Civilization VI: Mvemba a Nzinga leads Kongo

Debuting in Civilization VI is the Kingdom of Kongo, led by Mvemba a Nzinga. Also called King Afonso I, Nzinga is most famous for his attempts to spread Christianity across his empire, and increased activities with Portugal in a bid to modernize the empire.

Mvemba a Nzinga’s road to becoming king was paved with conflict. In 1506, he defeated his half-brother Mpanzu a Nzinga’s forces in open conflict to claim the throne. Accounts attributed his victory to the appearance of an apparition of Saint James the Great breaking the morale of the enemy, thus leading to Christianity becoming the royal faith during Nzinga’s rule.

Nzinga’s relationship with the Portuguese was seen as occasionally amicable and at other times highly contentious. Nzinga deplored Portuguese participation in the Kongo slave trade and fought to stop it. Once allied, Portugal helped bring structural progress to the empire and attempted to convert all of Kongo to Catholicism. Kongo welcomed Portuguese missionaries, who helped modernize the country with new schools, establish a literate noble class and gain new architecture from Portuguese designers.

Unique Unit: Ngao Mbeba

The Kongolese troops known as Shield-Bearers were highly trained heavy-infantry units, described by the Portuguese armies that faced them in 1577 as second to none. Armed with scimitar swords, long shields that extended from knees to neck, and little in the way of body armor, these units were the heart of Kongo’s powerful armies.

Unique District: Mbanza

The Mbanza were cities and towns in the Kongo that originated before European influence was established. These cities, located deep in the jungle, were much larger than their Medieval Era counterparts elsewhere. As these cities grew, crafting occupations proliferated the cities and became the ruling class. The capital of the Kongo was aptly named Mbanza Kongo.

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