The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly known as the Congo Free State, the Belgian Congo, Congo-Leopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa and Zaire. The current name came into effect in 1997.
To distinguish it from the neighboring Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is often referred to as the DRC.
French is the only official language in the DRC. Lingala, Kikongo, Swahili and Tshiluba are recognized as regional languages (although there are an estimated total of 242 languages spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
The DRC has an estimated population of 68 million people.
The capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Kinshasa (founded in 1881 and formerly known as Leopoldville). The city has an estimated population of 10 million people.
In 1974, Kinshasa hosted the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, in which Ali defeated Foreman to regain the World Heavyweight title.
The DRC was a Belgian colony (Leopoldville was named after King Leopold of Belgium) and gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
Joseph Kabila is the current president of the DRC, he took over after his father was assassinated in 2001. He was elected in the first multi-party elections in the country in 2006 (the first one since 1965).
Mobutu Sese Seko was the president of Zaire (now known as the DRC) from 1965 until 1997 and was a US Cold War ally. Mobutu institutionalized corruption to prevent political rivals from challenging his control, leading to an economic collapse in 1996.
Although the DRC is located in the Central African UN subregion, the nation is economically and regionally affiliated with Southern Africa as a member of the Southern African Development Community (or SADC).
Capital City: Kinshasa is the capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located on the Congo River.
Religion: Christianity is the majority religion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, followed by about 80% of the population. Denominations include Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20% and Kimbanguist 10%.