Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Katanga is the southern province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, regional capital Lubumbashi (formerly Elizabethville). 518,000 kmē with a population of around 4.1 million. Farming and ranching are carried out on the Katanga Plateau. In the eastern part of the province is an rich mining region, which supplies cobalt, copper, tin, radium, uranium, and diamonds.

From the 17th century the province was controlled by the Luba and Lunda. In the late 19th C. a trader from Tanzania called M'Siri, founded a short-lived kingdom that lasted until he was killed by the Belgians in 1891. Under harsh Belgian control from around 1884, the mineral resources were heavily exploited by Belgian firms (notably Union Miniere du Haut Katanga) and the province developed much more than the rest of the country.

Following the grant of independence to the Congo in June 1960 Katanga broke away from the new government of Patrice Lumumba in July and declared independence under Moise Tshombe. Lumumba was replaced in September 1960 in a coup d'etat by Joseph Mobutu. Forces under the aegis of the UN conducted a two-year campaign to bring Katanga back into the Congo, culminating in a National Conciliation Plan in January 1963.

In 1966 the central government nationalized Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, as Gecamines. In 1971 Katanga was renamed Shaba. Throughout the 1970s further insurrections were put down by the government with help from foreign nations. The province became Katanga again in 1997 after Mobutu was exiled.