Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Congo river, a river on the W. coast of Africa, in latitude 7° S., was discovered by Diego Cam about 1484. By the natives it was called Moenzi Nzadi or the "receiver of all the waters," and by the Portuguese Zaire. It was at one time supposed to be one of the mouths of the Niger, a theory that led to its exploration in 1816 by Captain Tuckey, who ascended it for about 170 miles. Dr. Livingstone in his investigations of the regions between Lakes Nyassa and Tanganyika came upon a river, the Chambezi; this he followed to Lake Bangweolo, and lower down traced it as the Lualaba as far as Nyangwe. From this point, in 1876, Stanley took up the course of the river discovered by Livingstone, and proved it to be identical with the Congo, the great equatorial river of Central Africa. The length of the Congo is estimated at about 3,000 miles, with a drainage area of upwards of 1,300,000 square miles. The volume of its waters exceeds the volume of the Mississippi, and with such momentum does it rush into the ocean that vessels sometimes enter its discoloured water 300 miles from its mouth. Of its many tributaries the most important are the Aruwimi, Kwa, and Welle-Mobangi. For 110 miles from its mouth it is navigable, when cataracts interrupt it. In its upper regions it again becomes navigable for steamers of a light draught. The importance of this great water highway was soon recognised, and in 1876 an international association, with the King of the Belgians as president, was formed with the aim of preserving the neutrality of the Congo area.