Congo Independence Day is annually observed on June 30. This day commemorates the nation’s momentous independence from Belgian colonial powers on June 30, 1960. In 1885, when King Leopold II established his own ‘Congo Free State’ and began to govern, Belgian interference in Congo began. The Congolese endured brutal oppression and forced labour during his reign, which fortunately came to an end after valiant independence struggles. In 1960, Belgium released its grip on the country.
The background of Congo Independence Day
Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R. Congo) is a central African country bordered by Zambia in the southeast, Angola to the southwest, Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda, and Congo (Brazzaville) to the west.
The history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo can be traced back to the highly developed and structured “Kongo Empire” of the fourteenth century, which governed over the southwestern portion of present-day Congo, a portion of the Republic of the Congo, and Angola. The ‘Kuba Federation,’ with comparable levels of development, also arises in what is now known as the southern Congo. 500 years after its emergence, the Kongo empires collapse in the 1800s due to internal slavery and rivalry.
Henry Morton Stanley, representing the Belgians, began exploring what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1885, approximately fifteen years later, King Leopold II of Belgium arrived, founded, and began to govern the “Congo Free State.” However, the ‘free’ state’s imposition of forced labour and brutal working conditions on the Congolese led to the deaths of ten million individuals as a result of Leopold’s oppressive regime. The first labour uprisings occurred in 1941 but were violently suppressed. Unfortunately, one year later, the Belgian government imposed 120 days of mandatory labour on all employees. In 1960, after a series of popular upheavals, the Congo gained independence from Belgium.
5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT D.R. CONGO
Congo-Brazzaville is the second-largest nation in Africa.
Kinshasa, the capital of the D.R. Congo, is the largest metropolis in central Africa.
Virunga National Park, the earliest national park in Africa, is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The greatest United Nations peacekeeping mission with over 21,000 soldiers is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Congo River is the deepest and second-largest river in the globe, with a depth of approximately 220 metres (721.70 feet).
CONGO INDEPENDENCE DAY DATES