Annemieke van Damme-Linseele: Lake Aquilunda. Reality or myth?


In numerous publications about Central Africa one can find more or less precise information about “Lake Aquilunda.” The lake was first recorded on the map published in the 17th-century work by Pigafetta and Lopez titled “Relatione del reame del Congo.” In this article, I analyse relevant sources in order to demonstrate that this “lake” is in fact a broader section of the Congo River south of Boma. In the mythology of the Congo people, this part of the river is believed to be the source of all life, including human beings. The sacred significance of the lake and of its surroundings is marked by a number of natural elements, such as particular rocks, deposits of kaolin, etc. Other toponyms, such as the Kongo dia Mulaza (Waters of the Congo) and Mpemba Kasi (Deposits of Kaolin) also stand in the relationship to the sacredness of that area.

[Kongo Kingdom, Lake Aquilunda, Pigafetta and Lopez, Kongo dia Mulaza, Mpemba Kasi, Boma]

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