Democratic Republic of the Congo
Description of Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has several nicknames including DRC, DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, RDC, and DROC. The country is located in the central part of Africa and shares a border with the Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda, Angola, and Zambia. The Atlantic Ocean borders the country in the west. The Democratic Republic of the Congo by area is the 2nd largest country of Africa.
From the 1870s through the 1920s, Belgian exploration was conducted in the country. The eastern areas of precolonial Congo were constantly being raided for slaves. King Leopold eventually would make the land his own personal property in the year 1885. He named the property the Congo Free State.
The local population was brutalized in the Free State to produce rubber. The rubber was used to develop tires for the growing number of automobiles that were being produced throughout the world. Selling rubber led to a fortune for King Leopold. He used the money to build several buildings in both Ostend and Brussels to honor his country and himself.
From 1885 through 1908, millions of the Congolese died from disease and exploitation. The population declined drastically in some areas.
In 1908, the parliament from Belgium bowed to pressure from the United Kingdom and the world and took over the land from King Leopold II. In October of 1908 parliament voted to annex it as a colony of Belgium.
Belgium Congo was involved in 2 world wars. During the first world war there was a standoff with the Germans, which turned into open warfare. A notable victory was when the Force Poblique marched into Tabora in September of 1916.
Starting in 1960 there was a growing movement from the people of Congo led by the MNC party. Patrice Lumumba won parliamentary elections and became the first president of the country.
Since gaining its independence there has been political turmoil throughout the country. The country remains in turmoil today, with the people living in the area dying at a high rate of possibly 45000 each month. Much of this death toll is because of widespread famine and disease. Nearly half of the people who die are children that are under the age of 5. There are many reports of weapon bearers destroying property, killing civilians, and being sexually violent. One study suggests that over 400,000 rapes of women occur each year in the country.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most underdeveloped countries in Africa. A large portion of the country is not safe for travels or sightseeing. There are many active conflicts that are taking place in the country and because of this the tourism facilities and health care facilities are extremely limited.
Since the early part of the 1990s there has been a state of continuous conflict between the North and South Kivu. A new faction named M23 was formed in 2012 and this group has attacked and captured many towns throughout the area. The group is accused of raping and killing innocent civilians. The M23 group took over Goma in November of 2012 and the group is not stopping its path of destruction.
Anyone that is planning to visit the country for research, business or international aid will need to consult with their organization to seek guidance from experts before leaving on their trip. It is not recommended to travel to the country on your own as it is not considered a safe place to visit.
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