Portal:Democratic Republic of the Congo

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo Portal

Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Coat of Arms of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
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The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) [kɔ̃ɡo]), informally Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly and also colloquially Zaire, is a country in Central Africa. The DRC is located in sub-Saharan Africa, bordered to the northwest by the Republic of the Congo, to the north by the Central African Republic, to the northeast by South Sudan, to the east by Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, and by Tanzania (across Lake Tanganyika), to the south and southeast by Zambia, to the southwest by Angola, and to the west by the South Atlantic Ocean and the Cabinda exclave of Angola.

By area, it is the second-largest country in Africa and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of around 108 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous officially Francophone country in the world. It is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, African Union, East African Community, COMESA, Southern African Development Community, and the Economic Community of Central African States. The capital and largest city is Kinshasa, which is also the world's most populous Francophone city and largest city in Africa. It is the third largest African city in metropolitan area after Lagos and Cairo.

Centered on the Congo Basin, the territory of the DRC was first inhabited by Central African foragers around 90,000 years ago and was reached by the Bantu expansion about 3,000 years ago. In the west, the Kingdom of Kongo ruled around the mouth of the Congo River from the 14th to 19th centuries. In the northeast, center and east, the kingdoms of Azande, Luba and Lunda ruled from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century. King Leopold II of Belgium formally acquired rights to the Congo territory in 1885 and declared the land his private property, naming it the Congo Free State. From 1885 to 1908, his colonial military forced the local population to produce rubber and committed widespread atrocities. In 1908, Leopold ceded the territory, which thus became a Belgian colony.

Congo achieved independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960 and was immediately confronted by a series of seccessionist movements, which culminated in the seizure of power of Mobutu in a 1965 coup d'état. Mobutu renamed the country Zaire in 1971 and imposed a harsh dictatorship until his overthrow in 1997 by the First Congo War. The country then had its name changed back and was confronted by the Second Congo War from 1998 to 2003, which resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people. The war ended under President Joseph Kabila who governed the country from 2001 to 2019, under whom human rights in the country remained poor and included frequent abuses such as forced disappearances, torture, arbitrary imprisonment and restrictions on civil liberties. Following the 2018 general election, in the country's first peaceful transition of power since independence, Kabila was succeeded as president by Félix Tshisekedi, who has served as president since. Since 2015, the Eastern DR Congo has been the site of an ongoing military conflict in Kivu.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is extremely rich in natural resources but has suffered from political instability, a lack of infrastructure, corruption, and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation with little widespread development. Besides the capital Kinshasa, the two next largest cities, Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi, are both mining communities. The DRC's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of its exports in 2019. In 2019, DR Congo's level of human development was ranked 175th out of 189 countries by the Human Development Index. , around 600,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries from conflicts in the centre and east of the DRC. Two million children risk starvation, and the fighting has displaced 4.5 million people. (Full article...)

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The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: Forces armées de la république démocratique du Congo [FARDC]) is the state organisation responsible for defending the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The FARDC was rebuilt patchily as part of the peace process which followed the end of the Second Congo War in July 2003.

The majority of FARDC members are land forces, but it also has a small air force and an even smaller navy. In 2010–2011 the three services may have numbered between 144,000 and 159,000 personnel. In addition, there is a presidential force called the Republican Guard, but it and the Congolese National Police (PNC) are not part of the Armed Forces. (Full article...)
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* Refugee camp outside Élisabethville* Peacekeepers tending to a wounded comrade* Armed Baluba civilians* Massacred civilians in Lodja* Belgian paratroopers during Dragon Rouge* Government forces fighting Simba rebels

The Congo Crisis (French: Crise congolaise) was a period of political upheaval and conflict between 1960 and 1965 in the Republic of the Congo (today the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The crisis began almost immediately after the Congo became independent from Belgium and ended, unofficially, with the entire country under the rule of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu. Constituting a series of civil wars, the Congo Crisis was also a proxy conflict in the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union and the United States supported opposing factions. Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the crisis.

A nationalist movement in the Belgian Congo demanded the end of colonial rule: this led to the country's independence on 30 June 1960. Minimal preparations had been made and many issues, such as federalism, tribalism, and ethnic nationalism, remained unresolved. In the first week of July, a mutiny broke out in the army and violence erupted between black and white civilians. Belgium sent troops to protect fleeing whites. Katanga and South Kasai seceded with Belgian support. Amid continuing unrest and violence, the United Nations deployed peacekeepers, but UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld refused to use these troops to help the central government in Léopoldville fight the secessionists. Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, the charismatic leader of the largest nationalist faction, reacted by calling for assistance from the Soviet Union, which promptly sent military advisers and other support. (Full article...)

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Swedish UN peacekeepers led by Major Sture Fagerström plan their attack on the town of Kamina during the operation

Operation Grandslam was an offensive undertaken by United Nations peacekeeping forces from 28 December 1962 to 15 January 1963 against the forces of the State of Katanga, a secessionist state rebelling against the Republic of the Congo in central Africa. The Katangese forces were decisively defeated and Katanga was forcibly reintegrated into the Congo.

The United Nations had tried several times to reconcile the government of the Congo with the State of Katanga, which had declared independence under Moïse Tshombe with Belgian support in 1960. Though initially limiting its actions, the United Nations Operation in the Congo became increasingly impatient towards Katanga and Tshombe, drawing up plans to resolve the situation through force. Tshombe continuously violated agreements he had made with the United Nations and the Congolese government by building up his forces and bringing foreign mercenaries into the conflict. The situation reached a breaking point in December 1962 when Katangese gendarmes attacked peacekeeping forces in Katanga. United Nations Secretary-General U Thant authorised a retaliatory offensive to eliminate secessionist opposition. (Full article...)

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