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  • Congo - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Kongo Kingdom became the dominant political force Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão reached the Congo River in 1484 and the Kongo Kingdom soon established diplomatic relations and a slave trade with Portugal In a treaty negotiated by French Italian explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza in the early 1880s the ruler of the Teke Kingdom ceded the region of Middle Congo to France Middle Congo became part of French Equatorial Africa in 1910 After World War II General Charles de Gaulle promised colonial reforms and a decentralization of power in French Africa at the Brazzaville Conference of 1944 French Equatorial Africa was dissolved in 1958 Postcolonial History Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo and was granted full independence from France in 1960 Fulbert Youlou became the country s first president but he was deposed by rioters and rival political parties in 1963 Alphonse Massamba Débat was elected under a new constitution but his term ended in a military coup d état in 1968 Captain Marien Ngouabi came to power and proclaimed Africa s first people s republic He was assassinated during a military coup in 1977 Denis Sassou Nguesso was elected president followed by ongoing periods of ethnic and political unrest In 2004 the European Commission provided Congo with two million euros to finance the disarmament and reintegration of rebels also known as Ninjas or the Conseil national de la résistance CNR within the Pool region Between 1998 and 2002 an estimated 100 000 to 148 000 people fled the Pool region due to rebel violence Congolese refugees remain a pressing humanitarian crisis In 2006 the World Bank provided 17 million USD for the disarmament and reintegration of 30 000 rebels resulting in the ceremonial destruction of nearly 100 000 pieces of weaponry at Brazzaville under the auspices of Sassou

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/6 (2016-02-13)
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  • Côte d'Ivoire - Art & Life in Africa - The University of Iowa Museum of Art
    Official Language French Politics Head Of State Alassane Dramane Ouattara since 2010 Type of Government Republic Date of Independence August 7 1960 Major Exports Coffee Cocoa Banana Pineapple Palm Oil Cotton Fish Tropical Wood Precolonial History Côte d Ivoire was inhabited in the Neolithic era and possibly earlier although the humid climate has effaced most traces of the country s earliest civilizations Portuguese explorers arrived in the early 1600s and French missionaries landed near the Gold Coast Ghana border in 1637 European contact was limited until the 19th century mainly due to inhospitable geography along the coastline Akan peoples fleeing the Asante Empire in Ghana invaded the area in the 1750s and are the largest ethnic group in Côte d Ivoire today In 1843 44 France sent Admiral Bouët Willaumez to sign a treaty with the local kings and establish a protectorate The colony became part of French West Africa and was governed from Paris until the end of World War II Félix Houphouët Boigny founded the first indigenous political party in 1944 Syndicat Agricole Africain and later its offshoot the Parti Démocratique de la Côte d Ivoire He became the country s first president when France ceded control in 1960 Postcolonial History After independence Houphouët Boigny maintained political and economic stability in Côte d Ivoire and was re elected until his death in 1993 The country suffered from an economic decline under the new president Henri Konan Bédié In 1999 Bédié was overthrown by a military junta led by General Robert Guéï Guéï agreed to hold democratic elections the following year Laurent Gbagbo of the Front Populaire Ivoirien was elected president in 2000 initiating a decade of civil war between the government at Abidjan and rebel groups in the north led by Guillaume Soro The U N persuaded Gbagbo

    Original URL path: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/countries/show/8 (2016-02-13)
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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/7 (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/9 (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/10 (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/11 (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/12 (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/13 (2016-02-13)
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