The Journal of African History


The Kingdom of Wambu (Huambo): A Tentative Chronology

Gladwyn M. Childs

Wambu (Huambo) was one of the more important of the Ovimbundu Kingdoms of central Angola, the histories of some of which were treated in Part III of Umbundu Kinship and Character (1949) q.v.

The tradition of Wambu begins with Feti, the Adam of the Ovimbundu. Through the vaNganda it is definitely linked with the cattle-complex peoples of south-west Angola, and it is also connected with the ‘Jagas’ described by Battell. This latter link provides a chronological starting point early in the seventeenth century. Thus, beginning with the ‘Jaga’ Wambu Kalunga, the fourth king named, tradition and historical reference are followed through the reigns of twenty-five kings, until independence ended with the capture by the Portuguese forces of two strongholds and their capital town of Samisasa during the ‘Bailundu War’ of 1902. The chief occupation of the kings and the men of Wambu (as of practically of all the Ovimbundu Kingdoms) during most of this time, was raiding their neighbours, those of other tribes and those of European descent.