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(kēn`shäsə), 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 MatadiMatadi
, city (1984 pop. 138,798), Kongo Central prov., W Congo (Kinshasa), on the Congo River. With one of the largest harbors in central Africa, Matadi is the main port of the country. Situated c.
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 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 BrazzavilleBrazzaville
, city (1984 pop. 585,812), capital of the Republic of the Congo, on Pool Malebo of the Congo River. It is the nation's largest city and its administrative, communications, and economic center.
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, 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.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(prior to 1966, Léopoldville), the capital of the Republic of Zaire and the country’s main commercial, transportation, industrial, financial, and cultural center. The city is located on the left bank of the Congo (Zaire) River, at the point where it widens to form Stanley Pool. Population, 1.3 million (1970). The climate is subequatorial, with rainy summers and dry winters. The mean temperature in July is about 22°C and in April about 27°C; annual precipitation totals 1,359 mm. Kinshasa has been reorganized as an independent administrative unit headed by a municipal commissioner.

Founded in 1881 by the African explorer H. Stanley, the city was named Léopoldville after the Belgian king Leopold II. From 1926 to 1960 it was the administrative center of the Belgian Congo. On Jan. 4, 1959, a political demonstration in the city set off a mass movement for independence throughout the country. The city has been, successively, the capital of the independent Republic of the Congo (1960–64), of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1964–71), and of the Republic of Zaire (since 1971).

The city’s economic development has been closely bound up with its role as a key trade and transportation center. A large portion of the nation’s foreign trade passes through Kinshasa. It is also the largest river port in the Congo basin, with a cargo turnover of 1.1 million tons in 1969. A railroad connects Kinshasa (bypassing Livingstone Falls) with the seaport of Matadi on the lower course of the Congo River. There is ferry service between Kinshasa and Brazzaville, the capital of the Congo, situated on the right bank of the Congo River. Kinshasa is a highway junction and has an airport (Ndolo). Some 25 km south of the city is the international Ndjili Airport. Kinshasa is an important manufacturing center, with food-processing enterprises (slaughterhouse, soft-drinks plants, breweries) and tobacco, textile, leather, footwear, garment, chemical, pharmaceutical, metalworking, and woodworking industries. The city produces building materials, electrical appliances, motor vehicles, bicycles, and transistor radios. There are also shipyards.

Kinshasa is the site of the National University, which has the nation’s largest library, institutes and schools (teacher training, architecture, plastic arts, and construction), the National Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, the Geography Institute, the Tropical Medicine Institute, the Geological Survey and other scientific institutions, and the National Scientific Research Administration. Also found in the city are the National Company (since 1969) and several amateur theater companies, an ethnographic museum, and a zoo.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Za?re), on the River Congo opposite Brazzaville: became capital of the Belgian Congo in 1929 and of Za?re in 1960; university (1954). Pop.: 5 717 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Kinsasha is the third bonobo to actually be born at Twycross Zoo and staff are delighted to welcome the new addition to the family, especially considering their endangered status.
I'LL LOOK AFTER YOU: Diakou with Kinsasha, the new baby bonobo, at Twycross Zoo.