Kasai, former province, Congo

Kasai käsīˈ [key], former province, c.124,000 sq mi (321,160 sq km), S central Congo (Kinshasa). Luluabourg (present Kananga) was the capital. Between the Kasai and the Sankuru rivers the Kuba kingdom of the Shongo people existed from the early 17th cent. In the south of the province were the constantly warring Luba and Bena Lulua peoples. This ethnic conflict was partly responsible for the secession (Aug., 1960) of the Baluba-dominated Mining State of South Kasai, headed by Albert Kalonji, who proclaimed himself king of South Kasai. The central government reestablished control over the whole of Kasai in Dec., 1961. Kasai was divided into five provinces in 1962, which were regrouped as Kasai-Occidental and Kasai-Oriental provinces in 1966. In 2015, Kasai-Occidental was divided into Kasai and Kasai-Central, and Kasai-Oriental into Sankuru, Kasai-Oriental, and Lomami.

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