is one of 25 new provinces
of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
specified in the country's 2005 Constitution
, under Article 2. It was to be created from country's the existing 10 provinces
within 36 months (18 February 2009), according to Article 226. Until 2009 it was ruled as the District of Tshilenge
of the province is Mbuji-Mayi
, formerly Bakwanga, on the Sankuru river.
Kasai-Oriental is inhabited by members of the Luba
Congo obtained independence from Belgium
in 1960. Friction with Congo's other ethnic groups and encouragement by Belgian
corporations hoping to keep their mining concessions led to the secession of the province of South Kasai
as a separate state headed by Albert Kalonji
After being repulsed, the Congo occupied the province in September 1961. Several thousand people were killed during the "pacification" of South Kasai, which lasted through the spring of 1962.
The population of Mbuji-Mayi grew rapidly with the immigration of Luba people from other parts of the country.
The region in which Mbuji-Mayi is situated annually produces one-tenth in weight of the world's industrial diamonds, with mining managed by the Société Minière de Bakwanga. This is the largest accumulation of diamonds in the world, more concentrated than those at Kimberley