|1.||Democratic Republic of Congo Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, Former names: Zaïre a republic in S central Africa, with a narrow strip of land along the Congo estuary leading to the Atlantic in the west: Congo Free State established in 1885, with Leopold II of Belgium as absolute monarch; became the Belgian Congo colony in 1908; gained independence in 1960, followed by civil war and the secession of Katanga (until 1963); President Mobutu Sese Seko seized power in 1965; declared a one-party state in 1978, and was overthrown by rebels in 1997. The country consists chiefly of the Congo basin, with large areas of dense tropical forest and marshes, and the Mitumba highlands reaching over 5000 m (16 000 ft) in the east. Official language: French. Religion: Christian majority, animist minority. Currency: Congolese franc. Capital: Kinshasa. Pop: 54 417 000 (2004 est). Area: 2 344 116 sq km (905 063 sq miles)|
|2.||Republic of Congo another name for Congo-Brazzaville|
|3.||Former Zaïrese name (1971--97): Zaïre the second longest river in Africa, rising as the Lualaba on the Katanga plateau in the Democratic Republic of Congo and flowing in a wide northerly curve to the Atlantic: forms the border between Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Length: about 4800 km (3000 miles). Area of basin: about 3 000 000 sq km (1 425 000 sq miles)|
|4.||a variant spelling of Kongo|
Note: One of the world's longest rivers, it is Africa's largest potential source of electric power.
Note: Explored separately but simultaneously by the missionary David Livingstone and the journalist Henry Stanley, the Congo was the site of their proverbial encounter. (See “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”)