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According to American writer Samuel Henry Nelson "It is probable that the word 'Kongo' itself implies a public gathering and that it is based on the root konga, 'to gather' (trans[itive])." The modern name of the Kongo people or Bakongo was introduced in the early 20th century.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been known in the past as, in chronological order, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, the Republic of Congo-Léopoldville, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Zaire, before returning to its current name the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

During the Free State, the colonial military unit, the Force Publique, forced the local population into producing rubber, and from 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of disease and exploitation.

In 1908, Belgium, despite initial reluctance, formally annexed the Free State, which became the Belgian Congo.

President Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated by one of his bodyguards on 16 January 2001 and was succeeded eight days later as President by his son Joseph.

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The Congo River is the world's deepest river and the world's second largest river by discharge.Bantu peoples began migrating into the region in the 5th century and again in the 10th century.In the West of the region, the Kingdom of Kongo ruled from the 14th to 19th centuries, while in the centre and East of the region, the kingdoms of Luba and Lunda ruled from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century.The Comité d'études du haut Congo ("Committee for the Study of the Upper Congo"), established by King Leopold II of Belgium in 1876, and the International Association of the Congo, established by him in 1879, were also named after the river.The word Kongo comes from their Kongo language (also called Kikongo).

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