The History of Congo since King Leopold II
The history of any country is a dramatic book with peaceful and bloody chapters. Congo, a small country in the heart of Africa, is not an exception. It has experienced cruel despotism of colonization, bloody war, struggle for socialism and desperate attempts to create
It is important to admit that since King Leopold II a new tragic period of Congo history began. The Belgian king recognized Congo’s potential in Ivory and natural resources. It was the most delicious slice he could take and enrich Belgium. When a Belgian government refused to support him in colonization of Congo, the king began a private colonization campaign.
In 1885 in the Conference of Berlin King Leopold II have signed the General Act under terms of which he has been obliged to provide humanitarian policies, fight with
Ivory and mineral resources were the main
When finally the facts of bloody business have been leaked out more than twelve years later, the Free State of Congo was taken under the King Leopold II rule in 1908 under international pressure and criticism. Since that time the government of Belgium took a
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By the Second World
The infrastructure of the big cities has been improved. New roads,
At the meantime, the Congolese were limited in rights of having land, vote or travel freely. Labor was mainly forced in the countryside. In the
The independence of Congo has been proclaimed in 1960 at the Brussels Round Table Conference. Patrice Lumumba, a Congolese Prime Minister has delivered an important speech revealing horrible exploitations and sufferings and promised to build a shining example of a country from
During the first five
Lumumba asked the Soviet Union for military aid.
In other words, during this period Congo has become a battlefield between the USA and the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. The intervention of Belgium and the United States has had a single purpose to protect the richest copper and diamond mines, but not to ensure the security within a country. Keeping the soviet power out was a number one task. No one cared about the Congolese. Mobutu supported and funded anti-Communist riots in the near countries. The USA tended not to pay attention
Mobutu was a cruel leader. He executed his rivals and accumulated power in his hands. He established a cult of his personality while corruption and buying off captured Congo’s government and hyperinflation destroyed Congo’s economy. Loans of the West did not help much. All money was pocketed and spent of luxury for private use. The country’s infrastructure was rotten and child mortality increased. 1159
Chaos was over with the end of Cold War and fall of the Berlin War. Neither IMF nor the USA could lend more money. He escaped and left the country as a dustbin. Laurent-Désiré Kabila, a new Congolese leader seemed to be a ‘new breed’ of African future. Nelson Mandela believed in him, and Madeleine Albright hoped he could make Democratic Congo grow.
However, Kabila was not a leader everyone expected him to be. Paranoid tyrant was occupied only about the welfare of his friends and relatives whom he granted good jobs. In addition, he was as cruel as Mobutu and did not learn from his mistakes. He could not resolve a conflict between Uganda,
In 2001 Kabila was assassinated and his son became President. A new leader negotiated international peace within a
To sum it up, the history of Congo is rather dramatic. Rich lands with diamonds and mineral resources are the reason why the country is in a constant conflict. Violence has become a usual thing in Congo. It would be endless until Congolese leaders are in hands of the USA.
- Congo: an overview of its geography,
historyand politics. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.congojustice.org/pdf/FoTC-overview2.pdf DagneT. (2011, September 1). The democratic republic of Congo: background and current developments. Retrieved from http://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R40108.pdf
- Edgerton R. B. (2002). The troubled heart of Africa: a history of the Congo. New York: St.Martin’s Press.
- Forever in chains: the tragic history of Congo. (2006, July 28). The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/forever-in-chains-the-tragic-history-of-congo-409586.html
- Gondola Ch. D. (2002). The history of Congo. New York: Greenwood Press.
- McCloskey N., Prof. McBride. (2010, May 17). Democratic republic of Congo: conflict report. Retrieved from link
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