History of the Republic of the Congo

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The history of the Republic of the Congo has been marked by French colonization, a transition to independence, Marxist-Leninism, and the transition to a market-oriented economy.

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Bantus and Pygmies

The earliest inhabitants of the region comprising present-day Congo were the Bambuti people. The Bambuti were linked to Pygmy tribes whose Stone Age culture was slowly replaced by Bantu tribes coming from regions north of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo about 2,000 years ago, introducing Iron Age culture to the region. The main Bantu tribe living in the region were the Kongo, also known as Bakongo, who established mostly weak and unstable kingdoms along the mouth, north and south of the Congo River. The capital of this Congolese kingdom, Mbanza Kongo, later baptized as São Salvador by the Portuguese, is a town in northern Angola near the border with the DRC. From the capital they ruled over an empire encompassing large parts of present-day Angola, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ruling over nearby tributary states often by appointing sons of the Kongo kings to head these states. It had six so-called provinces called Mbemba, Soyo, Mbamba, Mbata, Nsundi and Mpangu. With the Kingdom of Loango in the north and the Kingdom of Mbundu in the south being tributary states. In the East it bordered on the Kwango river, a tributary of the Congo River. In total the kingdom is said to have had 3 to 4 million inhabitants and a surface of about 300,000 km². According to oral traditions it was established in around 1400 when King Lukena Lua Nimi conquered the kingdom of Kabunga and established Mbanza Kongo as its capital.[citation needed]

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