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Milton Reilly: African Countries - C (Part 2)

Updated on January 9, 2019
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Milton Reilly has been a copywriter and ghostwriter for more than ten years, and has built up extensive general knowledge as a consequence.

Chad

The Republic of Chad, the fifth largest country in Africa, is eight times the size of Illinois. Chad is in the center of northern Africa. It is completely surrounded by other countries.

The northern region of Chad is part of the Sahara Desert, scorching hot by day and freezing cold at night. The center portion of the country is a dry land of treeless plains. The southern area gets plenty of rain and is richly covered with grass and trees. Chad is named for Lake Chad, which lies on the western border of the country. The lake may be as large as 10,000 square miles (25,900 sq. km.) during the wet season. The lake shrinks to about 4,000 square miles (10,360 sq. km.) during the dry season.

Natives of Chad are called Chadians. The people of the northern and central areas are mostly nomads who live in tents and move over large areas of land to find grazing for their herds. Most of these nomads follow the Muslim religion, but many of the southern people follow native African religions, and a few are Christians. The people in the south live on small farms and raise cotton, peanuts, and livestock. Cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and horses thrive in Chad, and many wild animals roam the plains.

Very little of the early history of Chad is known, although it is believed that kingdoms once flourished there. The French invaded Chad and defeated the local chieftains in 1897. Chad became a French colony in French Equatorial Africa in 1913 and gained independence in 1960.

During the 1970s, the country suffered severely from a sub-Sahara drought. Farmland became sandy desert. Thousands of persons died. The country was also wracked by political fighting. In 1975, military forces overthrew the government and assassinated the president. Chadian troops battled Libyan-backed rebels who wished to take control.

Idriss Deby has been in charge of Chad since 1990, and the country became an oil-producing nation in 2003. However, it remains a very poor country.

Dust storm near Lake Chad

Dust storm near Lake Chad.
Dust storm near Lake Chad. | Source

Chad Statistics

 
 
Capital City
N'Djamena (951,418 people)
Area
455,598 sq. mi. (1,179,999 sq. km)
Population
13,670,084 people.
Languages
French, an Arabic dialect, Sara, and other African languages.
Export Products
Oil, cotton and beef.
Unit of Money
Central African CAF Franc

Comoro Islands

The Comoro Islands are a volcanic archipelago (cluster of islands) in the Indian Ocean between north Madagascar and east Africa. Grande Comore, the largest island, has an active volcano, Mont Kartala. The islands have a tropical climate. Most of the people earn their living from farming.

Arabs ruled the islands until the French gained control of them in 1886. In 1975, France granted independence to the largely Muslim islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Moheli; Mayotte, a largely Christian island, remained under French rule. Issues over claims to Mayotte, and claims of independence for the individual islands, have been prominent in the political life of the Comoro Islands in recent years.

Anjouan

Anjouan, one of the Comoro Islands.
Anjouan, one of the Comoro Islands. | Source

Comoro Islands Statistics

 
 
Capital City
Moroni (60,200 people)
Area
863 sq. mi. (2,233 sq. km.)
Population
795,601 people
Language
Arabic, French
Export Products
Vanilla, perfume, copra, and sisal.
Unit of Money
Comorian franc.

The Republic of Congo

The Republic of the Congo is an African nation often called Congo (Brazzaville). Brazzaville is the name of the country's capital. This name is used because the country's next-door neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, shares a similar name. The Congo (Brazzaville) was a French colony until it received independence in 1960.

The Congo is approximately twice the size of Washington state. It is bordered on the west by Gabon, on the north by Cameroon and the Central African Republic, and on the east and south by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Atlantic Ocean forms the southwestern boundary.

The Congo (Brazzaville) has three geographical regions. The narrow coastal plain extends 40 miles (64 km) inland. Highlands form the central part of the country, and in the north lies the Congo River Basin. The Congo River, which separates the country from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a major transportation route.

The Congo has a tropical climate because the equator runs through the country. Rain falls throughout the year in most of the country. The coastal plain is cooler and drier than the rest of the land.

Over one half of the Congolese live by raising only crops they need for their own use. Others also raise crops that can be exported, such as peanuts, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, and tobacco. Some people earn a living by fishing and lumbering.

The Congo has little industry. The waterfalls on several rivers may someday be used for hydroelectric power, however. Potassium and oil deposits are being developed. Lead, gold, and diamonds are mined.

The Congolese belong to several tribal groups. Almost half of the people are members of the Bakongo tribe. Others belong to the Bateke, M'Bochi, and Sangha. Many of them speak French, the nation's official language, in addition to their tribal dialects.

The country is a transport hub of central Africa. The Congo River system and the Congo-Ocean Railroad connect inland areas with Pointe-Noire, the country's main seaport.

The Congo has been best by strife in recent times. A brutal civil war broke out in the late 1990s, and while that has abated, corruption is an ongoing problem.

Taxis in Brazzaville

Taxis in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo.
Taxis in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo. | Source

Republic of Congo Statistics

 
 
Capital City
Brazzaville (1,373,382 people)
Area
175,676 sq. mi. (455,001 sq. km.)
Population
5,125,821 people.
Languages
French, Lingala, Kikongo.
Export Products
Wood, palm oil, peanuts, tobacco, diamonds.
Unit of Money
Central African CFA franc.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The big African country called the Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly named Zaire. It was often called the Congo (Kinshasa) after its capital. The country received its independence from Belgium in 1960.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest country in Africa. Its western neighbor is the Congo (Brazzaville). The Central African Republic and South Sudan lie to the north. Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania are on the east. Zambia and Angola are its southern neighbors. A small stretch of land forms the Atlantic coastline in the southwest.

Much of the country lies in the basin of the Congo River. This region is surrounded by highlands on the west and south. Mountains lie east of the basin. The climate is a moist, tropical one because of its location on the equator. Rain falls all year in the river area. The rest of the country has a dry season and a rainy season.

The country is rich in minerals. It is the world's largest producer of industrial diamonds and cobalt, and one of the leading exporters of copper. Coal, manganese, tin, zinc, and gold are also mined. Most of these resources are located in the south-eastern section of the country.

Over half the population belongs to various tribal groups speaking Bantu languages. The remainder are members of tribal groups that speak Sudanese or Nilotic languages.

Belgian control over the country began in the 1880s. King Leopold II of Belgium claimed the area after hearing about it from the explorer Henry M. Stanley. It was turned over to Belgium in 1908.

The Belgians trained many of the Congolese people in mining and technical jobs before independence. The Belgians, however, took much from the land and educated few people for government jobs and professions. The period following independence was filled with bloodshed. Moise T'shombe, Patrice Lumumba, and Joseph Kasavubu all tried unsuccessfully to lead the country. Joseph Désiré Mobutu finally seized power in 1965.

As part of a plan to go back to older and more authentic (real) names, the name of the country was changed by Mobuto from the Congo to Zaire in late 1971. Zaire was what Portuguese explorers in the 1500s had called the Congo River. The city of Stanleyville was renamed Kisangani, and Leopoldville was renamed Kinshasa. Mobuto took the name of Mobuto Sese Seko.

In the 1990s, Mobuto was overthrown, and the country was engulfed in civil wars that involved neighboring countries and claimed six million lives. Conflict and corruption remain features of life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mobuto Shows Leopards to Guests

Mobuto Sese Seko, former dictator of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), showing guests caged leopards kept on the grounds of his palace.
Mobuto Sese Seko, former dictator of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), showing guests caged leopards kept on the grounds of his palace. | Source

Democratic Republic of Congo Statistics

 
 
Capital City
Kinshasa (11,855,000 people)
Area
905,567 sq. mi. (2,345,409 sq. km.)
Population
78,736,153 people
Languages
French and tribal languages.
Export Products
Copper, cobalt, diamonds, and coffee.
Unit of Money
Congolese franc.

Comments

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    • MiltonReilly profile imageAUTHOR

      Milton Reilly 

      10 days ago from Ubique

      Liz,

      As you said previously, Africa is a continent that does not get the coverage it is due.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      11 days ago from UK

      This is an interesting series of articles. I had not heard of the Comoro Islands before.

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