Congo

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This article is about geographical entities in central Africa; for other uses, see Congo (disambiguation).

Congo is a name shared by two neighbouring countries in Central Africa, largely drained by the Congo River, and usually distinguished by their full official names and occasionally by adding their capital cities. The name was also used in prior political entities. It also refers to the African subregion drained by the Congo River, located between the Gulf of Guinea and the African Great Lakes

"The Congos" may be used to refer to both countries. The adjective "Congolese" (as in "Congolese music" or "Congolese culture") can refer to either or both countries.

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Republic of the Congo (ROC), also known as Congo-Brazzaville (and locally as "Braza"), is the smaller of the two countries and lies to the west. It was long a French colony, most of the time called Middle Congo (or part of an entity Middle Congo-Gabon), informally also known as French Congo, and since 1886 part of French Equatorial Africa. On 3 January 1970 it became officially the People's Republic of Congo, since 15 March 1992 it was simply the Republic of the Congo. 

In the 1960s, the countries were sometimes distinguished by referring to the Republic of Congo as Congo and to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as The Congo.

Historical uses of Congo and the alternate spelling "Kongo" include:

Congo

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