The previous flag was adopted in 2003. It is similar to the flag used between 1960 and 1963. The flag is based on the flag which was originally used by King Leopold's Association Internationale Africaine and was first used in 1877. The design was then implemented as the flag of the Congo Free State after the territory was recognized as an official possession of Leopold II at the Berlin Conference. After gaining independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960, the same basic design was maintained. However, six stars were incorporated to symbolise the six provinces of the country at the time. This design was used only from 1960 to 1963.