Central Africa


Examine the physical and cultural geography of Zaire.
Compare the geographic features of the other Central African countries.

     Chapter Overview

Chapter 19: Central Africa

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has rich natural resources that are largely undeveloped because of civil war and poor government decisions. The Congo, Africa's second-longest river, winds through Central Africa until it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. A large rain forest covers most of the country. The Congo region was first settled about 10,000 years ago. Today people from 250 different ethnic groups live there. There are six other countries in Central Africa. Rain forest covers much of these other countries. Agriculture is the main economic activity.

     Quick Notes


Zaire's land area is about one-fourth the size of the United States.
The Zaire River is Zaire's major "highway."
Zaire has one of the largest tropical rain forest areas in the world.
Vast savannas are home to Zaire's most valuable resources--antelopes, leopards, zebras, giraffes, and other wildlife.
Because of its location on the Equator, Zaire generally has a tropical climate.
Many important mineral resources, including copper and industrial diamonds, are found in Zaire.
Zaire's 43 million people belong to many different ethnic groups.

Other Countries of Central Africa

The Central African Republic's landlocked location makes economic development difficult.
Cameroon's coastal location has boosted its economic growth.
Gabon and Congo export lumber and petroleum.
Most of the people in Equatorial Guinea live on the mainland where they farm and harvest wood from the rain forests.
Sao Tome and Principe is an island nation with rich volcanic soil good for farming.

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