Most of the information bellow was borrowed from the following sources:
The Library of Congress (Data as of December 1993)
"Henry Stanley and the European Explorers of Africa" by Steven Sherman

Compiled by

ca. 10,000 B.C. Late Stone Age cultures start to flourish in southern savanna.
first millennium B.C. In long series of migrations, lasting well into first millennium A.D., Bantu-speaking peoples from West Africa disperse throughout Zaire, bringing an economy based on yam and palm farming.
ca. late first millennium B.C. Non-Bantu speakers arrive in northern grasslands, then penetrate forest area, intermingling with Bantu speakers who preceded them; Central Sudanic speakers introduce cattle herding and cultivation of cereals into northeastern Zaire.
ca. A.D. 100 Related food complex based on cereals and hunting separately introduced into southeastern Zaire from East Africa.
first millennium A.D. Bananas introduced from East Africa; iron and copper implements come into use; smelting introduced.
late 1300s Kongo Kingdom established, beginning expansion that continues until mid-seventeenth century.
late 1400s Luba Empire "founded" in late fifteenth century by legendary figures, Nkongolo and Ilunga Kalala; other Luba chiefs settle among neighboring peoples, including Lunda, and introduce Luba concepts of state organization; Luba state based on patrilineal farming villages governed by divine king whose authority derived from bulopwe--an inherited, supernatural power conferring the right to kingly office and title. Luba noted for artistic achievements in sculpture, praise poetry, and polyphonic music. Lunda chiefdoms unite to form Lunda Kingdom.
1483 Portuguese discover Congo River, beginning long-term relationship between Portugal and Kongo Kingdom that lasts until destruction of Kongo in early eighteenth century.
1500s Lunda kingdom comes under Luba influence; legendary founders of Lunda include Kinguri, Chinyama, and Mwaant Yaav; Kinguri and Chinyama migrate west and found Lunda-like states in Angola; Mwaant Yaav's name becomes perpetual title in and royal name for central Lunda kingdom; beginning in sixteenth century, and continuing to eighteenth century, Lunda expand west, east, and south, creating series of related kingdoms governed jointly by kings and councils of titled officials; Lunda expansion facilitated by devices of positional succession and perpetual kinship, which made it possible to incorporate non-Lunda into the Lunda administrative system; hunting important among the matrilineal Lunda; despite their political genius, their culture in general was less developed than that of Luba.
ca. 1500 Zande appear in northern Zaire and found a number of agriculturally based kingdoms.
early 1500s Kongo king Affonso requests technical help from Portugal, agreeing to make payment in copper, ivory, and slaves; Affonso declares Catholicism Kongo state religion.
mid-1500s Corn introduced to Kongo by Portuguese, followed by cassava shortly after 1600 and tobacco by late seventeenth century.
ca. 1630 Kuba Kingdom founded by King Shyaam aMbul aNgoong; a highly centralized agricultural and trading state, it reached its zenith in mid-eighteenth century and remained stable into nineteenth century.
1700s Europeans in west and Arabs in east become heavily involved in slave trade.
ca. 1750 Kazembe Kingdom founded in Luapula Valley as Lunda offshoot following Lunda expansion to control salt pans and copper mines in Shaba; loosely part of Lunda Empire but autonomous in practice.
1788 Founding of African Association in London, England.
1795 Mungo Park's first expedition in search of the Niger River; Park fails to reach its mouth or Timbuktu.
1805 Park's second expedition to the Niger; Park dies at Bussa on the Niger during an attack by local tribesmen.
1822-25 Hugh Clapperton, Dixon Denham, and Walter Oudney journey to Bornu and discover Lake Chad.
1824-25 Gordon Laing reaches Timbuktu but dies at the hands of stranglers before he can return to tell his tale.
1825-28 René Caillié travels to Timbuktu and returns to France, where he is disbelieved.
1825 Clapperton's second expedition, which he does not survive.
1830-32 Richard Lander reaches the mouth of the Niger.
1840-72 David Livingstone explores Congo River basin.
1851 David Livingstone discovers the Zambezi River.
1853-56 Livingstone crosses southern Africa from east to west and back again; discovers and names the Victoria Falls.
1857-59 Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke search for the source of the Nile; visit Lake Tanganyika; Speke discovers and names Lake Victoria.
1860-63 Speke and James Grant travel to Gondokoro to investigate the sources of the Nile.
1863-65 Samuel and Florence Baker discover and name Lake Albert.
1864 Speke dies, in what is assumed to be a hunting accident, the day before he is supposed to debate Burton about the Nile sources at the annual conference of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
1866 Livingstone searches for the source of the Nile along the headwaters of the Congo; many rumors of his death or distress reach the outside world.
1869 The New York Herald hires Henry Stanley to find Livingstone in Africa.
1871 Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley, journalist commissioned to search for him, meet in the village of Ujiji, on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika.
1874(75*)-77 Stanley commissioned by New York and London newspapers to continue Livingstone's explorations; Stanley completes descent of Congo River in 1877.
(Library of Congress)
(75*) - The English Daily Telegraph and the New York Herald sponsor Stanley's exploration of the Congo and its headwaters, in the course of which he crosses Africa from east to west.
("Henry Stanley and the European Explorers of Africa" by Steven Sherman)
1878 King Léopold II forms consortium of bankers to finance exploration and colonization of Congo.
1878-87 Under auspices of consortium, Stanley sets out to establish trading posts and make treaties with local chiefs, eventually returning with 450 treaties in hand.
1884-85 At Conference of Berlin, November 1884-February 1885, major European powers acknowledge claim of Léopold II's International Association of the Congo ; colony named Congo Free State.
1887-90 Stanle leads the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition to southern Sudan, crossing the continent again, this time from west to east.
1890s Construction of transportation network and exploitation of mineral resources begin; forced labor used extensively to harvest rubber, ivory, and other commodities; mutinies within Force Publique in 1895 and 1897.
1890-94 Belgian military campaign expels Afro-Arab traders from Zaire and ends slave trade.
1908 In response to growing criticism of treatment of African population, Belgian parliament annexes Congo Free State and renames it Belgian Congo.
1914-17 Units of Belgian colonial forces see action alongside British forces in German East Africa.
1921 Simon Kimbangu founds Kimbanguist Church.
1920s-30s Early nationalistic aspirations expressed by Kimbanguist Church and Kitawala religious movement.
1940-45 Production of goods and minerals greatly increased to finance Belgian effort in World War II; large-scale social and economic changes occur as many rural Africans relocate to urban areas; demands for political reforms grow.
1952-58 Legal reforms enacted permitting Africans to own land, granting them free access to public establishments, and the right to trial in all courts of law as well as some political participation.
1956 Alliance of the Kongo People (Alliance des Bakongo--Abako) issues manifesto calling for immediate independence.
late 1950s Calls for independence of Katanga grow, and separatist party, the Confederation of Katanga Associations (Confédération des Associations du Katanga--Conakat) headed by Moïse Tshombe organized.
Statue passed allowing urban Africans to elect local communal councils; Abako wins majority of seats in urban elections.
May Appointed rural councils established.
Belgian authorities disperse crowd of Abako members at political meeting; widespread rioting follows; Belgium recognizes total independence as goal for Belgian Congo .
July The Congolese National Movement (Mouvement National Congolais--MNC), which had emerged as standard-bearer of independence movement in 1958-59, splits into two camps, radicals headed by Patrice Lumumba and moderate wing led by Joseph Ileo, Cyrille Adoula, and Albert Kalonji.
Round Table Conference held in Brussels to discuss independence.
May In national legislative elections, MNC-Lumumba wins largest number of votes; Belgian authorities name MNC's Patrice Lumumba prime minister; colonial government promulgates Loi Fondamentale (Fundamental Law) to guide nation to independence and to serve as first constitution.
June Abako leader Joseph Kasavubu elected president; Congo becomes independent and First Republic established June 30.
July Army mutinies against its European officers, July 4-5; officer corps Africanized and Joseph-Désiré Mobutu (later Mobutu Sese Seko) named chief of staff, July 6-9; mutiny spreads to Équateur and Katanga, and Belgium sends in paratroopers; Moïse Tshombe declares Katanga an independent state and Belgian naval forces bombard Matadi on July 11; Lumumba and Kasavubu request United Nations military assistance in face of Belgian aggression and Katangan secession, July 12; United Nations Security Council resolution calls for Belgian withdrawal and authorizes United Nations intervention, July 14; first United Nations troops arrive in Zaire, July 15, begin military intervention against Katanga in support of the central government.
August South Kasai headed by Albert Kalonji secedes August 8.
September President Kasavubu and Prime Minister Lumumba formally break and fire each other from their posts; Kasavubu names Joseph Ileo as new prime minister on September 5; on September 14, Mobutu steps in and assumes power while keeping Kasavubu as nominal president; government to be run by the so-called College of Commissioners; United Nations and most Western nations recognize Kasavubu government.
November Antoine Gizenga leaves for Stanleyville to establish rival national regime. Lumumba, under house arrest since dismissal by Kasavubu, leaves to join Gizenga, but is arrested and transferred to Katanga.
Lumumba killed on January 17, but his death not announced until February.
February College of Commissioners dissolved, and provisional government formed headed by Joseph Ileo.
July Continuing deliberations undertaken at three conferences earlier in 1961, parliament meets close to Léopoldville to work out framework for a reunified Congo ; deputies from all provinces attend; secession of South Kasai ends.
August Cyrille Adoula named prime minister, August 2.
After two and a half years of conflict, Tshombe concedes defeat, and Katanga secession ends, January 14; Tshombe arrested and sent into exile.
Led by Pierre Mulele, rebellion breaks out in Kwilu area around Kikwit.
May Second rebellion, headed by Gaston Soumialot, begins in east and rapidly spreads.
July Tshombe recalled from exile and replaces Adoula as prime minister.
August First postindependence constitution adopted.
December Eastern rebellion put down and Soumialot sent into exile.
Rivalry between Prime Minister Tshombe and President Kasavubu leads to government paralysis; Mobutu leads successful coup, November 24, dismisses Kasavubu and Tshombe, names himself as president, and appoints figurehead prime minister, Colonel Leonard Mulamba; these actions mark end of First Republic.
December Kwilu uprising ends, and Mulele goes into exile in Brazzaville; he later (1968) returns to Congo under amnesty but is executed.
Former Katangan gendarmes mutiny in Kisangani.
December Cities with European names gradually given African names.
Upper Katanga Mining Union (Union Minière du Haut-Katanga--UMHK) nationalized.
April Popular Revolutionary Movement (Mouvement Populaire de la Révolution--MPR) created, April 17.
May In Manifesto of N'Sele, Mobutu proclaims official ideologies.
June Second postindependence constitution proclaimed, removing virtually all political power from provinces and allowing president to rule by decree.
July Former Katangan gendarmes again mutiny in Kisangani.
1969 June About thirty Lovanium University students killed in clashes with security forces.
Mobutu elected president in first presidential election, having already held office for five years.
1971-72 Country's name changed to Zaire, October 1971; under policy of authenticity, all colonial or Christian names changed to Zairian ones, 1972; provinces now called regions and given non-European names.
Policy of Zairianization proclaimed; foreign-owned businesses and property expropriated and distributed to Zairian government officials, resulting in increasing economic chaos.
Revised version of 1967 constitution promulgated, making MPR synonymous with state.
Policy of retrocession announced, returning much expropriated property to foreign owners.
Shaba I: Zairian insurgency group invades Shaba Region from Angola and is defeated, only with help from France and Morocco, by May.
October Legislative elections held.
December Mobutu reelected president, running unopposed.
Constitution revised; military establishment purged following discovery of coup plot.
May Shaba II: Same insurgent group launches another invasion of Shaba from Zambia and is again defeated only with help of French and Belgians.
June Pan-African peacekeeping force installed in Shaba and stays for over a year.
1982 September Legislative elections held; multiple candidates allowed for first time; more than three-quarters of incumbents voted out; thirteen parliamentarians attempt to form second party and are arrested.
Mobutu reelected without opposition.
November Rebel forces occupy Moba in Shaba Region for two days before town recaptured by Zairian forces.
1985 June Zaire celebrates twenty-five years of independence; on eve of celebration, guerrillas briefly occupy Moba again.
Legislative elections held.
Student disturbances break out in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi and result in violent clashes with armed police.
Third Republic declared on April 24; Mobutu promises national multiparty elections the following year.
May Protesting students at University of Lubumbashi massacred by government forces; as a result, Belgium, European Community, Canada, and United States ultimately cut off all but humanitarian aid to Zaire.
December Legislation permitting political parties to register finally passed.
Security forces intervene violently against demonstrators.
August National conference on political reform convened with ostensible mandate to draft new constitution as prelude to new elections; conference suspended, August 15.
September Unpaid paratroopers mutiny in Kinshasa and go on rampage, looting and violence spread; France and Belgium send troops to restore order and evacuate foreign nationals.
October Opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi named prime minister in early October but fired by Mobutu a week later, spurring violent demonstrations; France joins other Western nations in cutting off economic aid to Zaire; Mobutu appoints Mungul-Diaka to succeed Tshisekedi.
November Mobutu names another opposition leader, Nguza Karl-i-Bond, prime minister.
December National conference reconvenes.
1992 National conference activities periodically suspended by Mobutu; economy continues to deteriorate; Western nations call for Mobutu to step down, but he clings to power.
February Peaceful demonstrations by Christian groups violently broken up by security forces; up to forty-five killed and 100 injured.
April National conference meets, declares itself to have sovereign powers not only to draw up a new constitution but also to legislate a multiparty system; Transitional Act passed establishing new, transitional government; these actions constitute a direct challenge to Mobutu, who does not accept conference's authority.
August Newly named Sovereign National Conference elects Tshisekedi prime minister, precipitating violent confrontations in Shaba Region between supporters of Tshisekedi and Nguza; conflict between Tshisekedi and Mobutu over who runs government continues.
Soldiers riot and loot following refusal by merchants to accept new Z5 million notes with which military personnel were paid; in ensuing violence dozens of soldiers killed by elite army unit loyal to Mobutu; French ambassador killed while watching violence from his office window.
March Mobutu dismisses Tshisekedi and names Faustin Birindwa prime minister of so-called government of national salvation; Birindwa names cabinet in April; Zaire now has two rival, parallel governments.
October More rioting and looting occur when opposition parties promote boycott of new currency issue used to pay troops.


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