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Word Count: 369
The DRC has a turbulent political history racked with war and colonization Though much of the DRCs history is still unknown the most clear information is on its political past Belgian Congo to Zaire The history includes various uprisings and slave trading Henry Stanley an English explorer explored the Congo from 1874 to 1877 Stanley explored most of the Congo river a 1600 mile journey Stanley wanted the British government to colonize the area but the government refused to do so Soon after his journey king Looped II of Belgium asked Stanley to set up trading posts Stanley also communicated with local tribal chiefs The Congo Free State was governed by Belgium and officially recognized by the world as a nation in 1885 After nationalist riots in Lopoldville in 1959 elections were held Patrice Lumumba and his Congolese National Movement Party claimed an outright victory The riots and elections were the result of years of Belgian misrule and abuse of the native Congolese The Belgians forced the Congolese to work the rubber tree fields to pay for high taxes The Congolese were also not allowed to own land and had fewer rights than the white colonists The DRC was officially declared independent on June 30 1960 The government again changed hands in 1965 when Kasavubu was elected prime minister Joseph Mobutu then secretary of the military overthrew Kasavubu and installed himself as president Mobutu brought stability to the country at first but soon became corrupt In 1971 he made a new constitution and the country was renamed the Republic of Zaire During this period city names were Africanized Lopoldville became Kinshasa Mobutu seized foreign companies and nationalized them distributing control among his close friends and supporters Mobutu funneled his private wealth of four billion us dollars from the companies and laundered money through the national bank of Zaire His method of obtaining power was referred to as Kleptocracy He enforced the one party system severely
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