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belgian congo

belgian congo

The Belgian Congo is a region in central Africa that used to be a colony which was ruled by the country of Belgium between the years of 1908 and 1960. When the Belgian government annexed the region in 1908, it replaced the former name of the region, the Congo Free-State. The Congo Free-State was owned by Belgium, but officially annexed the region due to outside political pressure. Today, the region is now a country officially known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is an independent republic.

The primary holders of executive power over the region ruled from Belgium, with the primary authority figure in the region being an appointed governor general. The primary reason that the Belgians insisted on keeping a strong hold on the Congo was the large quantities of natural and mineral resources that heavily stimulated the Belgian economy. While the Belgians initially planned to rule region with a degree of paternalism, helping the African natives along, this concept generally fell to the wayside in favor of excavating the resources of the Congo. Plantations that grew cotton, coffee, rubber and oil palms brought in large revenues for the Belgians, as did the mining of gold, diamonds, copper, tin, zinc and cobalt.

There was always some degree of resistance put up by the native Africans against the Belgians, but major unrest truly began during the years of the depression, after years of unfair treatment. Bouts of unrest started cropping up across the region with more frequency in the years during World War Two. Despite not being allowed to form political associations, the Africans began organizing cultural clubs which served as political associations. By 1958, the Congo National Movement was launched by Patrice Lumumba and a handful of other Congolese leaders. The movement quickly gained momentum and riots broke out in some of the major cities of the region, with the people demanding independence. After a number of violent altercations between Belgians and the Congolese, Belgian eventually ceded the region its independence in 1960.

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