The Congo Republic has a very ethnically diverse population. There are 62 spoken languages. The Kongo represent the largest ethnic group at about 48% of the population, with subgroups that include the Laari of Brazzaville and Pool and the Vili of Pointe-Noire. The second-largest ethnic group is the Sangha (20%) in the northern part of the country, followed by the Teke people (17%) who live north of Brazzaville. The Boulangui of the northwest and Brazzaville account for 12% of the total population, while the Pygmies make up 2%.
Prior to the war in 1997, there were 9,000 Europeans and non-Africans in the country, but most have left. There are also about 300 American expatriates in the Congo. A large percentage of the Congo's population remains undernourished and the HIV rate stands at 3.4%.
Republic of Congo Religion, Economy and Politics
Christianity is by far the dominant religion in the Republic of Congo, with over 90% of people practicing some form of it. 1% of people practice Sunni Islam, and the remaining population does not have a specific faith system. Indigenous religions were very different from Christianity and embrace animism, vitalism, spirit and ancestor worship, sorcery and witchcraft, yet these beliefs often mesh with the Christian Faith amongst the Congolese.
The economy in the Republic of Congo is extremely dependent on the petroleum sector. Rising oil prices during the 1980s brought an influx of revenue and allowed the country to invest in itself. Oil prices have dropped substantially since then and the economy isn't flourishing the way it once was. The Republic of Congo is focusing efforts on moving away from petroleum and in recent years they have begun converting natural gas to electricity instead of burning it.
As a unitary semi-presidential republic, the president is the head of state and the prime minister leads the government in the Republic of Congo. This system is extremely young as a new constitution was written up outlining the current system in just 2015. The legislative branch of the government is made up of both the chambers of parliament.
Republic of Congo Population History
Indigenous people have been to known to live in what is now the Republic of Congo since at least the 1400s. The French turned the land into their protectorate in 1880 and treated the people living there very poorly, and put thousands into forced labor. The Africans revolted in 1928, but the French pushed back and killed 17,000 native people. The Republic of Congo gained independence from France in 1960.
In the 1990s there began to be some civil strife in the Republic of Congo, when the people began opposing the government over parliamentary elections. A peace deal was signed in 1999. An ammunition dump in Brazzaville in 2012 killed nearly 300 and injured over 2,300.