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Word Count: 938
Before the period of colonial conquest which officially began with the drafting ofthe Treaty of Berlin in 1885 the country was organized into different kingdoms theBalkins Baluba and Balunda empires the Kongo Kingdom and many other groupsand societies The period of colonial conquest began during the 19th century whenKing Leopold II of Belgium acquired the Congo Basin under the Treaty of Berlin Hewas recognized by the European powers as the sovereign of the Independent State ofCongo By the mid-1890s Leopold established control in most areas and aggressivelypursued development plans for the exploitation of natural resources Lacking sufficientfunds to continue development Leopold requested loans from the Belgian Parliamentwhich annexed the Congo in 1908 making it the Belgian CongoAlthough such atrocities were committed during Leopolds reign the Congo wasstill dependent upon European dominance The colonial administration gave nosignificant roles in the government to Africans Economic expansion from the sale ofstrategic mineral resources during World War I and II and the Korean War led to ageneral transformation of Congolese society In spite of an increased society activeparticipation in the colonial political system by Africans did not occur until 1957 This decentralization and regionalization of the Belgian colonial structure createdan ethnically divided and politically silent African elite Unlike many Africans underBritish and French rule the Congolese lacked a national ideology The ethnicassociation of the Kongo people was the basis for the formation of one of the firstAfrican political parties It was not until the 1958 when the Movement NationalCongolese formed and began to work towards independence Fast-growing politicalunrest led to independence on June 30 1960Under Joseph Kasavubu as president and Patrice Lumumba as prime ministerturmoil wracked the post-independence government as they struggled for control Thelack of central authority provoked the disunity that existed throughout the country asregional warlords compete with the official government for control of the country In anattempt to gain foreign economic and military support to hold the country together Prime Minister Lumumba turned to the United
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