Like most European countries, Belgium initiated a colonization process during the reign of Leopold II, which resulted in the colonization of three African territories: The Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. They all reached their independence throughout the 1960’s.

1084px-Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo_in_Africa.svg-588fc6713df78caebc3e1394  Captura de pantalla 2018-12-08 15.28.18(4)

                                     (Johnson, 2018)            (ThoughtCo.com; Newsela, 2017)

Belgium’s Colonial Possesions

Looking back, we can say that Belgium treated its colonies in a very paternalistic manner. It took advantage of these territories for economic purposes given the vast amount of raw materials that could be found there.

We will now speak of the colonization and decolonization of The Congo, which was the most relevant colony of Belgium. Its independence affected Belgium politically and economically.

In spite of the fact that some African and Asiatic colonies had initiated a decolonization process, The Congo’s independence was something unforeseen by Belgium. The reason for this was that Belgium and The Congo had a narrow economic relationship. Despite that, the Belgian government had not taken care of the social needs of its citizens (as an example, we can talk about their educational needs; very few citizens were schooled), which led to their wish for independence.

In 1956, the Movement National Congolaise was created. Its main objective was the independence of The Congo. In 1960, a meeting was set in Brussels in order to establish elections in The Congo and allow for the independence of the colony. Its outcome was the presidency of Kasavubu and the establishment of Lumumba as Prime Minister.

Captura de pantalla 2018-12-08 15.48.30    Patrice Lumumba was captured by the army chief Mobutu and handed over to Tshombe in Katanga Province

                                       (Public Domain)                    (Black History Heroes, 2011)

Movement National Congolaise flag and its leader: Prime Minister Lumumba

The ministry of Lumumba was very important for the History of The Congo. During the time he was in office the country started dividing itself, with the creation of independent regions such as Katanga and Zaire. Lumumba, however fought for a unified Congo. He was killed for that reason.

Nowadays, Burundi and Rwanda exist as independent States. The Congo, which later turned into Zaire, is now known as The Democratic Republic of Congo. It must not be confused with its neighboring territory, the Republic of the Congo, which previously was a French colony. In this article we have only talked about the Belgian colony.


  1. Black History Heroes. (2011, February). Patrice Émery Lumumba: First Prime Minister of the Congo. Retrieved from Black History Heroes: http://www.blackhistoryheroes.com/2011/02/patrice-lumumba-first-prime-minister-of.html
  2. ThoughtCo.com; Newsela. (2017, October 24). Belgian Colonialism in Africa. Retrieved from NEWSELA: https://mrquesinberry.weebly.com/uploads/8/8/5/0/88505898/lib-belgian-colonialism_-_grade_8.pdf
  3. Johnson, B. (2018, April 26). Why Are There Two Congos in Africa. Retrieved from ThoughtCo.: https://www.thoughtco.com/why-two-congos-in-africa-3555011


  1. Witte, E., Craeybeckx, J., & Meynen, A. (2009). Decolonisation, Relations with Zaïre-Congo and Foreign Affairs. In J. Craeybeckx, & A. Meynen, Political History of Belgium From 1830 Onwards (pp. 393-396; 399-400). Brussels: Academic and Scientific Publishers nv.


  1. TeleSUR – HR. (2018, June 30). Se cumplen 58 años de la independencia del Congo. Retrieved December 2018, from TeleSUR HD: https://www.telesurtv.net/news/independencia-congo-belga-aniversario-20180630-0006.html
  2. Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre. (2018, September 25). Crisis del Congo. Retrieved November 2018, from Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crisis_del_Congo
  3. Wikipedia,la enciclopedia libre. (2018, December 5). Congo Belga. Retrieved December 2018, from Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congo_Belga





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