Multilingualism pre-dates Westernization in Central Africa. In pre-colonial days intertribal relations had already led to the development of various contact vernaculars which merely spread farther into the country with the European penetration, as they were adopted by the colonizers for economical and administrative purposes. A typical example of a pre-colonial multilingual community was the capital of the Garenganze kingdom of Msiri in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Its population consisted of several thousand people from all parts of Central Africa: baSanga, baLamba, baUshi, baLunda, baBemba, baLuba, belonging to the areas the muYeke conqueror had cut out of the territory formerly governed by the Kazembe (governor) of the Mwato Yamvo (Lunda emperor) or taken over during his campaigns against the baLuba; Arabs, waNyamwezi, waSwahili traders and immigrants from across Lake Tanganyika, as well as oviMbundu and Luvale from Angola. The town was an important slave-market to which many traders came from all directions. At one time Msiri especially encouraged the prosperous commerce in ivory and slaves with the Portuguese on the West coast; he even took the daughter of a former Portuguese officer in Bihe as his Ihanga (‘first wife’), and the Arab traders soon had to strive to neutralize her influence on Msiri. As a result of the constant flow of trade caravans from East and West, Portuguese could be heard in Katanga, beside the more common Swahili from the East Coast, in which Msiri was himself quite proficient. Another important source of revenue for Msiri beside slaves and ivory was copper; all the digging and processing was directly controlled by the Bayeke. This mineral wealth was one of the main 365sources of the competition of the colonial powers for control of Katanga, which ended with the occupation of the Garenganze kingdom by the Belgians. The centre of their administration Was, however, shifted to the South, where the ‘Mine de TEtoile’ became one of the first urban nuclei in the Katanga mining district. In 1906 the Union Miniere du Haut-Katanga was created, one year after the first convoy of ox-carts brought heavy mining equipment from Benguela on the West coast to Katanga. A copper-processing plant was then built alongside the Lubum- bashi river a few miles from the cMine d’Etoile’. Very soon, Emile Wangermee, the head of the Comite Special du Katanga, which was administering the territory, had plans laid out for building the first colonial town to be founded in Katanga. In September 1909 the Belgian Government approved them and decided to call the place Elisabethville and to develop it as the administrative and economic centre of Katanga. On 27 September the railroad from Rhodesia reached the new town and connected it with South Africa and, somewhat later, with Beira in Mozambique. From then on the city grew at a tremendous rate due to the immigration of thousands of Europeans and tens of thousands of Africans, though the process of growth was not always smooth: the great companies—the Union Miniere and the Katanga railway—discouraged their European employees from staying in Katanga until the depression of the thirties, when they began hiring Europeans on the spot instead of bringing them over from Belgium on limited-term contracts; at that time improved public health conditions made it possible for the employees to have their families stay with them: secondary schools were opened for European children, and the demographic pattern of the European community changed drastically, with a considerable increase in the population under 20 and over 40, as many Belgian residents began to regard Elisabethville as their home. As a background to this transformation in the urban picture the successful development of rural enterprises supplying fresh milk and agricultural produce to the town under the sponsorship of the Comite Special du Katanga was of primary importance. The first cattle and the first colonists arrived in 1911–12 and experimental farms were established; after the First World War the whole enterprise was in jeopardy for lack of financial resources and 366because the local Africans competed with the settlers in the growing of vegetables for the urban market. By the thirties the major problems impeding a prosperous development of the agricultural areas around the town had been solved, and the farms were able to supply fresh vegetables and dairy products to the steadily growing numbers of African as well as European inhabitants of the city. Meanwhile, the settlement of African peasantry in newly cleared land was encouraged so that a lively marketing economy between town and country developed.