Portal:Democratic Republic of the Congo

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo Portal

Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Coat of Arms of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
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The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République Démocratique du Congo), also referred to as DRC, RDC, DR Congo or formerly as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa, and formerly Zaire (or Zaïre in French), is a state in Central Africa and the second largest country on the continent. It borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan on the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania on the east, Zambia and Angola on the south, and the Republic of the Congo on the west. The country enjoys access to the sea through a narrow forty kilometre stretch, following the Congo river into the Gulf of Guinea. The name "Congo" (meaning "hunter") is coined after the Kongo ethnic group, living in the lower Congo river area.

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 Lingala.

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Punch congo rubber cartoon.jpg

The Abir Congo Company (founded as the Anglo-Belgian India Rubber Company (ABIR) and later known as the Compagnie du Congo Belge) was a company which harvested natural rubber in the Congo Free State, the private property of King Leopold II of Belgium. The company was founded with British and Belgian capital and was based in Belgium. By 1898 there was no longer any British shareholders and ABIR changed its name to the Abir Congo Company and changed its residence for tax purposes to the Free State. The company was granted a large concession in the north of the country and the rights to tax the inhabitants. This tax was taken in the form of rubber obtained from a relatively rare rubber vine. The collection system revolved around a series of trade posts along the two main rivers in the concession. Each post was commanded by a European agent and manned with armed sentries to enforce taxation and punish any rebels. (Read more...)

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Margherita Peak, Mount Stanley.

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The Yellala Falls from the left bank, c. 1880

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WHS portrait.jpg

Reverend William Henry Sheppard (1865–1927) was one of the earliest African Americans to become a missionary for the Presbyterian Church. He spent 20 years in Africa, primarily in and around the Congo Free State, and is best known for his efforts to publicize the atrocities committed against the Kuba and other Congolese peoples by King Leopold II's Force Publique.

Sheppard's efforts contributed to the contemporary debate on European colonialism and imperialism in the region, particularly amongst those of the African American community. However, it has been noted that he traditionally received little attention in literature on the subject.

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"I do not want to risk...losing a fine chance to secure for ourselves a slice of this magnificent African cake"

King Leopold II, speaking to one of his aides

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