Gabon, the Central African Republic, and Chad were combined with Middle Congo to become French Equatorial Africa in 1910. However, economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republic's budget deficit. Kongo, former kingdom in west-central Africa, located south of the Congo River (present-day Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo).According to traditional accounts, the kingdom was founded by Lukeni lua Nimi about 1390. [14], Sassou Nguesso aligned the country with the Eastern Bloc and signed a twenty-year friendship pact with the Soviet Union. The capital, Kinshasa, is located on the Congo River about 320 miles (515 km) from its mouth. At university, students can obtain a bachelor's degree in three years and a master's after five. The Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa's second-largest country and covers a total of 2,344,858 square kilometers, which makes it slightly larger than Mexico and about a quarter the size of the United States. Bantu tribes dominated the region and traded into the Congo River basin. The Congo is located on the western coastline of Central Africa, bordering with the Southern Atlantic Ocean to the west, Angola to the South, Democratic Rep of Congo (formerly Zaire) to South and east, Central Africa Republic and Cameroon to the north, and Gabon to the northwest. Congo subsequently was plunged into a devastating civil war; the conflict officially ended in 2003, although fighting continued in the eastern part of the country. [56][57], The GDP of the Republic of the Congo grew by 6% in 2014 and is expected to have grown by 7.5% in 2015. In 2008, oil sector accounted for 65% of the GDP, 85% of government revenue, and 92% of exports. The country is a former French colony. The economy is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based largely on petroleum,[49] support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. This part of the country is the highest and most rugged, with striking chains of mountains. The volcanic Virunga Mountains stretch across the Western Rift Valley north of Lake Kivu. A narrow coastal plain lies between the Cristal Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. To the south and east of it is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. info) French: République du Congo, Kongo: Repubilika ya Kôngo), also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic or simply either Congo or the Congo is a country located in the western coast of Central Africa. The second largest group are the Teke, who live to the north of Brazzaville, with 17% of the population. The southwest of the country is a coastal plain for which the primary drainage is the Kouilou-Niari River; the interior of the country consists of a central plateau between two basins to the south and north. There is one government-owned television station and around 10 small private television channels. Congo River, river in west-central Africa. Officially known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the country has a 25-mile (40-km) coastline on the Atlantic Ocean but is otherwise landlocked. The north-south Western Rift Valley, the western arm of the East African Rift System, forms the country’s eastern border and includes Lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, Tanganyika, and Mweru. The French designated Brazzaville as the federal capital. [42] On 30 December 2010, the Congolese parliament adopted a law for the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. [14], In the controversial elections in 2002, Sassou won with almost 90% of the vote cast. In Africa, it is the third largest country and the world’s 12th largest. [13], Bantu-speaking peoples who founded tribes during the Bantu expansions largely displaced and absorbed the earliest inhabitants of the region, the Pygmy people, about 1500 BC. Originally, it was probably a loose federation of small polities, but, as the kingdom expanded, conquered territories were integrated as a royal patrimony. New York: Routledge. To the west lies Gabon; Cameroon to its northwest and the Central African Republic to its northeast; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southeast and the Angolan exclave of Cabinda to its south; and the Atlantic Oceanto its southwest. Congo Basin is home to the world's second largest tropical forest. DR Congo is a vast country with immense economic resources and, until recently, has been at the centre of what some observers call "Africa's world war", with widespread civilian suffering the … A political crisis in the perennially restive Democratic Republic of Congo deepened Monday, as lawmakers trashed Parliament after President Felix … The dry season is from June to August, while in the majority of the country the wet season has two rainfall maxima: one in March–May and another in September–November. It sits in Central Africa and is bordered by Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola’s exclave province of Cabinda, Gabon, and the Gulf of Guinea. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Democratic Republic of the Congo, the larger country to the southeast, capital Kinshasa, formerly known as Zaire, sometimes referred to as "Congo-Kinshasa"; Republic of the Congo, the smaller country to the northwest, capital Brazzaville, sometimes referred to as "Congo-Brazzaville" Departments are divided into communes and districts. After their promising start in the 1970s, the troubled political situation and the closure of cinemas made production of films difficult. [9] The Republic of the Congo was established on 28 November 1958 and gained independence from France in 1960. Dozens of armed groups are active in eastern DR Congo. The tropical or subequatorial climate zone, marked by distinct dry and rainy seasons, is found north and south of the equatorial region. The region was dominated by Bantu-speaking tribes at least 3,000 years ago, who built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. They suggest a population on the order of 125,000 western lowland gorillas, whose isolation from humans has been largely preserved by inhospitable swamps.[48]. New elections took place in April 1959. In 1956, the Republic of Congo and the other three countries became autonomous members of the French Community. An 11-member Military Committee of the Party (CMP) was then named to head an interim government, with Joachim Yhombi-Opango to serve as President of the Republic. Welcome to Republic of Congo. Thus began a four-month conflict that destroyed or damaged much of Brazzaville and caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths. [50] The country also has large untapped mineral wealth. ISBN 978-0-7007-1589-3. In 1960 after gaining independence, the French Region known as the Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. Following the overthrow of Mobutu in 1997, the country’s name prior to 1971, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was reinstated. From 1971 to 1997 the country was officially the Republic of Zaire, a change made by then ruler Gen. Mobutu Sese Seko to give the country what he thought was a more authentic African name. The opposition, who boycotted the referendum, said that the government's statistics were false and the vote was a fake one.[40]. Equatorial soils occur in the warm, humid lowlands of the central basin, which receive abundant precipitation throughout the year and are covered mainly with thick forests. [64][65] Pygmies make up 2% of Congo's population. Savanna soils are threatened by erosion, but the river valleys contain rich and fertile alluvial soils. The Kongo are the largest ethnic group and form roughly half of the population. The official language is French. The Enya people fishing in the rapids of the Congo River near Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ngouabi, who had participated in the coup, assumed the presidency on 31 December 1968. [68], As of 2010[update], the maternal mortality rate was 560 deaths/100,000 live births, and the infant mortality rate was 59.34 deaths/1,000 live births. [47], In 2006–07, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society studied gorillas in heavily forested regions centered on the Ouesso district of the Sangha Region. The bodies of two of them were later found, mutilated, by the Congo River. United States State Department. The reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Many Pygmies belong from birth to Bantus in a relationship many refer to as slavery. The vast drainage area of the Congo River includes [62], According to CIA World Factbook, the people of the Republic of the Congo are largely a mix of Catholics (33.1%), Awakening Lutherans (22.3%) and other Protestants (19.9%). Thus, Congo is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, with 70% of its total population living in a few urban areas, namely in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire or one of the small cities or villages lining the 534-kilometre (332 mi) railway which connects the two cities. Its overall length of 4,700 km (2,922 miles) makes it the second longest in Africa (after the Nile).The river and its tributaries flow through the second largest rain forest area in the world, second only to the Amazon Rainforest in South America.. [45] Thereafter the ITCZ moves northward again, crossing central Congo in March and April, so this zone has two rainfall maxima. [23] The Congolese military briefly took charge of the country, and installed a civilian provisional government headed by Alphonse Massamba-Débat. In early October, the Angolan government began an invasion of Congo to install Sassou in power. The dry season lasts from four to seven months (usually April to October), depending largely on distance from the Equator. The Republic of Congo has several writers recognised in Africa and the French-speaking world: Alain Mabanckou, Jean-Baptiste Tati Loutard, Jeannette Balou Tchichelle, Henri Lopes, Lassy Mbouity, and Tchicaya U Tam'si. The Republic of the Congo is divided into 12 départements (departments). The Republic of the Congo has a wide variety of natural landscapes, ranging from the savannah plains in the North Niari flooded forests, to the vast Congo River, to rugged mountains and forest of Mayombe, and including 170 km of beaches along the Atlantic coast. Rather than seeking to make a feature film for distribution, generally filmmakers directly broadcast their productions as videos on the internet. Most of Congo lies within the inner humid tropical, or equatorial, climatic region extending five degrees north and south of the Equator. In Kananga about 63 inches (1,600 mm) of precipitation falls annually. As of 2012[update], the HIV/AIDS prevalence was at 2.8% among 15- to 49-year-olds. Instruction at all levels is in French, and the educational system as a whole models the French system. Natural gas and diamonds are also recent major Congolese exports, although Congo was excluded from the Kimberley Process in 2004 amid allegations that most of its diamond exports were in fact being smuggled out of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo; it was re-admitted to the group in 2007. The physical map above illustrates the country of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the massive expanse of the Congo Rainforest, the second-largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon. National anthem of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Belgian paternalism and the politics of decolonization, https://www.britannica.com/place/Democratic-Republic-of-the-Congo, HistoryWorld - History of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Intelligence Agency - The World Factbook - Republic of the Congo, Africa, History Central - Republic of Congo, Africa, CRW Flags - Flag of Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Intelligence Agency - The World Factbook - Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Democratic Republic of the Congo - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Officially known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country has a 25-mile (40-km) coastline on the Atlantic Ocean but is otherwise landlocked. The mighty Congo River winds its way through more than 4,000 kilometers of rainforest in central Africa. "RotC" redirects here. Following the revision of the French constitution that established the Fifth Republic in 1958, the AEF dissolved into its constituent parts, each of which became an autonomous colony within the French Community. Several Bantu kingdoms—notably those of the Kongo, the Loango, and the Teke—built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. Adjunct Professor of Demography, University of Montreal. [9], According to a 2011–12 survey, total fertility rate was 5.1 children born per woman, with 4.5 in urban areas and 6.5 in rural areas. [31], Sassou also won the following presidential election in July 2009. Warlords, soldiers, and child laborers all toil over a mineral you've never even heard of. More than a dozen people have been killed in two attacks near Beni in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that were blamed on the Islamist ADF group, local sources said Sunday. Many sites are difficult to reach in overland visits. ISBN … The Democratic Republic of the Congo occupies an area of 2,345,409 sq. Bureau of African Affairs. The Congo rainforest in central Africa contains one of the longest rivers in the world, the Congo River.The tropical rainforest covers most of the eastern part of the Congo.This forest and its river were the subject of a famous book called The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Soils are of two types: those of the equatorial areas and those of the drier savanna (grassland) regions. In 2008, the main media were owned by the government, but much more privately run forms of media were being created. Petroleum extraction has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy. Our latest episode for parents features the topic of empathy. Sassou Nguesso is backed by his own Congolese Labour Party (French: Parti Congolais du Travail) as well as a range of smaller parties. The official langu… 12 January 1994 devaluation of Franc Zone currencies by 50% resulted in inflation of 46% in 1994, but inflation has subsided since.[51]. The snow-covered peaks of the Ruwenzori Range between Lakes Albert and Edward lie astride the Ugandan border and mark the country’s highest elevation of 16,763 feet (5,109 metres) at Margherita Peak. During the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, Brazzaville functioned as the symbolic capital of Free France between 1940 and 1943. Search, Finally, the good figures seem to come from, This page was last edited on 9 December 2020, at 14:10. The Republic of the Congo is located in northern Africa's western coast with a coastline of 169 km along the Atlantic Ocean. The Katanga plateaus reach as far north as the Lukuga River and contain the Manika Plateau, the Kibara and the Bia mountains, and the high plains of Marungu. [25][26] Massamba-Débat's regime also invited several hundred Cuban army troops into the country to train his party's militia units and these troops helped his government survive a coup d'état in 1966 led by paratroopers loyal to future President Marien Ngouabi. The country also has a large port on the Atlantic Ocean at Pointe-Noire and others along the Congo River at Brazzaville and Impfondo. Congo-Brazzaville has had a multi-party political system since the early 1990s, although the system is heavily dominated by President Denis Sassou Nguesso; he has lacked serious competition in the presidential elections held under his rule. km in Central Africa. Followers of Islam make up 1.6%; this is primarily due to an influx of foreign workers into the urban centers. [71] The numerous ethnic groups and various political structures express a rich cultural diversity and forms of art. The Atlantic climate zone is confined to the west coast. He survived an attempted coup in 1972 but was assassinated on 16 March 1977. Unlike Zaire, however, the name Congo has origins in the colonial period, when Europeans identified the river with the kingdom of the Kongo people, who live near its mouth. In Bukavu, for example, the average annual temperature is in the mid-60s F (high 10s C), and annual precipitation levels measure about 52 inches (1,320 mm). The Congo seeks to empower local African writers to have traditional storytelling be a lucrative livelihood on the continent. [14] It also received a local legislature after the adoption of the 1946 constitution that established the Fourth Republic. On 5 June, President Lissouba's government forces surrounded Sassou's compound in Brazzaville and Sassou ordered members of his private militia (known as "Cobras") to resist. The highlands of the Great Lakes region in eastern Congo are partly covered with rich soil derived from volcanic lava. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (, Economic Community of Central African States, Foreign relations of the Republic of the Congo, Human rights in the Republic of the Congo, List of companies based in the Republic of the Congo, Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa, Demographics of the Republic of the Congo, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Index of Republic of the Congo–related articles, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects", https://ambacongofr.org/index.php/le-congo, Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism, "BBC NEWS – Africa – The man who would be Congo's king", CONGO REPUBLIC: BRAZZAVILLE RIOTS AFTERMATH, "Fulbert Youlou facts, information, pictures – Encyclopedia.com articles about Fulbert Youlou", Les voies du politique au Congo: essai de sociologie historique, "17 candidates in Congo presidential race: commission", Vote results expected as opposition alleges fraud, "FACTBOX-African leaders' French assets under scrutiny", "Les Africains du Panama (1) : les circuits offshore des " fils de, Congo Republic president says expects referendum over the third term, "Congo opposition holds ceremony for killed protesters=Reuters", "Violences au Congo : le government accuse les opposants à Sassou-Nguesso", "Pygmies in the Congo treated like "pets": report", "UN expert praises Congo's draft law on indigenous rights", site of the Presidency of the Republic of the Congo, Map: Situation de l'exploitation forestière en République du Congo, "Kimberley Process Removes the Republic of Congo from the List of Participants", "OHADA.com: The business law portal in Africa", "South Africa's white farmers prepare to trek to the Congo", Congo hands land to South African farmers, "Republic of the Congo GDP and Economic Data", "Les pygmées du Congo en "danger d'extinction, Congo. A land of steamy jungles hiding half the world's lowland gorillas, masses of forest elephants, and hooting, swinging troops of chimpanzees, the Republic of Congo is on the cusp of becoming one of the finest ecotourism destinations in Africa. Some of the South's most populous and developed locations are often the least accessible. Along this zone the trade winds originating in the Northern and Southern hemispheres meet, forcing unstable tropical air aloft. The Congo River (also known as Zaire River) is the largest river in Africa. A Civilised Savagery: Britain and the New Slaveries in Africa, 1884–1926. [32] According to the Congolese Observatory of Human Rights, a non-governmental organization, the election was marked by "very low" turnout and "fraud and irregularities". Artists have struggled to build a film industry. 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