Facts About Democratic Republic of Congo’s Culture, Geography, and History
One of the richest counties in natural resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a force to be reckoned with. The country is called and known by different name variations.
If you call it Zaire, DR Congo, DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, East Congo or simply the Congo, you are still calling it correctly. We have listed below some interesting facts about this Central African country.
12. It’s the 11th largest country in the world
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the eleventh-largest country in the world, and the second largest in Africa with an area of 2,344,858 square kilometers. With its 77,433,744 people, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the 19th largest country in the world by population.
11. It’s the 4th most populated nation in Africa
DRC is the fourth most-populated nation in Africa and the eighteenth most populated country in the world, right after Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Egypt. Most noteworthy, the Democratic Republic of Congo experienced rapid population growth between 1992 and 2009.
During this time, the population shot up from 39 million to 66 million people. As of July 1, 2014, the population was 69,360,000. The nation adds about 2.3 million people yearly. It has an average annual growth rate of 3.23%. Tentative predictions suggest the population may double in the next 22 years.
10. The largest city and the capital are one and the same, Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Naturally located on the Congo River, it is now a metropolis that is home to more than six million people.
Congo’s capital was formerly known as Leopoldville until 1966 when it was changed to Kinshasa. Initially, it was named after a village called Kinchassa by Mobuto Sese Seko. He was the Army Chief of Staff and later self-declared president of the nation.
Furthermore, it is the third largest city in Africa after Lagos and Cairo. Kinshasa became internationally famous in 1974 when it hosted the World Heavyweight Boxing title fight.
9. Home to the third highest mountain in Africa, Mount Stanley
Mount Stanley is a mountain located in the Rwenzori range. With an elevation of 5,109 m (16,763 ft), it is the third highest in Africa. It is right after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. The Ruwenzori range is located between Uganda and the DRC Congo.
The range consists of many high mountains. The Mountain is named after journalist and explorer, Sir Henry Morton Stanley. Mount Stanley is a part of Rwenzori Mountains National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Has one of the most biologically diverse areas, the Virunga National Park
The Virunga National Park is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet and home to the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. The Virunga contains two world most active volcanoes.
It has diverse habitat that ranges from swamps and steppes, lava plains and Savannah on the volcano’s slopes. Virunga National Park is the oldest national park in Africa. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located by the eastern part of the DR Congo on the border of Uganda and Rwanda.
Apart from the mountain gorillas, there are about 20,000 hippopotamuses in the rivers and a variety of birds from Siberia.
7. Has an active volcano called Nyiragongo, soaring above the city of Goma
Nyiragongo is probably DRC’s most magnificent single sight active volcano. Magnificently soaring above the city of Goma and the surrounding Virunga National Park. Occasionally, it sends plumes of smoke into the sky before becoming a flaming beacon visible for miles around after sundown.
The crater of Mount Nyiragongo contains the largest and most voluminous lava lake in the world. It measures ten million cubic meters. The volcano is active and a threat of the lives of the one million inhabitants of Goma.
Goma town is 20 km from the active volcano. Lava is a part of the daily life of the Goma people. As a result, it is presently referred to as the most dangerous volcano in the world.
6. Named after the Congo River that flows through the entire country
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is named after the Congo River, which flows through the entire country. The Congo River is the second longest river in Africa and the largest river in the world by discharge.
The country was initially named Zaire in 1971, by Mobutu Sese Seko, the country president. In 1997, the country was renamed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Laurent Desire Kabila. The Congo got its name from the old kingdom of Kongo which was at the mouth of the river in the 18th century.
5. The land it is on was populated as early as 90,000 years ago
The area now known as the DRC was populated as early as 90,000 years ago. A site called Katanda in Congo has bone points which dates this and this was shown by the 1948 discovery of the Semliki harpoon at Katanda.
In the western part of the nation, the kingdom of Kongo existed between the 14th century and the 19th century. The kingdom of Luba and Lunda ruled in the east and center regions of Congo from the 16th century to the 19th century.
4. Bantu people began migrating to DRC in the 5th century
The populous ethnic Bantu people began migrating into the Democratic Republic of the Congo region in the 5th century. By the 10th century, another exodus to DRC took place. They began settling in the northwest of Central Africa in the beginning of the 5th century. Gradually, they started to expand southward.
The 10th century marked the final expansion of the Bantu tribe in West-Central Africa. Their propagation was accelerated by the transition from Stone Age to Iron Age techniques. The people living in the south and southwest were mostly San and hunter-gatherer groups.
At that time, their technology involved only the minimal use of metal technologies. The development of metal tools during this time period revolutionized agriculture and animal husbandry. Consequently, it led to the displacement of the hunter-gatherer groups in the east and southeast.
3. Extremely rich in resources, but the wealth is poorly distributed
The Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely rich in natural resources. Similarly, it is potentially one of the richest countries in the world. Furthermore, it sits on $24 trillion worth of natural resources.These resources include gold, platinum, diamonds, iron ore and uranium.
However, Congo has its fair share of political instability, it suffers from lack of infrastructure, and has issues with corruption. Therefore, the resources are not well distributed across the country.
2. Over 200 ethinc groups with nearly 250 languages spoken
The people of the DRC represent over 200 ethnic groups, with nearly 250 languages and dialects spoken throughout the country. Apart from French which is the official language of the country, about 215 native languages are spoken.
First of all, the largest ethnic groups are the Luba, Kongo, Mangbetu-Zande, and Anamongo. More so, this ethnic group makes up 45% of the population. Secondly, there are also white Congolese of Belgian ancestry who remained after independence.
Lastly, other popular ethnic groups are the Nilotic people, pygmy people, and the Ubangian.
1. Christianity is the main religion in DRC
Christianity is the majority religion in the DRC, followed by about 95% of the population. Roman Catholic takes the major share of about 50%, Protestant 20% and Kimbanguist 10%. There is an estimated 63 million Christians in the country.
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