• Belgium colonizes Kongo and announces the establishment of the Congo Free State.

  • The Belgian state annexes Congo amid protests against the millions of Congolese that have been killed or worked to death during the Belgian control of the territory.

  • Congo becomes independent, while the State of Katanga separates and proclaims its independence from the Republic of Congo.

  • A coup led by Joseph Mobutu takes place, succeeding and giving him control of the government. Later in 1971, he renames the country Zaire and himself, Mobutu Sese Seko; also Katanga becomes Shaba and the river Congo becomes the river Zaire.

  • Mobutu begins to nationalize many foreign-owned firms and forces European investors out of the country.

  • The country fails to repay Belgium its loans, resulting in a cancellation of development programs and increased deterioration of the economy.

  • Tutsi rebels and other anti-Mobutu rebels, aided principally by Rwanda, capture the capital, Kinshasa, while Mobutu is abroad for medical treatment and rename the country to the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

  • Just after a few months of peace, rebels rise up against the new DR Congo government, with both sides backed by other African nations.

  • US refugee agency says the war has killed 2.5 million people, directly or indirectly, since August 1998.

  • Last Ugandan troops leave eastern DR Congo following the peace treaty signed in 2002.

  • The International Court of Justice rules that Uganda must compensate DR Congo for rights abused and the plundering of resources in the five years up to 2003.

  • DRCongo, Rwanda, and Burundi relaunch the regional economic bloc Great Lakes Countries Economic Community, known under its French acronym CEPGL.

  • $8 billion debt relief deal approved by the World Bank and IMF.


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