Congo (area)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Historical cultural Congolese region of the African continent
Span of rule of the Kingdom of Kongo around 1711
  Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Congo-Brazzaville and French Congo
  Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Congo-Kinshasa, Belgian Congo and Zaire
  Cabinda, an exclave province of Angola formerly known as Portuguese Congo

Congo is a region in Central Africa inhabited by the Kongo people, in addition to some other ethnic groups. The region is considered the historical living space of the Congolese people.


Historically, the region of the Congo was a vast geographical area of equatorial Africa located in the tropical wet forest of Central Africa called Congolian forests.

It also owes its name to the predominant ethnic group in the region, ruled by Kingdom of Kongo founded towards the end of the 14th century and extended from 1390 to 1914.

Although the span of rule of the kingdom varied, in its greatest extent, the Kingdom of Kongo reached from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Kwango River in the east, and from the Congo River in the north to the Kwanza River in the south. The kingdom largely existed from c. 1390 to 1891 as an independent state, and from 1891 to 1914 as a vassal state of the Kingdom of Portugal.

The Congo River, its main river, flows through the region forming the Congo Basin.

Some groupings advocate a return to one Congolese homeland on the basis of the historical kingdom. Very notably, the Bundu dia Kongo movement advocates reviving the kingdom through secession from Angola, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Gabon.


Majority of the people of Congo spoke the Kikongo (the Kongo language), but other prominent languages spoken by significant portions of Congolese populations included Lingala, Tshiluba and Kiswahili.

European languages are also vastly spoken by the Congolese populations as lingua francas, most notably French owing to long-running colonial rule of the various areas of Congo by the French and Belgians. Some Congolese populations also speak Portuguese particularly in the Cabinda Province, earlier known as Portuguese Congo and presently an exclave of Angola.

Present-day Congolese regions[edit]

The nowadays geographic region spans across the Republic of the Congo (former French Congo), Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaïre/Belgian Congo), and the Angolan exclave of Cabinda (former Portuguese Congo) which lies between the Republic and the Democratic Republic.