as some 350,000 were taken into
forced slavery from the area including minor members of the royal family by the
Ongoing hostilities against Portuguese
subjugation of the area led to the Kingdom of the Loango in the north (see
map above right) gaining its independence from Kongo and the degradation of
the Kongo Kingdom until it was little more than an enclave of the Kingdom of
Angola by 1857 and subservient to Portugal although, in reality,
Portugal was unable to enforce its hegemony in the area.
By this time, the Atlantic
had ended south of the equator in 1839 diminishing the area's importance
however soon after, the slave trade was replaced by a demand for raw goods from Africa to bolster increasing
industrialisation in Europe.
In the resultant Scramble for Africa the area came under French
control in the 1880s when Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza (right) negotiated a French
protectorate over the northern bank of the river Congo. In 1886 it was named the
Colony of Gabon and Congo, then, five years later, renamed the Colony
of French Congo and the area was later to
become known as Middle Congo as part of French Equatorial Africa in 1910 along
with Gabon, Chad,
French Cameroon and parts of what is now known as the Central African Republic.
throughout Africa, the Second World War was to prove a catalyst for change
with the Middle Congo granted overseas territory status, an assembly and
representation in the French parliament in 1946. In 1958 a vote was held across
French Equatorial Africa
with Middle Congo voting for autonomy within the French Community however
there were ongoing revolts against the French with France agreeing to its full
independence in 1960 with it becoming the Republic of Congo with Fulbert Youlou
a former priest, mayor of Brazzaville and prime minister as leader of the
Union Démocratique pour la Défense d'Intérêts Africains party, as its first president.