THE CONGO

This is an English language lesson which attempts to give a general and realistic interpretation about the Congo.

The keywords of the lesson are highlighted in bold.

The Congo is a geographic region which lies at the ehart of the African continent.

It is identified by the Congo river, the second largest in Africa.  Only the River Nile is larger.

The Congo river flows in from the Atlantic ocean to the west and runs through waterfalls, rapids and dense forest for more than three thousand kilometres.

We associate the Congo not only with the setting for the Tarzan adventure stories but with its discovery and mapping by British explorers David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley.

The Congo region is rich in natural resources such as diamonds, copper, rubber and diamonds as well as wildlife such as elephants, rhinos and hippos which make it a prime target for smuggling and poaching.

There are, in fact, two countries named the Congo.

The Republic of Congo lies to the north of the river and is an area which was first colonised by the French.

The much larger area of the Congo to the south of the river is called the Democratic Republic of Congo.

King Leopold II of Belgium laid claim to the Congo region south of the river as his own personal domain in the late nineteenth century and acted in contravention of the mandate given to him at the Berlin Conference of 1884 at which all of the major European nation states attended.

King Leopold called the country the ‘Congo Free State’ and vowed to stop slave labour but nothing can be further from the truth as he ruthlessly used mercenaries to deprive the local Congolese of their liberty, dignity and also their lives.

It is estimated that ten million Congolese people died during twenty years of barbarity until the Begian government intervened in 1908 against a universal outcry.

The Congo Free State eventually became an independent nation state in 1960.

The Congo should be one of the richest countries in the world but exploitation, corruption and political in-fighting make it one of the poorest.

For a relatively short time between 1971 ands 1997, the Congo was called Zaire following the pronounciation of the tributary to the Congo as spoken by the earlier Portugese colonists.

The capital city, formerly called Leopoldsville after the Belgian King, is now called Kinshasa and lies across the Congo river from Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of Congo.

The Congo is probably most famous for the World Heavyweight boxing title contest which was held there in 1974 when the late Mohammed Ali fought and beat George Foreman iu the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’.

That is the end of the lesson about the Congo.

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