Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville)

Republic of the Congo
République du Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo
République démocratique du Congo

Flag of Congo
Motto: "Justice – Paix – Travail" (French)
"Justice – Peace – Work"
Anthem: Debout Congolais (French)
Arise, Congolese

Location of Congo
CapitalLéopoldville (renamed Kinshasa in 1966)
Common languages
GovernmentParliamentary republic (until 1965)
Military dictatorship (from 1965)
• 1960–1965
Joseph Kasa-Vubu
• 1965–1971
Joseph-Desiré Mobutu
Prime Minister 
• 1960
Patrice Lumumba
• 1961–1964
Cyrille Adoula
Évariste Kimba
Historical eraCold War
30 June 1960
30 December 1961
16 January 1962
15 January 1963
• Country renamed DRC
1 August 1964
25 November 1965
27 October 1971
2,345,410 km2 (905,570 sq mi)
CurrencyCongolese franc (until 1967)
Zaire (1967–1971)
ISO 3166 codeCG
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Belgian Congo
State of Katanga
South Kasai
State of Katanga
South Kasai
Today part of Democratic Republic of Congo
1964 Constitution de la République démocratique du Congo

The Republic of the Congo (French: République du Congo) was a sovereign state in Central Africa that was created with the independence of the Belgian Congo in 1960. From 1960 to 1966, the country was often known as Congo-Léopoldville (after its capital) in order to distinguish it from its north-western neighbor, also called the Republic of the Congo or Congo-Brazzaville. With the renaming of Léopoldville as Kinshasa on 1 June 1966, it was known as Congo-Kinshasa until 1971.

On 1 August 1964, the state's official name was changed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[1][2] In 1971, the state's name changed to Zaire.

The period between 1960 and 1965 is referred to as the First Congolese Republic, while the current Democratic Republic of the Congo is referred to as the Third Republic.

Unrest and rebellion continued to plague the government until 1965,[citation needed] when Lieutenant General Joseph Désiré Mobutu, commander-in-chief of the national army, seized control of the country. Mobutu changed the country's official name to the Republic of Zaire in 1971 and remained its president until 1997.

Colonial rule

Conditions in the Congo improved following the Belgian government's takeover in 1908 of the Congo Free State, which had been a personal possession of the Belgian king. Some Bantu languages were taught in primary schools, a rare occurrence in colonial education. Colonial doctors greatly reduced the spread of African trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness.

During World War II, the small Congolese army achieved several victories against the Italians in East Africa. The Belgian Congo, which was also rich in uranium deposits, supplied the uranium that was used by the United States to build the atomic weapons that were used in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

The colonial administration implemented a variety of economic reforms to improve infrastructure: railways, ports, roads, mines, plantations and industrial areas. The Congolese people, however, lacked political power and faced legal discrimination. All colonial policies were decided in Brussels and Léopoldville. The Belgian Colony-secretary and Governor-general, neither elected by the Congolese people, wielded absolute power.

Among the Congolese people, resistance against their undemocratic regime grew over time. In 1955, the Congolese upper class (the so-called "évolués"), many of whom had been educated in Europe, initiated a campaign to end the inequality.

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