The French Congo (French: La colonie du Congo or Congo français) was a French colony which at one time comprised the present-day area of the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and the Central African Republic. It began at Brazzaville on 10 September 1880 as a protectorate over the Bateke people along the north bank of the Congo River, was formally established as the French Congo on 30 November 1882, and was confirmed at the Congress of Berlin. Its borders with Cabinda, Cameroons, and the Congo Free State were established by treaties over the next decade. The plan to develop the colony was to grant massive concessions to some thirty French companies. These were granted huge swaths of land on the promise they would be developed. This development was limited and amounted mostly to the extraction of ivory, rubber, and timber. These operations often involved great brutality and the near enslavement of the locals.
Even with these measures most of the companies lost money. Only about ten earned profits. Many of the companies' vast holdings existed only on paper with virtually no presence on the ground in Africa.
The French Congo was sometimes known as Gabon-Congo. It formally added Gabon on 30 April 1901, was officially renamed Middle Congo (French: Moyen-Congo) in 1903, was temporarily divorced from Gabon in 1906, and was then reunited as French Equatorial Africa in 1910 in an attempt to emulate the relative success of French West Africa.
List of Commissioners-General 
The colony was administered under four commissioners-general (commissionaires généraux) prior to its reorganization into Middle Congo.
See also 
Further reading 
- Petringa, Maria. Brazza, A Life for Africa. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006. ISBN 978-1-4259-1198-0. Describes Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza's extensive explorations of what became French Congo, and later, French Equatorial Africa.