The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has an interesting history and a wealth of natural resources. It covers a large amount of land, but it is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. It is a nation made up of diverse people, exports, languages and foods. This central sub-Saharan state in Africa has more than a few points of interest for the casual observer.
History of the DRC
More than 80,000 years ago, people settled in the Kingdom of Kongo, which is the DRC today. It is bordered by a few ruling parties, including Angola to the southwest, the South Atlantic Ocean, the Republic of Conga and the Central African Republic. It did not get a new name until the 14th or 15th century. In the early 19th century, Belgian colonization changed it to the Congo Free State under King Leopold II. The corporate state run by Christian organizations attempting to westernize the Congolese residents was rumored to have rampant murder and torture under the sole leadership of the new King from Belgium.
The Congolese rose up to the oppression in 1960, and the Belgium oppressors surrendered. The Soviet Union swooped in to assist Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. In 1965, the United States pushed back with a coup they supported led by Colonel Joseph Mobutu. The coup was successful. The Congo was renamed Zaire and Mobutu hoped to Africanize the country.
Mobutu's oppressive rule was weakened in the ‘90s with the First Congo War, a result of the Rwandan genocide. Rwandan forces invaded Zaire. They replaced Mobutu with Laurent-Desire Kabila, who renamed the area to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The leader Kabila expelled his Rwandan and Ugandan forces to circumvent a coup, leading to the Second Congo War within a year of the end of the first.
Facts About the DRC
It is ranked as one of the top 25 poorest countries in the world annually. Residents of the DRC pull in less than $400 a year on average. Compare this to its neighbor Qatar, which pulls in more than $100,000 a year per average citizen. It is the 11th largest country in the world by its size, 2.3 square kilometers. It is continually ranked as the most underdeveloped nation in the world due to its lack of government, corruption, slavery and misuse of its rich coffers of organic assets.
The DRC's natural wealth is abundant. It has a multitude of minerals in high demand, including gold, copper and cobalt. Timber, oil and tin ore also are mined with big payoffs in the DRC. It holds the largest reserves of cobalt as well. Its agricultural resources include rubber extracted from rubber trees, mangoes, oranges, guavas, bananas and palm oil extracted from the kernels of palm trees.
- Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images