Former place names in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Map of the Belgian Congo, 1914 Mapcongo1914.jpg
Map of the Belgian Congo, 1914

This is a list of place names of towns and cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which were subsequently changed after the end of Belgian colonial rule. Place names of the colonial era tended to have two versions, one in French and one in Dutch, reflecting the two main languages of Belgium. Many of these place names were chosen after local geography or eponymous colonial figures.

Contents

Many of the place name changes occurred under the authenticité programme in the 1960s and 1970s during the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko. In some cases, the names had genuine pre-colonial usage or had already been used unofficially during the colonial period. Mobutu also changed the country's name from Congo to Zaire. Today, European speakers of both French and Dutch use the modern Congolese place names.

Towns and cities

Kinshasa, formerly known as Leopoldville or Leopoldstad Kinshasa Congo.jpg
Kinshasa, formerly known as Léopoldville or Leopoldstad
Lubumbashi, formerly known as Elisabethville or Elisabethstad Downtown Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo - 20061130.jpg
Lubumbashi, formerly known as Élisabethville or Elisabethstad
Kisangani, formerly known as Stanleyville or Stanleystad Kisangani rond-point Cathedrale et Congo Palace.jpg
Kisangani, formerly known as Stanleyville or Stanleystad
Mbandaka, formerly Coquilhatville or Cocquilhatstad Stadsaanzichten f.JPG
Mbandaka, formerly Coquilhatville or Cocquilhatstad
Current NameFormer name in FrenchFormer name in DutchFormer Namesake
Aketi Aketi Port-ChaltinAketi-ChaltinhavenNamed in honour of Louis-Napoléon Chaltin, a colonial military officer of the Congo Free State.
Bandundu BanningvilleBanningstadNamed in honour of Émile Banning, influential Belgian civil servant and confidant of Leopold II
Boteka Flandria Flanders, a region in Belgium
Bukavu CostermansvilleCostermansstadNamed in honour of Paul Costermans, colonial administrator in the Free State, in 1927
Djokupunda CharlesvilleCharlesstad
Gombe (Kinshasa)KalinaNamed in honour of E. Kalina, soldier [lower-alpha 1]
Ilebo Port-FrancquiFrancquihavenNamed in honour of Émile Francqui, businessman and philanthropist
Isiro PaulisNamed in honour of Albert Paulis
Kalemie AlbertvilleAlbertstadNamed in honour of King Albert I
Kananga LuluabourgLuluaburgNamed after the nearby Lulua river
Kasa-Vubu (Kinshasa)Dendale
Kikwit Poto-Poto [lower-alpha 2]
Kindu Kindu Port-ÉmpainKindu Empain-HavenNamed in honour of Edouard Empain, Belgian industrialist
Kinshasa LéopoldvilleLeopoldstadNamed in honour of King Leopold II, King-Sovereign of the Congo Free State
Kisangani StanleyvilleStanleystadNamed in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer
Kwilu Ngongo MoerbekeNamed after the Belgian hometown of Maurice Lippens, a major investor in the local sugar industry
Likasi JadotvilleJadotstadNamed in honour of Jean Jadot  [ fr ], businessman and industrialist
Lingwala (Kinshasa)Saint-JeanNamed after St John the Apostle
Lubao Sentery
Lubumbashi ÉlisabethvilleElisabethstadNamed in honour of Queen Elisabeth
Lufu-Toto CattierNamed in honour of Félicien Cattier, businessman
Luila Wolter
Lokutu ElisabethaNamed in honour of Queen Elisabeth
Lusanga LevervilleLeverstadNamed after William Lever, British businessman and co-founder of Lever Brothers which owned a local subsidiary, Huileries du Congo Belge (HCB), which produced palm kernels.
Makanza Nouvelle-AnversNieuw AntwerpenNamed after the Belgian port city of Antwerp
Makiso StanleyNamed in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer and namesake of Stanleyville
Mapangu BrabantaNamed after Brabant in Belgium
Matonge (Kinshasa)RenkinNamed in honour of Jules Renkin, Belgian politician, Colonial Minister (1908–18) and later Prime Minister (1931–32)
Mbandaka Coquilhatville [lower-alpha 3] CocquilhatstadNamed in honour of Camille Coquilhat, colonial administrator and town's founder.
Mbanza-Ngungu ThysvilleThysstadNamed in honour of Albert Thys, Belgian colonist and businessman
Moba BaudoinvilleBoudewijnstadNamed in honour of Prince Baudouin, nephew (and intended successor) of Leopold II
Mobayi-Mbongo BanzyvilleBanzystad
Mbuji-Mayi Bakwanga
Ngaliema (Kinshasa)StanleyNamed in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer
Nsiamfumu Vista
Tshilundu MérodeNamed after the House of Mérode
Ubundu PonthiervillePonthierstadNamed in honour of the Pierre Ponthier  [ fr ], colonial soldier

Landmarks and geographic terms

Pool Malebo, formerly Stanley Pool Maluku.jpg
Pool Malebo, formerly Stanley Pool
Current NameFormer name in FrenchFormer name in DutchFormer Namesake
Boyoma Falls Stanley FallsStanleywatervallenNamed in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer
Lake Mai-Ndombe Lac Léopold IILeopold II MeerNamed in honour of King Leopold II, King-Sovereign of the Congo Free State
Pool Malebo Stanley PoolNamed in honour of Henry Morton Stanley, explorer
Mayombe Crystal
Virunga National Park Parc AlbertAlbert ParkNamed in honour of King Albert I

See also

Notes

  1. E. Kalina was an Austrian volunteer who is mentioned by Stanley and who drowned in Stanley Pool in 1883. Little is known of his life and his first name is unknown apart from the letter "E."
  2. From 1937. Before that, the city was known as Makaku or Makal
  3. Previously known as "Équateurville"

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References