Former place names in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Map of the Belgian Congo, 1914

This is a list of place names of towns and cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which were subsequently changed after the end of Belgian colonial rule. Place names of the colonial era tended to have two versions, one in French and one in Dutch, reflecting the languages of Belgium. Many of these place names were chosen after their local geography or named after eponymous colonial figures.

Many were changed under the Authenticité programme launched under the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko in the 1970s. Today, European speakers of both French and Dutch use the modern Congolese place names.

Towns and cities[edit]

Kinshasa, formerly known as Léopoldville or Leopoldstad
Lubumbashi, formerly known as Élisabethville or Elisabethstad
Kisangani, formerly known as Stanleyville or Stanleystad
Mbandaka, formerly Coquilhatville or Cocquilhatstad
Current Name Former name in French Former name in Dutch Eponymous person (if applicable)
Aketi Aketi Port-Chaltin Aketi-Chaltinhaven Louis Napoléon Chaltin
Bandundu Banningville Banningstad Émile Banning
Bukavu Costermansville Costermansstad Paul Costermans
Djokupunda Charlesville Charlesstad
Gombe (Kinshasa) Kalina Kalina E. Kalina
Ilebo Port-Francqui Francquihaven Émile Francqui
Isiro Paulis Paulis Albert Paulis
Kalemie Albertville Albertstad King Albert I
Kananga Lualuabourg Lualuaburg N/a (Luluwa river)
Kasa-Vubu (Kinshasa) Dendale Dendale
Kikwit Poto-Poto[a]
Kindu Kindu Port-Émpain Kindu Empain-Haven Baron Empain
Kinshasa Léopoldville Leopoldstad King Leopold II
Kisangani Stanleyville Stanleystad Henry Morton Stanley
Kwilu Ngongo Moerbeke Moerbeke
Likasi Jadotville Jadotstad Jean Jadot
Lingwala (Kinshasa) Saint-Jean Saint-Jean St John the Apostle
Lubao Sentery Sentery
Lubumbashi Élisabethville Elisabethstad Queen Elisabeth
Lufu-Toto Cattier Cattier Félicien Cattier
Luila Wolter Wolter
Lukutu Elisabetha Elisabetha
Lusanga Leverville Leverstad
Makanza Nouvelle-Anvers Nieuw Antwerpen N/a (Antwerp)
Makiso Stanley Stanley Henry Morton Stanley
Mapangu Brabanta Brabanta N/a (Brabant)
Matonge (Kinshasa) Renkin Renkin Jules Renkin
Mbandaka Coquilhatville Cocquilhatstad Camille-Aimé Coquilhat
Mbanza-Ngungu Thysville Thysstad Albert Thys
Moba Baudoinville Boudewijnstad Prince Baudouin
Mobayi-Mbongo Banzyville Banzystad
Mbuji-Mayi Bakwanga Bakwanga
Ngaliema (Kinshasa) Stanley Stanley Henry Morton Stanley
Nsiamfumu Vista Vista
Tshilundu Mérode Mérode House of Mérode
Ubundu Ponthierville Ponthierstad Pierre Ponthier

Landmarks and geographic terms[edit]

Malebo Pool, formerly Stanley Pool
Current Name Former name in French Former name in Dutch Eponymous person (if applicable)
Boyoma Falls Stanley Falls Stanleywatervallen Henry Morton Stanley
Lake Mai-Ndombe Lac Léopold II Leopold II Meer King Leopold II
Malebo Pool Stanley Pool Stanley Pool Henry Morton Stanley
Mayumbe Crystal Crystal

See also[edit]


  1. ^ From 1937. Before that, the city was known as Makaku or Makal