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 local geography or eponymous colonial figures.

Many of the place name changes occurred under the authenticité programme in the 1970s during the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko. Mobutu also changed the country's name from Congo to Zaire. 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 Namesake
Aketi Aketi Port-Chaltin Aketi-Chaltinhaven Named in honour of Louis-Napoléon Chaltin, a colonial military officer of the Congo Free State.
Bandundu Banningville Banningstad Named in honour of Émile Banning, influential Belgian civil servant and confident of Leopold II
Boteka Frandria
Bukavu Costermansville Costermansstad Named in honour of Paul Costermans, colonial administrator in the Free State, in 1927
Djokupunda Charlesville Charlesstad
Gombe (Kinshasa) Kalina Kalina Named in honour of E. Kalina, soldier[a]
Ilebo Port-Francqui Francquihaven Named in honour of Émile Francqui, businessman and philanthropist
Isiro Paulis Paulis Named in honour of Albert Paulis
Kalemie Albertville Albertstad Named in honour of King Albert I
Kananga Luluabourg Luluaburg Named after the nearby Luluwa river
Kasa-Vubu (Kinshasa) Dendale Dendale
Kikwit Poto-Poto[b]
Kindu Kindu Port-Émpain Kindu Empain-Haven Named in honour of Edouard Empain, Belgian industrialist
Kinshasa Léopoldville Leopoldstad Named in honour of King Leopold II, King-Sovereign of the Congo Free State
Kisangani Stanleyville Stanleystad Named in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer
Kwilu Ngongo Moerbeke Moerbeke Named after the Belgian hometown of Maurice Lippens, a major investor in the local sugar industry
Likasi Jadotville Jadotstad Named in honour of Jean Jadot, businessman and industrialist
Lingwala (Kinshasa) Saint-Jean Saint-Jean Named after St John the Apostle
Lubao Sentery Sentery
Lubumbashi Élisabethville Elisabethstad Named in honour of Queen Elisabeth
Lufu-Toto Cattier Cattier Named in honour of Félicien Cattier, businessman
Luila Wolter Wolter
Lukutu Elisabetha Elisabetha Named in honour of Queen Elisabeth
Lusanga Leverville Leverstad
Makanza Nouvelle-Anvers Nieuw Antwerpen Named after the Belgian port city of Antwerp
Makiso Stanley Stanley Named in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer and namesake of Stanleyville
Mapangu Brabanta Brabanta Named after Brabant in Belgium
Matonge (Kinshasa) Renkin Renkin Named in honour of Jules Renkin, Belgian politician, Colonial Minister (1908–18) and later Prime Minister (1931–32)
Mbandaka Coquilhatville[c] Cocquilhatstad Named in honour of Camille Coquilhat, colonial administrator and town's founder.
Mbanza-Ngungu Thysville Thysstad Named in honour of Albert Thys, Belgian colonist and businessman
Moba Baudoinville Boudewijnstad Named in honour of Prince Baudouin, nephew (and intended successor) of Leopold II
Mobayi-Mbongo Banzyville Banzystad
Mbuji-Mayi Bakwanga Bakwanga
Ngaliema (Kinshasa) Stanley Stanley Named in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer
Nsiamfumu Vista Vista
Tshilundu Mérode Mérode Named after the House of Mérode
Ubundu Ponthierville Ponthierstad Named in honour of the Pierre Ponthier, colonial soldier

Landmarks and geographic terms[edit]

Malebo Pool, formerly Stanley Pool
Current Name Former name in French Former name in Dutch Namesake
Boyoma Falls Stanley Falls Stanleywatervallen Named in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer
Lake Mai-Ndombe Lac Léopold II Leopold II Meer Named in honour of King Leopold II, King-Sovereign of the Congo Free State
Malebo Pool Stanley Pool Stanley Pool Named in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer
Mayumbe Crystal Crystal
Virunga National Park Parc Albert Albert Park Named in honour of King Albert I

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ E. Kalina was an Austrian volunteer who is mentioned by Stanley and who drowned in Stanley Pool in 1883. Little is known of his life and his first name is unknown apart from the letter "E."
  2. ^ From 1937. Before that, the city was known as Makaku or Makal
  3. ^ Previously known as "Équateurville"

References[edit]