The Bakongo, also called the Kongo, are a Central African ethnic group from the Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola, with a world population of 18,000,000. They are the largest ethnic group in DR Congo, and they once ruled the Kingdom of Kongo. The Bakongo were the first to welcome traders from Portugal in 1483, and they converted to Catholicism in the late 15th century. After protesting against slavery during the 1510s and 1520s, the Bakongo became involved with the slave trade, and slave raids, colonial wars, and the Scramble for Africa led to the Bakongo being divided by numerous superimposed borders. Today, most of them adhere to Christianity or animism.