Timeline Capsule
Time Capsule Details | BeingBlackToday.com

Patrice Lumumba
1st Democratically Elected
Leader of the Congo
Congo Achieves Independence from Belgium's Colonial Rule

Patrice Lumumba was the founder of the MNC (Mouvement Nactional Congolais) party that worked and campaigned for independence from Belgium’s colonial rule.

Congolese Receive Independence
In 1960, the Congolese finally received their independence and Lumumba was elected leader.  However, it was not a smooth transition and there was little stability.  Instead, a great political upheaval and a climate of civil war ensued.  The erupting conflicts were so tragic that nearly 100,000 people were killed within 5 years of Congo independence.

In the first week following, mutiny broke out in the army, and violence erupted between black and white civilians.   Belgium was forced to send troops to protect fleeing whites.

Moise Kapenda Tshombe
1919 – 1965
President of Katanga
Organized Succession

Soviets and Britain Intervene in Civil War
Katanga and South Kasai seceded, with Belgian support.  And because of the continued unrest, the United Nations deployed peacekeepers, but the UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld refused to use these troops to help the central government in Léopoldville fight the secessionists.  This lack of support led Lumumba to solicit support from the Soviet Union to fight against the secessionist.   The Soviet Union responded by promptly sending military advisors and other support.
Joseph Kasa-Vubu
1910 – 1969
President of the Congo 
From 1960 – 1965
After Soviet involvement, a coup was mounted by the commander of the army, Mobutu, who then expelled the Soviet advisors and deposed Lumumba from office, imprisoning him.  The following year is was executed.

Resurgence of the Nationalist Movement
after Lumumba's Execution
Lumumba supporters started a rival government, and even though aided by the Soviets, were crushed.  However, the UN was more persistent and sent more troops to defeat the secessionist movements in Katanga and South Kasai by 1963.

United States and Belgium
Rid the Congo of  Soviet Communist
However, before full control could be established, Maoist-inspired militants (Simbas) rose up in the east and took control of a significant amount of territory and claimed a communist “People’s Republic of the Congo” in Stanleyville.  These Simbas were defeated by Belgium and United States troops.
Mobutu Sese Seko
1930 - 1997
Military Commander
Staged Coup to Become
Dictator of the Congo

Mobutu Becomes Dictator
of the Congo after 2nd Coup
A new election was held in 1965, but a new political stalemate developed between Tshombe and Kasa-Vubu.  In response, once again the military commander, Mobutu mounted a second coup, but took personal control this time.  Mobutu then transformed the Congo (Zaire as of 1971) into dictatorship, ruling for over 25 years.