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DRC Timeline -- Part 2: Beginning of Belgian Administration to End of Katanga Secession

A Chronology of Key Events in DRC

By Alistair Boddy-Evans, About.com

1908 The government of Belgium assumes the administration of the Congo Free State (which becomes the Belgian Congo) by colonial charter. Despite the annexation by the Belgian government, King Léopold II still retains a level of constitutional rule.
1914-17 First World War -- Belgian colonial troops, the Force Publique (Public Force -- a mixture of gendarmerie and army), assist the British in German East Africa, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Cameroon.
1918 In reward for its actions in Africa in World War One, Belgium is given mandates for Rwanda and Burundi.
October 1921 Simon Kimbangu, who had founded a Baptist ministry (known as the Kimbanguist Church) in the Lower Congo and had attracted a mass of followers based on his promise of miraculous healing, is sentenced to life imprisonment for insurrection.
1925 Belgium mandates of Rwanda and Burundi are now administered from the Belgian Congo.
1926 Belgian administration is extended to include indigenous chiefs in a system of councils and local tribunals. Higher authority still rests with the Belgian government.
1931 Concil de Centre are developed to run new urban areas split into sectors and zones for administrative purposes.
1940-45 With Belgium's entry into World War II, production in the Belgian Congo of Rubber and copper expands, especially in Katanga province. Workers take advantage of the urgent need for resource production to strike for better conditions. Start of mass migration form rural areas to the towns.
1955 Antoin van Bilsen, a Belgian academic, publishes his '50-year-plam' which would lead to the granting of self-government for the Belgian Congo.
1957 African political parties are permitted by the Belgium administration in the Belgian Congo.
1959 Nationalist protests turn to riots in the capital Léopoldville (now Kinshasa).
14 June 1960 Ahead of the official declaration of independence for the whole of the Belgian Congo, Etat Minier du Sud-Kasaï (Mining State of South Kasai) is proclaimed independent with Albert Kalonji as Head of Government and Joseph Ngalula as premier.
24 June 1960 Patrice Lumumba becomes prime minister for the Mouvement National Congolais (MCN, Congolese National Movement)
30 June 1960 The Congo achieves independence as the République du Congo (Republic of the Congo) under the presidency of Joseph Kasavubu, for the Alliance des Bakongo (ABAKO, Association of the Bakongo People).
11 July 1960 Republic of the Congo army mutinies.
The province of Katanga secedes from the Republic of the Congo. Moïse-Kapenda Tshombé, for Confédération des Associations de Katanga Tribales (CONAKAT, Confederation of Tribal Associations of Katanga), acts as president of the provisional government. Katanga is probably the wealthiest province of the Congo.
Belgium sends in troops seemingly to protect Belgian nationals and their mining interests.
United Nations votes to send in peacekeepers, but the troops may not intervene in internal matters.
8 August 1960 Moïse-Kapenda Tshombé now president of the 'Independent State of Katanga'.
9 August 1960 Joseph Ngalula now president of the secessionist Etat Minier du Sud-Kasaï (Mining State of South Kasai).
15 August 1960 When the Congo Français (French Congo) gained independence on 15 August 1960, it also took the name République du Congo (Republic of Congo). To avoid confusion, it was known as Congo-Brazzaille (for its capital Brazzaville), whereas, what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo was called Congo-Léopoldville (later Congo-Kinshasa, after the capital was renamed by President Joseph-Désiré Mobutu in 1966 as part of his Africanization policy)
5 September 1960 Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba is dismissed as prime minister after disagreement over the handling of secession attempts by Katanga and Kasai (as well as potential rebellions in Léopoldville and Equator provinces). Lumumba establishes a rebel government based at Stanleyville (now Kisangani), insisting that it was President Joseph Kasavubu who was dismissed by government.
12 September 1960 Joseph Iléo becomes de facto prime minister for the Kalonji faction of the Mouvement National Congolais (MCN, Congolese National Movement) -- he is not actually invested in the post by parliament.
14 September 1960 Colonel Joseph-Désiré Mobutu takes control of the country in an attempt to overcome the political impasse caused by the split between Patrice Lumumba and Joseph Kasavubu. Mobutu is assisted by a former Minister of Foreign Affairs Justin-Marie Bomboko and the Collège des Commissaires Généraux (CCG, College of Commissioners-General).
20 September 1960 Colonel Joseph-Désiré Mobutu appoints Albert Ndele as Chairman of the Collège des Commissaires Généraux (CCG, College of Commissioners-General) to replace Joseph Iléo as premier.
4 Oct 1960 Colonel Joseph-Désiré Mobutu appoints Justin Marie Bomboko as Chairman of the Collège des Commissaires Généraux (CCG, College of Commissioners-General).
1 December 1960 Patrice Lumumba is arrested on charge of treason along with two former deputies and detained at Thysville Army Camp on the orders of President Joseph Kasavubu.
13 December 1960 Lumumba's faction of the Mouvement National Congolais (MCN, Congolese National Movement) announces that Antoine Gizenga is the prim minister (in rebellion)
17 January 1961 Patrice Lumumba is killed in Katanga. There are rumors that the US and Belgium were complicit in the murder.
A Conciliation Commission is set up by the United Nations.
9 February 1961 Colonel Joseph-Désiré Mobutu restores power to President Joseph Kasavubu, who in turn reconvenes the parliament and officially invests Joseph Iléo as prime minister. The post of vice-president is left open as a carrot to Moïse-Kapenda Tshombé who is currently styled the Ruler of Katanga.
13 February 1961 The death of Patrice Lumumba is blamed on Katangan separatists, who supposedly killed him whilst he tried to escape.
United Nations insist that Belgian troops be withdrawn from the country.
16 February 1961 The UN Conciliation Commission set up in January reports that the state of affairs in the Congo is 'extremely dangerous'. President Joseph Kasavubu is urged to have reconciliation talks with the Mouvement National Congolais (MCN, Congolese National Movement). Talks take place the following month and last until late July.
12 April 1961 Albert Kalonji becomes the self-styled Emperor (Mulopwe) of the separatist Etat Minier du Sud-Kasaï (Mining State of South Kasai).
2 August 1961 Cyrille Adoula becomes prime minister of Congo-Léopoldville. A new government is inaugurated which then meets with representatives of all Congo's political parties, except for representatives of the breakaway Katanga province who boycott the talks.
United Nations peacekeepers begin the process of disarming the rebels.
30 December 1961 Albert Kalonji, the self-styled Emperor (Mulopwe) of the separatist state, the 'Mining State of South Kasai', is arrested ending more than a year of secession.
September 1962 Albert Kalonji escapes temporarily from prison, whilst free he attempts once more to create an independent South Kasai state.
28 December 1962 United Nations peacekeepers open fire on members of the Kataga police force. A major firefight ensues. Moïse-Kapenda Tshombé condemns the action and accuses the UN of brutality.
15 January 1963 Moïse-Kapenda Tshombé agrees to end the secession bid by Katanga province.

More on the History of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Part 1: Prehistory to Beginning of Belgian Administration
Part 3: End of Katanga Secession to Rebellion in Shaba
Part 4: Rebellion in Shaba to Genocide in Neighboring Rwanda
Part 5: Genocide in Neighboring Rwanda to Assassination of Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Part 6: Assassination of Laurent-Désiré Kabila to Present Day

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