Democratic Republic of the Congo Old History

By | January 2, 2023

Democratic Republic of the Congo is an independent nation in Central Africa. With the capital city of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo 2020 population is estimated at 89,561,414 according to countryaah. 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. For Democratic Republic of the Congo political system, please check cancermatters.

The first known residents 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 profitable.

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 country.

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 Kisangani.

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 Nordkivu

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 rebels

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 result annulled.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Old History