A writing system is any conventional method of visually representing verbal communication. While both writing and speech are useful in conveying messages, writing differs in being a reliable form of information storage and transfer; the processes of encoding and decoding writing systems involve shared understanding between writers and readers of the meaning behind the sets of characters that make up a script. Writing is recorded onto a durable medium, such as paper or electronic storage, although non-durable methods may be used, such as writing on a computer display, on a blackboard, in sand, or by skywriting; the general attributes of writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies. Any particular system can have attributes of more than one category. In the alphabetic category, there is a standard set of letters of consonants and vowels that encode based on the general principle that the letters represent speech sounds. In a syllabary, each symbol correlates to a syllable or mora.
In a logography, each character represents morpheme, or other semantic units. Other categories include abjads, which differ from alphabets in that vowels are not indicated, abugidas or alphasyllabaries, with each character representing a consonant–vowel pairing. Alphabets use a set of 20-to-35 symbols to express a language, whereas syllabaries can have 80-to-100, logographies can have several hundreds of symbols. Most systems will have an ordering of its symbol elements so that groups of them can be coded into larger clusters like words or acronyms, giving rise to many more possibilities in meanings than the symbols can convey by themselves. Systems will enable the stringing together of these smaller groupings in order to enable a full expression of the language; the reading step expressed orally. A special set of symbols known as punctuation is used to aid in structure and organization of many writing systems and can be used to help capture nuances and variations in the message's meaning that are communicated verbally by cues in timing, accent, inflection or intonation.
A writing system will typically have a method for formatting recorded messages that follows the spoken version's rules like its grammar and syntax so that the reader will have the meaning of the intended message preserved. Writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, which used pictograms and other mnemonic symbols. Proto-writing lacked the ability to express a full range of thoughts and ideas; the invention of writing systems, which dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age in the late Neolithic Era of the late 4th millennium BC, enabled the accurate durable recording of human history in a manner, not prone to the same types of error to which oral history is vulnerable. Soon after, writing provided a reliable form of long distance communication. With the advent of publishing, it provided the medium for an early form of mass communication; the creation of a new alphabetic writing system for a language with an existing logographic writing system is called alphabetization, as when the People's Republic of China studied the prospect of alphabetizing the Chinese languages with Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, numbers, although the most common instance of it, converting to Latin script, is called romanization.
Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that a writing system is always associated with at least one spoken language. In contrast, visual representations such as drawings and non-verbal items on maps, such as contour lines, are not language-related; some symbols on information signs, such as the symbols for male and female, are not language related, but can grow to become part of language if they are used in conjunction with other language elements. Some other symbols, such as numerals and the ampersand, are not directly linked to any specific language, but are used in writing and thus must be considered part of writing systems; every human community possesses language, which many regard as an innate and defining condition of humanity. However, the development of writing systems, the process by which they have supplanted traditional oral systems of communication, have been sporadic and slow. Once established, writing systems change more than their spoken counterparts.
Thus they preserve features and expressions which are no longer current in the spoken language. One of the great benefits of writing systems is that they can preserve a permanent record of information expressed in a language. All writing systems require: at least one set of defined base elements or symbols, individually termed signs and collectively called a script. In the examination of individual scripts, the study of writing systems has developed along independent lines. Thus, the terminology employed differs somewhat from field to field; the generic term text refers to an instance of writte
M'banza-Kongo, is the capital of Angola's northwestern Zaire Province. M'banza Kongo was founded some time before the arrival of the Portuguese in 1483 and was the capital of the Kilukeni dynasty ruling at that time; the site was temporarily abandoned during civil wars in the 17th century. It lies close to Angola's border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is located at around 6°16′0″S 14°15′0″E and sits on top of an impressive flat-topped mountain, sometimes called Mongo a Kaila because recent legends recall that the king created the clans of the kingdom and sent them out from there. In the valley to the south runs the Luezi River. In 2017, Mbanza Kongo was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. M'banza-Kongo was once the home of the Manikongo, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kongo, which at its peak reached from southern Africa's Atlantic coast to the Nkisi River; the Manikongo was chosen by clan leaders to rule some 300 mi2, an area that today is part of several countries. The Portuguese who first reached it in 1491 travelled ten days to get there from the mouth of the Congo River.
The earliest documented kings referred to their city in their correspondence as "the city of Congo", the name of the city as São Salvador appears for the first time in the letters of Álvaro I of Kongo and was carried on by his successors. The name was changed back to "City of Kongo" after Angolan independence in 1975; when the Portuguese arrived in Kongo, Mbanza Kongo was a large town the largest in sub-equatorial Africa, a 1491 visitor compared its size to the Portuguese town of Évora. During the reign of Afonso I, stone buildings were added, including several churches; the town grew as the kingdom of Kongo expanded and grew, an ecclesiastical statement of the 1630s related that 4,000-5,000 baptisms were performed in the city and its immediate hinterland, consistent with an overall population of 100,000 people. Of these 30,000 lived on the mountain and the remainder in the valleys around the city. Among its important buildings were some twelve churches, including São Salvador, as well as private chapels and oratories and an impressive two-story royal palace, the only such building in all of Kongo, according to visitor Giovanni Francesco da Roma.
The city was sacked several times during the civil wars that followed the Battle of Mbwila in 1665, was abandoned in 1678. It was reoccupied in 1705 by Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita's followers and restored as Kongo's capital by King Pedro IV of Kongo in 1709, it was never again depopulated though its population fluctuated during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. M'banza Kongo is known for the ruins of its 16th century Cathedral of the Holy Saviour of Congo, which many Angolans claim is the oldest church in sub-Saharan Africa, although this is not true, as the oldest are in Ethiopia; the present-day church, called São Salvador, known locally as nkulumbimbi, is now said to have been built by angels overnight. It was elevated to the status of cathedral in 1596. Pope John Paul II visited the site during his tour of Angola in 1992. Another interesting site of historical significance is the memorial to King Afonso I's mother near the airport, which commemorates a popular legend that began in the 1680s that the king had buried his mother alive because she was not willing to give up an "idol" which she wore around her neck.
Other important sites include the Jalankuwo, the Manikongo's judgement tree, which can still be found in the downtown area of the city, along with the sunguilu, a rectangular ground level structure where local tradition says the king's body was washed before burial. Both are on the grounds of present day Royal Museum; the Royal Museum rebuilt as a modern structure, houses an impressive collection of artifacts from the old Kingdom though many were lost from the older building during the Civil War of 1976–2002. Explore M'banza-Kongo with Google Earth on Global Heritage Network
Mandombe or Mandombé is a script proposed in 1978 in Mbanza-Ngungu in the Bas-Congo province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by Wabeladio Payi, who related that it was revealed to him in a dream by Simon Kimbangu, the prophet of the Kimbanguist Church. Mandombe is based on the sacred shapes and, intended for writing African languages such as the four national languages of the Congo, Lingala and Swahili, though it does not have enough vowels to write Lingala fully, it is taught in Kimbanguist church schools in Angola, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is promoted by the Kimbanguist Centre de l’Écriture Négro-Africaine; the Mandombe Academy at CENA is working on transcribing other African languages in the script. It has been classified as the third most viable indigenous script of recent indigenous west African scripts, behind only the Vai syllabary and the N'Ko alphabet. A preliminary proposal has been made to include this script in the combined character encoding ISO 10646/Unicode.
A revised Unicode proposal was written in February 2016 by Andrij Rovenchak, Helma Pasch, Charles Riley, Nandefo Robert Wazi. Mandombe has consonant letters and vowel letters which are combined into syllabic blocks, rather like hangul. All letters are based on 5 shape; the six vowels are distinguished by numerals added to the right of the 5-shape. The consonants fall into four'groups', or shapes, which are distinguished by adding a short stroke to the 5-shape for three of the groups; the four families of consonants are attached to the same corner of the vowel, reflected or rotated to match the consonant, so that the consonant resides in a different corner of the syllabic block depending on its orientation. Unlike Pitman shorthand, which distinguishes consonants by rotation, in Mandombe the groups and families do not form natural classes, apart from a fifth group of fricatives and affricates made by inverting one of the four basic groups. Vowel sequences and nasal vowels are created with diacritics, prenasalized consonants by prefixing n, consonant clusters by infixing a consonant between the two parts of the vowel.
Vowel letters are composed of two parts: the basic 5-shape of the Mandombe script plus a numeral, or—in the case of ü —by modifying the basic u vowel letter. Vowel 1 is i, vowel 2 u, vowel 3 e, vowel 4 o, vowel 5 a. A vowel can form a syllable on its own. In a vowel sequence or diphthong, however, a diacritic is used for the second vowel or part of the vowel; that is, lio is written li plus the diacritic for o, while mwa is written mu plus the diacritic for a. Diacritics come at the end of the last stroke of the vowel. While there is a diacritic for u, sequences ending in u are instead written as two full syllables, the second being wu; this strategy is also employed in some other cases rather than using diacritics. Ü is. It has no diacritic. There are four basic consonant shapes; each shape can be both to represent a different consonant. These consonants are combined with vowels, which are reflected, to create syllables. Family 1 The consonant with the basic orientation is attached to the lower left of the vowel Family 2 The consonant-plus-vowel is reflected both horizontally and vertically Family 3 The consonant-plus-vowel is reflected horizontally Family 4 The consonant-plus-vowel is reflected verticallyVowel diacritics are reflected along with the main vowel.
The use of geometric transformation is present in Pitman shorthand and Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, though Mandombe consonants in the same group do not seem to have any phonological relationship. Prenasalisation of consonants is indicated with a variation on disconnected from the vowel; this always joins the consonant body, else certain signs could be read in more than one way. Nasalisation of the vowel is marked by an attached diacritic:. If is placed between the two separable parts of the vowel glyph, it represents an intervening /r/; the digit for 1 resembles the Hindu-Arabic 1, 2–5 are based on this shape. 6 and 9 are square versions of Hindu-Arabic 6 and 9, 7–8 are formed by reflecting them. 1-5 are the shapes used for the vowels i u e o a. A period is used as a word divider to separate words; the punctuation corresponds to that of the Roman alphabet. A comma has the form of a short line, a period a turned vee, like the diacritic for o, a colon and semicolon combinations of these; the exclamation mark is like a lambda, λ, the question mark is like a turned Y, ⅄.
Syllabary Africa Alphabet African reference alphabet L'écriture Mandombe Mandombe script Pasch describing the script, its origins, its uses
Puerto Rico the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and called Porto Rico, is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. An archipelago among the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico includes the eponymous main island and several smaller islands, such as Mona and Vieques; the capital and most populous city is San Juan. The territory's total population is 3.4 million. Spanish and English are the official languages. Populated by the indigenous Taíno people, Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493, it was contested by French and British, but remained a Spanish possession for the next four centuries. The island's cultural and demographic landscapes were shaped by the displacement and assimilation of the native population, the forced migration of African slaves, settlement from the Canary Islands and Andalusia. In the Spanish Empire, Puerto Rico played a secondary but strategic role compared to wealthier colonies like Peru and New Spain.
Spain's distant administrative control continued up to the end of the 19th century, producing a distinctive creole Hispanic culture and language that combined indigenous and European elements. In 1898, following the Spanish–American War, the United States acquired Puerto Rico under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. Puerto Ricans have been citizens of the United States since 1917, enjoy freedom of movement between the island and the mainland; as it is not a state, Puerto Rico does not have a vote in the United States Congress, which governs the territory with full jurisdiction under the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950. However, Puerto Rico does have one non-voting member of the House called a Resident Commissioner; as residents of a U. S. territory, American citizens in Puerto Rico are disenfranchised at the national level and do not vote for president and vice president of the United States, nor pay federal income tax on Puerto Rican income. Like other territories and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico does not have U.
S. senators. Congress approved a local constitution in 1952, allowing U. S. citizens on the territory to elect a governor. Puerto Rico's future political status has been a matter of significant debate. In early 2017, the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis posed serious problems for the government; the outstanding bond debt had climbed to $70 billion at a time with 12.4% unemployment. The debt had been increasing during a decade long recession; this was the second major financial crisis to affect the island after the Great Depression when the U. S. government, in 1935, provided relief efforts through the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. On May 3, 2017, Puerto Rico's financial oversight board in the U. S. District Court for Puerto Rico filed the debt restructuring petition, made under Title III of PROMESA. By early August 2017, the debt was $72 billion with a 45% poverty rate. In late September 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico; the island's electrical grid was destroyed, with repairs expected to take months to complete, provoking the largest power outage in American history.
Recovery efforts were somewhat slow in the first few months, over 200,000 residents had moved to the mainland State of Florida alone by late November 2017. Puerto Rico is Spanish for "rich port". Puerto Ricans call the island Borinquén – a derivation of Borikén, its indigenous Taíno name, which means "Land of the Valiant Lord"; the terms boricua and borincano derive from Borikén and Borinquen and are used to identify someone of Puerto Rican heritage. The island is popularly known in Spanish as la isla del encanto, meaning "the island of enchantment". Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist, while the capital city was named Ciudad de Puerto Rico. Traders and other maritime visitors came to refer to the entire island as Puerto Rico, while San Juan became the name used for the main trading/shipping port and the capital city; the island's name was changed to "Porto Rico" by the United States after the Treaty of Paris of 1898. The anglicized name was used by the U.
S. government and private enterprises. The name was changed back to Puerto Rico by a joint resolution in Congress introduced by Félix Córdova Dávila in 1931; the official name of the entity in Spanish is Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, while its official English name is Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The ancient history of the archipelago, now Puerto Rico is not well known. Unlike other indigenous cultures in the New World which left behind abundant archeological and physical evidence of their societies, scant artifacts and evidence remain of the Puerto Rico's indigenous population. Scarce archaeological findings and early Spanish accounts from the colonial era constitute all, known about them; the first comprehensive book on the history of Puerto Rico was written by Fray Íñigo Abbad y Lasierra in 1786, nearly three centuries after the first Spaniards landed on the island. The first known settlers were the Ortoiroid people, an Archaic Period culture of Amerindian hunters and fishermen who migrated from the South American mainland.
Some scholars suggest their settlement dates back about 4,000 years. An archeological dig in 1990 on the island of Vieques found the remains of a man, designated as the "Puerto Ferro Man", dated to around 2000 BC; the Ortoiroid were displaced
Angola the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda. Although inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, what is now Angola was molded by Portuguese colonisation, it began with, was for centuries limited to, coastal settlements and trading posts established starting in the 16th century. In the 19th century, European settlers and hesitantly began to establish themselves in the interior; the Portuguese colony that became Angola did not have its present borders until the early 20th century because of resistance by groups such as the Cuamato, the Kwanyama and the Mbunda. After a protracted anti-colonial struggle, independence was achieved in 1975 as the Marxist–Leninist People's Republic of Angola, a one-party state supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba.
The civil war between the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola and the insurgent anti-communist National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, supported by the United States and South Africa, lasted until 2002. The sovereign state has since become a stable unitary, presidential constitutional republic. Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, its economy is among the fastest-growing in the world since the end of the civil war. Angola's economic growth is uneven, with most of the nation's wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population. Angola is a member state of the United Nations, OPEC, African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Southern African Development Community. A multiethnic country, Angola's 25.8 million people span tribal groups and traditions. Angolan culture reflects centuries of Portuguese rule, in the predominance of the Portuguese language and of the Catholic Church; the name Angola comes from the Portuguese colonial name Reino de Angola, which appeared as early as Dias de Novais's 1571 charter.
The toponym was derived by the Portuguese from the title ngola held by the kings of Ndongo. Ndongo in the highlands, between the Kwanza and Lukala Rivers, was nominally a possession of the Kingdom of Kongo, but was seeking greater independence in the 16th century. Modern Angola was populated predominantly by nomadic Khoi and San prior to the first Bantu migrations; the Khoi and San peoples hunter-gatherers. They were displaced by Bantu peoples arriving from the north, most of whom originated in what is today northwestern Nigeria and southern Niger. Bantu speakers introduced the cultivation of bananas and taro, as well as large cattle herds, to Angola's central highlands and the Luanda plain. Hendese Bantu established a number of political entities, it established trade routes with other city-states and civilisations up and down the coast of southwestern and western Africa and with Great Zimbabwe and the Mutapa Empire, although it engaged in little or no transoceanic trade. To its south lay the Kingdom of Ndongo, from which the area of the Portuguese colony was sometimes known as Dongo.
Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão reached the area in 1484. The previous year, the Portuguese had established relations with the Kongo, which stretched at the time from modern Gabon in the north to the Kwanza River in the south; the Portuguese established their primary early trading post at Soyo, now the northernmost city in Angola apart from the Cabinda exclave. Paulo Dias de Novais founded São Paulo de Loanda in 1575 with a hundred families of settlers and four hundred soldiers. Benguela was fortified in 1587 and became a township in 1617; the Portuguese established several other settlements and trading posts along the Angolan coast, principally trading in Angolan slaves for Brazilian plantations. Local slave dealers provided a large number of slaves for the Portuguese Empire in exchange for manufactured goods from Europe; this part of the Atlantic slave trade continued until after Brazil's independence in the 1820s. Despite Portugal's territorial claims in Angola, its control over much of the country's vast interior was minimal.
In the 16th century Portugal gained control of the coast through a series of wars. Life for European colonists was progress slow. John Iliffe notes that "Portuguese records of Angola from the 16th century show that a great famine occurred on average every seventy years. During the Portuguese Restoration War, the Dutch West India Company occupied the principal settlement of Luanda in 1641, using alliances with local peoples to carry out attacks against Portuguese holdings elsewhere. A fleet under Salvador de Sá retook Luanda in 1648. New treaties with the Kongo were signed in 1649.
The Dominican Republic is a country located in the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states; the Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area at 48,671 square kilometers, third by population with 10 million people, of which three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city. Christopher Columbus landed on the island on December 5, 1492, which the native Taíno people had inhabited since the 7th century; the colony of Santo Domingo became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, the oldest continuously inhabited city, the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. After more than three hundred years of Spanish rule the Dominican people declared independence in November 1821.
The leader of the independence movement José Núñez de Cáceres, intended the Dominican nation to unite with the country of Gran Colombia, but no longer under Spain's custody the newly independent Dominicans were forcefully annexed by Haiti in February 1822. Independence came 22 years after victory in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844. Over the next 72 years the Dominican Republic experienced internal conflicts and a brief return to colonial status before permanently ousting Spanish rule during the Dominican War of Restoration of 1863–1865. A United States occupation lasted eight years between 1916 and 1924, a subsequent calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vásquez was followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo until 1961. A civil war in 1965, the country's last, was ended by U. S. military occupation and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer, the rules of Antonio Guzmán & Salvador Jorge Blanco. Since 1996, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy and has been led by Leonel Fernández for most of the time since 1996.
Danilo Medina, the Dominican Republic's current president, succeeded Fernandez in 2012, winning 51% of the electoral vote over his opponent ex-president Hipólito Mejía. The Dominican Republic has the ninth-largest economy in Latin America and is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Over the last two decades, the Dominican Republic has had one of the fastest-growing economies in the Americas – with an average real GDP growth rate of 5.4% between 1992 and 2014. GDP growth in 2014 and 2015 reached 7.3 and 7.0% the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In the first half of 2016 the Dominican economy grew 7.4% continuing its trend of rapid economic growth. Recent growth has been driven by construction, manufacturing and mining; the country is the site of the second largest gold mine in the Pueblo Viejo mine. Private consumption has been strong, as a result of low inflation, job creation, as well as a high level of remittances; the Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean.
The year-round golf courses are major attractions. A geographically diverse nation, the Dominican Republic is home to both the Caribbean's tallest mountain peak, Pico Duarte, the Caribbean's largest lake and point of lowest elevation, Lake Enriquillo; the island has an average temperature of biological diversity. The country is the site of the first cathedral, castle and fortress built in the Americas, located in Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone, a World Heritage Site. Music and sport are of great importance in the Dominican culture, with Merengue and Bachata as the national dance and music, baseball as the favorite sport; the "Dominican" word comes from the Latin Dominicus. However, the island has this name by Santo Domingo de Guzmán, founder of the Order of the Dominicans; the Dominicans established a house of high studies in the island of Santo Domingo that today is known as the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo and dedicated themselves to the protection of the native taínos of the island, who were subjected to slavery, to the education of the inhabitants of the island.
For most of its history, up until independence, the country was known as Santo Domingo—the name of its present capital and patron saint, Saint Dominic—and continued to be known as such in English until the early 20th century. The residents were called "Dominicans", the adjective form of "Domingo", the revolutionaries named their newly independent country "Dominican Republic". In the national anthem of the Dominican Republic, the term "Dominicans" does not appear; the author of its lyrics, Emilio Prud'Homme uses the poetic term "Quisqueyans". The word "Quisqueya" derives from a native tongue of the Taino Indians and means "Mother of the lands", it is used in songs as another name for the country. The name of the country is shortened to "the D. R." The Arawakan-speaking Taíno moved into Hispaniola from the north east region of what is now known as South America, displacing earlier inhabitants, c. AD 650, they engaged in hunting and gathering. The fierce Caribs drove the Taíno to the northeastern Caribbean during much of the 15th century.
The estimates of Hispaniola's population in 1492 vary including one hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, an
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes anachronistically referred to by its former name of Zaire, its official name between 1971 and 1997, it is, by area, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the second-largest in all of Africa, the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated Francophone country, the fourth-most-populated country in Africa, the 16th-most-populated country in the world. Eastern DR Congo is the scene of ongoing military conflict in Kivu, since 2015. Centred on the Congo Basin, the territory of the DRC was first inhabited by Central African foragers around 90,000 years ago and was reached by the Bantu expansion about 3,000 years ago. In the west, the Kingdom of Kongo ruled around the mouth of the Congo River from the 14th to 19th centuries. In the centre and east, the kingdoms of Luba and Lunda ruled from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century.
In the 1870s, just before the onset of the Scramble for Africa, European exploration of the Congo Basin was carried out, first led by Henry Morton Stanley under the sponsorship of Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo territory at the Berlin Conference in 1885 and made the land his private property, naming it the Congo Free State. During the Free State, the colonial military unit, the Force Publique, forced the local population to produce rubber, from 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of disease and exploitation. In 1908, despite initial reluctance, formally annexed the Free State, which became the Belgian Congo; the Belgian Congo achieved independence on 30 June 1960 under the name Republic of the Congo. Congolese nationalist Patrice Lumumba was elected the first Prime Minister, while Joseph Kasa-Vubu became the first President. Conflict arose over the administration of the territory; the provinces of Katanga, under Moïse Tshombe, South Kasai attempted to secede.
After Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union for assistance in the crisis, the U. S. and Belgium became wary and oversaw his removal from office by Kasa-Vubu on 5 September and ultimate execution by Belgian-led Katangese troops on 17 January 1961. On 25 November 1965, Army Chief of Staff Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, who renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko came into power through a coup d'état. In 1971, he renamed the country Zaire; the country was run as a dictatorial one-party state, with his Popular Movement of the Revolution as the sole legal party. Mobutu's government received considerable support from the United States, due to its anti-communist stance during the Cold War. By the early 1990s, Mobutu's government began to weaken. Destabilisation in the east resulting from the 1994 Rwandan genocide and disenfranchisement among the eastern Banyamulenge population led to a 1996 invasion led by Tutsi FPR-ruled Rwanda, which began the First Congo War. On 17 May 1997, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, a leader of Tutsi forces from the province of South Kivu, became President after Mobutu fled to Morocco, reverting the country's name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tensions between President Kabila and the Rwandan and Tutsi presence in the country led to the Second Congo War from 1998 to 2003. Nine African countries and around twenty armed groups became involved in the war, which resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people. The two wars devastated the country. President Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated by one of his bodyguards on 16 January 2001 and was succeeded eight days as President by his son Joseph; the Democratic Republic of the Congo is rich in natural resources but has had political instability, a lack of infrastructure, issues with corruption and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation with little holistic development. Besides the capital Kinshasa, the two next largest cities Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi are both mining communities. DR Congo's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC's exports in 2012. In 2016, DR Congo's level of human development was ranked 176th out of 187 countries by the Human Development Index.
As of 2018, around 600,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries from conflicts in the centre and east of the DRC. Two million children risk starvation, the fighting has displaced 4.5 million people. The sovereign state is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, African Union, COMESA; the Democratic Republic of the Congo is named after the Congo River, which flows throughout the country. The Congo River is the world's second largest river by discharge; the Comité d'études du haut Congo, established by King Leopold II of Belgium in 1876, the International Association of the Congo, established by him in 1879, were named after the river. The Congo River itself was named by early European sailors after the Kingdom of Kongo and its Bantu inhabitants, the Kongo people, when they encountered them in the 16th century; the word Kongo comes from the Kongo language. According to American writer Samuel Henry Nelson "It is probable that the word'Kongo' itself implies a public gathering and that it is based on the root konga,'to gather'."
The modern name of the Kongo people, Bakongo was introduced in the early 20th century. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been known in the past as, in chronological order, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, the Repub