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Central Africa to the 1870s

- Natural Resources and Trade -

- Trading States of the Congo River Basin -

- Lozi Kingdom -

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For centuries, the trade in captives had dominated the commercial activity of Central Africa. North of the densely forested Congo River Basin the Bornu sultanate declined by the 18th century, and its place was taken by the sultanates of Wadai and Darfur to the east. These states conducted slave raids through what is now southern Chad and the Central African Republic and transported captives eastward through Kordofan to southern Sudan and the Nile River Valley. South of the Congo River Basin the Kazembe Empire had grown to eclipse the former Luba and Lunda empires of the region and was a powerful trading state. Meanwhile, the histories of the forest peoples of the Congo River Basin are some of the least known in Africa beyond their riverine trade contacts with peoples and states to the north, south, and west. However, these peoples became more and more threatened as Swahili slave raiders penetrated ever farther into the forest.

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