LOS CONGOS DE VILLA MELLA | Exploring heritage links between the Dominican Republic and Congo

The third installment of my five part video series offering a glimpse at some of the similarities between elements of Caribbean and African heritage. This video explores Los Congos de Villa Mella, a catholic brotherhood hailing from the Dominican Republic. Established by African slaves on the island 500 years ago, it is described as a fusion of Catholicism and African traditions. The video explores the similarities of the practices with aspects of Luba heritage.

(I do not own the rights of the picture in the post)



  1. Hello, my name is José Carlos and I’m Angolan and really into history, and I really love to explore African heritage in the so called “New World” ever since I learned that my own country – Angola – has been the main supplier of enslaved Africans to the Americas during the Transatlantic Slave trade era, that ended in late 1800. While watching your video, I noticed that you made a link between Los Cons de Villa Mella with Democratic Republic of Congo when it is likely to be of Angolan origin, as most references to “Congo” (Kongo) in the New World. People tend to think that ancient Kongo has gave place to modern day RDC and eventually Republic of Congo when The Kingdom of Kongo was based in Northern Angola, despite extending its boundaries to nowadays Gabon at some point, its main constituencies were northern Angola and even though people from southern RDC and places not even part of the kingdom have been exported from Angolan ports the bulk of Kongo slaves were from present day Angola.

    It is important to know that present day DRC became known as Congo only in late 1884 after the Berlin conference, when the trade was already over so Kongo slaves exported to the New World were Kongo because they embarked in Mpinda, Soyo, Ambriz, Kakongo and other parts of present day Northern Angola, even though many slaves were captured in parts of present day Congo, most slaves exported in that area where from present day Angola (Harvard’s Nathan Dunn has some estimates of exports by country considering current borders) . Plus, present day Republic of Congo was formerly kingdom of Loango. After the Berlin conference the French named their colony in that part of Africa French Congo because the neighboring Kingdom of Congo (or Portuguese Congo in Northern Angola) was widely know by Europeans and is the origin of the name Congo Free State given by Belgian king to his possessions in Central Africa.

    Even though people from DRC were also known as Kongo in the New World, most of Congo references from the Transatlantic slave trade days are related to Northern Angolans, whether in Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, US or other parts of the Americas.

    I can recommend you books on that.


  2. There you go:

    “Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of the Americas, 1585-1660” (by Linda M. Heywood, John K. Thornton)

    “Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770” ( by James Sweet)

    “An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World: Benguela and its Hinterland” (by Mariana Candido)

    “Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730–1830” (by Joseph C. Miller)

    “The Kingdom of Kongo: Civil War and Transition, 1641-1718” (by John Thornton)

    “Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora” (by Linda M. Heywood)

    “Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Atlantic World: Angola and Brazil during the Era of the Slave Trade” (by Roquinaldo Ferreira)

    “Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640” (by David Wheat)

    “From Capture to Sale: The Portuguese Slave Trade to Spanish South America in the Early Seventeenth Century (by L.A Newson)

    I add some papers that some how cover this subject

    “The Long-Term Effects of Africa’s Slave Trades” (Nathan Nunn) [see page 24]


    “Brazil and the commercialization of Kongo”


    Lower part of page 7 (271) and 8 make a brief description of the main ports for Kongolese slaves, and if you check the maps you’ll see it’s basically in present day Nortehrn Angola. In the so called Loango Coast most active slaving ports where in present day Northern Angola like Cabinda (Malemba).

    “Negotiating Cross-Cultural Trade in the Eighteenth Century: From the Atlantic Coast Markets to the Congo River Basin” (by Stacey Sommerdyk)

    Introductory part of the paper contextualizes the geography of Loango Coast

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s