The African adoption of the Portuguese crusade during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries

Simmons, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-9405-8718, 2021. The African adoption of the Portuguese crusade during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Historical Journal. ISSN 0018-246X

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The Portuguese engagement with the continent of Africa following the conquest of Ceuta in 1415 was framed, among numerous conditions, as a crusade (Portuguese: cruzada). However, crusading influences on Portuguese expansion are often sidelined in favour of economic motives. Unlike North and north-east Africa's connected histories with the Crusades (1095–1291) and the continual role of crusading in the following centuries, the fifteenth century offered a new arena. Kongo's adoption of Christianity in the late fifteenth century was the first time that an African power can be viewed as engaging in crusading ideology as a Latin Christian power. Significantly, Kongo was converted by Portuguese missionaries who were undertaking their own crusade. Yet, the crusading influence on Kongo's early development of its Christianity has hitherto been overlooked in Africanist scholarship. Similarly, the situation in Kongo remains a lacuna in Crusades scholarship too. This article calls for a closer discussion between the histories of Africa and the Crusades through the case of Kongo and comparative African examples, such as Benin and Ndongo, to highlight the need to better connect these histories.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Historical Journal
Creators: Simmons, A.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date: 11 June 2021
ISSN: 0018-246X
Rights: Copyright © the author(s) 2021. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 07 Sep 2021 14:26
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2021 14:26

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