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DRC History Paper

The DRC, has a turbulent political history racked with war and colonization. Though much of the
DRC's history is still unknown, the most clear information is on its political past, Belgian Congo to Zaire.
The history, includes various uprisings, and slave trading.
Henry Stanley, an English explorer, explored the Congo from 1874 to 1877. Stanley explored most
of the Congo river, a 1,600 mile journey. Stanley wanted the British government to colonize the area, but
the government refused to do so. Soon after his journey, king Looped II of Belgium asked Stanley to set up
trading posts. Stanley also communicated with local tribal chiefs. The Congo Free State, was governed by
Belgium, and officially recognized by the world as a nation in 1885.
After nationalist riots in Léopoldville in 1959, elections were held. Patrice Lumumba, and his
Congolese National Movement Party, claimed an outright victory.
The riots and elections, were the result of years of Belgian misrule and abuse of the native Congolese. The
Belgians, forced the Congolese to work the rubber tree fields to pay for high taxes. The Congolese were
also not allowed to own land, and had fewer rights than the white colonists. The DRC was officially
declared independent on June 30, 1960.
The government again changed hands in 1965, when Kasavubu was elected prime minister. Joseph
Mobutu, then secretary of the military, overthrew Kasavubu and installed himself as president. Mobutu
brought stability to the country atfirst, but soon became corrupt. In 1971, he made a new constitution, and
the country was renamed the Republic of Zaire. During this period city names were Africanized,
Léopoldville became Kinshasa. Mobutu seized foreign companies, and nationalized them, distributing
control among his close friends and supporters. Mobutu funneled his private wealth of four billion us
dollars from the companies, and laundered money…

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