|a former name (1908--60) of Congo|
former colony (coextensive with the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo) in Africa, ruled by Belgium from 1908 until 1960. It was established by the Belgian parliament to replace the previous, privately owned Congo Free State, after international outrage over abuses there brought pressure for supervision and accountability. The official Belgian attitude was paternalism: Africans were to be cared for and trained as if they were children. They had no role in legislation, but traditional rulers were used as agents to collect taxes and recruit labour; uncooperative rulers were deposed. In the late 1950s, when France and the United Kingdom worked with their colonies to prepare for independence, Belgium still portrayed the Congo as an idyllic land of parent-child relationships between Europeans and Africans
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