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MPONGWE (PONGOS), a settled Bantu people of the Gabun, West Africa, constantly confused with the Mpangwe or Fang (q.v.). The Mpongwe, who call themselves Ayogo or " the Wise," have a rich collection of national songs, myths and traditions, and the tribal elders know the " Hidden Words," a kind of secret language of unknown origin. Their language, a Bantu dialect, has been the means of communication between the tribes of the interior and the Europeans. The family organization is intricate and very similar to the Roman patria potestas; wives, children and slaves being all subservient to the father, who alone is really free. They practise the poison ordeal, and reverence vague and malignant spirits who require propitiation by offerings and ceremonies. The ghosts of the dead are especially feared.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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