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The local peoples have long used the river for food, transportation, and electricity.

The river flows between Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Brazzaville, the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo. The population was estimated at 2.8 million in 2000.

Avoid non-essential travel to your security elsewhere in the DRC due to the potential for civil unrest and violent crime.

The landareais 132,046 square miles (approximately 342,000 square kilometers).

The four major topographic regions are a coastal plain that reaches forty miles into the interior, a fertile valley in the south-central area, a central plateau between the Congo and Ogooue rivers, and the north Congo Basin.

Most of the country is covered by dense tropical forest. The Congo River forms the eastern and southern borders and is one of the most important natural resources.

Other ethnic groups joined them to form the three kingdoms that ruled the area before the arrival of Europeans: the Kongo, Loango, and Teke.

The mouth of the Congo River was the base for the Kongo Kingdom which encountered the Portuguese in 1484.

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Families take a specific animal spirit to represent them and often raise totem poles to signify this event. The first inhabitants are believed to have been forest dwellers such as the Teke.

The Portuguese did not venture into the interior but bought goods and slaves through African brokers on the coast.

When the slave trade diminished because of depopulation, the Portuguese bought slaves from other tribes.

This situation continued until the European powers outlawed slavery in the late 1800s.

The Teke Kingdom of the interior signed a treaty with the French in 1883 that gave the French land in return for protection.

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