Democratic Republic of Congo is a central African country bordered by the Republic of Congo to the west, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda to the east, Angola, Zambia to the south, and Sudan, Central African Republic to the north, with a location of 0 00 N, 25 00 E. The country has a total area of 2,344,858 sq km. Kinshasa is the capital. French is the official language.
The population is 70,916,439, with a life expectancy of 54.73 years. The ethnic breakdown 18% Luba , 16.1% Kongo,13.5% Mongo, 6.1% Mangbetu-Azande, 10.3% Rwanda, 5.8% Bangi and Ngale, 3.8% Rundi, 2.7% Teke, 2.3% Boa, 1.8% Chokwe, 1.6% Lugbara, 1.4% Banda, and16.6% other(1983 World Statesman). Congo is 50% Roman Catholic, 20% Protestant, 10% Kimbanguist, 10% Muslim, 10% other. 80.9% of males and 54.1% of females can read.
Democratic Republic of Congo has been inhabited as early as 10,000 years. Its early inhabitants were pygmies surviving on hunting and gathering. By 800 AD, Bantu speakers began to populate the region. Several kingdoms and empires later developed. The most famous were the Kingdom of Kongo, Luba Empire, Kingdom of Kuba, and Lunda Empire. Slave trading in the region began in the 1500s, initially with the Portuguese. Slavery had a disrupting effect on societies.
The region was claimed by King Leopold II of Belgium in 1884 and named Congo Free State. The general population were debase to slave status to exploit rubber. It is estimated that 10 million Congolese perished under Leopold, from 1884 to 1908.
In 1908, as the world became aware of the tragedies of Congo Free State, the Belgium government took over the region and renamed the region Belgian Congo. Racial exploitation and discrimination continued. Congolese began to organize for independence. In 1960, Democratic Republic of Congo was born, with Patrice Lamumba as prime minister. Civil war broke out with Katanga breaking away.
Mobutu Sese Seko initiated a coup and placed Lamumba, under arrest. Mobutu conspired with the CIA and the Belgian government to have Patrice Lamumba executed, in 1961. In 1965, Mobutu Sese Seko officially took over DRC and renamed it Zaire. Zaire was totally corrupt. Mobutu used the treasury as his personal wallet. Infrastructure and health services completely decline.
Zaire in 1996 plunged into civil war. In 1997, Laurent Kabila overthrew Mobutu and became president. He renamed the country Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1998, civil war broke out, involving other african countries seeking to countrol DRC's mineral wealth. In 2001, Laurent Kabila was assassinated. Joseph Kabila his son took over. In 2006, Laurent Kabila was elected president. Between 1998-2003, 3.5 million Congolese lost their lives.
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