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We invite you to discover a rich and interesting history in order to make you want to go further in this discovery. To do this we do not present an exhaustive vision of the history of the Congo but many selected pieces , pieces of life of men and women who vibrated for this part of Africa that we call today the Republic of Congo .  

The Congo

In order to understand the history of the Congo, it is important to realize that the country as it is today, with its current borders did not exist. It was part of a group within the Congo Basin , a basin which, even now, benefits from a great homogeneity of population.  

The name Congo or Kongo , comes from that of a kingdom which would have appeared in the 13th or 14th century and whose capital was located north of present-day Angola.  

The Mbuti Pygmies would be the first inhabitants of Congo and in any case, one of the oldest populations of Humanity.  

About 2800 years ago, the Bantu people came from the north along the coast and the rivers.

The Bantu introduced ironwork and build a commercial network in the Congo Basin .   

The name "Bantu" is a linguistic technical term which originally designates the speakers of the language of a large linguistic group which covers most of central and southern Africa. It is made up of around four hundred and fifty languages.

More concretely, the word Bantu is formed from 2 radicals. The radical "BA " which forms the plural in Bantu language, meaning "the" and the radical "ntou" which means "Man".       

Arrival of the Portuguese

In 1482, after the first reconnaissance carried out by Portuguese navigators, the explorer Don Diégo Cao reached the mouth of the Congo. The Portuguese settled there and transformed the capital of the kingdom, Mbanza Kongo (north of present-day Angola), into a city of European appearance which had up to 40,000 inhabitants and which they named San Salvador .    

Their endeavour to evangelize the kingdom was fairly quickly crowned with success, at least among the ruling class, who saw in Christianization a tool capable of strengthening their power by making it sacred. 

But it was the slave trade which, under the varnish of Christianization, was going to be the real bond with Europeans. 

This slave trade, which took place along the coasts and inside the Kongo and Téké kingdoms, reduced the population throughout the territory.  

Diosso , forgotten capital of the Loango kingdom

At the end of the 19th century , while France undertook colonial expeditions in the current Congolese region, it was only made up of the two former provinces which formerly formed the former kingdom of Kongo, the province of Loango and the province of Anzicou which became respectively the kingdom of Loango (with Diosso as its capital ) and the Batéké kingdom (with the capital Mbey or Mbé ). 

Let us dive into the Loango kingdom through the writings of Benoit Gnaly "Diosso , capital of the kingdom of Vilis (which) is dying" .       

25 km from present-day Pointe-Noire, there is Diosso , perched on the edge of a cliff that bears its name.

Traditional capital of the kingdom of the Vilis , Diosso was, and still is, the residence of monarchs who have succeeded each other since earliest times.

A remarkable activity reigned in Diosso. As soon as dawn broke, good people hurried towards their occupations, some fishing, others hunting, harvesting palm wine; still others exploited saltworks or joined their efforts to fell huge trees whose logs were sold to numerous European trading companies.

“ Small craft flourished. Under the tall, large and well-shaded mango trees, small groups of craftsmen were busy around their respective occupations: one group made pickaxes, another made candies, farther around, large pots turned people who were blowing in the fire on which boiled mambi from which oil was extracted. Under the tireless hoes of brave women, the fields became splendid food plantations which covered the needs of the inhabitants. But already, for three centuries, slavery and the slave trade, seriously bleeding the Loango and Batéké kingdoms of men and women. "  

“ Slave traders in the kingdom of Loango seemed very numerous and active. Trafficking in the 18th century was in the hands of the French and the English, after the Dutch in the previous century and the Portuguese the century before. But these foreigners did not have forts and it was the king of Loango who directed the operations himself. The inhabitants of the Vili had organized the Caravans for long-distance trafficking before 1600 ” 

This trade was one of the pillars of the triangular trade which consisted for the Europeans to go to buy slaves in Africa against European manufactured products to then sell these slaves in the Americas, then return to Europe laden with sugar, cocoa, coffee, and other rare commodities.  

In the 19th century, Punta Negra or Pointe Noire prevailed over Loango because of the greater depth near the shore.  

The arrival of the French

The French penetration began around 1875 with Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza who reached the Congo in 1879 through the Ogoué . In 1880, he had Ilôo I sign a treaty of sovereignty , and founded the post of Mfoa , in reference to a river which serves the city, and which later became Brazzaville .      

At the same time, Lieutenant Cordier explored the region of Kouilou and Niari, and had Ma-Loango , principal chief of the Vilis , sign a treaty which recognized the sovereignty of France over the kingdom of Loango, and founded  Pointe-Noire in 1883.     

The experience of Brazza (Commissioner General), who had to face an underpopulated territory, social and commercial structures upset by the violence of foreign penetration and a glaring lack of means, was a failure.

He was dismissed in January 1898 and gave way to the exploitation of resources by concessionary companies which, as he had predicted, would become the source of the worst excesses on the local population.

Brazzaville, Capital of Free France

During the French defeat in June 1940 , the French colonies were torn between the 2 camps: Vichy and Pétain or de Gaulle and Free France. During a tour in Africa, General de Gaulle obtained the rallying of the AEF and Brazzaville became “capital of Free France” on October 26, 1940, a status which remained until 1943. On October 27, 1940, an order from the General created the Empire Defense Council there, the first decision-making body in free France and on November 16, he instituted the Order of Liberation.   

Radio-Brazzaville , centre for shortwave rebroadcasts, received throughout Africa and even in France, became its national transmitter while "France D'abord", a bimonthly newspaper printed in Léopoldville published its first edition on Sunday January 12, 1941.  

It was always on African soil, in Brazzaville, that General de Gaulle delivered the famous speech of January 30, 1944 which opened the " Brazzaville Conference", a speech in which he recognized and proclaimed the dignity and the capacity of the people of the Empire and made him henceforth  "the Man of Brazzaville".        

The history of the Congo in a few dates

  • 2nd half of the XIV century Foundation of the Kongo kingdom on the borders of the Congo and Angola  
  • 1880 Savorgnan de Brazza went up the Ogoué and reached the Congo 
  • 1885 Creation of the independent state of Congo, recognized by the Berlin conference 
  • 1910-1958 Four colonies in French Equatorial Africa : Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Oubangui Chari and Chad  
  • November 1940 French Equatorial Africa and Cameroon joined General de Gaulle 
  • January 30, 1944 Brazzaville conference on the future status of the French colonies 
  • 1945 The first Congolese deputy Jean Félix Tchicaya was elected to the Constituent Assembly  
  • 1947 Creation of the Progressive Congolese Party (PPC) of Tchicaya and the African Socialist Movement (MSA) of Jacques Opangault 
  • 1958 The Middle Congo became the Autonomous Republic of the Congo 
  • January 1959 Violent riots opposing the UDDIA (Democratic Union for the Defense of African Interests) created by Father Fulbert Youlou of the PPC 
  • November 1959 Abbé F. Youlou became president 
  • August 15, 1960 Complete independence of the Republic of Congo  
  • March 1961 Re-election of Father Fulbert Youlou 
  • from 13 to 15 August 1963 the  glorious; Father Youlou was overthrown 
  • December 8 , 1963 Adoption of a new Constitution 
  • from 1963 to 1968 Massamba Débat Alphonse, president, adopted scientific socialism and established the single party 
  • August 5, 1968 Creation of the National Council of the Revolution (CNR) chaired by Captain Marien Ngouabi 
  • January 1 , 1969 Captain Marien Ngouabi appointed President of the Republic  
  • January 1 , 1970 The Republic of Congo-Brazzaville became the People's Republic of Congo and adheres to the principles of Marxism-Leninism  
  • June 24, 1973 Adoption by referendum of a new constitution 
  • March 18, 1977 Assassination of President Marien Ngouabi 
  • April 5, 1977 Colonel Joachim Yombi Opango became President of the Republic 
  • February 5, 1979 The president is dismissed and colonel Denis Sassou Nguesso succeeds him 
  • July 8, 1979 Adoption by referendum of a new constitution 
  • July 30, 1984 Re-election of Denis Sassou Nguesso 
  • July 30, 1989 Re-election of Denis Sassou Nguesso (3rd term) 
  • September 30 , 1990 Introduction of a multiparty system 
  • March 15, 1992 Adoption by referendum of a new constitution. The People 's Republic of the Congo became the Republic of the Congo 
  • August 16, 1992 Pascal Lissouba elected by universal suffrage 
  • June 5, 1997 Fratricidal war following 5 years of civil unrest and massacres 
  • October 1997 Denis Sassou Nguesso proclaimed President of the Republic following the capture of Brazzaville 
  • December 1998 Violent clashes in Brazzaville, thousands of people fled the capital 
  • January 20, 2002 Adoption by referendum of a new Constitution which established a presidential regime 
  • March 10, 2002 Denis Sassou Nguesso was elected President of the Republic 
  • July 12, 2009 Re-election of Denis Sassou Nguesso 
  • March 20, 2016 Re-election of Denis Sassou Nguesso 

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