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Word Count: 944
Before the period of colonial conquest which officially began with the drafting of the Treaty of Berlin in 1885 the country was organized into different kingdoms the Balkins Baluba and Balunda empires the Kongo Kingdom and many other groups and societies The period of colonial conquest began during the 19th century when King Leopold II of Belgium acquired the Congo Basin under the Treaty of Berlin He was recognized by the European powers as the sovereign of the Independent State of Congo By the mid-1890s Leopold established control in most areas and aggressively pursued development plans for the exploitation of natural resources Lacking sufficient funds to continue development Leopold requested loans from the Belgian Parliament which annexed the Congo in 1908 making it the Belgian Congo Although such atrocities were committed during Leopolds reign the Congo was still dependent upon European dominance The colonial administration gave no significant roles in the government to Africans Economic expansion from the sale of strategic mineral resources during World War I and II and the Korean War led to a general transformation of Congolese society In spite of an increased society active participation in the colonial political system by Africans did not occur until 1957 This decentralization and regionalization of the Belgian colonial structure created an ethnically divided and politically silent African elite Unlike many Africans under British and French rule the Congolese lacked a national ideology The ethnic association of the Kongo people was the basis for the formation of one of the first African political parties It was not until the 1958 when the Movement National Congolese formed and began to work towards independence Fast-growing political unrest led to independence on June 30 1960 Under Joseph Kasavubu as president and Patrice Lumumba as prime minister turmoil wracked the post-independence government as they struggled for control The lack of central authority provoked the disunity that existed throughout the country as regional warlords compete with the official government
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