The Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)
Brazzaville and Kinshasa are on either side of the Congo River. The urban areas of the two blur into one of the biggest in the world with around 11 million people, behind only Cairo (Egypt) and Lagos (Nigeria) in Africa. The Congo river was a prime vein into the continent as European trade started with those in the interior. A Portuguese trader reached the river mouth in 1484 developing commercial relationships with the inland Bantu Kingdoms (e.g. Kongo, Loango, Anziku) trading commodities, goods and captured people. In 1880, the French gained control of the area north of the Congo River. The area south (DR Congo) became the 'personal property' of King Leopold II, cousin of Queen Victoria and like Queen Elizabeth II of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (before it changed to Windsor). He was, cough, not a good man. About 10 million Congolese are estimated to have died under his reign. The economy under French colonial rule also focused on natural resource extraction. The Congo-Ocean railroad cost an estimated 14,000 lives to build. During World War II, Brazzaville became the symbolic capital of Free France. The Republic of Congo became fully independent of France in 1960.
Free France by Red (1940), Pink (1942) and Light Blue (after 1942)