History of the Republic of the Congo

The history of the Republic of the Congo has been marked by diverse civilisations: indigenous and post-independence. The earliest inhabitants of the region comprising present-day Congo were the Bambuti people; the Bambuti were linked to Pygmy tribes whose Stone Age culture was replaced by Bantu tribes coming from regions north of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo about 2,000 years ago, introducing Iron Age culture to the region. The main Bantu tribe living in the region were the Kongo known as Bakongo, who established weak and unstable kingdoms along the mouth and south of the Congo River; the capital of this Kongolese kingdom, Mbanza Kongo baptized as São Salvador by the Portuguese, is a town in northern Angola near the border with the DRC. From the capital they ruled over an empire encompassing large parts of present-day Angola, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, they ruled over nearby tributary states by appointing sons of the Kongo kings to head these states.

It had six so-called provinces called Mbemba, Mbamba, Mbata and Mpangu. With the Kingdom of Loango in the north and the Kingdom of Mbundu in the south being tributary states. In the East it bordered on a tributary of the Congo River. In total the kingdom is said to have had 3 to 4 million inhabitants and a surface of about 300,000 km². According to oral traditions it was established in around 1400 when King Lukeni lua Nimi conquered the kingdom of Kabunga and established Mbanza Kongo as its capital; this African Iron Age culture came under great pressure with the arrival of the first Europeans, in this case Portuguese explorers. King John II of Portugal sought, in order to break Venetian and Ottoman control over trade with the East, to organize a series of expeditions south along the African coast with the goal of establishing direct contact with Asia. In 1482–1483, Captain Diogo Cão, sailing southwards on the uncharted Congo River, discovered the mouth of the river, became the first European to encounter the Kingdom of Kongo.

Relations were limited and considered beneficial to both sides. With Christianity accepted by the local nobility, leading on 3 May 1491 to the baptism of king Nzinga a Nkuwu as the first Christian Kongolese king João I, he was succeeded after his death in 1506 by his son Nzinga Mbemba, who ruled as King Afonso I until 1543. Under his reign Christianity gained a strong foothold in the country. Many churches were built in Mbanza. In theory the kings of Portugal and Kongo were equals and they exchanged letters as such. Kongo at some point established diplomatic relations with the Vatican, the Pope appointed a local priest as bishop for the region; the result was a series of revolts against Portuguese rule of which the battle of Mbwila and the revolt led by Kimpa Vita were the most important. The battle of Mbwila was the result of a conflict between the Portuguese, led by governor André Vidal de Negreiros, the Kongolese king António I concerning mining rights; the Kongolese refused to give the Portuguese extra territorial rights and the Portuguese were angry because of Kongolese support for previous Dutch invasions of the region.

During a battle on 25 October 1665 an estimated 20,000 Kongolese fought against the Portuguese, who won the battle thanks to the early death in battle of Kongolese King Afonso I of Kongo. The revolt of Kimpa Vita was another attempt to regain independence from the Portuguese. Baptised around 1684 as Dona Béatrice, Kimpa Vita was raised Catholic and being pious she became a nun seeing visions of St. Anthony of Padua ordering her to restore the kingdom of Kongo to its former glory. Creating the Anthonian prophetic movement she interfered directly in the civil war between the three members of the local nobility claiming the Kongolese throne, João II, Pedro IV and Pedro Kibenga. In it she took sides against Pedro IV, considered the favorite of the Portuguese, her revolt, during which she captured the capital Mbanza Kongo, was short lived. She was captured by the forces of Pedro IV and under orders of Portuguese Capuchin Friars condemned for being a witch and a heretic and burned to death. For many, she is the African version of Joan of Arc and an early symbol of African resistance against colonialism because, for her outspokenness, she was burned alive on a pyre.

As a result of all these wars the kingdom of the Loango in the north gained independence from Kongo. New kingdoms came to existence of which the Téké was the most important, ruling over a large area encompassing present-day Brazzaville and Kinshasa. Portugal's position in Europe suffered a major change in 1580 when the Kingdoms of Spain and Portugal were united by a personal union under King Philip, creating the Iberian Union which lasted until 1640; this resulted in a diminished role for Portugal in African affairs, including the area around the mouth of the Congo River. The Kingdom of Kongo was reduced to a small enclave in the north of Angola with King Pedro V in 1888 accepting to become a vassal of the Portuguese; the Portuguese abolished the kingdom after the revolt of the Kongolese in 1914.。。 The period leading up to the Berlin Conference on Africa saw a rush by the major European powers to increase their control of the African continent. The rise in Western Europe of capitalism and the consequent industrialization led to a fast-growing demand for African raw materials like rubber, palm oil and cotton.

Those who had these raw materials could have their economy grow strong. Others would lose out; this resulted in a more intensified scramble for Africa. The Congo River hereby was a prime

Perfume Pagoda

The Huong Pagoda is a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone Huong Tich mountains. It is the site of a religious festival; the centre of the Huong Temple lies in Mỹ Đức District, former Hà Tây Province. The centre of this complex is the Perfume Temple known as Chua Trong, located in Huong Tich Cave, it is thought that the first temple was a small structure on the current site of Thien Tru which existed during the reign of Lê Thánh Tông in the 15th century. Legend claims that the site was discovered over 2000 years ago by a monk meditating in the area, who named the site after a Tibetan mountain where Lord Buddha practiced asceticism. A stele at the current temple dates the building of a terrace, stone steps and Kim Dung shrine to 1686, during the reign of Le Hy Tong, at around the same time that Chua Trong was being constructed. Over the years some of the structures were replaced; the original statues of Lord Buddha and Quan Am were cast from bronze in 1767 and replaced with the current statues in 1793.

More damage was done during both the French and the American wars. Both the gate and the bell tower at Thien Tru Pagoda were destroyed, the bell tower rebuilt in 1986 and the gate completed in 1994; the many Pagodas that make up Chua Huong are spread out among the limestone hills and tropical forests in the area of Huong Mountain. Approaching from the Day River, one will first come across Den Trinh known as Den Quan Lon, built to worship one of the generals of a Hung King; this large shrine has a gate with two kneeling elephant statues on each side. Inside the structure is a large ceremonial room. Beyond Den Trinh is Thien Tru Pagoda known as Chua Ngoai. Here one will find Vien Cong Bao Stupa, a brick structure where Ch’an Master Vien Quang, who led the reconstruction of the pagoda, is buried. Thien Thuy stupa, a occurring structure, the result of the erosion of a rocky hill, is nearby. Thien Tru is home to a bell tower and Hall of the Triple Gem, last restored in the 1980s. Inside the Pagoda there is a large statue of Quan Am Nam Hai. hay On the route from Thien Tru to Huong Tich cave is Giai Oan Temple called ‘Clearing Unjust Charges’ Pagoda.

Here there is a pond called Thien Nhien Thanh Tri called Long Tuyen Well, Giai Oan stream, with its 9 sources. The center of the Chua Huong complex, Huong Tich Cave houses Chua Trong; the mouth of the cave has the appearance of an open dragon’s mouth with Chu Nho characters carved in a wall at the mouth of the cave. The characters are translated as “the foremost cave under the Southern Heavens” and the carving is dated to 1770; the words are attributed by some to the ruler of Thinh Do Vuong Trinh Sam. Inside the cave there are many statues. There is a large statue of Lord Buddha, as well as one of Quan Am. Quan Am's "left leg is stretched out and the foot lies on a lotus flower, her right leg is bent and is supported by a lotus flower with supple leaves. There are statues of Arhats and various other figures. Among the occurring features of the cave are numerous stalactites and stalagmites, some of which are worn smooth from years of rubbing by visitors to the cave. Other sites included in the Chua Huong complex are Thien Son Pagoda, Thuyet Kinh Grotto, Phat Tich Temple, Vong Temple.

There are many practices associated with its various temples. Some of these are Buddhist, while others are animist or part of popular religion in Vietnam. Many Vietnamese people visit Chua Huong on religious pilgrimage; the standard greetings from one pilgrim to another are "A Di Da Phat" or "Namo Amitabha Buddha". For the purpose of pilgrimage there are various routes that one might take, but the most popular is to take a boat from Yen wharf, stopping at Trinh shrine to ‘present’ themselves at the ‘registration shrine’; the pilgrims make their way to Hoi bridge and visit Thanh Son temple inside a cave. The next stop is Tro wharf. After Thien Tru comes Tien temple, followed by Giai Oan temple, it is believed that Buddha once stopped here to wash himself clean of the dust of humanity, many pilgrims will wash their face and hands in Long Tuyen Well in hopes of washing away past karmas. While here, pilgrims may visit Tuyet Kinh cave and Cua Vong shrine to worship the Goddess of the Mountains, or Phat Tich Shrine where there is a stone believed to be the preserved footprint of the Quan Am.

From here pilgrims head toward the final destination: Huong Tich Cave. At Huong Tich there are statues of deities, but many pilgrims come to get blessings from the stalactites and stalagmites, many of which are named and have special purposes. Many childless pilgrims seek fertility from Nui Co and Nui Cau, while others visit stalactites and stalagmites thought to give prosperity. Pilgrims gather under one particular stalactite, which resembles a breast, to catch drops of water in hopes of being blessed with health from the ‘milk’ of the'breast'. Other names of stalactites and stalagmites include the Heap of Coins, the Gold Tree, the Silver Tree, the Basket of Silkworms, the Cocoon and the Rice Stack; the main pilgrimage season at Chua Huong is during the Huong Pagoda festival, when hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make their way to Huong Tich cave and the other temples. The longest lasting festival in Vietnam, it offi

Kostadin Dyakov

Kostadin Dyakov is a Bulgarian footballer who plays as a midfielder for Oborishte Panagyurishte. He was raised in Levski Sofia's youth teams. After that he played as a loaned footballer for Rodopa Smolyan, he signed than with Chernomorets Burgas in June 2007 on free transfer from Levski Sofia and joined on 8 October 2009 for a trial to FC Schalke 04. On 14 July 2016, Dyakov signed with Montana, he left the club in June 2017. On 5 September 2017, Dyakov signed with Second League club Maritsa Plovdiv. Dyakov plays as a right or defensive midfielder