Congo is a name shared
by two neighbouring countries in Central Africa, largely drained by the
Congo River, and usually distinguished by their full official names and
occasionally by adding their capital cities. The name was also used in
prior political entities. It also refers to the African subregion drained
by the Congo River, located between the Gulf of Guinea and the African
"The Congos" may be used
to refer to both countries. The adjective "Congolese" (as in "Congolese
music" or "Congolese culture") can refer to either or both countries.
* The Republic of the Congo
(ROC), also known as Congo-Brazzaville (and locally as "Braza"), is the
smaller of the two countries and lies to the west. It was long a French
colony, most of the time called Middle Congo (or part of an entity Middle
Congo-Gabon), informally also known as French Congo, and since 1886 part
of French Equatorial Africa. On 3 January 1970 it became officially the
People's Republic of Congo, since 15 March 1992 it was simply the Republic
of the Congo.
* The Democratic Republic
of the Congo (DRC, sometimes also referred to as DR Congo or in French
RDC), or Congo-Kinshasa, is the larger of the two countries and lies to
the east. It was once the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium,
when it was known as the Congo Free State, and later a Belgian colony when
it was renamed the Belgian Congo. It was known as Zaire from 1971 to 1997;
during this time the other Congo came to be known simply as "Congo".