Congo already had a 10-year political history behind it when
its existence in Central Europe became known through its
reports on Dr. Livingstones worked in the period 1840-1870.
In 1876, the Belgian King, Leopold II, founded the
International African Association, a private enterprise that
financed the expeditions of journalist and adventurer Henry
M. Stanley. In just a few years Stanley succeeded in signing
400 trade and defense agreements with local leaders from
tribes living on the banks of the Congo River. As a result
of these agreements and the establishment of Belgian
companies at the mouth of the river, a land exchange system
was established, officially recognized by the Berlin
Conference. The "Free State of Congo" became the private
property of Belgian King Leopold and his Compagnie du
the Congo's population suffered from the worst exploitation
that did not improve as the area's status changed in 1908 by
the Belgian colonial power. The army was constantly deployed
to fight the anti-imperialist resistance and to protect the
extremely profitable mining in Katanga.
Only in 1957 were liberal reforms allowed the
establishment of political parties in Africa. An endless
series of movements formed on the basis of tribal
communities which sought to profit from the discontent. The
Congolese National Movement, led by Patrice Lumumba, raised
local conflicts at a national level as a counter to the
The police's brutal crackdown on a peaceful political
meeting in 1959 became the beginning of bloody racial riots.
Belgian King Bauduin tried to pour oil on the waters by
promising independence in the foreseeable future. The white
colonizers responded with new waves of violence;
independence was finally proclaimed in 1960 with Joseph
Kasavubu as president and Lumumba as prime minister. Shortly
thereafter, Moisés Chombe, Katanga's then prime minister,
founded a new independence movement.
Belgium sent parachute troops and the UN intervened with
a "peacekeeping force". Kasavubu staged a coup, extradited
Lumumba to the Belgian mercenaries who had defended Katanga;
the leader of the independence movement was then
assassinated. The Civil War continued until 1963. The
division of the country was never realized; on the contrary,
Chombe, who defended the interests of the neo-colonialists,
was appointed prime minister. With the help of mercenaries,
Belgian paratroopers and North American weapons, Chombe
succeeded in defeating the revolutionary forces. In 1965, he
was forced by Kasavubu to resign, while in turn dismissed by
Army commander Joseph Desiré Mobutu, who was believed to be
able to live up to the demands of multinationals.
With the introduction of «The African doctrine of
origin», Mobutu changed its name to Zaire and its own name
to Mobutu Sese Seko. The nationalization of the copper
mines, which was decreed in 1975, benefited both national
citizenship and state bureaucracy.
Although these actions led to some inconsistencies with
North American diplomacy, during the Cold War, Mobutu
managed to emerge as Washington's allies in the region.
Thus, it was Zaire who provided shelter and provided the
so-called Angolan National Liberation Front, FNLA, with
weapons in the fight against Agostinho Neto's MPLA in
Angola. Mobutu also supported the separatist movement in the
Angolan oil province of Cabinda. Zaire troops fought against
the Angolans in alliance with the South Africans.
At the same time, Zaire witnessed an internal uprising.
Major offensive, launched in 1978 and 1979 by the Congo
Liberation Front, was fought solely by the assistance of
French and Belgian paratroopers, as well as Moroccan and
Egyptian forces - once again equipped with North American