Last updated

Mfa, Kintamo
Brazzaville bird eye view.jpg
An aerial view of Brazzaville towards the Congo River and, in the distance, Kinshasa.
Congo physical map.svg
Red pog.svg
Map of the Republic of Congo showing Brazzaville.
Africa relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Brazzaville (Africa)
Coordinates: 4°16′4″S15°17′31″E / 4.26778°S 15.29194°E / -4.26778; 15.29194 Coordinates: 4°16′4″S15°17′31″E / 4.26778°S 15.29194°E / -4.26778; 15.29194
Country Republic of the Congo
Capital district Brazzaville
Founded by Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza
  MayorDieudonné Bantsimba
  Total263.9 km2 (101.9 sq mi)
320 m (1,050 ft)
 (2015) [1]
  Density6,400/km2 (17,000/sq mi)
Area code(s) 242
HDI (2018)0.662 [2]
medium · 1st of 12

Brazzaville (French pronunciation:  [bʁazavil] , Kongo : Kintamo, Nkuna, Kintambo, Mavula, Tandala; Teke: M'fa, Mfwa, Mfa, Mfua, Mfoa [3] [4] [5] [6] ) 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. [7]


Kinshasa seen from Brazzaville. The two capitals are separated by the Congo River. Kindepuisbrazza.jpg
Kinshasa seen from Brazzaville. The two capitals are separated by the Congo River.
View of Brazzaville from space Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.jpg
View of Brazzaville from space

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. [8]

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. [9]


Brazzaville Market in 1905. Brazzaville-Le Marche.jpg
Brazzaville Market in 1905.
Brazzaville railway station in 1941. Gare de Brazzaville en 1941.jpg
Brazzaville railway station in 1941.

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. [10] 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. [3] [10]

The local King, Makoko of the Téké, signed a treaty of protection with de Brazza, which subjugated his lands to the French Empire. [10] 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. [10]

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. [11] 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. [11] From 1910 to 1915 the major municipal buildings were constructed, including a courthouse and headquarters for the Banque de l'AEF and Institut Pasteur. [12]

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. [13]

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. [12] 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. [11]

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. [14] [15]

In April 2016 fighting occurred between police and local militia units, with at least 18 people killed. [16]


Historical population

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, [17] 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. [18]

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. [19] [20]

Since the mid-19th century, the two cities have been rivals in trade, sports and power. [8] 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. [21]


Brazzaville Bridge at night Gang Guo Bu Yuan Zhu Da Qiao Ye Jing .jpg
Brazzaville Bridge at night

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. [22]

The city is divided into nine arrondissements (boroughs): [23]

  1. Bacongo
  2. Djiri
  3. Madibou
  4. Makélékélé
  5. Mfilou
  6. Moungali
  7. Ouenzé
  8. Poto-Poto
  9. Talangaï


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. [11] 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. [24] Companies headquartered in Brazzaville include Equatorial Congo Airlines [25] and the mobile operator Warid Congo. [26]


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.

Places of worship

The Sacred Heart Cathedral in 1926 Cathedrale de Brazzaville avant 1926.jpg
The Sacred Heart Cathedral in 1926

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. [27]


Marien Ngouabi University's Law School Universite Marien-Ngouabi - Faculte de droit.jpg
Marien Ngouabi University's Law School

The Marien Ngouabi University is a public university in Brazzaville, named after a former leader. [28] The university was founded in December 1971 after independence. Today it has approximately 26,000 students. [28]

International schools:


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)1081112810049141289
Average relative humidity (%)81807981817977737176818278
Mean monthly sunshine hours 1711671921811771411271331451521571541,897
Source 1: Deutscher Wetterdienst (humidity, 1951–1990) [29] [30] [lower-alpha 1]
Source 2: Meteo Climat (record highs and lows) [31]


Maya-Maya Airport Aeroport Maya-Maya.jpg
Maya-Maya Airport

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. [8]

A Railroad in Brazzaville Brazzarail (28522034145).jpg
A Railroad in Brazzaville

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. [32]

The city is an important river port, with ferries sailing to Kinshasa and to Bangui via Impfondo. [8] Ferries and fast private boats serve as the primary means of connection between Kinshasa and Brazzaville. [8] 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. [33]

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. [34]

Notable people

Twin towns and sister cities

See also


  1. Station ID for Brazzaville/ Maya–Maya is 64450 Use this station ID to locate the sunshine duration

Related Research Articles

History of the Republic of the Congo Aspect of history

The history of the Republic of the Congo has been marked by diverse civilisations: indigenous, French and post-independence.

Marien Ngouabi President of Congo-Brazzaville from 1969 to 1977

Marien Ngouabi was the third President of the Republic of the Congo from January 1, 1969, to March 18, 1977.

Kinshasa Capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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.

Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza

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 City and department of the Republic of the Congo

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, Republic of the Congo Place in Bouenza Department, Republic of the Congo

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.

Districts of the Republic of the Congo

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

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.

Republic of the Congo Country in Central Africa

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 (Congolese politician)

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.

Brazzaville–Kinshasa Bridge Proposed bridge crossing the Congo River

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.

Communes of the Republic of the Congo

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.

Republic of the Congo–France relations Bilateral relations

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

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.


  1. "Répartition de la population par". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  2. "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  3. 1 2 Roman Adrian Cybriwsky, Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2013, p. 60
  4. Sylvie Ayimpam, Vie matérielle, échanges et capitalisme sur la rive méridionale du Pool du fleuve Congo (1815-1930), Centre d’Étude des Mondes Africains (CEMAf), 2006, p. 4 and p. 9
  5. Joseph ZIDI, Brazzaville : Les enjeux de la géographie des migrations (1800-2010), Université Marien Ngouabi de Brazzaville, 2016
  6. MARTIN Phyllis M., Loisirs et société à Brazzaville pendant l'ère coloniale, KARTHALA Editions, 2006, p. 31
  7. "Brazzaville, Zahlé, Kraków and Fabriano designated UNESCO Creative Cities". UN News. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 "Face-off over the Congo: the long rivalry between Kinshasa and Brazzaville". . 17 January 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  9. "Historic agreement signed to protect the world's largest tropical peatland". UNEP - UN Environment Programme. 23 March 2018.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Pakenham, Thomas (1991). The Scramble for Africa. Abacus. p. 150.
  11. 1 2 3 4 Thomas, Dominic (2005). Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century African History. Routledge.
  12. 1 2 Jean-Jacques Youlou & Scholastique Dianzinga, "Une capitale dans l'histoire"; Chapter 1 in Ziavoula (2006).
  13. "Republic of Congo profile". BBC. 11 April 2017.
  14. "Deportation comments anger Congo", Independent Online (SAPA-AFP), 28 May 2014.
  15. James Butty, "DRC Threatens Legal Action over Deportations from Congo-Brazzaville", VOA News, 27 May 2014.
  16. "Heavy gunfire in Congo-Brazzaville capital as police battle militia". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  17. "Répartition de la population par Départements et Communes en 1984 et projetée de 2000 à 2015" (in French). Centre National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (CNSEE), Republic of the Congo. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  18. "Monographie de la Ville de Kinshasa" (in French). Unité de Pilotage du Processus d'Elaboration et de mise œuvre de la Stratégie pour la Réduction de la Pauvreté (UPPE-SRP). Archived from the original (SWF) on 9 February 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2007.
  19. "Congo (Rep.): Departments, Major Cities & Towns - Population Statistics in Maps and Charts".
  20. "Major Agglomerations of the World - Population Statistics and Maps".
  21. Siphelele Dludla, "DRC, Congo sign $500m deal to build Kinshasa-Brazzaville connecting bridge", IOL, 8 November 2018
  22. (site officiel de la commune de Brazzaville), "L'administration municipale"; accessed 16 July 2017.
  23. "Les arrondissements". (in French). Commune de Brazzaville, Congo. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  24. "WHO | Regional Office for Africa". WHO.
  25. "ECAir Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  26. "Company Overview of Warid Congo S.A." Bloomberg News .
  27. J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 773
  28. 1 2 "Quick Facts". Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  29. "Klimatafel von Brazzaville (Flugh.) / Kongo" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961–1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  30. "Station 64450 Brazzaville/ Maya–Maya". Global station data 1961–1990—Sunshine Duration. Deutscher Wetterdienst. Archived from the original on 17 October 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  31. "Station Brazzaville" (in French). Meteo Climat. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  32. Planet, Lonely. "La Gazelle train Brazzaville to Pointe Noire".
  33. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. Road-Rail Bridge
  35. "Coopération". (in French). Commune de Brazzaville, Congo. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.