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Facts about Democratic Republic of Congo For Kids


The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country located in Central Africa. From 1971 to 1997 it was named Zaire. The DRC borders the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the second largest country in Africa by area, the largest in Subsaharan Africa, and the eleventh largest in the world.

  • With a population of over 79 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth most populated nation in Africa and the nineteenth most populated country in the world.
  • The Congolese Civil Wars, which began in 1996, brought about the end of Mobutu Sese Seko’s 31-year reign and devastated the country.
  • The wars ultimately involved nine African nations, multiple groups of UN peacekeepers and twenty armed groups, and resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people.
  • As of 2013, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), DR Congo has a low level of human development, ranking 176 out of 187 countries.
  • The country’s name was restored by former president Laurent Kabila following the fall of long time dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997.
  • The area now known as the DR Congo was populated as early as 80,000 years ago, as shown by the 1988 discovery of the Semliki harpoon at Katanda, one of the oldest barbed harpoons ever found, and which is believed to have been used to catch giant river catfish.
  • A government commission later concluded that the population of the Congo had been “reduced by half” during this period, but determining precisely how many people died is impossible, as no accurate records exist.
  • The last Governor-general of the Congo Free State, Baron Wahis, remained in office in the Belgian Congo and the majority of Leopold II’s administration with him.
  • During World War I, an initial stand-off between the Force Publique and the German colonial army in German East Africa (Tanganyika) turned into open warfare with a joint Anglo-Belgian invasion of German colonial territory in 1916 and 1917 during the East African Campaign.
  • The Belgian Congo achieved independence on 30 June 1960 under the name “République du Congo”.
  • By 1996, following the Rwandan Civil War and genocide and the ascension of a Tutsi-led government in Rwanda, Rwandan Hutu militia forces (Interahamwe) fled to eastern Zaire and used refugee camps as a base for incursion against Rwanda.
  • In March 2013, the United Nations Security Council authorized the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade, the first offensive United Nations peacekeeping unit, to neutralize armed groups.
  • On and off fighting in the Ituri conflict occurred between the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI) and the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) who claimed to represent the Lendu and Hema ethnic groups, respectively.
  • In the northeast, Joseph Kony’s LRA moved from their original bases in Uganda and South Sudan to DR Congo in 2005 and set up camps in the Garamba National Park.
  • In 2015 major protests broke out across the country and protesters demanded that Joseph Kabila step down as President.
  • When the country was a Belgian colony, the Belgian colonizers instituted teaching and use of the four national languages in primary schools, making it one of the few African nations to have had literacy in local languages during the European colonial period.