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Congo History Timeline

Congo's Information

Flag of Congo
Land Area 341,500 km2
Water Area 500 km2
Total Area 342,000km2 (#63)
Population 4,852,412 (#124)
Population Density 14.21/km2
Government Type Presidential Republic
GDP (PPP) $30.27 Billion
Currency Franc (XAF)
Largest Cities

1300 - 1600

  • (1300s) Bakongo people crossed Congo River, founded Kongo Kingdom which included parts of (present day) Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola
  • (1400s) Two kingdoms occupied region: Loango in the south, the Binga pygmies in the north
  • (1483) Portuguese navigator, Diogo Cao and his crew were first Europeans to find mouth of Congo River
  • (1483) Nzinga Nkuwu was first African ruler contacted by Europeans
  • (1506) Kongo leader Nzingo Mbemba gained throne, converted to Christianity, changed name to Afonzo I
  • (1506) Afonzo I campaigned against African slavery by Europeans
  • (1543) Afonzo I died, succeeded by son Pedro
  • (1568) Alvaro I became king
  • (1568) Kongo Kingdom attacked by rebels opposed to King Alvaro, sent him to exile
  • (1576) Portuguese helped King Alvaro I regain his throne
  • (1600) Loango Kingdom evolved into decentralized administration with each province governing
  • (1622) Territorial conflict arose between Bakongo and Portuguese who founded colony of Angola
  • (1665) Four decades of war between Kongo Kingdom and Portuguese ended with Battle of Mbwila, left Kongo seriously weakened
  • (1839) French traders arrived along coast
  • (1849) Libreville (in present day Gabon) settled by free slaves
  • (1874) Henry Morton Stanley of Wales, began exploration of Congo River's course
  • (1875) Italian-born explorer, Count Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, began expedition to Congo for the French
  • (1880) Explorer Count Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza founded station at Ntamo on Congo River
  • (1880) French Protectorate created over north bank of Congo River
  • (1883) Count Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza developed territorial agreements in Loango Kingdom
  • (1886) Congo Francais (French Congo) and Gabon granted separate administrations, financial autonomy
  • (1891) France united territories of Congo Francais and Gabon
  • (1892) Berlin Conference acknowledged Colony of Congo Francais
  • (1892) Congo Francais partitioned into 40 concessions by the French, leased for 30 years; concessions included exploitation of rubber and ivory
  • (1902) Congo Francais was administered by Commissioner-General based in Libreville, Gabon and Lieutenant Governor at Brazzaville
  • (1902) Poll tax introduced
  • (1903) Congo Francais renamed Moyen-Congo (Middle Congo)
  • (1905) Count Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza sent to investigate concession companies and use of forced labor and brutality under Governor Emile Gentil
  • (1905 - 1906) Population in Middle Congo decimated by forced labor and porterage, causing major scandals
  • (1907) Following widespread outrage over brutalities of forced labor, France restricted role of concessionaires
  • (1910) Middle Congo became colony of French Equatorial Africa
  • (1921 - 1935) Congo-Ocean Railway was built between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville, over 20,000 African forced laborers died
  • (1928) Forced labor, other abuses sparked revolt

1900s continued

  • (1934) French administration divided federation into 20 administrative districts, attempted reforms intended to reduce costs
  • (1937) Federation of 20 administrative districts reverted back to original structure
  • (1940 - 1945) Free French forces used Middle Congo as a stronghold during conflicts in World War II against Germans and Vichy regimes
  • (1944) At end of World War II, General Charles de Gaulle met with French colonial officials to discuss reorganization of French colonies in Africa
  • (1946) Middle Congo granted a territorial assembly, representation in French Parliament
  • (1946) Use of forced labor ended
  • (1956) All African subjects in French colonies granted universal adult suffrage
  • (1958) Chad, Gabon, Middle Congo became autonomous republics of French community
  • (1958) Middle Congo Province of French Equatorial Africa voted for independence as the Congo Republic
  • (1960) Congo became independent from France as Republic of Congo, Fulbert Youlou became president
  • (1961) New constitution was introduced, granting significant power to the office of president
  • (1963) President Youlou forced to resign following labor unrest, rising ethnic tensions
  • (1963) Alphonse Massamba-Debat became president, Pascal Lissouba became prime minister
  • (1964) President Massemba-Debat declared Mouvement National de la Revolution (MNR, National Revolutionary Movement) to be sole political party
  • (1968) President Massemba-Debat ousted in military coup led by Captain Marien Ngouabi; Alfred Raoul became prime minister
  • (1968) Following coup, Captain Marien Ngouabi took over control as Chairman of the National Council of the Revolution
  • (1969) Captain Ngouabi replaced Alfred Raoul as Acting Head of State
  • (1970) Ngouabi proclaimed Congo to be Marxist People's Republic with the Congolese Workers Party (PCT) as sole party
  • (1970) Marien Ngouabi became president of the Republic of Congo
  • (1970) Republic of Congo renamed to People's Republic of Congo
  • (1973) New constitution approved in national referendum, National Assembly created with regional councils, all members of PCT
  • (1973) Henri Lopes became prime minister
  • (1974) President Ngouabi reelected
  • (1975) President Ngouabi dissolved government, established new five-member Special Revolutionary General Staff to help govern
  • (1975) Louis Sylvain-Goma became prime minister
This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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