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Democratic Republic of the Congo

1996 Democratic Republic of the Congo

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 Katanga,

According to, 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 factional tendencies.

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 weapons.


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