In Why Nations Fail we used the history of the emergence of the Kuba state in the 1620s as a model of both state formation and extractive growth.

The old capital of the Kuba state was Mushenge where the court still resides. The current Kuba King, Kot-a-Mbweeky III, is currently ill and in Brussels, but the regent is still in Mushenge and the state functions, though of course with much reduced power and authority.

Though the research plan that Sara Lowes, Nathan Nunn, James Robinson and Jon Weigel developed for this summer was based on surveying Kuba and Lele people residing in Kananga (given the huge challenges of moving around in rural Congo), you couldn’t go all the way to Kasai and not visit the royal capital of the Kuba state could you?

Here are some pictures of the trip and the four intrepid researchers in Mushenge.

(In future blogs we will report on the research findings when there are some!)

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