Lubumbashi

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Ville de Lubumbashi
Image:Lubumbashi coat of arms.jpg
Seal
Location in the Congo
Province Katanga
Mayor Floribert Kaseba
Area  
 - City 747 km²
 - Land 747 km²
Population  
 - City (2001) 1,139,064
 - Density 1,525/km²
Time zone DRC2 (UTC+2)

Lubumbashi (formerly Elisabethville) is ranked as the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (capital Kinshasa, formerly Zaire) and the hub of the southeastern part of the country. The copper-mining city serves as the capital of the relatively prosperous Katanga (formerly Shaba) province, lying near the Zambian border. Population estimates vary wildly but average around 1.2 million.

Contents

[edit] Geography

Lubumbashi lies at around 1,000 metres above sea level. The Kafue River rises along the Zambian border near the city and meanders through parts of Zambia to the Zambezi River.

[edit] History

The Belgians founded the city of Elisabethville (sometimes Elizabethville, both in French, or Elisabethstad in Dutch) in 1910. The city prospered with the development of a regional copper mining industry.

Miners in Elisabethville conducted a strike in December 1941 to protest the increasingly severe forced-labor regime that the Belgians imposed on the population, because of the "war efforts".

The Belgians established the University of Elizabethville in 1954-1955 (now the University of Lubumbashi). In municipal elections in December 1957, the people of Elisabethville gave a vast majority to the Nationalist Alliance de Bakongo, which demanded immediate independence from the Belgians.

Elisabethville served as the capital and center of the secessionist independent state of Katanga during the bloody 1960-1963 Congolese civil war. Moise Tshombe proclaimed Katangan independence in July 1960. Congolese leaders arrested him and charged him with treason in April 1961; however, he agreed to dismiss his foreign advisers and military forces in exchange for his release. Tshombe returned to Elisabethville but repudiated these assurances and began to fight anew. United Nations troops opposed Katangan forces and took control of the city in December 1961 under a strong mandate.

Totalitarian kleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko ultimately assumed power. In his faux "African authenticity" campaign circa 1966, he replaced Elisabethville with the Africanized name "Lubumbashi." In an attempt to paper over its association with secession, he renamed Katanga "Shaba" in 1972.

Congo entered another genocidal civil war in the 1990s. The Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo rebels captured Lubumbashi in April 1997. Rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila spoke from Lubumbashi to declare himself president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on May 17, 1997 after Mobutu Sese Seko fled Kinshasa.

When Laurent-Désiré Kabila decided to appoint a transitional parliament, in 1999, a decision was made to install the Parliament in Lubumbashi, in order to consolidate the fragile unity of the country. The parliament was installed in the building of the National Assembly of secessionist Katanga, which had its capital in this city as well, in the 1960's. Lubumbashi was therefore the Legislative capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1999 to 2003, when all the countries central institutions were brought back to Kinshasa.

[edit] Culture and economy

Lubumbashi serves as an important commercial and national industrial center. Manufactures include textiles, food products and beverages, printing, bricks, and copper smelting.

Lubumbashi lies at the centre of railway lines to Ilebo, Kindu, Sakania and Kolwezi, however, because of the underinvestments, the railway lines aren't very reliable. Lubumbashi hosts the modern Luano international airport and a daily newspaper. The city consequently serves as a distribution center for such minerals as copper, cobalt, zinc, tin, and coal.

Attractions in the city include a botanical garden, a zoo, a brewery, and the regional archaeological and ethnological National Museum of Lubumbashi. The city also hosts the major University of Lubumbashi, which maintains a library.


[edit] External links

Coordinates: 11°40′S 27°28′E

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