Church, State and Colonialism in Southeastern Congo, 1890–1962

  • Reuben A. Loffman

Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)

About this book


‘‘In this important, thoroughly researched contribution Reuben Loffman offers a wealth of new insights… No one interested in the history of the Katanga, or for that matter of the Congo, can afford to ignore this path-breaking addition to the extant literature.’’

Rene Lemarchand, Emeritus Professor, University of Florida, USA

‘‘Drawing on his painstaking local research, Loffman sheds new light on how one Congolese community experienced a tumultuous period of social, political and religious change in a study that will be of lasting value to scholars of Central Africa.’’

Miles Larmer, Professor of African History, University of Oxford, UK

‘‘By prompting us to rethink patterns of state hegemony and Church-state relations in the Belgian Congo, Loffman demonstrates that even in an age of global history, there is still much to be gained from painstaking monographs informed by a deep understanding of local dynamics and ethno-historical contexts. This is an impressive debut.’’

Giacomo Macola, Reader in History, University of Kent, UK

This book examines the relationship between Catholic missionaries and the colonial administration in southeastern Belgian Congo. It challenges the perception that the Church and the state worked in close association. Instead, using the territory of Kongolo as a case study, the book reconfigures their relationship as one of competitive co-dependency. Based on extensive archival research and oral histories, the book argues that both institutions retained distinct agendas that, while coinciding during certain periods, clashed on many occasions. The study begins by outlining the pre-colonial history of southeastern Congo. The second chapter examines how the Church began its encounters with the peoples in Kongolo and the Tanganyika province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Subsequent chapters highlight how missionaries exerted significant influence over the colonial construction of chieftainship and the politics of Congolese decolonization. The book ends in 1962, with the massacre of a number of Holy Ghost Fathers in an event that signaled the beginning of a more Africanized Church in Kongolo.    


Catholic Church Belgian Empire Colonialism Kongolo Public politics Missions Post-independence Decolonization Ethnic divisions Class Social mobility

Authors and affiliations

  • Reuben A. Loffman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HistoryQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-17379-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-17380-7
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