Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville)

Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville)

Infobox Former Country
native_name = République du Congo
conventional_long_name = Republic of the Congo¹
common_name = Congo
continent = Africa
country = Congo
era = Cold War
year_start = 1960
year_end = 1965
date_start = July 1
date_end = November 25
event_start = Independence
event_end = Coup d'état
event1 = Kasai defeated
year_event1 = December 30, 1961
event2 = Katanga defeated
year_event2 = January 15, 1963
event3 = "Democratic Republic"¹
year_event3 = August 1, 1964
p1 = Belgian Congo
flag_p1 = Flag of Congo Free State.svg
p2 = South Kasai
flag_p2 = Flag of South Kasai.svg
p3 = State of Katanga
flag_p3 = Flag of Katanga.svg
s1 = Zaire
flag_s1 = Flag_of_Zaire.svg

symbol = Coat of arms of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
national_motto = _fr. "Paix - Justice - Travail"
(French for "Peace - Justice - Work")

national_anthem = _fr. Debout Congolais
common_languages = French (Lingala, Kongo language, Swahili, Tshiluba were national languages)
capital = Léopoldville|latd=4|latm=24|latNS=S|longd=15|longm=24|longEW=E
government_type = Republic
leader1 = Joseph Kasa-Vubu
year_leader1 = 1960-1965
title_leader = President
deputy1 = Patrice Lumumba
year_deputy1 = 1960
deputy2 = Cyrille Adoula
year_deputy2 = 1961-64
deputy3 = Évariste Kimba
year_deputy3 = 1965
title_deputy = Prime Minister
stat_area1 = 2345410
currency = Congolese franc
footnotes = ¹ Renamed the "Democratic Republic of the Congo" ("République démocratique du Congo") on August 1, 1964

The Republic of the Congo ( _fr. République du Congo) was an independent republic established following the independence granted to the former colony of the Belgian Congo in 1960. The country's post-independence name remained only until August 1, 1964, [ "Zaire: Post-Indepdent Political Development"] , "Library of Congress"] when it was changed to Democratic Republic of the Congo, to distinguish it from the neighboring Republic of the Congo, formerly French Congo.

Unrest and rebellion plagued the government until 1965, when Lieutenant General Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, by then commander-in-chief of the national army, seized control of the country and declared himself president for five years.

Belgian Congo

The conditions in the Congo improved following the Belgian government's takeover from the Congo Free State. Select Bantu languages were taught in primary schools, a rare occurrence in colonial education. Colonial doctors were to greatly reduce the spread of African trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness. The colonial administration implemented a variety of economic reforms that focused on the improvement of 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 Leopoldville. The Belgian Colony-secretary and Governor-general, neither of whom was 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.

During World War II, the small Congolese army achieved several victories against the Italians in North 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

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 Kasavubu, of the ABAKO (Alliance des Bakongo) party, was elected President by the parliament. Other parties that emerged include the Parti Solidaire Africain (or PSA, led by Antoine Gizenga) and the Parti National du Peuple (or PNP led by Albert Delvaux and Laurent Mbariko).

The Belgian Congo achieved independence on June 30, 1960 under the name "Republic of Congo" or "Republic of the Congo" ("République du Congo"). As the French colony of Middle Congo (Moyen Congo) also chose the name "Republic of Congo" upon receiving its independence, the two countries were more commonly known as "Congo-Léopoldville" and "Congo-Brazzaville", after their capital cities. In 1966, Joseph Mobutu changed the country's official name to "Democratic Republic of the Congo", and in 1971 it was changed again to "Republic of Zaïre".

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 Kasavubu and Prime Minister Lumumba. On September 5, 1960, Kasavubu dismissed Lumumba from office. Lumumba declared Kasavubu's action "unconstitutional" and a crisis between the two leaders developed.

Lumumba had previously appointed Joseph Mobutu chief of staff of the new Congo army, Armee Nationale Congolaise (ANC). Taking advantage of the leadership crisis between Kasavubu and Lumumba, Mobutu garnered enough support within the army to create sentiment sufficient to inspire mutinous action. With financial support from the United States and Belgium, Mobutu made payments to his soldiers in order 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 Kasavubu and Lumumba in a coup by proxy.

On January 17, 1961, Katangan forces, supported by the Belgian government's desire to retain rights to mine for copper and diamonds in Katanga and South Kasai and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's desire to remove any leftist sympathizers in the region, assassinated Patrice Lumumba. Amidst widespread confusion and chaos, a temporary government led by technicians (College des Commissaires) with Evariste Kimba, and several short governments Joseph Ileo, Cyrille Adoula, Moise Tshombe took over in quick succession.

Coup d'etat

Following five years of extreme instability and civil unrest, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, now Lieutenant General, overthrew Kasavubu in a 1965 Central Intelligence Agency-backed coup. He had the support of the United States on account of his staunch opposition to Communism, which would presumably make him a roadblock to Communist schemes in Africa. It is also argued that the Western support for Mobutu was also related to his allowing businesses to export the many natural resources of Zaire without worrying about environmental, labour, or other regulations. A one-party system was established, and Mobutu declared himself head of state. He would periodically hold elections in which he was the only candidate.

See also

*History of the Democratic Republic of the Congo


*loc - [ Zaire]

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