Democratic Republic of the Congo

May 1, 2008 at 1:05 pm (Blogging, Culture, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guide, Nature, Photo, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Travel, Trip, Vacation)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République démocratique du Congo), often referred to as DR Congo, DRC or RDC, and formerly known or referred to as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa, and Zaire (or Zaïre in French), is the third largest country by area on the African continent. Though it is located in the Central African UN subregion, the nation is economically and regionally affiliated with Southern Africa as a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It borders the Central African Republic and Sudan on the north, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi on the east, Zambia and Angola on the south, the Republic of the Congo on the west, and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika on the east.[1] The country enjoys access to the ocean through a forty-kilometre stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly nine-kilometre wide mouth of the Congo river which opens into the Gulf of Guinea. The name “Congo” (meaning “hunter”) is coined after the Bakongo ethnic group who live in the Congo river basin.

Formerly the Belgian colony of the Belgian Congo, the country’s post-independence name was the Republic of the Congo until August 1, 1964,[2] when its name was changed to Democratic Republic of the Congo (to distinguish it from the neighboring Republic of the Congo).[3] On October 27, 1971,[2] then-President Mobutu renamed the country Zaire, from a Portuguese mispronunciation of the Kikongo word nzere or nzadi, which translates to “the river that swallows all rivers.”[4] Following the First Congo War which led to the overthrow of Mobutu in 1997, the country was renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo. From 1998 to 2003, the country suffered greatly from the devastating Second Congo War (sometimes referred to as the African World War),[5] the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II. However, related fighting still continues in the east of the country.

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