Katanga is the southern province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the eastern part of the province is an rich mining region, which supplies cobalt, copper, tin, radium, uranium, and diamonds.

Following the granting 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.

Diplomatic isolation was major weakness of Katanga. The secessionist state never gained international recognition. Even Belgium never officially recognized Katanga. But the most serious diplomatic blow against the Tshombe regime came on February 21, 1961, when the UN Security Council passed a resolution urging the UN "to take immediately all appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of civil war in the Congo, including arrangements for cease-fire, the halting of all military operations, the prevention of clashes, and the use of force, if necessary, in the last resort." The UN Security Council's resolution was an attempt to check the trend toward total anarchy in the Congo and to bring about international pressure for reintegration of the Congo. The resolution gave the UN forces greater authority to act in order to prevent civil war and called for the removal of foreign advisers and mercenaries.

In August the UN forces began disarming Katangese soldiers, and in December UN and Katangese forces became engaged in battle. Throughout 1962, Tshombe maintained his independent position and in December, 1962, renewed UN-Katanga fighting broke out. Tshombe was forced to give in, and in January, 1963, agreed to end Katanga's secession.


UP: Katanga postage stamps. Although Katanga was not a member of the UPU, its stamps were tolerated on international mail.