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Over 5 million dead in the Congo? How Truth is Hidden, Even When it Seems to Be Told.

1200s - Rise of Kongo empire, centred in modern northern Angola and including extreme western Congo and territories round lakes Kisale and Upemba in central Katanga (now Shaba).

1482 - Portuguese navigator Diogo Cao becomes the first European to visit the Congo; Portuguese set up ties with the king of Kongo.

Kongo Kingdom

Full History

16th-17th centuries - British, Dutch, Portuguese and French merchants engage in slave trade through Kongo intermediaries.

The Trans-Atlantic slave trade

1870s - Belgian King Leopold II sets up a private venture to colonise Kongo.

Leopold breif Bio

1874-77 - British explorer Henry Stanley navigates Congo river to the Atlantic Ocean.

Belgian colonisation

1879-87 - Leopold commissions Stanley to establish the king's authority in the Congo basin.

Belgium's imperialist rape of Africa

1884-85 - European powers at the Conference of Berlin recognise Leopold's claim to the Congo basin.

The butcher of Congo

1885 - Leopold announces the establishment of the Congo Free State, headed by himself.

1891-92 - Belgians conquer Katanga.

1892-94 - Eastern Congo wrested from the control of East African Arab and Swahili-speaking traders.

1908 - Belgian state annexes Congo amid protests over killings and atrocities carried out on a mass scale by Leopold's agents. Millions of Congolese are said to have been killed or worked to death during Leopold's control of the territory.

Report of the British Consul, Roger Casement, on the Administration of the Congo Free State

1955 - Belgian Professor Antoin van Bilsen publishes a "30-Year Plan" for granting the Congo increased self-government.

1959 - Belgium begins to lose control over events in the Congo following serious nationalist riots in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa).

The democratic republic of Congo

Post-independence turmoil

1960 June - Congo becomes independent with Patrice Lumumba as prime minister and Joseph Kasavubu as president.

Patrice Lumumba and revolution in the Congo

1960 July - Congolese army mutinies; Moise Tshombe declares Katanga independent; Belgian troops sent in ostensibly to protect Belgian citizens and mining interests; UN Security Council votes to send in troops to help establish order, but the troops are not allowed to intervene in internal affairs.

1960 September - Kasavubu dismisses Lumumba as prime minister.

1960 December - Lumumba arrested.

1961 February - Lumumba murdered, reportedly with US and Belgian complicity.

The unquiet death of Patrice Lumumba

The CIA's Family Jewels: Plan for Assassination of Patrice Lumumba

The Role of the U.S. and U.S. Corporations in the Assassination of Patrice Lumumba

Lumumba: Lost Prince of an African Renaissance?

1961 August - UN troops begin disarming Katangese soldiers.

1963 - Tshombe agrees to end Katanga's secession.

1964 - President Kasavubu appoints Tshombe prime minister.

Mobutu years

1965 - Kasavubu and Tshombe ousted in a coup led by Joseph Mobutu.

1971 - Joseph Mobutu renames the country Zaire and himself Mobutu Sese Seko; also Katanga becomes Shaba and the river Congo becomes the river Zaire.

US support Mobutu

1973-74 - Mobutu nationalises many foreign-owned firms and forces European investors out of the country.

1977 - Mobutu invites foreign investors back, without much success; French, Belgian and Moroccan troops help repulse attack on Katanga by Angolan-based rebels.

Zaire 1975-1978: Mobutu and the CIA, a marriage made in heaven

1989 - Zaire defaults on loans from Belgium, resulting in a cancellation of development programmes and increased deterioration of the economy.

1990 - Mobutu agrees to end the ban on multiparty politics and appoints a transitional government, but retains substantial powers.

1991 - Following riots in Kinshasa by unpaid soldiers, Mobutu agrees to a coalition government with opposition leaders, but retains control of the security apparatus and important ministries.

1993 - Rival pro- and anti-Mobutu governments created.

1994 - Mobutu agrees to the appointment of Kengo Wa Dondo, an advocate of austerity and free-market reforms, as prime minister.

1996-97 - Tutsi rebels capture much of eastern Zaire while Mobutu is abroad for medical treatment.

Deadly Legacy: U.S. Arms to Africa and the Congo War

Mobuto Was Chaos

Do American economic interests threaten democracy in the Congo?

World Bank Oversees Carve-Up of Congo Rainforests