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Mbundu (əmbōnˈdō) [key], black African ethnic group, W Angola. The Mbundu speak Bantu languages and number about 6 million. By the late 15th cent. they had formed the Ndongo kingdom, ruled by the ngola (from which the Portuguese derived the name Angola). Beginning in the early 16th cent. Ndongo was raided for slaves by its northern neighbor, the kingdom of the Kongo, which sold them to the Portuguese. In 1579 the Portuguese first attempted to conquer Ndongo; however, the Mbundu resisted fiercely and it was not until 1683 that the kingdom was definitively defeated. In the 1970s the Mbundu were the strongest supporters of the Marxist-oriented movement for the Liberation of Angola.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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