Like many other African countries,
Congo-Kinshasa is a purely colonial creation. The
kingdoms built here during the Middle Ages by African
peoples were broken down by European slave traders and
finally crushed when the Belgian king Leopold II in the
late 1800s wanted to create his own colony. Reckless
plundering of natural resources, without a thought for
the good of the people, came to characterize the country
even after the Belgian state took away the king's
responsibility for the colony.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Democratic Republic of the Congo, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
The oldest human traces in what is today
Congo-Kinshasa have been found in Katanga, Kasai and on
the shores of Albertsjön. The find is believed to be a
million years old. Near the border with Uganda,
technically advanced bone trapping tools have been
found, far older than similar finds in Europe.
The first known inhabitants of the Congo area were
pygmies. During the millennium before and the first
centuries after the beginning of our era, Bantu people
came from the north and spread through the Congo Basin.
Between the 13th and 16th centuries, there was a
developed culture with several kingdoms, including
Congo, Luba and Lunda.
In 1482, the Portuguese reached the mouth of the
Diogo Cão Congo River. This started a European
exploitation of the population and natural resources.
The river became a center for the export of slaves to
Arabia, the Middle East and the New World. At the end of
the 17th century, 15,000 slaves a year were taken from
the lower Congo River.
The river's raging currents, tropical climate and
diseases have long prevented Europeans from exploring
Congo's interior. It was not until the middle of the
19th century that the area around the river became known
in the western world. In 1878, King Leopold II
commissioned the American Henry Morton Stanley to
further explore the Congo, set up trading stations and
make agreements with local chieftains. This was usually
done with brutal methods.
At the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, the European
powers divided Africa. At that time, Leopold's right to
the so-called Congo Free State was recognized, which the
King came to regard as his private property. He greedily
exploited the rich mineral resources and forced the
residents into hard work under slavery-like forms.
Around the turn of the century, it was revealed how
Leopold's European soldiers murdered, battered and
plundered the population. Between five million and ten
million Congolese, who dropped rubber or chased ivory on
Leopold's behalf, died of disease, starvation and
violence. The scandal in 1908 led to the king being
forced to hand over the colony to the Belgian state.
The Belgians continued the exploitation, though not
as cruel and ruthless as King Leopold. The economy was
fully adapted to Belgian interests. Rich deposits of
minerals and cheap labor made the colony very
The Second World War created increased demand for
products from the Belgian Congo, which increased the
profitability of the colony. This development continued
after the war. Mining production increased by 60 percent
between 1945 and 1955. Towards the end of the 1950s, a
tenth of the world's copper was produced, half of the
cobalt and just over two-thirds of the industrial
diamonds. In addition, Congo generated large revenues
through the export of palm oil, cotton and coffee. The
colonial army and police kept the population in check.
Political parties were banned, but the Congolese
began to form cultural and ethnic associations in the
1950s to promote their interests. The most important was
called the Ba-Congo Alliance (Abako) and led by Joseph
Kasavubu. In 1956 Abako adopted a manifesto with demands
for independence. In the 1957 municipal elections, Abako
won big in the capital Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) and
support for the organization grew rapidly in the
When the police disbanded a political demonstration
organized by Abako in the capital in early 1959, riots
and bloody riots followed. Faced with the threat of
continued unrest, Belgium decided to accelerate the
transition to independence. On June 30, 1960, the
Belgian Congo became an independent state under the name
of the Republic of the Congo. The settlement was almost
panicked and it was poorly prepared Congolese
administration to take over after the Belgians.
New sanctions against rebels
UN Security Council introduces sanctions against
leaders of rebel movements M23 and FDLR. The penalties
mean that their financial assets are frozen and that
they are forbidden to travel abroad.
Mileage leaders are acquitted by the ICC
Mili leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui from Ituri is
acquitted by the ICC where he is charged with war crimes
and crimes against humanity. The judges point out that
the evidence is insufficient.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees in North Kivu
According to Doctors Without Borders, there are now
over 800,000 refugees in Nordkivu alone.
Assistance is stopped
The IMF decides to stop a $ 240 million loan to
Congo-Kinshasa due to lack of transparency in the
country's mining sector. The Congolese government had in
2011 promised to publish information on mining contracts
and also introduced new laws to do so. According to the
IMF, not enough has been done.
The rebels leave Goma
The Tutsir belts M23 leave Goma. According to an
agreement, which has been mediated with Ugandan
assistance, a two kilometer wide buffer zone will be
established around Goma.
Protests against both rebels and the government
In many parts of the country, violent protests are
erupting against the T23 bells in M23, and not least
President Kabila. Anger is also directed at the UN,
which is accused of not being able to protect the
civilian population. At least nine people were killed in
connection with the protests in Bukavu, Bunia and
Struggles between the Rwandan army and hutumilis
Rwanda states that fighting broke out between the
Rwandan army and the hutumilis FDLR, after the rebel
group attacked three Rwandan villages in the border
area. It is the first time in several years that FDLR
has implemented a slightly larger attack on Rwanda.
M23 consumes Goma
Fighting breaks out between M23 and government troops
near Goma. At the same time, the US announces that
sanctions have been imposed on M23 leader Sultani
Makenga. Since April, at least half a million people
have fled the fighting. On November 20, the M23 enters
Goma. However, the UN force still maintains the airport,
while the government army has resigned. According to a
report by the UN expert group, the M23 is in practice
governed by the Rwandan Defense Minister, General James
Kabarebe, and Bosco Ntaganda. Uganda President Yoweri
Museveni is calling for a crisis meeting in Kampala.
Kabila gets there, but Rwanda President Paul Kagame
sends his Foreign Minister. Jean-Marie Runiga, M23's
political leader, and his military leader Makenga are
also in Kampala.
Attempt to murder a reputed doctor
Doctor Denis Mukwege, internationally known for his
work in helping rape victims, is subjected to a murder
trial in South Kivu's capital Bukavu. He escapes
unharmed, but one of his employees is killed.
Rwanda is accused of supporting M23
In a new UN report leaked to the media, Rwanda is
accused of leading the M23 rebellion. Uganda is also
said to support the M23. Both countries still deny that
there is anything in the allegations.
Criticism of human rights violations
At the French-speaking countries summit in Kinshasa,
French President François Hollande criticized the
Congolese government for lack of respect for human
rights and how the opposition is being treated.
New international peacekeeping force underway
Regional leaders agree that new international
peacekeeping force should be sent to eastern
Congo-KInshasa within three months.
Arrest warrants are issued for rebel leaders
The ICC issues arrest warrants for Bosco Ntaganda
(see March 2012) and Sylvestre
Mudacumura, military commander of the FDLR hutumilis.
Both are wanted for a series of war crimes.
Lubanga is sentenced to 14 years in prison
The ICC sentenced Lubanga militia to 14 years in
prison for robbing children and forcing them to
participate in combat (see March 2012).
M23 consumes Rutshuru
The M23 rebel movement occupies several locations,
including the strategically important city of Rutshuru.
The UN sends more soldiers from Monusco to the
provincial capital of Goma. However, the M23 withdraws
from the captured cities.
Several hundred thousand are forced to flee in
About 200,000 people are reported to have been forced
to flee during two months of fighting in Nordkivu.
Setback for Kabila in the parliamentary elections
The electoral authority presents the final results of
the parliamentary elections. President Kabila's party
PPRD declines sharply, from 111 to 69 seats in the
National Assembly. Next largest will be opposition
leader Etienne Tshisekedi's party UDPS, which gets 42
seats. In total, the PPRD and its allies have a
satisfactory majority in the National Assembly.
Rwanda is accused of supporting Congolese Tutsi
Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses Rwanda of sending
weapons and up to 300 soldiers to help the M23 rebel
movement (see May 2012). The Rwandan
government is accusing HRW of causing concern in eastern
Congo-Kinshasa by "spreading false rumors".
New rebel movement is formed
CNDP announces that the group formed a military
branch, called the Movement on March 23 (M23).
Tutsis soldiers desert
A group of about 600 soldiers desert from the army in
the Goma area in the east following reports that an
arrest of former CNDP leader Bosco Ntaganda, sought by
the ICC , is being prepared. The pressure on the
government to act on suspected war criminals is
increasing after the ICC's verdict against Lubanga (see
March 2012). The government army sends
reinforcements to the area around Goma. Ntaganda, who
claims he is not behind the latest unrest, leaves Goma
along with about 300 men. CNDP occupies two cities,
Mushake and Karuba, in eastern Congo-Kinshasa. However,
the government army takes the cities back, and the
rebels flee, probably to the Virunga National Park.
Lubanga is dropped by the ICC
Warlord Thomas Lubanga is convicted of having
recruited and used child soldiers in Ituri 2002–2003 by
the ICC. The verdict against Lubanga is the first to
fall in the ICC that was formed in 2002. What punishment
he is sentenced to be announced later.
The Catholic Church criticizes the election
Thirty-five Catholic bishops in a letter criticized
the fall 2011 election (see November 2011),
calling on the Election Commission to correct "serious
errors" committed. Earlier, the Archbishop of Kinshasa
has called for a disobedience campaign to have the