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  Wikipedia: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Wikipedia: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, called Zaire between 1971 and 1997, is a nation in central Africa. It is sometimes called Congo-Kinshasa, after its capital, to distinguish it from the Republic of Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville.

République Démocratique du Congo
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: None
Official language French
Capital Kinshasa
President Joseph Kabila
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 12th
2,345,410 km²
3.3%
Population
 - Total
 - Density
Ranked 23rd
55,225,478
24/km²
Independence
 - Date
From Belgium
June 30, 1960
CurrencyCongolese franc
Time zoneUTC +1 to UTC +2
National anthemDebout Kongolaise
Internet TLD.CD
Calling Code243

History

Main article: History of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The area now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo was populated as early as 10,000 years ago, and settled in the 7th and 8th centuries by Bantus from present-day Nigeria.

European exploration and exploitation took place from the 1870s until the 1920s. The rape of the Congo Free State stands alone as the single most brutal and greedy episode of colonisation in modern history.

Since 1994, DR Congo has been rent by ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow of refugees from fighting in Rwanda and Burundi. The government of former president Mobutu Sese Seko was toppled by a rebellion led by Laurent-Desire Kabila in May 1997; his regime was subsequently challenged by a Rwanda- and Uganda-backed rebellion in August 1998. Troops from Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad, and Sudan intervened to support the Kinshasa regime. See Foreign relations of Congo.

A cease-fire was signed on 10 July 1999; nevertheless, fighting continues apace especially in the eastern part of the country, financed by revenues from the illegal extraction of minerals such as coltan. Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 and his son Joseph Kabila was named head of state. The new president quickly began overtures to end the war. Fighting continued, even after an accord signed in South Africa in 2002. But by late 2003, a fragile peace prevailed. Kabila appointed four vice-presidents, two who had been fighting to oust him until July, 2003.

Politics

Main article: Politics of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The government of former president Mobutu Sese Seko was toppled by a rebellion led by Laurent Kabila in May 1997; his regime was subsequently challenged by a Rwanda- and Uganda-backed rebellion in August 1998. Troops from Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad, and Sudan intervened to support the Kinshasa regime. A cease-fire was signed on 10 July 1999 by the DROC, Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, and Congolese armed rebel groups, but sporadic fighting continued. Kabila was assassinated on 16 January 2001 and his son Joseph Kabila was named head of state ten days later. In October 2002, the new president was successful in getting occupying Rwandan forces to withdraw from eastern Congo; two months later, an agreement was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and set up a government of national unity.

Political divisions

Main article: Political divisions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

 

The Congo is divided into 10 provinces, and 1 independent city (Kinshasa):

Major Cities

  • Bandundu (Banningville)
  • Bukavu (Constermansville)
  • Djokupunda (Charlesville)
  • Ilebo (Port-Francqui)
  • Isiro (Paulis)
  • Kalemie (Albertville)
  • Kananga (Luluabourg)
  • Kinshasa (Léopoldville)
  • Kisangani (Stanleyville)
  • Likasi (Jadotville)
  • Lubumbashi (Élisabethville)
  • Lukutu (Élisabetha)
  • Lusanga (Leverville)
  • Mbandaka (Coquilhatville)
  • Mbanza-Ngungu (Thysville)
  • Moba (Baudoinville)
  • Mobaye-Mbongo (Banzyville)
  • Mbuji-Mayi (Bakwanga)
  • Ubundu (Ponthierville)

Geography

Main article: Geography of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Congo is located in the west-central part of sub-Saharan Africa. It straddles the Equator, with one-third to the north and two-thirds to the south. Clockwise from the west, it is bounded by Angola, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, the Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania across Lake Tanganyika, and Zambia.

The capital, Kinshasa, is located in the country's western salient, immediately across the Congo River from Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo.

The Congo includes the greater part of the Congo River Basin, which covers an area of almost a million square kilometers. The country's only outlet to the Atlantic Ocean is a narrow strip of land on the north bank of the Congo River.

The vast, low-lying central area is a basin-shaped plateau sloping toward the west and covered by tropical rainforest. This area is surrounded by mountainous terraces in the west, plateaux merging into savannas in the south and southwest, and dense grasslands extending beyond the Congo River in the north.

Economy

Main article: Economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - has declined drastically since the mid-1980s. The war, which began in August 1998, has dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, has increased external debt, and has resulted in the deaths from war, famine, and disease of perhaps 3.5 million people. Foreign businesses have curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. The war has intensified the impact of such basic problems as an uncertain legal framework, corruption, inflation, and lack of openness in government economic policy and financial operations. Conditions improved in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. A number of IMF and World Bank missions have met with the government to help it develop a coherent economic plan, and President Kabila has begun implementing reforms. Much economic activity lies outside the GDP data.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The population was estimated at 56.6 million in 2003, growing quicky from 46.7 million in 1997. As many as 250 ethnic groups have been distinguished and named. The most numerous people are the Kongo, Luba, and Mongo. Although 700 local languages and dialects are spoken, the linguistic variety is bridged both by the use of French and the intermediary languages Kikongo, Tshiluba, Swahili, and Ligala.

About 80% of the Congolese population are Christian, predominantly Roman Catholic. Most of the non-Christians adhere to either traditional religions or syncretic sects. Traditional religions embody such concepts as monotheism, animism, vitalism, spirit and ancestor worship, witchcraft, and sorcery and vary widely among ethnic groups; none is formalized. The syncretic sects often merge Christianity with traditional beliefs and rituals. The most popular of these sects, Kimbanguism, was seen as a threat to the colonial regime and was banned by the Belgians. Kimbanguism, officially "the church of Christ on Earth by the prophet Simon Kimbangu," now has about 3 million members, primarily among the Bakongo of Bas-Congo and Kinshasa.

Culture

Main article: Culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Holidays
DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
June 30Independence Day

See also: Music of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Miscellaneous topics


Countries of the world  |  Africa


  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona