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The Congo is situated in west-central Africa astride the equator. It borders Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Angola exclave of Cabinda, with a short stretch of coast on the South Atlantic. Its area is nearly three times that of Pennsylvania. Most of the inland is tropical rain forest, drained by tributaries of the Congo River.
In precolonial times, the region now called the Republic of Congo was dominated by three kingdoms: Kongo (originating about 1000), the Loango (flourishing in the 17th century), and Tio. After the Portuguese located the Congo River in 1482, commerce was carried on with the tribes, especially the slave trade.
The Frenchman Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza signed a treaty with Makoko, ruler of the Bateke people, in 1880, thus establishing French control. It was first called French Congo, and after 1905 Middle Congo. With Gabon and Ubangi-Shari, it became the colony of French Equatorial Africa in 1910. Abuse of laborers led to public outcry against the French colonialists as well as rebellions among the Congolese, but the exploitation of the native workers continued until 1930. During World War II, the colony joined Chad in supporting the Free French cause against the Vichy government. The Congo proclaimed its independence without leaving the French Community in 1960, calling itself the Republic of Congo.
The Congo's second president, Alphonse Massemba-Débat, instituted a Marxist-Leninist government. In 1968, Maj. Marien Ngouabi overthrew him but kept the Congo on a Socialist course. He was sworn in for a second five-year term in 1975. A four-man commando squad assassinated Ngouabi on March 18, 1977. Col. Joachim Yhombi-Opango, army chief of staff, assumed the presidency on April 4. Yhombi-Opango resigned on Feb. 4, 1979, and was replaced by Col. Denis Sassou-Nguesso.
In July 1990, the leaders of the ruling party voted to end the one-party system. A national political conference, hailed as a model for sub-Saharan Africa, renounced Marxism in 1991 and scheduled the country's first free elections for 1992. Pascal Lissouba became the country's first democratically elected president.
Political and ethnic tensions intensified in 1993 after legislative elections, when the opposition's rejection of the results developed into violence. A peace agreement was signed between the government and the opposition in Aug. 1994. A four-month civil war (June 5–Oct. 15, 1997) devastated Brazzaville, the capital. Buttressed by military aid from Angola, former Marxist dictator Denis Sassou-Nguesso overthrew President Lissouba. In late 1999 a peace agreement was signed between Sassou-Nguesso, who comes from the north, and the rebels representing the populous south. The postwar period has been traumatic for the desperately poor country. In March 2002, President Sassou-Nguesso was reelected with 89.4% of the vote. His opponents were either barred from the country or withdrew from the election.
The so-called Ninja rebels continued to battle government forces, each attempting to gain or maintain control of the country's rich oil reserves and each seemingly unconcerned about the toll this new outbreak of violence took on civilians. In May 2003, the government and Ninja rebels signed an agreement to end hostilities.
Sassou-Nguesso was reelected to another 7-year term in July 2009. The opposition boycotted the election.
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 03:18:45 -0700
ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL) and Congo National Railways of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have entered into a business agreement to increase cargo movement between the two countries. ZRL chief executive officer Muyenga Atanga said the ...
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 03:30:00 -0700
“At the moment, we are moving 3,000 tonnes and overall we have realised that Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, we all need DR Congo, so we are meeting on April 1, 2015 to look into ways on how DR Congo can give us more cargo. If we manage to ...
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:30:00 -0700
Tanzania also served 1,500,000 tonnes of cargo for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) while Mombasa had only 437,000 tonnes of cargo for DRC during the same period. According to Massawe, the statistics and experience indicate how neighbouring ...
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:19:06 -0700
UKEREWE, Tanzania—The night is clear and cool, the pale light of the full moon shimmering on the black water of Lake Victoria. As we emerge from the bay and round a small headland, Hamisi, the crew's leader, stands in the bow and shines a small ...
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:56:15 -0700
The launching was witnessed by President Jakaya Kikwete, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi.Rwanda was represented by minister for infrastructure, Mr James Musoni, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by infrastructure minister, ...
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 04:17:32 -0700
Democratic Republic of Congo had 407,727 tonnes against 511,714 tonnes, a decrease of 20.3 per cent. "The drop was mainly attributed to the import segment of the traffic which decreased by 107,907 tonnes or 22 per cent," said KPA managing director ...
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:26:15 -0700
Encouraging results achieved over the past year, including investments in key ports have resulted in reduced cargo transit times on East Africa's main transport corridors, and accelerated implementation of the EAC's Single Customs Territory, said TMEA ...
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 04:18:23 -0700
A former farmhand and commercial fisherman, Salopek twice won the Pulitzer Prize with the Chicago Tribune; in his career, he has traveled the Congo by canoe and Mexico by mule, and was imprisoned while reporting on the conflict in Sudan. We caught up ...
The Marshall Project