Republic of the Congo History

Settled since ancient times, the first states emerged in the 14th century (Loango, Congo, Teke). Its further development was interrupted by the landing of the Portuguese in 1482 and the ensuing slave trade. The French traveler P. Savorgnan de Brazza, who explored the upper reaches of the Ogowe from Lambarene in 1875-78 and tried to penetrate to the Congo, reached the Teke Empire in September 1880 in a race with Sir H. M. Stanley, who was in the service of Leopold II of Belgium and concluded a protectorate treaty with their Makoko (king) in the area of ​​today’s Brazzaville.

Against the resistance of Leopold II, the sovereignty of France in the Congo was proclaimed. In 1884/85 the French claims to the meanwhile enlarged territory were confirmed in the Congo Conference. The area, an independent colony since 1891, was named Moyen-Congo (Central Congo) in 1903 and, together with Gabon, Ubangi-Shari (now Central African Republic) and Chad, became part of the colonial federation of French Equatorial Africa in 1910. In 1911, France ceded parts of the territory to the German Reich, but they became French again in 1916. From 1926 a political-religious protest movement spread, whose “Savior” was the former Catholic catechist André Matswa (* 1889, † 1942) was. During the Second World War, the colonial authorities joined on August 28, 1940 C. de Gaulle, who resided in Brazzaville until 1943 and chaired a reform conference of the French colonial governors there from January 30 to February 8, 1944. From 1946 the Congo was administered as an overseas territory. As the political leader of the independence movement, Fulbert Youlou (* 1917, † 1972), a member of the people of the Congo, prevailed. In 1958 the Congo became an autonomous republic within the French Community and gained independence on August 15, 1960 (Congo [Brazzaville]); Youlou became president.

On August 15, 1963, the population of the capital Brazzaville overthrew the brutally ruling President Youlou with the support of the army. Under his successor Alphonse Massemba-Débat (* 1921, † 1977), the unity party Mouvement National de la Révolution (MNR) was constituted in 1964, which set itself the goal of creating a socialist society. On August 2, 1968, radical left officers led by Marien Ngouabi (* 1938, † 1977) overthrew President Massemba-Débat. A National Revolutionary Council took power under the chairmanship of Ngouabi. Ngouabi, President since January 1, 1969, announced a Marxist-Leninist program in 1969, proclaimed the “People’s Republic of the Congo” and the Unity Party, Parti Congolais du Travail (PCT). Rivalries within the country’s leadership led to an attempted coup in March 1977, which Ngouabi fell victim to. In the course of domestic political struggles, Colonel D. Sassou-Nguesso prevailed as head of state and party in February 1979.

Despite the socialist agenda of its changing presidents, the Congo remained economically heavily dependent on the western industrialized countries, especially France. According to loverists, the PCT unity party renounced Marxism-Leninism in December 1990, agreed to the formation of a multi-party system and thus gave up its monopoly of power. In June 1991 the National Assembly decided to reorganize the state and implement democratic reforms. After the new constitution of 1992 was passed, the state name was changed to “Republic of the Congo”. In the first free presidential elections on August 16, 1992, P. Lissouba was victorious(Union Panafricain pour la Démocratie Sociale [UPADS]). The UPADS victory in the parliamentary elections of May / June 1993 sparked bloody unrest; when the second ballot was repeated in October 1993 under international supervision, the government defended its majority in parliament. However, the conflict was only resolved in August 1994 with the signing of a reconciliation agreement (including the integration of opposing militias into the army), which was followed by opposition politicians being accepted into the government in January 1995. Persistent economic and social problems, the planned privatization of the economy and a strict austerity policy, however, led to unrest several times. After the government tried to disband the private armies of influential politicians in the run-up to the planned presidential elections, Sassou-Nguesso, who was supported by France and Angola, prevailed against that of the incumbent head of state Lissouba, who was supported by the USA. However, the background to the fighting was v. a. Disputes about the income from the oil industry. Sassou-Nguesso declared himself head of state again on October 25, 1997 and formed a transitional government; In 1998 there were bloody clashes between security forces of the new government and Lissouba’s militias. On January 5, 2000, a peace agreement was finally signed between the government and the National Council of Resistance, an association of numerous militias. The presidential elections in March 2002 after the introduction of the new constitution (January 2002) confirmed Sassou-Nguesso in office. His ruling party, the Parti Congolais du Travail (PCT) and its allies, also prevailed convincingly in parliamentary, local and senate elections. Repeated attacks by the so-called ninja rebels in the western pool region threatened the stability of the country and at times drove tens of thousands to flight. In March 2003, the government and the rebels signed a peace agreement that included the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the ninja militiamen.

In August 2007 elections to the National Assembly took place, in which the government alliance around the PCT was able to win 79 out of 137 seats. In the presidential election on July 12, 2009, the incumbent became Sassou-Nguesso confirmed for another seven years. According to the electoral commission, he received 78.6% of the vote. The opposition had called for a boycott of the election because of feared manipulation of the electoral roll. In March 2012, over 300 people were killed in a series of explosions in an ammunition dump in the capital, Brazzaville, and more than 2,300 others were injured. In connection with this, several high-ranking military officers were arrested and brought to justice. In the parliamentary elections in July / August 2012, the ruling party PCT won 89 seats. According to official information, 93.0% of the population approved a constitutional amendment on October 25, 2015. included the creation of the office of prime minister and the limitation of the presidential term to five years with the possibility of two re-elections. According to the government, the turnout was 72.4%. By constitutional amendment, President received Sassou-Nguesso the opportunity to be re-elected in 2016. Violent protests against the president broke out in the weeks leading up to the referendum. There were dead and injured. In the controversial presidential elections on March 20, 2016, Sassou-Nguesso received, according to official information, the mandate for a further term with over 60% of the votes. On April 23, 2016, he appointed Clément Mouamba (PCT) Prime Minister. In the period that followed, renewed acts of violence destabilized the pool region. On July 16 and 30, 2017, parliamentary elections were held, which the PCT won with an absolute majority.

Republic of the Congo History