Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Kinshasa from Philip's Encyclopedia

(formerly Léopoldville) Capital of Democratic Republic of Congo, a port on the River Congo. Founded in 1881, it replaced Boma as the capital of the Belgian Congo in 1923. Its name was changed in 1966. Industries: tanning, chemicals, brewing, textiles. Pop. (2005) 5,717,100.

Summary Article: Kinshasa
From The Columbia Encyclopedia

(kēn'shäsӘ), city (1984 pop. 2,664,309), capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, W Congo, a port on Pool Malebo of the Congo River. It is the Congo's largest city and its administrative, communications, and commercial center. Major industries are food and beverage processing, tanning, construction, ship repairing, and the manufacture of chemicals, mineral oils, textiles, and cement, but the city's economic life collapsed in the 1990s as a result of the political turmoil in the country. A transportation hub, Kinshasa is the terminus of the railroad from Matadi and of navigation on the Congo River from Kisangani; the international airport is a major link for African air traffic with Europe and the Americas. There is motorboat service to Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo, on the opposite bank of Pool Malebo.

In 1881 Henry M. Stanley, the Anglo-American explorer, renamed Kinshasa Leopoldville after his patron, Leopold II, king of the Belgians. In 1898 the rail link with Matadi was completed, and in 1926 the city succeeded Boma as the capital of the Belgian Congo. Its main growth occurred after 1945. A major anti-Belgian rebellion that took place there in Jan., 1959, started the country on the road to independence (June, 1960). In 1966 the city's name was changed from Leopoldville to Kinshasa, the name of one of the African villages that occupied the site in 1881.

Modern Kinshasa is an educational and cultural center and is the seat of Lovanium Univ. of Kinshasa (1954), which has an archaeological museum, the National School of Law and Administration, a telecommunications school, a research center for tropical medicine, and a museum of Africana. Historical buildings in the city include the chapel of the American Baptist Missionary Society (1891) and a Roman Catholic cathedral (1914). There is a large stadium (seating capacity about 70,000). Kinshasa is famous as a center for modern African music.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles

Full text Article Kinshasa
Encyclopedia of African History

In 1881 the American explorer Henry Morton Stanley, acting on behalf of King Leopold of Belgium, founded what was to become the city of...

Full text Article Kinshasa
The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Capital (since 1960) of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the Congo River, 400 km/250 mi inland from the port of Matadi; population (2004 est) 7,27

Full text Article Kinshasa
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

Capital and largest city (pop., 2005 est.: 5,717,000), Democratic Republic of the Congo. Situated on the southern bank of the Congo River, it was f

See more from Credo