Initially, the country was inhabited by pygmies and bushmen, but in the 16th century the current Congo became the abode of the bantu kingdoms of Luango and Kacongo, close allies with the region’s great power Manicongo. The Portuguese colonization efforts succeeded, and these kingdoms participated for 3 centuries in the slave trade as middlemen and suppliers to the French and the English; an activity later taken over by the bateke kingdom of Anzico.
According to Countryaah, the slave trade was replaced by rubber and palm oil production towards the end of the 19th century; it brought the French colonizers to the country.
French troops led by Savorgnan de Brazza in 1880 initiated the bloody colonization of the country. 2/3 of the original population was eradicated in the first quarter of the century. The rail link between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire was built by what one might best describe as slave laborers. It greatly contributed to the formation of the first anti-imperialist movements which, under the leadership of Matswa, had almost a semi-religious expression.
After World War II, resistance was led by socialist-inspired trade union and student movements.
As an introduction to the ” decolonization “, the French promoted the monk Fulbert Youlou, who, as leader of the Democratic Union for the Defense of the Africans, became the first president of the independent Congo in 1960. The popular organizations never accepted his neo-colonial policy, and the protests against the corruption and the abuses of the trade unions exploded in a popular uprising, the so-called “three golden days”, from August 13 to 15, 1963.
Youlou resigned and the leader of the National Assembly, Alphonse Massembla Débat, assumed power. He was declared a socialist and forced the French troops to leave the country. The National Revolutionary Movement was founded as the only legal country in the country.
The war caused by discrepancies between the Revolutionary movement and the country’s army, trained and armed by the French, led to the resignation of Massemba Debate on 1 January 1969. He was replaced by young Major Marien N’Gouabi, who represented the Army left wing.
Political life was resurrected and the Congolese Workers Party, PCT, was founded by Marxist-Leninist observance. In 1973, a new constitution was introduced and the new People’s Republic was a fact.
In December, N’Gouabi launched a public “self-criticism campaign” and called for a radicalization of the revolution. It was the beginning of a reform process of party structures, of the state apparatus and of the popular organizations.
N’Gouabi initiated a teaching reform – until then all teaching material was written in French – and modernized the state apparatus.
In connection with Angola’s independence, the Congo did not hesitate to recognize the government of Agostinho Neto. The country’s attitude to the Cabinda province, which belongs to Angola, was crucial to the attempts to separate the oil-rich province, despite the support of the multinational corporations operating in the Congo.
N’Gouabi was assassinated on March 18, 1977, by a group of conspirators, led by former President Massemba Debate. However, the coup makers failed to take power and Massemba Debate was executed.
Under the new president, Colonel Joachim Yombi Opango, the official, ascetic political line changed. Following charges of corruption and abuse of power, he was forced to retire on February 6, 1979. He was replaced by Denis Sassou N’Guesso.
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This launched a public-sector morality campaign and implemented administrative and ministerial reforms. Towards the end of 1981, the Congo ran into problems related to foreign trade, which was due to the inefficiency of state enterprises. However, the government refused to shut down the state enterprises.