The past thirty years have seen, particularly in the United States, a transformation in the public image of “Kongo,” an ill-defined entity (a tribe, a kingdom, a culture, a region?) on the Atlantic coast of Central Africa. The efforts of R. F. Thompson, professor of art history at Yale, and A. Fu-kiau, himself Kongolese, have done much to popularize a “Kongo” characterized more by its romantic appeal than by historical or ethnographic verisimilitude. Elsewhere in the Americas, the reputation of “Kongo” has suffered by comparison with “Yoruba,” another historically emergent Atlantic identity, based in West Africa. These identities, and the supposed contrast between them, are products of an increasingly complex trans-Atlantic discourse.