French Congo

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After French Central Africa was granted independence, three states emerged: Gabon, Centrafrican Republic and French Congo.

French Congo fell into civil war at the time of the first change of government. The central government collapsed, and a number of chiefdoms and statelets emerged, along with some territory that was occupied by outside powers, notably Kongo.

When Bokassa took power in the Centrafrican Republic and started to conquer the various chiefdoms and statelets, these statelets merged into four confederations, based on ethnic lines, to help defend themselves against Centrafrican aggression. These states were Mongo-Kongo, Luba, Lunda, Azande Chiefdoms Kivu and others.


Full independence was achieved on Aug. 15, 1960, with Fulbert Youlou as the first president. Forced to resign after a revolt in 1963, he was succeeded by Alphonse Massamba-Débat. In 1964 the new president founded a Marxist-Leninist party and proclaimed a noncapitalist path of economic development. A Five-Year Plan was initiated, and the state sector of the economy in agriculture and industry was expanded. Tensions between the government and the army grew, and in 1968, Marien Ngouabi, an army commander, launched a coup which started the civil war that led to the eventual destruction of the state.

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