevent slave trading the people of Kongo passed a law to have the Portuguese merchants investigated to see if they have really came for goods and if they come for other reasons they will not trade at all with them. King Affonso also asks for medicines and surgeons to cure his sick people.

It is mentioned that Nzinga Mbemba is the real name of King Affonso, he changed his name when he converted his religion into Christianity. The influence that made him convert along with his family was to attract Europeans into trading goods, the fact that if he was willing to convert than he was willing to do whatever it took to be able to trade horses, guns and...
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