Kinshasa (formerly Leopoldville) is the capital and the largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.It is located on the Congo River.
Once a site of fishing villages, Kinshasa is now an urban area with a 2014 population of over 11 million.It faces the capital of the neighbouring Republic of Congo, Brazzaville, which can be seen in the distance across the wide Congo River.
Kinshasa is the third largest urban area in Africa after Cairo and Lagos. It is also the second largest "francophone" urban area in the world after Paris, French being the language of government, schools, newspapers, public services and high-end commerce in the city, while Lingala is used as a lingua franca in the street.
Residents of Kinshasa are known as Kinois (in French and sometimes in English) or Kinshasans (English).
|POPULATION :||City: 10,125,000 / Metro: 13,265,000|
|TIME ZONE :||GMT+1|
|LANGUAGE :||French, Lingala, Kikongo|
|RELIGION :||Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant 20%, Kimbanguist 10%, Muslim 10%, other (includes syncretic sects and indigenous beliefs) 10%|
|AREA :||9,965 km2 (3,848 sq mi))|
|ELEVATION :||240 m (790 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||4°19′30″S 15°19′20″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.3% |
• Female: 50.7%
|ETHNIC :||over 200 African ethnic groups of which the majority are Bantu|
|AREA CODE :||12|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+243 12|
While sprawling, chaotic and often intimidating, Kinshasa is also a major cultural and intellectual center for Central Africa with a flourishing community of musicians and artists.
After decades of armed conflicts imposed by neighbouring countries, the infrastructures of the once leading modern African city are now being remarkably restored. Chinese companies are involved in numerous projects of reconstruction throughout the city.
The city was founded as a trading post by Henry Morton Stanley in 1881. It was named Léopoldville in honor of King Leopold II of Belgium, who controlled the vast territory that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not as a colony but as a private property.
In 1914 a pipeline was installed so that crude oil could be transported from Matadi to the upriver steamers in Leopoldville. By 1923, the city was elevated to capital of the Belgian Congo, replacing the town of Boma in the Congo estuary.
In 1965, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu seized power in the Congo in his second coup and initiated a policy of "Africanizing" the names of people and places in the country. In 1966, Léopoldville was renamed Kinshasa, for a village named Kinchassa that once stood near the site. The city grew rapidly under Mobutu, drawing people from across the country who came in search of their fortunes or to escape ethnic strife elsewhere.
In the 1990s a rebel uprising began, which by 1997 had brought down the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko.
Kinshasa suffered greatly due to Mobutu's excesses, mass corruption, nepotism and the civil war that led to his downfall. Nevertheless, it is still a major cultural and intellectual center for Central Africa, with a flourishing community of musicians and artists. It is also the country's major industrial center, processing many of the natural products brought from the interior. The city has recently had to fend off rioting soldiers who were protesting the government's failure to pay them.
Kinshasa has a Tropical wet and dry climate. Its lengthy rainy season spans from October through May, with a relatively short dry season, between June and September.
Kinshasa lies south of the equator, so its dry season begins around its "winter" solstice, which is in June. This is in contrast to African cities further north featuring this climate where the dry season typically begins around January.
Kinshasa's dry season is slightly cooler than its wet season, though temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year.
Kinshasa is a city of sharp contrasts, with affluent residential and commercial areas and three universities alongside sprawling slums. It is located along the south bank of the Congo River, directly opposite the city of Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo.
The Congo river is the second longest river in Africa after the Nile, and has the continent's greatest discharge. As a waterway it provides a means of transport for much of the Congo basin; it is navigable for large river barges between Kinshasa and Kisangani, and many of its tributaries are also navigable. The river is an important source of hydroelectric power, and downstream from Kinshasa it has the potential to generate power equivalent to the usage of roughly half of Africa's population.
The ville-province of Kinshasa is divided into four districts which are further divided into 24 communes (municipalities):