1960: Belgium frees the Congo

Belgium taking control of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DRC, was a colony of the Belgium government from 1908 through 1960. The Congo is located in Central Africa and began being ruled by Belgium when King Leopold II influenced the Belgium government to colonize other colonies in order to gain more territory on behalf of Belgium, to get resources and materials such as diamonds that the Belgian government lacked on. King Leopold II of Belgium was able to seize various colonies along Africa which included the Congo. He was able to gain recognition when he took control of various free states along the region known as the Congo which he ended up naming the Belgian Congo and took official control of the area in 1908. The congo was a made up region of free states that he united as one country and took control. Leopold II ruled the Belgian Congo with an “iron grip” and created a sense of fear among the states through the violent manner in which he took ownership of the land.

The reason why King Leopold II was so interested in the Congo was because it was rich in material. He was able to create industries in the Congo with ended up becoming an important asset to the Belgian government. The Congo was a large resource for the Belgians and was a large portion of their economic capital. However, there were tensions in the Congo because of this. The government was able to intercept the riots and strikes that occurred in the region and ended up creating a hierarchy among the country. The problems that arised with the hierarchy was that it led to racial tensions from the native-born people of the Congo and the Belgians that moved there in order to seek riches. The lighter skinned people, usually the Belgians, took superiority over the Congo people and created segregation. It was not until the end of WWI that this became visibly apparent, but was noticed subliminally.

Benefits of having the Belgium government take control of the Congo was that it was able to industrialize without having to have much input needed. The technology that was needed in order to industrialized was already used by various nations; therefore, it was easier for the Congo to start programs and industries in the region. It was able to have a larger amount of GDP in the colonies and created more work and job opportunities for those who resided in the country.

By the end of the 1960, after having all the technological breakthroughs and the foundation set up for industrialization, the Congo became wanting to be independent. The movement towards independence started with Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Kasa-Vubu. Ultimately, they were able to achieve independence in the 1960’s because since Belgium became more interested in other regions of Central Africa, they lost their hold and strength over the Congo. The Belgian government ended up giving up the country which led to instability in the region until a vacuum of power took control of the Congo which led to its now state the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).