ZAIRE REPUBLIC: How Now, Diogo Co?

Until last week, it was known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the name that the former Belgian Congo took when it won independence from Brussels in 1960. To the present government in Kinshasa, however, the name unduly celebrated the Bakongo tribesmen who reside along the lower reaches of the Congo River. Seeking a name to please the non-Bakongo majority, Kinshasa last week officially rechristened the country the Zaire Republic, and the river the Zaire River. Originally, the word was the result of misunderstanding—or mispronunciation —on the part of a Portuguese naval captain, Diogo Cão, who sailed into...

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