Luba tribe, also called Baluba, a Bantu-speaking cluster of peoples who inhabit a wide area extending throughout much of south-central Democratic Republic of the Congo. The name Luba applies to a variety of peoples who, though of different origins, speak closely related languages, exhibit many common cultural traits, and share a common political history with past members of the Luba empire. The Kingdom of Luba, thrived from the 15th to 19th century CE and was the first such state in the Congo basin. Skills in ironworking and trade along the Lualaba river in such metals as copper permitted the Luba elite to form a kingdom which spread across and out from the Upemba Depression in what is today southern DR Congo. The Luba Kingdom prospered until it fell into the hands of Belgian colonialists in the late 19th century CE.