The Congo Crisis (1960–1966) was a period of turmoil in the First Republic of the Congo that began with national independence from Belgium and ended with the seizing of power by Joseph Mobutu. At various points it had the characteristics of anti-colonial struggle, a secessionist war with the province of Katanga, a United Nations peacekeeping operation, and a Cold War proxy battle between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Crisis caused the death of some 100,000 people. It led to the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, as well as a traumatic setback to the United Nations following the death of UN Secretary Prior to the establishment of the First Republic in 1960, the native Congolese elites had formed semi-political organizations which gradually evolved into the main parties striving for independence. These organizations were formed on one of three foundations: ethnic kingship, connections formed in schools, and urban intellectualism. The largest of these was Association des Bakongo (ABAKO), founded in 1950, which was an ethnic association which promoted the interests and language of the Bakongo (or Kongo) people, as well as Bakongo-related ethnic groups. ABAKO, led by Joseph Kasa-Vubu during the Crisis, was at the forefront of the more insistent demands for both independence and federalism. Other less successful ethnic associations included the Liboke lya Bangala, who championed the needs of the Bangala ethno-linguistic group (a grouping created by Western ethnographers), and the Fédékaléo – who included people from the Kasai region. Fédékaléo later split into several groups. Though these organizations represented ethnic groups from all over the Congo, they usually based themselves in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), since one reason for their existence was the need to maintain ethnic ties after the mass migration to urban areas. Another source of political groupings was the various Alumni Associations - whose membership came from... [continues]
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