1885: Belgium's King gains title to the Congo. Exploitation begins.

1908: Belgian state takes over.

1960: Independence.

Belgian interests stir up rivalries and Tshombe declares Katanga independent. The USA conspires against president Lumumba.

1961: Tshombe has Lumumba killed and CIA dispose of body. US then works against Tshombe and backs a united Congo.

1963: Congo is united.

1965: Mobutu takes over and renames the country Zaire. During years of corruption and oppression he is frequently supported by the US and others.

1996-97: Rebels take control while Mobutu is abroad. Zaire is renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo.

1998: Rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda try to take control. Angola and Namibia support the government.

1999: Ceasefire signed.

2002: Power sharing deal signed, but peace remains illusive.