Democratic Republic of the Congo Facts

Democratic Republic of the Congo Facts and History


Democratic Republic of the Congo – the former Zaire

The Democratic Republic of the Congo was still called Zaire until 1997 and is not allowed to join the neighboring Republic of the Congobe confused. The country in Central Africa shares a common border with nine countries. Over 200 different ethnic groups live within its own borders. When the country freed itself from the yoke of Belgian colonial power in 1960, General Mobutu succeeded in subjugating Zaire to his dictatorship for 32 years with the help of the military and other American and European countries. After Mobutu’s fall, the new ruler Kabila defended his position in a violent civil war until he was assassinated in 2001. His son, Joseph Kabila, took his place and became president of the country in 2003 under an interim constitution. The end of the transitional constitution was in 2005. In the elections on July 30, 2006, Kabila won the election, but missed an absolute majority. In the runoff election on 29. October 2006 he defeated his competitor Jean-Pierre Bemba with around 58% of the vote. He was sworn in on December 6, 2006.

But the country does not come to rest. In October/November 2008, heavy fighting broke out again in the region around the provincial capital Goma between marauding government troops and the rebels under the command of Laurent Nkunda. Hundreds of thousands had to flee, people were beheaded or chopped off and women were raped. Fortunately, the UN condemned the massacres and the UN troops in the Congo did not intervene, but carefully recorded everything and asked for more money and personnel.

At the moment, however, the Congo has become relatively quiet, but that does not mean that there are no more conflicts.

Name of the country Democratic Republic of Congo
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located in central Africa,north and south of the equator
National anthem Debout Kongolais
Head of state Joseph Kabila
Population about 85 million (Credit: Countryaah: Democratic Republic of the Congo Population)
Ethnicities 80% BantuIn addition, mainly Nilots, Pygmies and Europeans
Religions about 50% Catholics, 20% Protestants, 10% Muslims, about 10% Kimbanguists and 10% animists.In addition, around 100,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses
Languages The official language is French
Capital Kinshasa
Surface 2,344,858 km²
Highest mountain Margherita Peak with a height of 5,109 m
Longest river Congo with a total length of 4,374 km
Largest lake Tanganyika Lake with an area of 32,893 km²
International license plate CD
National currency Congo Franc = 100 Centimes
Time difference to CET 0 h to 1 h
International phone code 00243
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts and 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .CD

Democratic Republic of the Congo: History

Until around the year 1000

The area was first settled around 10,000 BC. In the rainforest regions, the existence of hunting and gathering societies of the pygmies can be traced back to around 2500 BC. Be occupied. Around 500 BC The immigration of Sudan groups and Nilots from North and East Africa, who lived from cattle breeding and agriculture, began to immigrate. Various cultures developed in the Upemba Depression from the fifth century onwards, as did on Lake Kabamba. In the eighth century the Kisali culture emergedaround the cities of Sanga and Katongo on Lake Kisale, where copper and iron processing is already relatively advanced. With the development of an extensive trade network, the region became relatively prosperous and cities began to form. The increasing centralization by the chief system led to the emergence of powerful kingdoms.


From the year 1000 to the 17th century

According to Abbreviationfinder website, in the area of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, several kingdoms existed in the period before colonization. The establishment of the Kingdom of the Congo, a federation of four states with the capital Mbanza Congo, is dated to around 1370. At the time of the Portuguese discovery, the extent of the empire was around 300,000 km². It comprised the entire western quarter of what is now the Congo, as well as parts of what is now northern Angola and the Republic of the Congo. At the beginning of the 16th century, the then ruler of the kingdom began a policy of cooperation with Portugalwhich ultimately led to political dependence. As a result of the slave trade, entire areas were depopulated and the Congo Empire gradually dissolved. In 1665, Portugal took final control of the country and divided it into individual provinces.

In the south of what is now the Congo, the Cuba Federation developed out of various Bantu tribes in the 16th century, which, due to their difficult-to-reach location and their active isolation, were only affected by colonization and slave trade at a late stage. It became increasingly unstable during colonial rule in the 19th century and eventually dissolved.

Also from the 16th to the 19th century, the Kingdom of the Luba existed in the southeast of the Katanga province, which is in the southeast of what is now the Congo. The legendary founder Kongolo was murdered at the end of the 16th century, and after that there were repeated disputes over the throne, as the kingship had no dynastic basis.

In the 18th and 19th centuries

With the destruction of its political system, Central Africa became defenseless against the slave trade, which at the beginning of the 18th century was carried out so comprehensively and systematically by Europeans, Afro-Arabs and some African peoples such as the Ghanaian Akan that the region was socially and economically devastated.

Between 13 and 20 million African slaves were shipped from the beginning of the 16th to the middle of the 19th century, around five million of them from the coast of the Congo and Angola, but there were still more until the end of the 19th and in some cases until the beginning of the 20th century Kingdoms in the Congo. The Kingdom of the Mangbetu existed from 1815 to approx. 1895 and the Sultanate of the Zande from 1860 to approx. 1912. However, these were vassal states of the colonial empires or small units in completely remote areas.

In the 1950s, the Scottish missionary David Livingstone began exploring the Congo Basin, soon followed by the English journalist HM Stanley, and thus initiated the exploration of Central Africa by the Europeans. On behalf of the Belgian King Leopold II, Stanley acquired between 1879 to 1885 through purchase agreements with Bantu chiefs large parts of the country along the Congo River, built a connecting road to the navigable part of the river and founded the city of Léopoldville (now Kinshasa).

In 1885 Leopold II declared himself the owner of the so-called Congo Free State. This happened at the Berlin Congo Conference, where in the course of the division of the conquered African territories among the participating European states, the borders of this new state were also determined. The country was colonized and the population was forced to work on plantations, in mining and in road construction. In 1908 Leopold II had to sell the Free State to Belgium.

Between 1880 and 1920, the population of the Congo was roughly halved due to violent colonial crimes, hunger, exhaustion from overwork and illness.

In the 20th and 21st centuries

During the Second World War, the economy of the Belgian Congo experienced a strong boom as a supplier of raw materials for the Allies. At the same time, a national liberation movement began to develop in the country, culminating in the unrest in Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) in 1959. On June 30, 1960, the Republic of the Congo declared independence. In the elections in May 1960, J. Kasavubu was elected President and P. Lumumba as Prime Minister.

In July 1960 the country’s troops mutinied, at the same time the rich province of Katanga (today Shaba) declared itself independent with Belgian participation. Lumumba called on the United Nations for help, and the military was deployed. Despite this, Lumumba was overthrown in September of that year and murdered in January 1961. The Eastern Province temporarily formed a separate government.

In 1963 the secession of Katanga was violently ended by UN troops. After their withdrawal in 1964, bloody unrest broke out in several provinces. With American support, Tschombé became Prime Minister in 1964, and with the help of white mercenaries he defeated the rebel army. The civil war has claimed around one million lives since 1960. In 1965 President Chombé was forced to resign by Kasavubu.

Shortly thereafter, General J.-D. Mobutu through a coup to power. He had several opposition politicians executed and in 1966 nationalized the copper mines. In 1967 he issued a new constitution with centralized features and founded the unity party “Revolutionary People’s Movement” (MPR). To demonstrate its independence, the country was renamed Zaire in 1971 (after the old name of the Congo River), at that time all European names were also replaced by African ones. Mobutu’s dictatorship, which lasted more than three decades, was based on violence, corruption and the early elimination of all alternative centers of power. He relied on the military and allied with the United States. A rebel incursion into Shaba from Angola in 1977 and 1978 was followed by Moroccan,

In the 1980s, the country’s economic situation deteriorated increasingly despite the extreme wealth of raw materials. Foreign and domestic political pressure forced Mobutu in 1991 to allow a multi-party system. The National Conference convened shortly thereafter elected a High Council of the Republic as the interim legislature in December 1992. A transitional constitution was adopted. The economic situation in Zaire continued to deteriorate and marauding soldiers caused unrest.

In 1997, under the influence of the influx of refugees from Rwanda, the weakened dictatorship of Mobutu was overthrown and LD Kabila became the new ruler. He arranged for Zaire to be renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As early as the summer of 1998, the banyamulenge rose against him. They received military aid from Rwanda and Uganda. Kabila was supported by troops from Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Chad and Sudan. A civil war broke out that lasted until 2002 despite the 1999 ceasefire agreement in Lusaka. According to the “International Rescue Committee” in the Congo, at least 3.8 million people were killed in violent clashes between 1998 and early 2005.

In 2000, the UN Security Council set up MONUC (United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) with headquarters in Kinshasa.

On January 16, 2001, Kabila was assassinated. His son Joseph Kabila then took over his official duties. He pushed the peace process, and in December 2002 a peace agreement between the government and the rebels was concluded in Pretoria, as a result of which a joint government was formed in early 2003. In the same year, one of the Virunga volcanoes erupted in the east of the country, claiming numerous lives. A long-standing conflict between the Hema and Lendu militias in northeastern Congo led to bloody massacres in the district capital Bunia in May 2003, and a French reaction force was deployed to the region for three months. Joseph Kabila also had an attempted coup in 2003 as well as fending off a number of uprisings, uprisings and revolts.

On May 17, 2005, the parliament passed the new constitution of the country, which among other things includes an increased decentralization of the state and a decrease in the power of the head of state. In the elections on July 30, 2006, Joseph Kabila (born 1971) won the election, but missed an absolute majority. In the runoff election on October 29, 2006, he defeated his competitor Jean-Pierre Bemba with around 58% of the vote. He was sworn in on December 6, 2006. Kabila ruled until June 24, 2019. His successor as president was Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo (born 1963).

Democratic Republic of the Congo Facts