Katanga Province Secedes from the Congo and Riots Ensue (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: The Congo crisis was a product of unplanned and halfhearted Belgian decolonization and uncompromising Lumumbist nationalism.
Summary of Event
The Belgian Congo became the Republic of the Congo upon independence in 1960. In 1964, it changed its name to Democratic Republic of the Congo. To distinguish it from a northern neighbor with the same name, it was variously referred to as “Congo-Leopoldville” and as “Congo-Kinshasa” after 1966, when its capital city changed from Leopoldville to Kinshasa. In 1971, the official name of the country became Zaire. The Belgian Congo became independent in 1960. Unlike other African countries that gained independence the same year, the Congo immediately began to slip into a severe civil disorder that degenerated into superpower political confrontations. Less than two weeks after independence, Congo’s wealthiest region, Katanga province, announced its secession. The Belgians, the former colonial rulers, returned with force without the invitation of the Congo’s national government. The Congolese army mutinied after independence because its officer corps remained predominantly Belgian. With political independence, the Congolese expected but did not get rapid Africanization of the army’s officer corps. Because the army constituted the primary instrument of government coercion at the time, Belgian control of its officer corps meant that the Congo did not have...
(The entire section is 2228 words.)
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