Congo – Two Countries One Name
As long as 25,000 years ago, people began to live in the forests of the Congo River basin in west-central Africa.
Today the Congo basin contains two countries separated by the Congo River. Both of the countries are called Congo. Congo (Brazzaville) is officially known as the Republic of the Congo. Congo (Kinshasa) is officially called the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In 1483 the Portuguese arrived in the kingdom called Kongo. By the late 1800s other European countries had become interested in the Congo region. King Leopold II of Belgium claimed the region, which he called the Congo Free State, in 1885. In 1908 the Belgian Parliament took over the land, which it renamed the Belgian Congo. The local people didn’t win their independence until 1960. In September 1960 the army’s chief of staff, Joseph Mobutu, took control of the country.
Congo has a tropical climate that is warm and humid with heavy rainfall occurring mainly from March through June.
The Congo River is the second-longest river in Africa (after the Amazon River), and the sixth-longest river in the world, with a total length of about 4,344 kilometers. It is an important source for hydroelectric power.
Oil was first discovered in Congo in 1957 at Pointe Indienne. Since then, oil has been Congo’s largest export.
– One of the attractions of Congo and Kinshasa is Catholic cathedral Notre Dame.
– Lola Ya Bonobo (A paradise for bonobos) is a sanctuary for main inhabitants – pygmy chimps. There is 30 acres of tropical forest where monkeys can safely eat and reproduce.
– Virunga National Park, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, belongs to the zone of the East African Rift. The park has a plain, grassland, savannah, lava plateaus, lakes, rainforests, mountains (including volcanoes), and swamps. Mountain gorillas live here. Zoologist Dian Fossey studied monkeys here. She was killed by poachers in her own tent. The film Gorillas in the Mist was devoted to her.
– The main natural attraction of Congo is Livingstone Falls (named after a Scotsman, Africa explorer and missionary David Livingstone). The most spectacular waterfall is considered to be the Devil’s Kettle Falls near the Crystal Mountain.