15.08.

1960: The Republic of Congo Gains Independence Under a President who used to be a Catholic Priest

1960: The Republic of Congo Gains Independence Under a President who used to be a Catholic Priest
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 15 August 1960
  • After achieving independence from France, the Republic of Congo with its capital Brazzaville got its first president. The man in question was Fulbert Youlou, particularly interesting for having served as a Catholic priest.

On this day in 1960 the Republic of Congo with its capital Brazzaville achieved independence.

This Congo, which used to carry the name Zaire, should not be confused with the neighboring country called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This neighboring country has a much larger land area, and its capital is Kinshasa (formerly Leopoldville).

Before achieving its independence, Congo and its capital Brazzaville were a French colony, while the neighboring Congo whose capital was Leopoldville was a sort of private property of Belgian king Leopold II, later becoming a colony of the Belgian state.

After achieving independence from France, the Republic of Congo with its capital Brazzaville got its first president. The man in question was Fulbert Youlou, particularly interesting for having served as a Catholic priest in the 1940s.

When the Congo was still a French colony, Youlou became a candidate for a member of the French parliament in Paris (the inhabitants of French colonies could at that time become candidates for political functions in their mother country).

It is for this reason that Youlou stopped being a priest and became a layman once more. On this day in 1960 he became the first president of the Congo.

The Republic of Congo is today home to a significant number of Catholics, as many as several million.

However, the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo has many more inhabitants, almost 17 times more than the Republic of Congo, and therefore a much greater number of Catholics (there are a total of 35 to 40 million Catholics in these two countries).

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