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Congo Crisis, 1960–1965

Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale

Subject History » Political History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Central Africa » Congo

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, rebellion, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00399.x


Just like many other countries in Africa, Congo's independence came in 1960. It was a time of joy and high expectations among the citizenry, who felt it to be the dawn of a new era. It was supposed to usher in a period of progress for the Congolese and in particular the military non-commissioned officers and junior civil servants who had hoped for the attainment of senior positions. Indeed, this was part of the campaign promises of the main political parties, particularly Patrice Lumumba . A frontline politician with only primary education, Lumumba, as leader of the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC), had promised equality with the whites upon independence. After he became prime minister, he faced a number of challenges to keeping his promise. Right from the independence ceremony, the conflictual nature of the relationship between the new government led by Lumumba and Belgium played itself out. After Belgian King Baudouin delivered a speech celebrating the achievements of his country in Congo, Lumumba climbed the podium to debunk the king's claims, instead discussing the debilitating effect of colonial rule. This shocked the king and presented Lumumba as an anti-Belgium leader who could not be trusted. On July 5, 1960, barely five days after independence, Congolese soldiers mutinied against their Belgian officers after the head of the army, General Emile Janssens, reportedly addressed ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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