Culture The Democratic Republic of Congo

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo,
    © iStockphoto.com / Uso
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo,
    ©Sergei Uriadnikov / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination The Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo : Discover the country's culture

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Music

'Bokila': Abby Surya.
'Devoir Accompli': Abdoul Omar Basosa.
'Embowassa': Tuta Weza.
'Bula Ntulu': Ndombe Opetum.
'Fatou': Soulé Ngofo-Man.

The Democratic Republic of Congo : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

The first populating of the country dates back two million years ago.
Ist millennium: Bantu farmers settle on the coastal zone and on the eastern and southern plateaus.
1482: The Portuguese arrive at the mouth of the river, which they name Congo. The kingdom then consists of the present territories of Angola all the way to Gabon.
1507: Alfonso undertakes the christianisation of Congo, while the kingdom is collapsing. The Portuguese turn to Angola from then on.
16th century: Founding of the Lunda empire in the south. Trade develops. The kingdom becomes more prosperous for a century, but is then divided into several kingdoms.
19th century: The slave trade develops all over the country.
From 1874 to 77: British man Henry Morton Stanley explores the river. The Europeans become more and more interested in Africa.
1876: Founding of the International African association (AIA) by Leopold II (king of Belgium). The AIA benefits from the power of sovereignty over the territories it discovers.
1879: Stanley, with the help of a Swahili adventurer, creates the trading posts, including Stanleyville (present day Kisangani) and Leopoldville (Kinshasa).
1885: The sovereignty of Leopold II is acknowledged by the conference of Berlin. and ivory. From then on, Congo has the monopoly on rubber and ivory trades. Cocoa and cotton are progressively introduced, as well as copper and diamond in 1906.
1908: Annexation of the Congo Free State by Belgium.
World War I: The Congolese army sides with the Allies and conquers present-day Tanzania and Rwanda-Urundi (German territoryuntil then.)
World War II: Congo still is on the Allies' side and develops its industry.
1951: The idea of a Belgian-Congolese community germinates: the Congolese elite is formed as part of the administration.
1959: Riots in Leopoldville. Belgium declares that it wants to lead Congo to Independence. Conflict between the several political tendencies.
1960: The Independence of Congo is proclaimed. Elections in Leopoldville. Victory of the Congolese National Movement, lead by Lumumba. The situation is still not solved. The conflict goes on despite the intervention of UN troops trying to prevent a civil war. Lumumba is imprisoned and assassinated.
1961: A ceasefire is negotiated.
1965: Mobutu proclaims himself president. He leads a single party system and an authoritarian regime, as he claims to want to give back authenticity to his country.
1971: Mobutu changes the name of the country, which becomes Zaire, and the river takes the same name.
1976: Following the oil crisis and the country's foreign debt, Mobutu reinstates foreign companies. He preserves a good relationship with France and Belgium.
1986:The economic crisis is propitious to the uprising of the opposition, demanding a democracy.
1990: Agreement on the sharing of powers between the Head of State and the High Council of the Republic.
1994: Many Rwandan Hutus seek refuge in Zaire. They are opposed to the extension of cultivation on their territory.
1996: Tutsi rebel attacks lead by Laurent Désiré Kabila. They create the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL). The Zairian army cannot react.
The Zairian army cannot react.
1997: Lomé Summit. The peace plan is not implemented. AFDL keeps on moving closer to Kinshasa.
Mobutu and Kabila meet but each one of them keeps his own position and Kabila's troops enter Kinshasa in May. Kabila proclaims himself president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mobutu flees to Morocco and dies shortly after.
1998: The UN accuses the DRC and Rwanda of "crimes against humanity". Kabila impedes the investigation concerning the disappearance of 200,000 Hutus in the east of the country. He forms a new government and asks Ugandan and Rwandan troops to leave the country. With this, he loses the support of his old partisans, who react and threaten the government. Kabila asks for help from Zimbabwe, Chad, Namibia, Sudan and Angola.
1999: Ceasefire.
2001: Assassination of Kabila in Kinshasa. His son, Joseph Kabila, is appointed president by the temporary parliament. He commits to restoring peace and setting up a democracy.
2002: The peace plan progresses and foreign army troops withdraw.
July 2003: A temporary government is formed, until the 2005 election.
December 2004: More confrontations between soldiers of the Congolese army and rebel soldiers, from an ex-rebellion supported by Rwanda.

The Democratic Republic of Congo : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events

Events

January 1st: New Year's Day.
January 4th: Martyrs of the Independence Commemoration Day.
January 17th: National Hero's Day. (Patrice-Emery Lumumba)
April: Easter. (variable)
April 30th: Teaching Day.
May 1st: Labour Day.
May 17th: National Liberation Day.
May: Ascension and Pentecost Monday.
June 30th: Independence Day.
August 1st: Parents' Day.
August 15th: Assumption.
November 1st: All Saint's Day.
December 25th:Christmas Day.

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