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Democratic Republic of the Congo

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The flag and emblem of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are shown above

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, drawing it’s name from the ancient Congo, is a giant country, lying in the heart of the continent, adjacent to the source of the Nile Lake Victoria, bisected by the Equator and wrapped by the Congo River, one of the largest in the world.

The Congo River is the 2nd largest by volume discharge in the world, after the Amazon.1

The river is the deepest in the world, crosses the equator twice in its circuitous course from the highlands to the Atlantic ocean.

European explorations were conducted in the 1870s by Henry Morton Stanley sponsored by the King Leopold of Belgium. At the Berlin Conference, 1885, King Leopold acquired rights to the Congo River basin region and began to develop it as his personal resort. naming it the Congo Free State. Until 1908, Leopold forced the inhabitants to produce rubber, during which time, it is estimated that millions died. In 1908, the country Belgium formally annexed the region naming it the Belgian Congo.

Independence was achieved June 30, 1960, under the name Republic of the Congo. November 25, 1965, Mobuto came to power through a coup d’etat and, in 1971, renamed the country Zaire.

The 1st and 2nd Congo Wars …

Trouble in the East escalated during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and in 1996, Rwandan Tutsis invaded Congo commencing the 1st Congo War. May 17, 1997, upon Mobutu’s flight to Morocco, A Tutsi became President and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of Congo. Continuing disharmonies led to a renewed outbreak of war in 1998. The 2nd Congo War, as it became known, lasted until 2003 and took over 5 million lives and left the country devastated.

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Footnotes

  1. List of rivers by discharge, wikipedia