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What Should I Know About the Republic of the Congo?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2014
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The Republic of the Congo is a West-Central African country that rests on the equator. At its borders are Cameroon, Gabon, and the Central African Republic, as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cabinda, an enclave of Angola. The country also kisses a small portion of the Atlantic Ocean. The Republic of the Congo spans roughly 131, 283 square miles (341,499 square kilometers). It is about three times the size of Pennsylvania.

The Republic of the Congo, once called Middle Congo, was once colonized by the French. When the country gained its independence in 1960, it took on its new name. Following its gain of independence, the nation installed a Marxist government. In 1990, Marxism was pushed aside in favor of a government that included democratic elections. In 1997, however, a brief civil war broke out, resulting in the reinstallation of the country's previous Marxist president, Denis Sassou Nguesso.

The Republic of the Congo has 10 distinct regions and one commune. Its regions are further divided into districts; there are forty-six districts in all. Its commune also happens to be its capital, Brazzaville, which is positioned on the Congo River. The inner part of the country is largely a central plateau that rests between an upper and lower basin. Its southwest portion, however, is coastal-plain area, providing drainage for the Kouilou-Niari River.

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The Republic of the Congo’s economy is centered on a combination of agriculture and services, as well as handwork. It does have an industrial sector, which focuses, in large part, on petroleum. In fact, petroleum has taken over as the country’s primary economical leaning; in the past, the focus was on forestry. The country’s focus on petroleum leaves it to suffer hits when oil prices slump while financing necessary projects whenever oil prices are higher. Additionally, Congo exports diamonds and natural gas, sometimes dealing with accusations that its diamond exports are actually smuggled out of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Most of the citizens of the Republic of the Congo reside in its southwestern part. They tend to concentrate in areas like Brazzaville and Point-Noire, as well as villages and smaller cities. As such, large areas of the country are uninhabited. Mostly, these areas are located in the northern part of the country, consisting of tropical jungle. This focus on urban areas means that Congo is among Africa’s most urbanized nations.

The Republic of the Congo features pretty consistent temperatures all year, as it rests on the equator. Daytime temperatures tend to hover around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) while nighttime temperatures average around 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius). The southern part of the country sees temperatures that are a bit cooler mid year. In contrast, the middle of the year is slightly warmer in the northern regions.

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