Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville)

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Republic of the Congo
(1960–1964)
République du Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo
(1964–1971)
République démocratique du Congo

1960–1971
Motto: "Justice – Paix – Travail" (French)
"Justice – Peace – Work"
Anthem:  Debout Congolais (French)
Arise, Congolese

LocationDRCongo.svg
Capital Léopoldville (renamed Kinshasa in 1966)
Common languages
Government Parliamentary republic (until 1965)
Military dictatorship (from 1965)
President  
 1960–1965
Joseph Kasa-Vubu
 1965–1971
Joseph-Desiré Mobutu
Prime Minister  
 1960
Patrice Lumumba
 1961–1964
Cyrille Adoula
 1965
Évariste Kimba
Historical era Cold War
30 June 1960
30 December 1961
15 January 1963
 Country renamed DRC
1 August 1964
25 November 1965
 Name changed to Zaire
27 October 1971
Area
2,345,410 km2 (905,570 sq mi)
Currency Congolese franc (until 1967)
Zaire (1967–1971)
ISO 3166 code CG
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Congo Free State.svg Belgian Congo
Flag of South Kasai.svg South Kasai
Flag of Katanga.svg State of Katanga
Zaire Flag of Zaire.svg
Today part ofFlag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg  Democratic Republic of Congo
1964 Constitution de la Republique democratique du Congo 1964 Congo Constitution - Table of Contents 01.JPG
1964 Constitution de la République démocratique du Congo

The Republic of the Congo (French : République du Congo) was a sovereign state in Central Africa that was created with the independence of the Belgian Congo in 1960. From 1960 to 1966, the country was often known as Congo-Léopoldville (after its capital) in order to distinguish it from its north-western neighbour, also called the Republic of the Congo or Congo-Brazzaville. With the renaming of Léopoldville as Kinshasa on 1 June 1966, it was known as Congo-Kinshasa until 1971.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Sovereign state Political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.

Central Africa Core region of the African continent

Central Africa is a region of the African continent comprising various countries according to different definitions. Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe are members of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Six of those states are also members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and share a common currency, the Central African CFA franc. The African Development Bank defines Central Africa as Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. Middle Africa is an analogous term used by the United Nations in its geoscheme for Africa. It includes the same countries as the African Development Bank's definition, along with Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Contents

On 1 August 1964, the state's official name was changed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [1] [2] In 1971, the state's name changed to Zaire.

Zaire Country in Africa now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Zaire, officially the Republic of Zaire, was the name of a sovereign state between 1971 and 1997 in Central Africa that is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country was a one-party totalitarian dictatorship, run by Mobutu Sese Seko and his ruling Popular Movement of the Revolution party. Zaire was established following Mobutu's seizure of power in a military coup in 1965, following five years of political upheaval following independence known as the Congo Crisis. Zaire had a strongly centralist constitution, and foreign assets were nationalised. The period is sometimes referred to as the Second Congolese Republic.

The period between 1960 and 1965 is referred to as the First Congolese Republic, while the current Democratic Republic of the Congo is referred to as the Third Republic.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Country in Central Africa

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes anachronistically referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997. It is, by area, the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, the second-largest in all of Africa, and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous officially Francophone country, the fourth-most-populous country in Africa, and the 16th-most-populous country in the world. Eastern DR Congo has been the scene of ongoing military conflict in Kivu, since 2015.

Unrest and rebellion continued to plague the government until 1965,[ citation needed ] when Lieutenant General Joseph Désiré Mobutu, commander-in-chief of the national army, seized control of the country. Mobutu changed the country's official name to the Republic of Zaire in 1971 and remained its president until 1997.

Congo Crisis 1960–1965 war fought in the Congo

The Congo Crisis was a period of political upheaval and conflict in the Republic of the Congo between 1960 and 1965. The crisis began almost immediately after the Congo became independent from Belgium and ended, unofficially, with the entire country under the rule of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu. Constituting a series of civil wars, the Congo Crisis was also a proxy conflict in the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union and the United States supported opposing factions. Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the crisis.

Colonial rule

Conditions in the Congo improved following the Belgian government's takeover in 1908 of the Congo Free State, which had been a personal possession of the Belgian king. Some Bantu languages were taught in primary schools, a rare occurrence in colonial education. Colonial doctors greatly reduced the spread of African trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness.

Congo Free State Area in Central Africa under Belgian control (1885–1908)

The Congo Free State also known as the Independent State of the Congo was a large state in Central Africa from 1885 to 1908. It was ruled personally by Leopold II and not by the government of Belgium, of which he was the constitutional monarch. Leopold II was able to procure the region by convincing other Eurasian states at the Berlin Conference that he was involved in humanitarian and philanthropic work and would not tax trade. Via the International Association of the Congo, he was able to lay claim to most of the Congo basin. On 29 May 1885, after the closure of the Berlin Conference, the king announced that he planned to name his possessions "the Congo Free State", an appellation which was not yet used at the Berlin Conference and which officially replaced "International Association of the Congo" on 1 August 1885. The Congo Free State operated as a corporate state privately controlled by Leopold II. The state included the entire area of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo and existed from 1885 to 1908, when the government of Belgium reluctantly annexed the area.

African trypanosomiasis parasitic disease

African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, is an insect-borne parasitic disease of humans and other animals. It is caused by protozoa of the species Trypanosoma brucei. There are two types that infect humans, Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (TbG) and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (TbR). TbG causes over 98% of reported cases. Both are usually transmitted by the bite of an infected tsetse fly and are most common in rural areas.

During World War II, the small Congolese army achieved several victories against the Italians in East Africa. The Belgian Congo, which was also rich in uranium deposits, supplied the uranium that was used by the United States to build the atomic weapons that were used in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Kingdom of Italy kingdom on the Appenine Peninsula between 1861 and 1946

The Kingdom of Italy was a state which existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King of Italy—until 1946—when civil discontent led an institutional referendum to abandon the monarchy and form the modern Italian Republic. The state was founded as a result of the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which can be considered its legal predecessor state.

Uranium Chemical element with atomic number 92

Uranium is a chemical element with the symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-grey metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons. Uranium is weakly radioactive because all isotopes of uranium are unstable; the half-lives of its naturally occurring isotopes range between 159,200 years and 4.5 billion years. The most common isotopes in natural uranium are uranium-238 and uranium-235. Uranium has the highest atomic weight of the primordially occurring elements. Its density is about 70% higher than that of lead, and slightly lower than that of gold or tungsten. It occurs naturally in low concentrations of a few parts per million in soil, rock and water, and is commercially extracted from uranium-bearing minerals such as uraninite.

The colonial administration implemented a variety of economic reforms to improve infrastructure: railways, ports, roads, mines, plantations and industrial areas. The Congolese people, however, lacked political power and faced legal discrimination. All colonial policies were decided in Brussels and Léopoldville. The Belgian Colony-secretary and Governor-general, neither elected by the Congolese people, wielded absolute power.

Among the Congolese people, resistance against their undemocratic regime grew over time. In 1955, the Congolese upper class (the so-called "évolués"), many of whom had been educated in Europe, initiated a campaign to end the inequality.

Congo Crisis

In May 1960, the MNC party or Mouvement National Congolais, led by Patrice Lumumba, won the parliamentary elections, and Lumumba was appointed Prime Minister. Joseph Kasa-Vubu of ABAKO was elected President by the parliament. Other parties that emerged include the Parti Solidaire Africain (PSA), led by Antoine Gizenga, and the Parti National du Peuple (PNP), led by Albert Delvaux and Laurent Mbariko).

The Belgian Congo achieved independence on 30 June 1960. On 1 July Lumumba sent a wire to the UN to request membership, stating that the Congo "accepts without reservation the obligations stipulated in the Charter of the UN and undertakes to abide by the same in absolute good faith." [3] UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld cabled the Foreign Ministry, pointing out the difficulty in admitting the country into the UN under its name in the face of another application for membership from the neighboring Congo, preparing for independence from French control. A delegation was sent from Brazzaville, the capital of the French Congo, to Léopoldville to resolve the matter. In the end, it was decided that the former Belgian Congo would be recognised as the Republic of the Congo or Congo-Léopoldville while the former French Congo would be known as the Congolese Republic or Congo-Brazzaville. [4] Following a constitutional referendum in 1964 it was renamed the "Democratic Republic of the Congo", and in 1971 it was changed again to "Republic of Zaïre".

Secessionist movements

Shortly after independence, the provinces of Katanga (with Moise Tshombe) and South Kasai engaged in secessionist struggles against the new leadership.

Subsequent events led to a crisis between President Kasa-Vubu and Prime Minister Lumumba. On 5 September 1960, Kasavubu dismissed Lumumba from office. Lumumba declared Kasa-Vubu's action "unconstitutional" and a crisis between the two leaders developed.

Lumumba had previously appointed Joseph Mobutu chief of staff of the new Congolese army, the Armee Nationale Congolaise (ANC). Taking advantage of the leadership crisis between Kasa-Vubu and Lumumba, Mobutu garnered enough support within the army to inspire mutinous action. With financial support from the United States and Belgium, Mobutu made payments to his soldiers to generate their loyalty. The aversion of Western powers towards communism and leftist ideology, in general, influenced their decision to finance Mobutu's quest to maintain "order" in the new state by neutralizing Kasa-Vubu and Lumumba in a coup by proxy.

On 17 January 1961, Katangan forces, supported by the Belgian government, which desired to retain mining rights for copper and diamonds in Katanga and South Kasai, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which desired to remove leftist sympathizers from the region, assassinated Patrice Lumumba. [5] [ page needed ] From 1960 to 1964 the peacekeeping effort was the largest, most complex, and most costly operation ever carried out by the United Nations. Amidst widespread confusion and chaos, a temporary government led by technicians (Collège des Commissaires) with Evariste Kimba, and several short governments Joseph Ileo, Cyrille Adoula, and Moise Tshombe took over in quick succession.

Coup d'état

Following five years of extreme instability and civil unrest, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, now Lieutenant General, overthrew Kasa-Vubu in a 1965 CIA-backed coup. [6] [7] He had the support of the US for his staunch opposition to communism, which would presumably make him a roadblock to communist schemes in Africa.

Mobutu declared himself president for five years, saying that he needed that long to undo the damage that the politicians had done in the country's first five years of independence. However, within two years, he had set up the Popular Movement of the Revolution as the country's only legal party. In 1970, he appeared alone on the ballot in the country's first direct presidential election. Two weeks later, a single list of PMR candidates was elected to the legislature. For all intents and purposes, the Democratic Republic of the Congo had effectively come to an end, but it would be another year before Mobutu officially changed the country's name to Zaire.

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Related Research Articles

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Lumumba Government

The Lumumba Government, synecdochically known as the Lumumba Ministry or Lumumba Cabinet, was the first set of ministers, ministers of state, and secretaries of state that governed the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the leadership of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba from 24 June until 12 September 1960. Weak and divided, its tenure was dominated by a widespread mutiny in the army and two secessions. The government suffered from and inherited many problems from the era of the Belgian Congo, a tightly-administered colony which for most of is existence had few political freedoms. In the late 1950s an independence movement suddenly emerged, led by figures such as Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Kasa-Vubu. Fears that the situation might turn violent led the Belgian government to grant the Congo independence on 30 June 1960. A provisional constitution, providing for a parliamentary regime with a responsible government and prime minister and an irresponsible head of state, was instituted, and general elections were hastily organised. Lumumba's nationalist party, the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC), won a plurality of the seats in Parliament. After much hesitation, King Baudouin of Belgium appointed Lumumba formateur, tasking him with creating a government. On 23 June Lumumba announced his completed government, a broad coalition consisting of 23 ministers, 4 ministers of state, and 10 secretaries of state, and presented it to the lower house of Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies. The vote of confidence succeeded by only a small margin. The Senate gave a more decisive vote of approval the following day, and the Lumumba Government was officially invested. With Lumumba's backing, Parliament elected Kasa-Vubu President.

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1960 Force Publique mutiny mutiny by soldiers of the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo at Léopoldville and Thysville garrisons

On 5 July 1960, soldiers of the garrisons of Léopoldville and Thysville of the Force Publique, the army of the newly independent Democratic Republic of the Congo mutinied against their white officers. The revolt quickly spread throughout the Lower Congo and engulfed the country in disorder, beginning the Congo Crisis.

On 5 September 1960 President Joseph Kasa-Vubu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo dismissed Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba from office. He also dismissed six other members of his government: Deputy Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga, Minister of Justice Rémy Mwamba, Minister of Interior Christophe Gbenye, Minister of Information Anicet Kashamura, Secretary of State Antoine-Roger Bolamba, and Secretary of State Jacques Lumbala.

Formation of the Lumumba Government

The Lumumba Government was the first set of ministers, ministers of state, and secretaries of state that governed the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the leadership of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba from 24 June until 12 September 1960. It was hastily formed over the period of several weeks in June, and was supported by a slight majority coalition in Parliament. Weak and divided, its tenure was dominated by a widespread mutiny in the army and two secessions.

References

  1. "Zaire: Post-Independence Political Development", Library of Congress
  2. "Constitution de la République Démocratique du Congo du 1er août 1964" [Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of 1 August 1964]. Global Legal Information Network (in French). 1964. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  3. Merriam 1961, pp. 207–208.
  4. Kanza 1994, p. 185.
  5. "Crisis in the Congo" Lefever, Ernest W.
  6. Prados, John (2006). Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. pp. 277–278. ISBN   9781566638234.
  7. Weissman, Stephen R. (2014-06-16). "What Really Happened in Congo". Foreign Affairs (July/August 2014). ISSN   0015-7120 . Retrieved 2017-09-25.

Sources

Further reading

Coordinates: 4°24′S15°24′E / 4.400°S 15.400°E / -4.400; 15.400