Agriculture is the mainstay of the Congolese economy.
Among the largest Protestant churches are: Anglican Church of Congo, Йglise des Frиres mennonites, Йglise du Christ au Congo.
The country enjoys access to the Atlantic Ocean through a narrow stretch that follows the Congo River into the Gulf of Guinea.
Kimbanguism, officially "the church of Christ on Earth by the prophet Simon Kimbangu," now has about three million members, primarily among the Bakongo of Bas-Congo and Kinshasa.
Lumumba had previously appointed Joseph Mobutu chief of staff of the new Congo army.
The river provides the country's only outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via a narrow strip of land on its north bank; otherwise Congo would be completely landlocked.
The government of Mobutu was toppled in May 1997 by a rebellion led by Laurent-Dйsirй Kabila, who changed the country's name back to Democratic Republic of Congo-Kinshasa.
Rioters destroyed polling stations in Congo's east and electoral officials organized a revolt over burned ballots in the north.
Today men commonly wear a Congolese version of the West African dashiki.
The Great Rift Valley, in particular the Eastern Rift, plays a key role in shaping the Congo's geography.
The Congo territory was acquired formally by Leopold at the Conference of Berlin in 1885.
Europeans flocked into the new urban areas, but the majority of Congolese still lived in traditional rural villages.
From then on, it became the Belgian Congo.
The first inhabitants of the region now known as Congo were the Pygmies, hunter-gatherers who once lived throughout the Congo River Basin but later retreated into the forests and mountains in the east.
Shortly before independence, in May 1960, the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC), which advocated national unity and was led by Patrice Lumumba, a fiery orator, won the parliamentary elections.
Portuguese explorer Diogo Cгo reached the mouth of the Congo River in 1482, followed in 1491 by Roman Catholic missionaries, who were welcomed by the Kongo king.
The Congo was the world's fourth-largest producer of industrial diamonds during the 1980s, and diamonds continue to dominate exports, accounting for over half of exports ($642 million) in 2003.
Despite these pressures, the customs and cultures of the Congo have retained much of their individuality.
A government commission later concluded that the population of the Congo had been "reduced by half" during this brutal period.
The rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo contain great biodiversity, including many rare and endemic species.
The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — a nation endowed with vast potential wealth — has declined drastically since the mid-1980s.
Africa produces music genres that are direct derivatives of Congolese Soukous.
A typical meal in a Congolese home contains a starch (varying by region), some vegetable, and fish or meat when available.
Houses in rural Congo reflect the landscape in the material used (forest or savanna, for example), custom (circular or rectangular, with or without a veranda), and display the status of the occupant.
The Congolese government has approved a new investment code and a new mining code and has designed a new commercial court.
Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness also takes place in Congo Free State.
Between 1885 and 1908, about ten million Congolese died as a consequence of exploitation and diseases.
On July 30, 2006, the Congo held its first multi-party elections since independence in 1960.
The rare mammal species include the common chimpanzee and the bonobo (also known as the Pygmy Chimpanzee), mountain gorilla, okapi (found only in Congo), and white rhino.
About 80 percent of the Congolese population are Christian, predominantly Roman Catholic.
The size of Congo, 905,063 square miles (2,345,410 kmІ), is comparable to that of Western Europe or the United States east of the Mississippi River.
The tropical climate has also produced the Congo River system, which dominates the region topographically along with the rainforest it flows through, though they are not mutually exclusive.
Arab slave traders had also found their way into Congo from the east.
Masks were used throughout the Congo for special ceremonies.
Hunting interests set aside game farms, where hunters can pay a fee and have a greatly increased chance to shoot an elk, as they are fenced in and have less opportunity to escape.
The river basin (meaning the Congo River and all of its myriad tributaries) occupies nearly the entire country and an area of nearly 400,000 square miles (one million square kilometers).
The sources of the Congo River are in the highlands and mountains of the Great Rift Valley, as well as Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru.
The Democratic Republic of Congo exports diamonds, copper, crude oil, coffee and cobalt.
The name "Congo" (meaning "hunter") comes from the Bakongo ethnic group that lives in the western part of the Congo River basin.
Initially unprepared to govern a colony, much less one as huge as Congo, eventually Belgium instituted reforms.
At least 71 percent of Congolese are food insecure or face an unstable food security situation.
The location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Republic of the Congo is indefinite except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area.
The UN and international NGOs estimate that at least 1,200 Congolese die every day from conflict-related causes: preventable diseases, poverty, and gender-based violence.
The name of the nation was changed to Congo, since the name Zaire carried strong connections to Mobutu.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, often referred to as DRC or Congo, and formerly as Zaire, is the second largest country by area on the African continent and the richest in mineral wealth.
Perhaps most important of all, the Rift Valley has endowed most of the south and east of the Congo with an enormous amount of mineral wealth.
Congo has significant deposits of tantalum, which is used in the fabrication of electronic components used in computers and mobile phones.
The Congo's main copper and cobalt interests are dominated by Gecamines, the state-owned mining giant.
The Belgian Congo achieved independence on June 30, 1960.
The majority of Congolese cannot afford healthcare or have limited access to it.
The "bushmeat crisis" has emerged in the DRC mainly as a result of the poor living conditions of the Congolese people.
The same Congolese Soukous, under the guidance of "le sapeur" Papa Wemba, has set the tone for a generation of young guys who dress in expensive designer clothing.
Another notable feature in Congo culture is its sui generis music.