The Independence Day of the DR Congo is celebrated every year on 30 June. This is the DR Congo’s National Day, and marks independence from Belgium in June 1960.
As the major European nations fought for control of the African continent in the late nineteenth century, King Leopold II of Belgium kept a close eye on the Congo. At the Conference in Berlin in 1885, Leopold secured the ‘rights’ to the territory of the Congo and called the country the Free State of Congo.
The Belgian parliament took control of the liberal state in 1908 and created the Belgian Congo following years of atrocities against the local population. Belgium’s Congo became the Republic of the Congo on June 30, 1960, when it gained independence from Belgium.
This name was more than a little confused when it was dubbed the Republic of Congo by the French colony in the Middle Congo. The two countries are better known, after their capital towns, as Congo-Léopoldville (formerly Belgian) and Congo-Brazzaville (ex-French). Zaire was renamed Congo-Léopoldville in 1971.
The country’s current name, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was established in 1997 as a result of a popular rebellion in Zaire in 1996.