French Congo
Congo français (French)
Flag of French Congo
Location of French Congo
StatusFrench colony
Common languagesFrench (official)
Fang, Myene, Kongo, Lingala
Christianity, Bwiti, Islam, traditional religions
• Established
• Renamed Middle Congo
• Reestablished as French Equatorial Africa
CurrencyFrench franc
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Kongo
Kingdom of Loango
Kingdom of Orungu
French Equatorial Africa
Today part ofRepublic of the Congo

The French Congo (French: Congo français) or Middle Congo (French: Moyen-Congo) was a French colony which at one time comprised the present-day area of the Republic of the Congo and parts of Gabon, and the Central African Republic. In 1910, it was made part of the larger French Equatorial Africa.

The modern Republic of the Congo is considered French Congo's successor state, having virtually identical borders, and having inherited rights to sovereignty and independence from France through the dissolution of French Equatorial Africa in the late 1950s.


French Congo once comprised the area of Congo, Gabon and Ubangi-Shari (present-day Central African Republic)

The French Congo began at Brazzaville on 10 September 1880 as a protectorate over the Bateke people along the north bank of the Congo River.[1] The treaty was signed between King Iloo I and Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza; Iloo I died the same year it was signed, but the terms of the treaty were upheld by his queen Ngalifourou.[2] It was formally established as the French Congo on 30 November 1882,[1] and was confirmed at the Berlin Conference of 1884–85. Its borders with Cabinda, Cameroons, and the Congo Free State were established by treaties over the next decade. The plan to develop the colony was to grant massive concessions to some thirty French companies. These were granted huge swaths of land on the promise they would be developed. This development was limited and amounted mostly to the extraction of ivory, rubber, and timber. These operations often involved great brutality and the near-enslavement of the locals.

Even with these measures most of the companies lost money. Only about ten earned profits. Many of the companies' vast holdings existed only on paper with virtually no presence on the ground in Africa.

The French Congo was sometimes known as Gabon-Congo.[3] It formally added Gabon on in 1891,[1] was officially renamed Middle Congo (French: Moyen-Congo) in 1903, was temporarily divorced from Gabon in 1906, and was then reunited as French Equatorial Africa in 1910 in an attempt to emulate the relative success of French West Africa.

In 1911 the Morocco-Congo Treaty gave part of the territory to Germany for an outlet on the Congo River. This land, known as Neukamerun, was officially regained by France after the First World War.

A 1906 study L'Expansion coloniale au Congo français, 'The colonial expansion of French Congo', was published in conjunction with the French Colonial Exposition in Marseille.[4] In 1925 African-American historian, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist W. E. B. Du Bois wrote "'Batouala' voices it. In the depths of the French Congo one finds the same exploitation of black folk as in the Belgian Congo or British West Africa."[5][6]

List of governors

Le Congo français in 1911

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Histoire militaire des colonies, pays de protectorat et pays sous mandat. 7. "Histoire militaire de l'Afrique Équatoriale française". 1931. Accessed 9 October 2011. (in French)
  2. ^ jeremy, rich (2012), Akyeampong, Emmanuel K; Gates, Henry Louis (eds.), "Ngalifourou", Dictionary of African Biography, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780195382075.001.0001, ISBN 978-0-19-538207-5, retrieved 16 January 2021
  3. ^ Payeur-Didelot: "Gabon – Colonie française du Gabon-Congo, 1/3,700,000", 1894. (in French)
  4. ^ Rouget, Ferdinand (1906). The Colonial Expansion of French Congo (in French). Émile Larose – via World Digital Library. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  5. ^ Du Bois, W. E. Burghardt (1 April 1925). "Worlds of Color". Foreign Affairs. Vol. 3, no. 3. ISSN 0015-7120.
  6. ^ DuBois, W. E. B. (1925). "The Negro Mind Reaches Out". In Locke, Alain LeRoy (ed.). The New Negro: An Interpretation (1927 ed.). Albert and Charles Boni. p. 385. LCCN 25025228. OCLC 639696145.

Further reading

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