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  • Democratic Republic of the Congo - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Nigeria to the Congo region during the 7th 8th centuries CE Centralized chiefdoms and Arab trading communities developed and the Kongo Kingdom expanded in the area from the 14th to 17th centuries The Luba Empire where artists and free verse poets were held in high esteem occupied the country s southern territories from the 16th to 19th centuries and ruled according to the doctrine of divine kingship The Kuba Kingdom developed as an agricultural and trading state in the 17th century and the Kazembe Kingdom founded in the mid 18th century remains influential today The Portuguese arrived in the 1480s and soon engaged in the slave trade through Kongo intermediaries until the 17th century joined by the British Dutch and French In the 1870s King Léopold II of Belgium initiated a private venture to colonize the area Léopold claimed the Congo Free State in 1885 which included the entire area of the present country He relinquished control in 1908 due to an international scandal over the Belgian colonial officials atrocious treatment of the native population The Belgian parliament annexed the colony but granted its independence in 1960 after a series of nationalist riots in Leopoldville and Stanleyville Postcolonial History Joseph Kasavubu became the first president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with independence leader Patrice Lumumba as prime minister That same year Colonel Joseph Mobutu Mobutu Sese Seko overthrew the government and arrested Lumumba who was later executed Mobutu seized power in a second coup in 1965 and changed the country s name to Zaïre Supported by Belgium and the United States because of his anti communist stance Mobutu reigned as a notoriously wealthy and corrupt dictator for over three decades He was overthrown by Laurent Désiré Kabila who proclaimed the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997 He

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/Democratic+Republic+of+the+Congo (2016-02-13)
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  • Gabon - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    of Government Republic Date of Independence August 17 1960 Major Exports Timber Petroleum Manganese Uranium Crude Oil Precolonial History Hunter gatherers inhabited Gabon during the Stone Age and Bantu peoples gradually migrated to the area from northern Africa The Mpongwe people arrived in the estuary region in the 11th century The Fang people known for their wooden reliquary figures settled in the equatorial forests by the 19th century and comprise Gabon s largest ethnic group today Portuguese merchant ships navigated to the coast in 1472 The country s name derives from the Portuguese word gabão a type of hooded cloak resembling the shape of the Como River estuary The Dutch English and French engaged in the slave trade with local chieftains until the 1840s In 1839 the French signed a treaty with the king of the Mpongwe establishing a protectorate over the coast French explorers in the latter half of the 19th century including Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza ventured into the dense forests that cover more than three fourths of the country s surface seeking the source of the Congo River In 1910 Gabon became part of French Equatorial Africa Postcolonial History This colonial federation was dismantled in 1958 and Gabon proclaimed full independence in 1960 while maintaining close ties with France Léon M Ba of the Bloc Démocratique Gabonais later re named the Parti Démocratique Gabonais PDG was elected president of Gabon s new single party political system He was overthrown in a bloodless military coup in 1964 but French troops intervened and restored him to power His vice president Omar Bongo ascended to the presidency upon M Ba s death in 1967 Bongo was re elected six times and remained in office until his death in 2009 Bongo s political party maintained power mainly by suppressing opposition groups

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/Gabon (2016-02-13)
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  • Ghana - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Bauxite Precolonial History The history of Ghana is based on oral tradition until the 15th century The Portuguese landed on the Gold Coast in 1470 and established Elmina Castle as a trading base in 1482 British traders first arrived in 1553 and various European powers controlled parts of the coast for the next three centuries The British successfully fought the Asante empire for dominance of the region in a series of Anglo Asante Wars from 1823 to 1901 The Gold Coast became a British colony in 1901 and the Ashanti region a protectorate in 1902 The Fante protectorate and British Togoland merged with these territories by 1956 creating a single colony known as the Gold Coast Postcolonial History The British relinquished control in 1957 and the country became the independent state of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah the founder of the socialist Convention People s Party CPP became Ghana s first prime minister Nkrumah also served as Ghana s first president in the early 1960s and sought to modernize and industrialize the nation but was overthrown by the Ghanaian Army in 1966 The leaders of the military coup placed the National Liberation Council NLC in power and pledged a swift return to civilian government but this was not achieved until the NLC was defeated by the Progress Party in a parliamentary election in 1969 In 1972 military officers seized power from President Edward Akufo Addo in a bloodless coup and formed the National Redemption Council NRC under Jerry Rawlings Rawlings remained in office until 2001 and was succeeded as president by John Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party NPP Also in 2001 Secretary General Kofi Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and thousands of refugees from Côte d Ivoire entered Ghana while a coup attempted to remove Ivoirian President Laurent Gbagbo

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/Ghana (2016-02-13)
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  • Guinea-Bissau - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Of State Joao Berna Type of Government Republic Multiparty Date of Independence September 10 1974 Major Exports Fish Cashew Peanuts Palm Kernels Lumber Precolonial History Guinea Bissau has its origins in the kingdom of Gabú which became independent from the powerful Mali Empire in the 16th century Gabú is known for its rich culture and traditionally is considered the birthplace of the kora a stringed instrument widely used in West Africa The Portuguese landed at the Bissagos Islands in 1446 and claimed the region but the Gabú kingdom resisted colonial expansion into the mainland Local rulers controlled the supply of slaves to Portuguese Guinea which became known as the Slave Coast In 1687 Portugal founded the capital city of Bissau as a fortified trading post After the decline of the Gabú kingdom in the mid 19th century Portugal successfully embarked upon military campaigns to conquer and consolidate the area Oppressive colonial rule which culminated in the massacre of fifty workers striking at the Pijiguiti docks prompted a fervent nationalist movement in the 1950s The Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde PAIGC led by Amílcar Cabral and Raphael Barbosa began an armed rebellion against Portuguese rule in 1956 and controlled most of the country by the early 1970s Postcolonial History Portugal recognized Guinea Bissau s full independence in 1974 Amílcar Cabral had been assassinated by a former PAIGC rival in 1973 but his half brother Luís Cabral became the first president of Guinea Bissau The new nation was plagued by political dissent poverty and underdeveloped infrastructure In 1980 Cabral was ousted in a bloodless coup by military leader João Bernardo Vieira Vieira reorganized the government under a revolutionary council and later reconstituted power under a single party the Assembleia Nacional Popular ANP Despite several alleged coup attempts Vieira

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/Guinea-Bissau (2016-02-13)
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  • Guinea-Conakry - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    in prehistoric times and migration from the Sahara region took place by 200 BCE The Malinké people forged powerful empires especially the Ghana Mali and Songhai in the area from the 10th 15th centuries Portuguese explorers reached Guinea in the 15th century but its hazardous coastline prevented European expansion into the mainland until the 19th century Civil war and Moroccan invasions split the Songhai Empire into smaller kingdoms in the late 16th century The French began to explore Guinea in 1849 A French settlement was established on the Nunez River and the coast was declared a protectorate The colony was incorporated into French West Africa in 1895 By this time the Fulani people had founded an Islamic state in central Guinea and Samory Touré was leading the Wassoulou Empire in Malinké territory in the north Touré led his army against the French throughout the 1880s and 1890s until his capture and exile in 1898 He died in prison two years later The port city of Conakry became the capital of French Guinea in 1904 Political groups and labor unions mobilized for Guinean independence after World War II Ahmed Sékou Touré Samory Touré s grandson led the Parti Démocratique de Guinée PDG to vote for complete independence from France in 1958 Postcolonial History France ceded control and Touré became the first president of the new republic Touré s regime however became a dictatorial single party system dominated by the Malinké ethnic group He remained in office until his death in 1984 The Military Committee of National Recovery Comité militaire de redressement national CMRN seized power one week later and abolished the constitution and the PDG The leader of the CMRN General Lansana Conté became the second president of Guinea He remained head of state amid political dissent and an assassination attempt

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/Guinea-Conakry (2016-02-13)
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  • Kenya - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    was home to some of the earliest human ancestors Peoples speaking Cushitic Nilotic and Bantu languages inhabited the area in the first millennium CE and the Swahili language developed from a combination of Bantu and Arabic to establish a common trading language The Arab settlement of Mombasa was a dominant trading port by the time Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama landed there in 1498 The Portuguese occupied the coast of Kenya for the next two hundred years before losing the region to Islamic control Omani Arabs held the coastline until European powers divided Africa into colonial territories in the 1880s Britain established the East African Protectorate in 1895 and led military expeditions into Kenya suppressing the indigenous peoples attempts to resist colonial rule and an influx of white settlers Kenya officially became a British colony in 1920 The first nationalist organization the Kenya African Union KAU was founded in 1944 Jomo Kenyatta of the Kikuyu ethnic group became its leader three years later In 1953 Kenyatta was accused of directing the four year Mau Mau rebellion against British rule during which a state of emergency was declared Kenyatta was released in 1961 He became Kenya s first president after the nation was granted independence in 1963 and declared a republic in 1964 Postcolonial History Kenyatta s party the Kenya African National Union KANU controlled the government for the next forty years He was re elected and died in office in 1978 succeeded by his vice president Daniel arap Moi Multi party elections were held in 1992 but Moi was re elected despite widespread protests and accusations of corruption Opposition leader Mwai Kibaki was elected in 2002 and re elected in 2008 The violence related to the 2008 election caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Kenyans and the country

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/Kenya (2016-02-13)
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  • Liberia - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    monopolized coastal trade until the Dutch and British established trading posts in the 17th century The area became known as the Pepper Coast or Grain Coast due to the abundance of Malagueta peppers Grains of Paradise The colony of Liberia was founded upon the arrival of free African Americans and freed slaves from the United States in 1820 This settlement Monrovia was negotiated between local chiefdoms and U S President James Monroe on behalf of the American Colonization Society a coalition of abolitionists and slaveholders who advocated relocating freed slaves to Africa Additional colonists from American slave states arrived and their settlements were merged into the Commonwealth of Liberia in 1838 Liberia became Africa s first independent republic in 1847 with a constitution modelled after that of the United States Postcolonial History Britain and France soon recognized Liberia s sovereignty but also began encroaching on its territory U S President Abraham Lincoln officially recognized the new republic in 1862 Former governor Joseph Jenkins Roberts was elected Liberia s first president in 1847 Americo Liberian settlers founded the True Whig Party in 1878 This elite minority dominated politics and suppressed the indigenous peoples for over a century In 1980 President William R Tolbert was assassinated in a military coup d état led by Master Sargeant Samuel K Doe who suspended the constitution and imposed martial law Doe s preference for promoting members of his own Krahn ethnic group caused increasing unrest in Liberia He lifted the ban on political parties in 1985 and took office as president after a fraudulent election In 1989 Charles Taylor of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia NPFL began an uprising against the government initiating decades of bloody civil war during which Doe was assassinated Taylor was elected president in 1997 Charged with war crimes however

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/Liberia (2016-02-13)
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  • Mali - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    historians known as griots or djali The empire reached its height circa 1325 when King Musa I also known as Mansa Musa conquered the cities of Timbuktu and Gao Mali territory extended to the Atlantic Ocean but the empire declined and the Songhai rose to prominence in the 15th century The Songhai Empire fell to Moroccan invaders in 1591 and was dismantled into smaller kingdoms with Timbuktu as an Islamic center of commerce and scholarship French colonial expansion reached the area in the 1880s and the country s present borders were established in 1890 France completed its military conquest of the colony upon the capture of Malinké resistance leader Samory Touré in 1898 French Sudan was governed as part of French West Africa and merged with Sénégal to form the Mali Federation in 1959 Sénégal withdrew a year later and the Republic of Mali declared independence from France in September 1960 Postcolonial History Modibo Keïta of the socialist Union Soudanaise Rassemblement Démocratique Africain US RDA became Mali s first president He was overthrown in a bloodless military coup in 1968 and Lieutenant Moussa Traoré ruled Mali as president of a single party state under the Comité Militaire de Libération Nationale CMLN A new party the Union Démocratique du Peuple Malien UDPM was founded in 1976 Traoré was re elected in 1979 but faced several coup attempts and anti government protests in 1980 He remained in power until deposed by a democratic transitional committee led by Amadou Toumani Touré in 1991 Alpha Oumar Konaré of the Alliance pour la Démocratie en Mali ADEMA became Mali s first democratically elected president in 1992 He was re elected until 2002 and was succeeded in office by Amadou Toumani Touré Touré was deposed in 2012 by Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo who seized power for

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/Mali (2016-02-13)
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