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The Luba-Lunda states eventually declined as a result of both Atlantic slave trade in the west and Indian Ocean slave trade in the east and wars with breakaway factions of the kingdoms. The Chokwe, a group that is closely related to the Luvale and formed a Lunda satellite state, initially suffered from the European demand for slaves, but once they broke away from the Lunda state, they themselves became notorious slave traders, exporting slaves to both coasts.

The Chokwe eventually were defeated by the other ethnic groups and the Portuguese. This instability caused the collapse of the Luba-Lunda states and a dispersal of people into various parts of Zambia from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The majority of Zambians trace their ancestry to the Luba-Lunda and surrounding Central African states.

The Maravi Confederacy:

In the 1200s, before the founding of the Luba-Lunda states, a group of Bantu people started migrating from the Congo Basin to Lake Mweru then finally settled around Lake Malawi. These migrants are believed to have been one of the inhabitants around the Upemba area in the Democratic Republic of Congo. By the 1400s these groups of migrants collectively called the Maravi, and most prominently among them was the Chewa people (AChewa), who started assimilating other Bantu groups like the Tumbuka.

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The kalonga (ruler) of the AChewa today descends from the kalonga of the Maravi Empire.
In 1480 the Maravi Empire was founded by the kalonga (paramount chief of the Maravi) from the Phiri clan, one of the main clans, with the others being Banda, Mwale and Nkhoma. The Maravi Empire stretched from the Indian Ocean through what today is Mozambique to Zambia and large parts of Malawi. The political organization of the Maravi resembled that of the Luba and is believed to have originated from there. The primary export of the Maravi was ivory, which was transported to Swahili brokers.

Iron was also manufactured and exported. In the 1590s the Portuguese endeavored to take monopoly over Maravi export trade. This attempt was met with outrage by the Maravi of Lundu, who unleashed their WaZimba armed force. The WaZimba sacked the Portuguese trade towns of Tete, Sena and various other towns.

The Maravi are also believed to have brought the traditions that would become Nyau secret society from Upemba. The Nyau form the cosmology or indigenous religion of the people of Maravi. The Nyau society consists of ritual dance performances and masks used for the dances; this belief system spread around the region.

The Maravi declined as a result of succession disputes within the confederacy, attack by the Ngoni and slave raids from the Yao.

Mutapa Empire and Mfecane[edit]
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Three young Ngoni chiefs.
As Great Zimbabwe was in decline, one of its prince’s, Nyatsimba Mutota, broke away from the state forming a new empire called Mutapa. The title of Mwene Mutapa, meaning “Ravager of the Lands”, was bestowed on him and subsequent rulers.

The Mutapa Empire ruled territory between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, in what is now Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, from the 14th to the 17th century. By its, peak Mutapa had conquered the Dande area of the Tonga and Tavara. The Mutapa Empire predominately engaged in the Indian Ocean transcontinental trade with and via the WaSwahili. The primary exported gold and ivory for silk and ceramics from Asia.

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