|Country||Republic of the Congo|
|Founded by||Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza|
|• Mayor||Dieudonné Bantsimba|
|• Total||263.9 km2 (101.9 sq mi)|
|Elevation||320 m (1,050 ft)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||6,400/km2 (17,000/sq mi)|
|HDI (2018)||0.662 |
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Brazzaville (French pronunciation: [bʁazavil] , Kongo : Kintamo, Nkuna, Kintambo, Mavula, Tandala; Teke: M'fa, Mfwa, Mfa, Mfua, Mfoa ) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo (Congo Republic). Constituting the financial and administrative centre of the country, it is located on the north side of the Congo River, opposite Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo).
The population of the capital is estimated to exceed 1.8 million residents, comprising more than a third of the national populace. Some 40% are employed in non-agricultural professions. During World War II, Brazzaville was also the capital of Free France between 1940 and 1942.
In 2013, Brazzaville was designated a City of Music by UNESCO; since then it has also been a member of the Creative Cities Network.
Brazzaville covers a large area to the north of the Congo River, just below the Pool Malebo. Mbamu, a large island within the Pool, is part of the Republic of Congo's territory.
Brazzaville is 506 kilometres (314 miles) inland from the Atlantic Ocean and approximately 474 kilometres (295 miles) south of the equator. The city is a commune that is separated from the other regions of the republic; it is surrounded by the Pool Department. Around the city are large plains. The town is relatively flat, and situated at an altitude of 317 metres (1,040 feet). Downriver the Congo has numerous rapids, known as Livingston Falls, preventing navigation upriver to this point from its mouth at the Atlantic.
Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is located on the southern bank of the Congo, directly across from Brazzaville. To distinguish between the two African countries that have "Congo" in their names, the Republic of the Congo is sometimes called Congo-Brazzaville, as opposed to Congo-Kinshasa. Kinshasa is more than five times larger than Brazzaville in population. This is the only place in the world where two national capital cities developed on opposite banks of a river, within sight of each other.
In March 2018, the "Brazzaville Declaration" was signed to promote better management and conservation of the Cuvette Centrale, a region in Congo Basin and primarily in DRC. It is the world's largest tropical peatland, made up of swamp forests. Conservation of this area is important for the survival of megafauna, and also critical to the world's climate. Burning the peat would release too much carbon and raise the earth's temperature. The declaration to save peatlands as the world's largest terrestrial organic carbon stock was signed by Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, and Indonesia, which also has peatlands.
Brazzaville was founded by the French colonial empire upon an existing indigenous Bateke settlement called Ncuna, during the Scramble for Africa when European nations established spheres of influence on the continent.The Italian-born explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, who was granted French citizenship in 1874, officially founded the settlement on 10 September 1880; it commemorates his name.
The local King, Makoko of the Téké, signed a treaty of protection with de Brazza, which subjugated his lands to the French Empire.From October 1880 until May 1882, a small squad of troops led by Senegalese Sergeant Malamine Camara occupied the site, in order to prevent the land from falling into Belgian hands. Their forces were active on the south side of the river, where King Leopold II ruled the Belgian Congo for a period as a private holding. The first large-scale building work of the city began four years later, as the French competed with Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) which Belgian colonists were developing on the south side of the river.
The Berlin Conference of 1884 placed French control over this area on an official footing. The city became the capital of the French Congo in 1904.It continued as capital when French Equatorial Africa was founded in 1910, as a federation of French colonial states: it included Gabon, the Central African Republic, and Chad until 1960. From 1910 to 1915 the major municipal buildings were constructed, including a courthouse and headquarters for the Banque de l'AEF and Institut Pasteur.
In 1934 the Congo–Ocean Railway opened, linking Brazzaville with the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noire and bypassing the rapids on the Congo River. Construction of the railway resulted in the deaths of more than 17,000 Africans, and the people revolted against the French in 1928.
During World War II Brazzaville and the rest of French Equatorial Africa remained beyond the control of Vichy France, which served the Nazi occupation. The city served as the capital of France Libre from 1940 to 1943.In 1944, Brazzaville hosted a meeting of the French resistance forces and representatives of France's African colonies. The resulting Brazzaville Declaration represented an attempt to redefine the relationship between France and its African colonies.
Until the 1960s, the city was divided into European (the centre of the city) and African sections (Poto-Poto, Bacongo, and Makélékélé). In 1980 it became a "commune," separated from the surrounding Pool Department and divided into nine "arrondissements" (boroughs) along the French model of administration.
Since the late 20th century, the city has frequently been a staging ground for wars, including internal conflicts between rebel and government forces. It has been a base of conflicts between forces of the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Angola. During the 1990s, civil wars resulted in thousands of civilian deaths here and forced hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee the city.
More recently thousands of people leaving the DRC have made their way to Brazzaville; the local United Nations force and the DRC government have accused the city of deporting thousands of these refugees.
In April 2016 fighting occurred between police and local militia units, with at least 18 people killed.
As of the 2007 census, the city had a population of 1.37 million. The projection of the CNSEE (national statistics centre) estimated an increase to 1.7 million by 2015,but the projection was made before 2007 and was based on a lower estimate of the population (1.26 million) than that recorded in the census.
The United Nations Population Division estimate for 2014 is 1.83 million. Kinshasa, DRC, had more than 10 million inhabitants in 2014.
Together with Kinshasa, the combined conurbation of Kinshasa-Brazzaville has about 12 million inhabitants. Significant political and infrastructure challenges prevent the two cities from functioning with any meaningful connection.
Since the mid-19th century, the two cities have been rivals in trade, sports and power.There have been proposals to connect the two capitals by a Brazzaville–Kinshasa Bridge. In 2018, with relative peace re-established in the region, the African Development Bank and Africa50 signed a deal with both governments to develop the project.
Brazzaville, like Pointe-Noire, has the status of both a commune (municipality) and a department. It is governed by a municipal council and a departmental council. The mayor is the president of the municipal council.
The city is divided into nine arrondissements (boroughs):
The location of Brazzaville near the pool of the Congo River enabled it to grow as an industrial, trading and port settlement. It was connected through trade by ships and boats traveling upriver to inland areas, which produced raw materials from the beginning of the colonial period.Construction of the railway connecting to Pointe-Noire increased the ability of city businessmen to get their products to the port for export. Industries present in Brazzaville include machine shops, textiles, tanning, and manufacturing. As a key port on the Congo River, Brazzaville still takes deliveries of raw materials, such as rubber, wood, and agricultural products. From here they are generally sent onward to Pointe-Noire for export.
Many companies, government organizations and NGOs have regional offices in the capital city, where they can work with government officials. The World Health Organization has its regional office for Africa located in Brazzaville.Companies headquartered in Brazzaville include Equatorial Congo Airlines and the mobile operator Warid Congo.
Roger Erell, a highly regarded architect, also designed a house in the city for Charles de Gaulle when he was the leader of Free France here. Other buildings include the Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza Mausoleum, the Nabemba Tower, and the Congressional Palace (Brazzaville).
The Marien Ngouabi Mausoleum, Brazzaville Zoo, and the Poto-Poto School of Painting are also destinations for visitors and city residents.
Many Congolese converted to Catholicism during the French colonial period. Christian churches are most prevalent in the city, where the Roman Catholic Church has an Archdiocese. Since then, churches have been established by new immigrants and by local adoption of evangelical Protestantism. Examples include the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-du-Congo in Brazzaville, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Brazzaville and Gabon (Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa), Evangelical Church of Congo (World Communion of Reformed Churches), and Assemblies of God.
The Marien Ngouabi University is a public university in Brazzaville, named after a former leader.The university was founded in December 1971 after independence. Today it has approximately 26,000 students.
Brazzaville features a tropical wet and dry climate. Its wet season, which runs from October–May, is longer than its dry season, which covers the remaining months. Brazzaville's driest months, July and August, on average have no significant precipitation. Since Brazzaville is south of the equator, its dry season begins at around its "winter" solstice, which is the month of June. The city has relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year.
|Climate data for Brazzaville (Maya-Maya Airport) 1961–1990, extremes 1932–present|
|Record high °C (°F)||37.5|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.5|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||26.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||21.4|
|Record low °C (°F)||17.0|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||160|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||10||8||11||12||8||1||0||0||4||9||14||12||89|
|Average relative humidity (%)||81||80||79||81||81||79||77||73||71||76||81||82||78|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||171||167||192||181||177||141||127||133||145||152||157||154||1,897|
|Source 1: Deutscher Wetterdienst (humidity, 1951–1990)|
|Source 2: Meteo Climat (record highs and lows)|
The city is home to Maya-Maya Airport, which lies in the centre of the city and which has regular flights to Pointe-Noire as well as international destinations in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. A flight operates twice weekly between Brazzaville and Kinshasa, but the flight time is only five minutes.
The Congo-Ocean Railway has a station in the city and in 2014 was operating the La Gazelle train service every other day to Pointe-Noire and intermediate destinations.
The city is an important river port, with ferries sailing to Kinshasa and to Bangui via Impfondo.Ferries and fast private boats serve as the primary means of connection between Kinshasa and Brazzaville. The Livingstone Falls lie on the outskirts of the city, where the Djoué River meets the Congo, rendering river transport to the coast impossible, qualifying the railway as a portage railway.
Although there is no organised public transport system, privately owned buses are available in the capital.
Taxis are available on every street and are easily recognized, being painted with a green body and white top, and the fare for a short trip is CF700. About twenty percent of the vehicles in Brazzaville are taxis. There are also collective taxis that drive certain routes and charge CF150.
A road-rail bridge is proposed to connect Brazzaville with Kinshasa. The rail gauge on both sides is the same at 1067mm.
The history of the Republic of the Congo has been marked by diverse civilisations: indigenous, French and post-independence.
Marien Ngouabi was the third President of the Republic of the Congo from January 1, 1969, to March 18, 1977.
Kinshasa, formerly Léopoldville, is the capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With a total population of 15 million as of 2021, it is the most populous city in Africa.
Pietro Paolo Savorgnan di Brazzà, later known as Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza; 26 January 1852 – 14 September 1905), was an Italian-born, naturalized French explorer. With his family's financial help, he explored the Ogooué region of Central Africa, and later with the backing of the Société de Géographie de Paris, he reached far into the interior along the right bank of the Congo. His friendly manner, great charm and peaceful approach made him popular among Africans. Under French colonial rule, the capital of the Republic of the Congo was named Brazzaville after him and the name was retained by the post-colonial rulers, the only African nation to do so.
Pointe-Noire is the second largest city in the Republic of the Congo, following the capital of Brazzaville, and an autonomous department since 2004. Before this date it was the capital of the Kouilou region. It is situated on a headland between Pointe-Noire Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Pointe-Noire is the main commercial centre of the country and has a population of 715,334 (2007), expanding to well over 1 million when the entire metropolitan area is taken into account.
Kayes is a small town in the Bouenza Department of the Republic of the Congo. It is located about 2 km south of Nkayi, the country’s fourth largest city. Kayes is also the name of a district, of which the town of Kayes is the capital.
Mambou Aimée Gnali is a Congolese former politician. In 1963 she became one of the first group of women elected to the National Assembly. She subsequently served as Minister of Culture and the Arts from January 1999 to August 2002.
The Departments of the Republic of the Congo are divided into 86 districts and 6 communes; which are further subdivided into urban communities and rural communities ; which are further subdivided into quarters or neighborhoods (quartiers) and villages. Note the departments of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire are made of 1 commune each, then divided in urban districts (arrondissements).
Kituba is a widely used lingua franca in Central Africa. It is a creole language based on Kikongo, a Bantu language. It is a national language in Republic of the Congo and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Malamine Camara was a Senegalese sergeant in the French colonial army, and a key figure in the extension of French colonial rule in the Congo Basin.
The Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic or simply either Congo or the Congo, is a country located in the western coast of Central Africa. The country is bordered to the west by Gabon, to its northwest by Cameroon and its northeast by the Central African Republic, to the southeast by the DR Congo, to its south by the Angolan exclave of Cabinda and to its southwest by the Atlantic Ocean. French is the official language of the Republic of the Congo.
Henri Lopes is a Congolese writer, diplomat, and political figure. He was Prime Minister of Congo-Brazzaville from 1973 to 1975, and became the Congo-Brazzaville's Ambassador to France in 1998.
The Brazzaville–Kinshasa Bridge is a proposed road-rail bridge construction project over the Congo River that will connect the Republic of the Congo to the Democratic Republic of the Congo at their respective capitals, Brazzaville and Kinshasa. The project has proceeded intermittently, but work is slated to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2028.
The Republic of the Congo includes six communes, divided in urban districts (arrondissements). Two of these communes, Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, are also a department:
The official language of the Republic of Congo is French. Other languages are mainly Bantu languages, and the two national languages in the country are Kituba and Lingala, followed by Téké (16.9%), Mbochi (13.1%), and more than forty other languages, including languages spoken by Pygmies (1.4%), which are not Bantu languages.
Franco–Congolese relations refers to the current and historical relationship between the French Republic and the Republic of the Congo. France maintains an embassy in Brazzaville and a consulate in Pointe Noire. France controlled the Republic of the Congo as a colony from the 1880s until the Congo's independence in 1960. Following the collapse of communism worldwide, France has become Congo's most significant external trading partner.
Mass media in the Republic of the Congo are severely restricted by many factors, including widespread illiteracy and economic underdevelopment.
The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.
Antoinette Sassou Nguesso is a Congolese retired teacher and public figure who has held the role of First Lady of the Republic of the Congo since 1997 as the wife of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. She also held the position of First Lady from 1979 to 1992 during her husband's first presidential tenure.
Roger Erell, was a French architect and resistance fighter.
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