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3 1924 077 094 401 

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I. Fbontiees 

II. Physical Geography 

III. Climate 

IV. Vegetation . 
V. Fauna . 

VI. Native Eaces 

VII. Conditions of Native Life. 

xVIII. Political Organization 

IX. Cultural Conditions . . . . 

X. Religion and Ceremonial . 

XI. Agricultural and Forest Products 

XII. Minerals 

XIII. Communications .... 

XIV. Foreign Trade .... 
V XV. Government and Administration 

^XVI. Conditions affecting the DE?ELorMENT 
THE Congo 

Index . 




















Communications Map 

at end 


The greater part of our information regarding the Belgian 
Congo is derived from the work of explorers and travellers, 
the reports of officials of the Belgian Government, and the 
researches of investigators in various branches of science. 
Despite the great mass of this material, however, our know- 
ledge of the country is still very imperfect. "When the 
immense area of the region (about 910,000 square miles), the 
difficulties of communication within it, and the comparatively 
limited resources at the disposal of the authorities are taken 
into consideration, this fact is by no means surprising, but it 
renders difficult any attempt to give a systematic and co- 
ordinated account of the country as a whole. No detaile'H 
and accurate topographical survey, for example, has yet 
been made, and the nature of the surface-forms over 
large areas has never been properly described. Geological 
investigation has in the main been confined to those districts 
which are believed to be rich in mineral wealth, and even 
there it has seldom advanced beyond the preliminary stages. 
Within recent years a number of reports by officers of the 
Service agricole have provided much useful information re- 
garding the soils of certain localities, but in proportion to the 
total area of the colony these reports are relatively few in 
number and limited in extent. A small number of meteoro- 
logical stations have been established, but their records as 
a rule extend back for only two or three years and form but 
a scanty basis for generalization. On the flora and fauna of 
the country some valuable research has been done by the 
Musee du Congo beige and by various scientists acting inde- 
pendently of it, but many years must elapse before such 
a survey as they have begun can be satisfactorily completed. 
The same is true of the state of ethnical inquiry : some of the 
tribes have been studied in great detail, but of others there is 


scarcely a word. The investigation of the economic wealth of 
the country has naturally received more attention. Various 
companies to whom concessions have been granted have 
explored their lands more or less thoroughly, although the 
results have in many cases not been made public. More im- 
portant perhaps are the investigations made by the Service 
agricole into the distribution and cultivation of plants of 
economic value and the suitability of certain areas for the 
development of a pastoral industry.' The chief mineral areas 
have probably been located, but their extent and value can in 
most cases only be guessed at. With regard to communica- 
tions a systematic study of many of the waterways has still 
to be made, and before the development of the railway system 
can be undertaken on an extensive scale the best routes have 
to be determined. 

Position and Extent 

The Belgian Congo is situated in the basin of the Congo in 
Equatorial Africa, and lies between the parallels of 5° 20' N. 
and 13° 40' S., and between the meridians of 12° 10' E. and 
31° 30' E. Its area is estimated at 910,000 square miles. 

The original idea in the foundation of the Congo Indepen- 
dent State was that it should include the whole basin of the 
Congo, but various political circumstances have restricted the 
present Belgian colony within somewhat narrower limits. 
On the northern frontier all the land drained by the right- 
bank tributaries of the Bomu, the Ubangi, and the Congo as 
far as the Cataracts belongs either to French Equatorial 
Africa or to the Cameroons. Below Manyanga, however, 
Belgian territory extends to the right bank of the Congo, and 
includes not only the drainage area of that river, but part of 
that of the Chiloango, as well as the basins of several smaller 
streams which flow directly to the Atlantic. 

In the north-east the frontier coincides with the Congo-Nile 
watershed from the sources of the Bomu almost to Lake Albert, 
but in the east a narrow strip of country which extends- 
southwards as far as the sources of the Euchuru falls within 
the basin of the Nile. Farther to the south the eastern and 
southern shores of Lakes Kivu and Tanganyika, which 
drain to the Congo, belong either to East Africa or to 


Rhodesia. To the squth of Lake Mweru also, where the 
Luapula marks i^h.0 frontier, part of the Congo ,basip belongs 
to Rhodesia. 

The eastern part of the southern fronl^ier follows the Gongo- 
Zambezi divide, but w;est of the Kasai this ceases to be the 
case, and many of the tributaries of that river rise upori and 
drain a considerable part of the plateau of Portuguese Angola. 

The total area of the basin of the Congo is estimated at 
1,425,000 square miles, that of the Belgian Congo at 910,000 
sqviare miles. When the area of those relatively small parts 
of the colony which are not drained by the Congo is deducted 
and allowances are made for probable ,iriaccuracies in the 
figures given, it is seen that the Belgian Congo includes 
between 60 and 65 per cent, of the whole basin of the Congo. 
The area of Africa is estimated at 11,262,000 square miles, and 
the Belgian Congo is therefore a little less than one-twelfth 
the size of the whole continent. 

General Considerations 

The Bejlgian Congo is a region of great geographical interest. 
The low sandstone plateau which forms the central part of the 
colony is surrounded on all sides by highett peripheral regions 
which are of more varied geological formation, and are some- 
times rich in mineral wealth. The basin which is thus 
formed lies on both sides of the equator, and this fact is of 
the greatest importance in regard both to climate and veger 
tation. The central region has a uniformly high temperature 
with rain at all seasons of the year ; on the periphery the 
annual range is greater, and in the south at least there is 
a well-marked dry season. The characteristic features of the 
vegetation are therefore the dense forests, of the equatorial 
districts and the savannas and steppes of the surrounding 
uplands. Human activities are profoundly modified by these 
conditions. In the forest the struggle for existence is on the 
whole severe, the opportunities for agriculture are restricted, 
and man has often to devote a considerable part of his time fq 
hunting or fishing ; on the savanna the conditions are more 
favourable, th^ cultivation of the land presents fewer difficulties, 
and a more civilized life is frequently possible ; the inhabitants 
of the steppe are sometimes engaged in pastoral pursuits. 


The development of the country is also affected to some extent 
by the same geographical factors. In the forest the exploita- 
tion of natural products, such as rubber, palm-oil, and copal, 
and the establishment of plantations in which tropical plants 
may be cultivated are the chief pursuits of the white man ; 
the uplands on the other hand contain considerable stores of 
mineral wealth, and European interests there are mainly con- 
cerned with its development. 

The problems connected with the civilization and develop- 
ment of the Belgian Congo are both numerous and hard of 
solution. In the forested region, and to some extent elsewhere, 
the natives live, and will for long be compelled to live, in- 
small and more or less isolated communities. No common 
interest unites these different groups, and indeed they are 
frequently at enmity with one another. Under European 
control law and order can no doubt be established in the 
country, and a certain amount of help can be given to the 
native. But to raise him from the low state of civilization in 
which he at present exists, to educate him, and to improve his 
moral and social outlook will be a task of the greatest difficulty. 
There appear to be no native institutions which can be adapted 
to these ends, and owing to climatic conditions the number of 
Europeans resident in the colony must necessarily be small 
and their influence restricted. The chief hope of the country 
would seem to be in the mission schools, but whether the 
natives who have been trained there will exercise a humanizing 
influence when they return to their villages, or will relapse 
into the barbarism from which they have so recently emerged 
is still a matter of doubt. 

The economic development of the country will likewise 
proceed slowly. Apart from mining and the cultivation of 
plantation products it will depend very largely on the extent 
to which the native methods of agriculture can be improved. 
But it must be remembered that within the forest area climatic 
conditions have an enervating effect, and it may be questioned 
whether the native is equal to the expenditure of more physical 
energy than at present, or whether there is much inducement 
for him to attempt it. On the upland savannas surrounding 
the central basin co]iditions are probably more hopeful, but 
there is as yet too little information to justify any forecast of 
the lines along which progress will be made. 


The development of the communications of the country- 
presents another set of problems. Practically the whole 
region drains to the river Congo, and the chief means of 
access is from the Atlantic coast. But the Congo does not 
give that unity to the region which might have beeii expected. 
Both it and its tributaries are in places interrupted by falls 
and do not form good through routes. Hence some of the 
peripheral districts show a centrifugal tendency. The Katanga 
in the south-east belongs physically to the plateau of South 
Africa, and has been developed as a result of the northward 
movement of European man on that plateau. Its present 
outlet is at Beira on the east coast, but its future port may be 
at Lobito Bay on the west coast. In any cdse its southern 
part at least will remain economically outside the Congo 
basin. The Eastern Highlands which border the Great Eift 
Valley belong to East Africa, and the movement to bring them 
within the hinterland of the Indian Ocean, as evidenced by 
the railway from Dar-es-Salam to Lake Tanganyika, has 
become pronounced within recent years. The north-eastern 
districts which border the Congo-Nile divide and the eastern 
part of the country between the "Welle and the Ituri may 
conceivably turn towards the Nile as they develop. Even at 
present a certain amount of trade takes place by way of that 

To a limited extent the Congo attracts trade from regions 
beyond the borders of the Belgian colony, and its value in 
this respect was shown in 1911, when the German possession 
of the Cameroons was extended so as to touch the river at two 
■ points. But here also the centrifugal tendency is apparent, 
and the French contemplate extending their existing line 
from Brazzaville to Minduli west to Pointe Noire so as to 
obtain an independent outlet in their own territory. 



The frontiers of the Belgian Congo were only gradually- 
defined. This arose from the informal and almost irregular 
way in which the Congo Free State came into existence. 
During the latter half of the nineteenth century great interest 
was aroused in Europe by the progress of African exploration, 
and Leopold II, King of Belgium, was one of those most 
attracted by the possibilities which it opened up. In 1876 he 
invited various explorers and others interested in the subject 
to a conference at Brussels. As a result of it an International 
African Association was formed with the objects of pursuing 
the work of discovery in Africa, suppressing the slave trade, 
and developing commerce as a civilizing agency. The inter- 
national character of the Association, however, was of short 
duration, and before long Belgian interests predominated, 
Leopold himself supplying most of the funds. 

In 1878, after Stanley's return from his great journey across 
Africa, he met the king and some members of the Association 
in Belgium, and it was agreed to form a subsidiary body of 
the Association, the Comite d'dtudes du Haut- Congo, which 
later on took the title Association internationale du Congo. 
Under the auspices of the Comite Stanley again went to Africa, 
in 1879, and during the next few years was busily engaged in 
exploring various parts of the Congo basin, in establishing 
posts, and in concluding treaties with the native chiefs. . His 
activities caused much anxiety to other Powers, notably 
Portugal, which considered that they also had claims in the 
region, and in 1884-5 the Berlin Conference was held to 
discuss and as far as possible to regulate the whole position. 
The Act of the , Conference provided for freedom of trade in 
the basin of the Congo and elsewhere, the suppression of 
slavery, the treatment of natives, the conditions under which 
commerce might be conducted, and various other matters of 


a similar nature. In fact it laid- down tlie genial principles 
on which the country ought to' h& governed. "When the Act 
was signed the president of the Intetnational Association, 
acting on the authority of King laeopold, signified his 
adhesion to it. 

While the Conffereneo was proceeding; however, the Inter- 
na;tional Association had been negotiating w'ith the repi^e- 
sentatives of the various Power's attending it, and, after mating 
some concessions to be mentioned later, had been recognized as 
a sovereign State. It was to this recognition that the Congo 
Free State owed its origin. Shortly thereafter King Leopold 
accepted the sovereignty of the country while the Inter- 
national Association, which had been used as a stklking-^'horse, 
appears to have died a natural death. 

Belgo-Poetuguese (Kabinda) FEONrtteE 

Before Portugal consented to recognize the sovereignty of 
the International Association in the Congo basin, there was 
a lively dispute regarding the lands lying on either side of 
the estuary. Portugal, on the strength of her long connexion 
with the region, was anxious to retain both banks of the river. 
She was eventually compelled, however, to surrender the 
north bank, but was allowed to remain in possession of the 
enclave of Kabinda. The treaty of February 14, 1885, by 
which she recognized the International Association, defined 
the boundary between their possessions, but, as it was based 
on insufficient geographical knowledge, it had to be modified 
in the light of subsequent discoveries. An attempt to do so 
was made in the Convention of May 25, 1891, but it was 
not until much later that the matter was finally settled. In 
1900-2, a joint delimitation commission considered the whole 
matter, and its report was ultimately accepted by a protocol 
dated July 5, 1913. 

The arrangement arrived at by this protocol was briefly 
as follows. From the point at which French, Portuguese, 
and Belgian territory meet the frontier follows the thalweg of 
the Chiloango as far as its confluence with the Lukula, and 
then the thalweg of the latter river to the point (5° 10 'S., 
iS" 32' E.) at which it is joined by the Zenze. From there a 
straight line is drawn southward to the parallel of latitude 


which passes through the source of the river Lulofe on the 
slope of the plateau of Nime-Chiama. The frontier then runs 
along this parallel westward to the geodetic pillar at Yema 
(5°44'S., 12°18'E.), whence it follows first the thalweg of 
the Lulofe and then that of the Venzo, as far as Mallango. , 
From there a purely conventional frontier runs to the coast, 
which is reached about a mile and three-quarters north of the 
lagoon of Lunga. 

Feanco-Belgian (Mayumbe) Frontier 
Difficulties had also to be settled with France before 
recognition could be obtained. The Association claimed rights 
not only in the basin of the Congo but in that of the Niadi 
Kwilu, while France had not abandoned her desire for land 
south of the Congo. Finally, an agreement was reached by 
which the basin of the Niadi Kwilu was assigned to France 
and the land south of the Congo to the Association. By the 
Convention of February 5, 1885, it was resolved that the 
frontier should run from the source of the Chiloango along 
the watershed between the Niadi Kwilu and the Congo as far 
as the meridian of Manyanga. From there a line was to be 
settled, which should follow as far as possible some natural 
division of the land, and should end between the station of 
Manyanga and the cataract of Ntombo Mataka, at a point 
situated on the navigable portion of the river. (By the 
Protocol of November 22, 1885, the southern portion of this 
line was defined ; it follows various minor irregularities of the 
land which need not be detailed here). Beyond Manyanga it- 
was arranged that the frontier should follow the Congo up to 
Stanley Pool, pass through the centre of the Pool, and continue 
along the river to a point above the Likona-Nkunja. From 
there a line was to be drawn, following as far as possible the 
water-parting of the latter river, until it met the 17th degree 
of longitude east of Greenwich, which then became the frontier. 
As will be seen later, the latter portion of this convention had 
to be modified subsequently. 

Teeeitoeies Claimed by the International Association 
In the preceding paragraphs the frontiers of the territories 
claimed by the International Association have been described ' 
in so far as they were affected by treaties made with Portugal 


and France. In its Declaration of Neutrality on August 1, 
1885, the Congo Free State defined the extent of its possessions 
as it then understood them. From the point at which the 
watershed of the Likona-Nkunja reached the 17th meridian 
of east longitude that meridian was to constitute the boundary 
until it met the 4th parallel of north latitude, which then 
became the frontier as far east as the 30th degree of east 
longitude. This meridian was then followed to 1° 20' south 
of the equator, and from that point a straight line was 
drawn to the northern extremity of Lake Tanganyika. From 
there the boundary ran along the median line of Lake Tan- 
ganyika, the straight line connecting Lake Tanganyika with 
Lake Mweru by 8° 30' S., the median line of Lake Mweru, 
the watercourse which connects it with Lake Bangweulu, 
and the western shores of that lake. On the south the fron- 
tier was described as running westward from the southern 
extremity of Lake Bangweulu along the Congo-Zambezi divide 
as far as the 24th degree of east longitude. From there it 
followed the watershed of the Kasai between the 12th and 
6th parallels, and then went due west until it met the Kwango. 
This river then became the boundary as far north as the 
parallel of Noki, and from the point where they met the 
frontier turned due west again until it reached the meridian 
which passes through the mouth of the "Wango "Wango. We 
have now to examine how far this provisional boundary was 
subsequently modified. 

Feahco-Belgian (Congo-TJbangi) Feontiee 

As the Belgians began to occupy effectively the lands to 
which they laid claim, various questions dealing with frontiers 
arose to cause trouble with neighbouring States. One of the 
first of these had regard to the Franco-Belgian boundary, which 
was to follow the Congo above Stanley Pool to a point to be 
fixed above the Likona-Nkunja, thence to longitude 17° E., fol- 
lowing as closely as possible the water-parting between these 
two rivers. Differences of opinion arose as to the river called 
Likona-Nkunja, but eventually the French contention that 
the Ubangi was the river really intended was accepted by 
King Leopold. A protocol signed on April 29, 1887, stated 
that from its confluence with the Congo the thalweg of the 


Ubaiigi shall form the boundary until its iiiterSectidri b'y 
the 4th parallel of north latitude. The Congo Free State 
undertook not tb exercise ' any political action on the right 
bank of the Ubangi to the north of the 4th parallel, while the 
French Republic made a similar promise with regard to the 
left bank north of the same parallel: It was further agreed 
that in no case should the frdntier of the Free State be drawn 
to the south of the 4th parallel, which had been assigned* to 
it by the Convention of February 5, 1885. 

Matters rested in this position for a few yeairs, when the 
designs of Leopold in the basin of the Bahr-el-Ghazar led to' 
further trouble. The French maintained that the boundary 
of the Free State was marked in this region by the 4th parallel, 
while the Free State argued that the 4th parallel was 
merely a ' minimum boundary, that the Ubangi ceased at the 
confluence of the Bomu and Welle, and that she was therefore 
entitled to take possession of the lands' in the basin of the 
Bahr-el-Ghazal, which were vacant when : she entered them. 
Relations were further strained by the treaty of May 12, 
1894, to be referred to presently, between Britain and King 
L'eopold, but eventually the latter yielded, and on August 14, 
1894, an agreement "was signed with France. From the con- 
fluence of the Bomu and the Welle the boundary was 'to 
follow the Bomu up to its source, cross in a straight line 
to the Congo-Nile watershed, and follow it to its intersection 
with the 30th meridian of east longitude. The Free State on 
the other hand undertook to renounce all occupation and to 
exercise no political influence in the basin of the Bahr-el- 
Ghazal north of the parallel 5° 30' N. 

A Declaration made on February 5, 1895, and renewed in 
a treaty signed November 28, 1907, defined more clearly Fi'ench 
and Belgian interests in the district of Stanley Pool. The 
boundary was to follow the median line of the Pool up to the 
point of contact with the island of Bamu, the southern shore 
of this island up to its eastern extremitj'-, and then the mediah' 
line of the Pool. The eifect was to transfer the island to France, 
but it was agreed that it should not be made into a military 


Anglo-Belgian (Noeth-Easteen) Feontiee 

In pursuance of his schemes in the Upper Nile Leopold 
tried to obtain from Britain what he could not obtain from 
France, and as, in 1894, Britain was disinclined to pursue an 
active policy for the reconquest of the Sudan, but was not 
unwilling to see a weaker Power than France established in 
the Upper Nile, Leopold had little difficulty in negotiating 
a treaty. This treaty, which was signed at Brussels on May 12, 
1894, laid it down that the sphere of iniiuence of the Free 
State, north of the German sphere in East Africa, should 
be limited by a frontier following the' 30th meridian east 
of Greenwich up to its intersection with the Congo-Nile 
watershed, and should then follow that watershed in a 
northerly and north-westerly direction. In addition Great 
Britain granted to Leopold a lease of certain territories for 
his own life. These territories were to be bounded by a line 
starting from a point situated on the west shore of Lake Albert 
immediately to the south of Mahagi, and running to the nearest 
point of the frontier defined above. Thence it was to follow 
the watershed between the Congo and the Nile up to the 
25th meridian east of Greenwich, and that meridian up to its 
intersection with the 10th parallel of north latitude. From 
there it was to run along the 10th parallel to a point to be 
determined to the north of Fashoda, after which it was to 
follow the thalweg of the Nile southward to Lake Albert and 
the western shore of Lake Albert to the point above indicated 
south of Mahagi. Further it was stipulated that on the 
death of Leopold the treaty should remain in force as far as 
concerned all the portion of this territory to the west of the 
30th meridian, as well as a strip 25 kilometres in breadth to 
be delimited by common consent, stretching from the water- 
shed between the Nile and the Congo up to the western shore 
of Lake Albert and including the port of Mahagi. In return 
for this the Free State leased to Britain a strip of land, 
25 kilometres broad, extending from the most northerly point 
on Lake Tanganyika to the most southerly point of Lake 
Albert. Germany, however, protested so strongly against 
this latter arrangement that it was abandoned by Britain in 
a Declaration signed at Brussels on June 22, 1894. At the 



same time that the above agreement was signed letters were 
exchanged between the contracting parties containing as- 
surances that they did not ignore the claims of Turkey and 
Egypt in the basin of the upper Nile. 

Before the effective occupation of the leased territory took 
place, however, the situation had radically altered. , In 1898 
the power of the Khalifa was overthrown by Lord Kitchener, 
and, although the Free State sought to take advantage of the 
Dervish defeat by occupying various posts in the leased 
territory, Britain contended that the rights of Egypt over 
the region had revived. A period of straiaied relations 
followed, and it was not till 1906 that an agreement was 
reached. On May 9 of that year a treaty was signed which 
annulled that part of the Agreement of May 12, 1894, dealing 
with the leased territory, but allowed Leopold to retain for his 
own life the district known as the Lado enclave, the extent of 
which was deiined as follows; ' The Enclave comprises the terri- 
tory bounded by a line drawn from a point situated on the west 
shore of Lake Albert, immediately to the south of Mahagi, to 
the nearest point of the watershed between the Nile and 
Congo basins; thence the boundary follows that watershed 
up to its intersection from the north with the 30th meridian 
east of Greenwich, and that meridian up to its intersection 
with the parallel of 5° 30' of north latitude, whence it runs 
along that parallel to the Nile ; thence it follows the Nile 
southward to Lake Albert, and the western shore of Lake 
Albert down to the point above indicated south of Mahagi.' 

At the same time the boundary between the Congo and the 
Sudan was defined. Starting from the point of intersection 
of the meridian of 30° east of Greenwich with the watershed 
between the Congo and the Nile, the frontier was to follow 
that watershed in a generally north-westerly direction until 
it reached the frontier between the Free State and the French 
Congo. It was also decided, however, that the strip of land 
25 kilometres broad, stretching from the Congo-Nile water- 
shed to Lake Albert, already referred to, should continue in 
the possession of the Free State. 

Before describing the final adjustment of frontiers in this 
part of the colony, it is advisable to consider the evolution 
of the frontier between the Belgian Congo and the British 
possessions in East Africa. As already indicated, the Declara- 


tion of Neutrality issued by the Independent State in 1885 
stated that the 30th meridian east of Greenwich should form 
the eastern boundary of its possessions between the parallels of 
4° N. and 1° 20' S. By this arrangement a considerable stretch 
of territory belonging to the basin of the Congo and lying to 
the west of Lake Albert was excluded from the Independent 
State. On December 28, 1894, however, after the Franco- 
Belgian frontier had been defined, and geographical know- 
ledge of the region considerably extended, a new Declaration 
of Neutrality was issued, and in it the boundary, which now 
ran along the thalweg of the Bomu to its source, and then in 
a straight line to the Congo-Nile watershed, was continued 
along the watershed to its intersection by the 30th meridian, 
and then along 'the extension of this watershed until its 
second intersection by the aforesaid meridian'. From the 
latter point the 30th meridian again became the boundary as 
far south as the parallel 1° 20' S. This arrangement appears 
to have been accepted by Britain in the. Agreement of May 12, 
1894, though it is not quite clearly stated there. As the 
Independent State was still excluded from Lake Albert by 
this arrangement, the Mahagi strip was constituted in order 
to give it access to that lake. 

Further difficulties soon arose. A delimitation commission 
found that the 30th meridian did not lie where it had been 
thought that it did, but between 11 and 12 miles farther 
to the east. One result of this discovery was that the British 
found themselves excluded from Lake Edward. Moreover 
difficulties had arisen with Germany. According to the 
Declaration of Neutrality the boundary was to run from the 
30th meridian at its intersection with the parallel of 1° 20' S. 
to the northern extremity of Lake Tanganyika. At this 
time, however, the existence of Lake Kivu was' unknown, 
and when it was discovered, in 1894, Germany claimed a 
right of access to it. The matter remained long in dispute, 
and the difficulty was accentuated when Britain and Germany 
came to an agreement regarding some territory to the north 
of Lake Kivu which the Free State claimed. Finally on 
May 14, 1910, a protocol was signed by representatives of 
Belgium, Britain, and Germany, whereby a settlement was 
effected of various matters on which differences of opinion 
had arisen. 

B 2 


By this protocol the highest summit of Mount Sabinio, which 
lies to the north of Lake Kivu, was taken as the point where 
British, Belgian, and German possessions met. From there 
the Anglo-Belgian frontier was to run in a straight line to the 
summit of Mount Nkabwa, but it was provided that in de- 
limiting this section of the frontier the commissioners 
appointed for the purpose might deviate from a straight line 
to a distance of 3 kilometres on either side in order to take 
advantage of natural features when it was of advantage to do 
so, as long as the total area of British or Belgian territory was 
not affected. The commission completed its work in 1911, but 
its report, dealing with rather minute points, need not be 
detailed here. They are incorporated in a protocol signed at 
Buswenda on May 14, 1911, and in the agreement signed at. 
London on February 3, 1915. 

From the summit of Mount Nkabwa the boundary as far 
north as a point on the parallel 2° T N. midway between the 
shores of Lake Albert, as determined by a mixed commission 
at Brussels in 1910, was accepted in the protocol signed there 
on May 10 of that year. It follows first the parallel of latitude 
of the summit of Mount Nkabwa eastwards to its intersection 
with the thalweg of the river Manyaga, the thalweg of that 
river to its confluence with the thalweg of the Ishasha, and the 
thalweg of the Ishasha to its mouth in Lake Edward. From 
the mouth of the Ishasha it crosses Lake Edward in a straight 
line to the mouth of the river Lubilia-Chako, and ascends the 
thalweg of that river to its source. It then follows straight 
lines connecting the source, of the Lubilia-Chako with the 
summit of Margharita Peak (the highest point of the Euwenzori 
range), and Margharita Peak with the source of the river Lami, 
situated about 5-4 kilometres north-west of the peak Kalengili 
and about 20 kilometres south-west of the hill-top Karangora. 
The thalweg of the Lami as far as its confluence with the 
thalweg of the Semliki, and the thalweg of the Semliki then 
form the frontier as far as Lake Albert. In Lake Albert itself 
the boundary is formed by a succession of straight lines passing 
through the points situated midway between the shores of the 
lake on the parallels of 1° 30' N., 1° 45' N., and 2° N. to a point 
midway between the shores of the lake on the parallel of 
2° V' N. By this arrangement Britain remained in possession 
of an outlet on Lake Edward, Avhile the Belgian Congo received 


the left bank of Lake^ Albert, which placed it in communication 
with the valley of the Nile. 

As a result of this arrangement the necessity for the 
Mahagi strip ceased to exist, and the Protocol of 1910 arranged 
that the frontier between the point already mentioned on 
the parallel 2° 7' N. and the Congo-Nile watershed should 
run in a westerly direction to the point of intersection of the 
shore with the southern boundary of the Mahagi strip, and 
then along the southern boundary to the watershed. But 
when this region came to be examined in detail it was found 
that, owing to a bend in the watershed, the Mahagi strip had an 
east-and-west direction and not a north-and-south one as was 
usually indicated on the maps. A joint Anglo-Belgian com- 
mission appointed to delimit a suitable frontier reported in 
1913, and after some modifications its proposals were adopted 
and embodied in the Agreement of February 3, 1915. From 
the point on parallel 2° 1' N., midway between the shores of 
Lake Albert, the boundary runs northward till it meets a 
straight line drawn from the summit of the hill Kagudi 
through the summit of a knoll on the coast about 1-7 kilo- 
metre south-east by east of the hill Kagudi, then a straight 
line to the summit of the hill Kagudi, and then another 
straight line drawn towards the summit of the hill Biet as far 
as its intersection with a straight line joining the summit of 
the hill Milia to the confluence of the rivers Nashiodo and 
Alala. From this point a straight line was drawn to their 
confluence, after which the boundary followed the Nashiodo to 
its source nearest the summit of the hill Keresi ; thence a 
straight line to the summit of the hill. From here the boundary 
follows in succession the watershed of the Sido basin to the 
summit of the hill Aminzi, a straightf^line to the top of the 
rock Monda, a straight line to the confluence of the rivers 
Narodo and Niabola, the thalweg of the river Niabola upwards 
to the point on it nearest to the summit of the hill Agu, and 
a straight line to the summit. Beyond this point^the]boundary 
is traced first along the watershed of the^Aioda friver basin to 
the summit of the hill Sisi and then along the watershed of the 
Leda river basin to the summit of a knoll situated about 
4-2 kilometres south-east and east of the hill Cho. It then 
runs along the watershed between the Niagaki river basin and 
the tributary which joins it just below its confluence with the 


Ammodar as far as tlie point on this watershed nearest to the 
confluence of the Niagaki and Ammodar ; thence a straight 
line to this confluence. The thalweg of the Ammodar then 
forms the boundary upwards to its junction (at a point about 
1,600 metres south-west of the summit of the hill Akar) with 
the thalweg of that tributary of which the source is close to a 
knoll on the Congo-Nile watershed, about 5-6 kilometres south- 
south-east of the summit of the hill Ham and about 6-2 kilo- 
metres west-south-west of the summit of the hill Akar. Beyond 
this the thalweg of the tributary is followed to its source, from 
which point a straight line is drawn to the summit of the 
above-mentioned knoll on the Congo-JN ile watershed. ■ 

Belgo-Gekman (Lake Tanganyika) Feontiek 

The events which led to disagreement between Belgium and 
Germany on the eastern frontier have already been mentioned. 
The joint commission whose recommendations were embodied 
in the Protocol of 1910 had their work ratified by their 
respective Governments in 1911. At least part of the proposed 
boundary was actually delimited before the outbreak of war. 

According to the protocol the boundary leaves the median 
line of Lake Tanganyika at its northern end and follows the 
thalweg of the principal western branch of the Rusisi as far as 
the northern point of the delta. It then keeps along the thalweg 
of that river, to the point where it leaves Lake Kivu. "Where 
the river divides into several branches the local authorities are 
to determine which is the principal branch. Across Lake Kivu 
a line was drawn from the Rusisi to a point in the north 
situated midway between Goma and Kisenyi in such a way 
as to give the islands of Iwinza, Nyamaronga, Kwidjwi, and 
Kitanga in the west to Belgium and the islands of Kikaya, 
Gombo, Kumenie, and Wau in the east to Germany. (The 
map showing the exact tracing of this line has not been 
published.) To the north the frontier was to follow as far as 
possible the meridian of the point situated midway between 
Goma and Kessegnies as far as another point about 500 metres 
to the south of the road going from Goma by Bussoro, Iwuwiro, 
Niakawanda, and Buhamba to the pass between the Rukeri 
and the Hehu. It was provided that in delimiting this part 
of the frontier native tribes should as far as possible be left in 
German territory. From the point last indicated the frontier 


turns to the north-east and runs at a distance of 500 metres to 
the east of the road already mentioned as far as the parallel of 
Niakawanda. Where there are suitable natural features the 
frontier may be carried 1,000 metres from the road. To the 
north of Niakawanda the frontier could only be approximately 
traced, but it was understood that it should not go east of the 
greatest depression between the slopes of Ninagongo and 
Karissimbi. To the north of the parallel of the hill Bihira the 
boundary was to be drawn in such a way as to follow as far as 
possible the natural features of the land and to pass about 
midway between Bihira and Buhamba to the northern point 
of the Hehu. (The maps referred to in this part of the agree- 
ment were not published. The delimitation was entrusted 
to a joint commission, whose work, though completed, does not 
appear to have been ratified.) From the summit of the Hehu 
the frontier runs in a straight line to the highest point of 
Karissimbi and from there to the summit of the Vissoke. It 
then follows the crest of the chain of small craters to the 
summit of Mount Sabinio. 

The southern part of the Belgo-German frontier as defined 
by the Declarations of Neutrality is the median line of Lake 


The boundary between the Belgian Congo and Rhodesia was 
settled by the Agreement of May 12, 1894. It was then decided 
that the frontier should follow a line running direct from the 
extremity of Cape Akalunga on Lake Tanga.nyika, situated at 
the northernmost point of Cameron Bay at about 8° 15' S., to 
the right bank of the river Luapula where this river issues 
from Lake Mweru. From there the line was drawn directly to 
the entrance of the river into the lake, being, however, deflected 
towards the south of the lake so as to give the island of Kilwa 
to Great Britain. It was then to follow the thalweg of the 
Luapula up to its issue from Lake Bangweulu, and from there 
southwards along the meridian of longitude of the point 
where the river leaves the lake to the watershed between the 
Congo and the Zambezi, which it was to follow until it reached 
the Portuguese frontier. 

It was only in 1911, however, that an attempt was made to de- 
limit this frontier, and then it was found that a further rearrange- 


ment would be necessary with regard to the strip of Congo 
territory which according to the Agreement of 1894 was sup- 
posed to be bounded on the west by the Luapula and on the 
east by the meridian of Panta, the place at which the river 
issues from Lake Bangweulu. The river which leaves the lake 
appears to lose itself in the swamps to the south of it, and the 
river which leaves the swamps flows alternately east and west 
of the meridian in question. The simplest method of re- 
adjusting the frontier would be to carry it along the thalweg 
of the Luapula from Lake Mweru to the point at which it first 
meets the meridian of Panta and then to follow that meridian 
south to the Congo-Zambezi divide. This would involve the 
surrender of a small strip of land which Belgium has hitherto 
considered to be her own property and would deny her access 
to the lake, but the loss in either case would be slight. 

The survey of the boundary between the Congo and Rhodesia 
was completed in 1914, but the outbreak of war stopped 
negotiations for the time being. 

BELGO'PoETuauESE (Angola) Feontiee 

In the Convention between the International Association 
and Portugal dated May 14, 1885, very little is said about 
the boundary between the Congo and Angola. It was merely 
defined in the parallel of Noki, from that town to the point at 
which it intersects the Kwango, and the Kwango itself in 
a southerly direction — presumably as far as the 6th parallel, 
which, according to the Declaration of Neutrality signed 
shortly after, marked the southern limit of the possessions of the 
International Association as far east as the eastern watershed 
of the Kasai. As the Belgians pushed forward in the south, 
however, they passed beyond the limits here indicated, and in 
1890 Leopold II created the district of East Kwango, which 
• included Lunda, as the result of an expedition by Dhanis, who 
had concluded treaties with the native chiefs. A period of 
strained relations which followed was ended by two treaties 
signed May 25, 1891. The principal point in these treaties 
was that the frontier should follow the thalweg of the Kwango 
from the parallel of 6° S. to the parallel of 8° S., the latter 
parallel to its intersection of the Kwilu, the Kwilu in a 
northerly direction as far as the parallel 7 ° N., and the parallel 
7° N. as far as the Kasai. 


In the work of demarcation between the ^th and 8th 
parallel from the Kwango to the Kasai account was to be 
taken of the natural configuration of the land and the limits 
of the native States. From the point at which the 7th parallel 
meets the Kasai the frontier was to follow the thalweg of the 
Kasai to the mouth of that one of its sources which originates 
in Lake Dilolo and the course of this affluent to its source. 
Thereafter it was to run along the Congo-Zambezi watershed 
to the 24th meridian east of Greenwich. 

The delimitation of the frontier between the Kwango and 
the Kasai, provided for in the above treaty, took place in 
1892-3, when the Free State was represented by the Congo 
missionary, George Grenfell. The Commissioners departed in 
so many particulars from the general indication of the frontier 
laid down in 1891 that the result of their work may be briefly 
stated here. Following the thalweg of the Kwango from the 
8th parallel as far as its confluence with the Tungila (8° 1' 40" S. 
approx.), the frontier ascends the latter river as far as its 
intersection with the canal through which pass the waters of 
the Lola, and the thalweg of the same canal as far as its con- 
fluence with the Komb'a. From that point it runs due east to 
the Wamba, follows the thalweg of that river as far as its 
confluence with the Uovo Nuovo, the thalweg of the Uovo to 
its confluence with the N'Kombo, and the thalweg of the 
N'Kombo and the Kamanguna as far as the parallel of 8° S. 
From this point the boundary is the 8th parallel as far as the 
thalweg of the Lucaia, the thalweg of that river as far as 
7° 55' S., and the parallel of 7° 55' S. as far as the Kwengo. The 
Kwengo then forms the frontier to the 8th parallel S., and from 
there the boundary runs eastward to the Luita and follows the 
thalweg of that river to its confluence with the Kwilu. The 
parallel of this confluence (7° 34' S. approx.) then becomes the 
frontier eastward to its intersection with the Kama Bomba or 
Kangulungu, the thalweg of that river to its confluence with 
the Loangue, and the thalweg of the Loangue as far as the 
7th parallel S. From the point of intersection of the 7th 
parallel S. and the thalweg of the Loangu^ the frontier follows 
the parallel as far as its intersection with the thalweg of the 
Lovua, after which it follows the thalweg of the Lovua to the 
parallel of 6° 55' S. The remainder of the boundary is formed 
by this parallel as far as its intersection with the thalweg of 


the Chikapa, the thalweg of that river as far as 7°17'S., and 
.the parallel of 7° 17' S. as far as the thalweg of the Kasai. 

The report of the Boundary Commissioners was ratified by 
a Declaration signed at Brussels, March 24, 1894. Several 
minor adjustments had, however, still to be made. In the 
treaty of May 25, 1891, it was assumed that Lake Dilolo lay 
on the Congo-Zambezi divide. Subsequent investigations 
showed, however, that no tributary of the Kasai flowed from 
Lake Dilolo and that the lake, such as it was, was situated in 
the basin of the Zambezi some miles to the south of the water- 
shed. The difficulty was settled by an exchange of letters, in 
April and June 1910, by which it was arranged that the frontier 
should follow the thalweg of the Kasai from the point of its 
intersection with the parallel of 7° 17' S. as far as its confluence 
with the Luakanu, and then the thalweg of the Luakanu and 
that of its eastern tributary which takes its source near 
Cha Calumbo, as far as the source of the latter river. From 
there a straight line was to be drawn to the Congo-Zambezi 

By a treaty signed at Brussels on July 5, 1913, the 
details of the Noki-Kwango frontier were finally settled. The 
boundary now starts from Noki at a point situated 100 metres 
to the north of the principal building of the old factory of 
Domingos de Souza, and runs from north-west to south-east 
until it meets the parallel of 5° 52' S. It then turns eastward 
and follows in a general way that parallel as far as the Kwango. 
Forty-five places are, however, mentioned through which it is 
to pass, and sonde of them lie to the north and others to the 
south of the parallel in question. 

Belgo-Geeman (Geeman Congo) Feontiee 

The serious political differences which arose in Europe on the 
Morocco question in 1911 did not affect the territorial arrange- 
ments of the Belgian Congo, but as a result 'of the readjustments 
which were then made Germany obtained outlets on the 
Congo and on the Ubangi. Access to the Congo was secured 
by the cession of the valley of the lower Sanga to its con- 
fluence with the Congo, and to the Ubangi by the cession of 
the valley of the Lobaye t'o its confluence with the Ubangi. 
These cessions gave Germany in all a frontier of about 10 miles 
on the Congo-Ubangi. 



The general character of the physical structure of the 
Belgian Congo may be comprehended at a glance. In the 
south of Africa there is a high plateau, which is continued 
northwards by the highlands of East Africa and the coastal 
mountains of West Africa. Between these lies the central 
basin of the Congo, which in relation to its surroundings is 
a plateau of relatively low elevation. The greater part of this 
plateau belongs to the Belgian Congo, of which it forms the 
nucleus, and only in the north-west does it pass beyond the 
political frontiers of the colony into French Equatorial Africa 
and the former German possession of the Cameroons. Around 
it the land rises on all sides, sometimes to very considerable 
heights. In the south-east there is the Katanga, which is 
a continuation of the high veldt of South Africa and Rhodesia, 
and on the south the northward-facing escarpment of the 
lower Angolan plateau. To the east are the mountains bordering 
the great rift-valley which contains Lakes Albert, Edward, 
Kivu, and Tanganyika. The north- east has a lower elevation, 
and consists of a plateau-like stretch of country which forms 
the divide between the waters of the Congo and those of the 
Nile. Farther to the west this upland region separates the 
basins of the Congo and Lake Chad. The western rim of the 
central basin lies for the greater part outside of the Belgian 
Congo, and is formed by the highlands which run along the 
west coast of Africa. In the south, where it falls within the 
colony, it is known as the Crystal Mountains. To the west of 
these mountains lies the coastal region in which the hill country 
of Mayumbe is the most important feature. 

The Belgian Congo may therefore be divided into the 
following physical regions : the coastal region and Mayumbe, 
the Crystal Mountains, the Central Basin, the north-east 


plateau or Welle region, tlie Eastern Mountains, the Katanga, 
and the northern slopes of the Angolan plateau or Kasai region. 
Owing to the want of sufficient topographical and geological 
information, it is not always possible to delimit these regions 
with exactitude, but notwithstanding that difficulty they serve 
as the best basis for a discussion of the physical geography of 
the country. 

Geological Outlines 

In its broad outlines the geology of the Belgian Congo is 
now fairly well known, but detailed work has hitherto been 
confined to a few regions, chiefly those in which minerals are 
known or believed to exist. 

The coastal region is underlain by gently folded sandstones 
and shales of marine origin, which have a general inclination 
towards the ocean. They are believed to be of Cretaceous and 
Tertiary age, but around the estuary of the Congo they are 
covered with recent alluvium. 

The Crystal Mountains consist of rockg of Palaeozoic and pre- 
Cambrian age, which strike NNW.-SSE., with a" predominant 
dip to the east. The older rocks of the series occupy the 
western portion of the belt, and the degree of metamorphism 
increases from east to west. In the west they form a complex 
series of gneisses, quartzites, and various schists and other rocks 
all highly folded and metamorphosed by granitic intrusions. 
To the east of them the rocks consist of limestones and 
calcareous schists, which form a cherty dolomitic series, and 
are overlain still farther east by sandstones and shales. West 
of the Crystal Mountains the greater part of the Mayumbe 
region appears to consist of granitic rocks. 

The most widely distributed geological formation in the 
Belgian Congo is that known as the Lubilash. It consists 
almost entirely of white or red sandstones and soft schists, 
which cover the greater part of the Central Basin and some- 
times extend into the plateau and mountain regions which 
surround it. These rocks, which have a thickness of at least 
1,000 feet, incline very gently towards the centre of the Congo 
basin. They appear to have been deposited upon a peneplain 
of ancient rocks similar to those which are found in the 
Crystal Mountains and in the eastern part of the colony. 
The soil derived from the sandstone is generally porous and, 


except where it has been enriched by humus, infertile. Where 
schists predominate on the other hand they give rise to 
a tenacious clay, which being impermeable leads to the forma- 
tion of marshes along the rivers and in the depressions of the 

The Lubilash formation is believed to have been deposited 
in a large but somewhat shallow inland sea. Owing to the 
want of evidence, however, complete agreement has not yet 
been reached as to the period at which this deposition took 
place. As a rule those who have made investigations in the 
country appear to support Cornet's opinion that the Lubilash 
rocks belong to Triassic-Jurassic times. F. E. Studt on the 
other hand considers that they are much older and were 
probably deposited during the Devonian period. 

The Lubilash formation, though most fully developed in the 
central basin of the Congo, is also found in other parts of the 
country. Practically the whole region drained by the Kasai 
and its tributaries belong to it, the main exceptions being 
where the underlying rocks of pre-Cambrian and Palaeozoic 
age rise as monadnocks from amidst the sandstone, or where 
the rivers have cut their way down through the sandstone on 
to the same older rocks. In the "Welle country there are also 
large areas of sandstone, although the most widespread forma- 
tions are either metamorphic or granitic. The Great Eift Valley 
north of the Lukuga is bordered by a zone of ancient rock, 
but between it and the Lualaba sandstone is again the 
prevailing formation. 

The geological structure of the Katanga appears to be more 
varied than that of other parts of the Belgian Congo. Apart 
from the granites which form the Bia Mountains, the Hakans- 
son plateau, and the Marungu west of Lake Tanganyika, the 
rocks of this region are believed to range from pre-Cambrian 
to Permo- Carboniferous. The oldest, the Kafubu beds, cover 
extensive areas to the west of the Biano plateau and to the 
north of Kundelungu. They consist of compact granular 
quartzites, usually white or pale red in colour, and are probably 
of Cambrian age at least. Overlying them unconformably 
are the "Wemashi rocks, which are formed of dark-coloured 
conglomerates, greywackes, and shales of Silurian age. They 
pass upward into the Kambove beds, which consist of grey 
dolomites, sandstones, and shales, more or less pyritic, and 


belong to the same geological period as the Wemashi rocks. 
The two series cover a considerable area in the south of the 
colony, and are also found to the west of the Luapula and 
Lake Mweru as well as in other parts of the country. The 
copper deposits of the Katanga are practically all found in the 
dolomitic rocks of the Kambove series, which also contain 
the Euwe gold and platinum deposits and numerous deposits 
of iron ore. The Lufira beds, which are probably of Devono- 
Silurian age and consist of fine-grained, brick-red sand- 
stones and shales with interlaminated brownish sandstones 
and red and white-banded clay slates, occur in the south-east 
of the Katanga, where they come to the surface close to the 
Biano plateau, along the Koni hills, and along the foothills 
of the Kundelungu plateau. They are also found in other 
parts of the Katanga. Above them are the Kundelungu beds, 
formed mainly of coarse arkose sandstones and compact fel- 
spathic quartzites, often false bedded, and interspersed with 
fine shale bands. With regard to the time of their deposition 
there appears to be some difference of opinion. Hitherto they 
have been regarded as of Permian age, but Studt considers that 
they lie conformably on the Lufira beds and belong to JDevono- 
Silurian times. They occur chiefly to the east of the Lualaba 
river on the high country of the Biano, Mutenga-Miambo, 
Kundelungu^ and Kibala plateaus, and in the valleys of the 
Luvua, Lomami, Luembe, and Sankuru rivers, as well as in 
various other districts. Their extension, however, is greatly 
hidden by the Lubilash beds, which have already, been de- 
scribed. These overlie the Kundelungu beds unconformably on 
the highest parts of the Biano and Kundelungu plateaus, and 
also cover immense tracts of country to the west of the Lualaba. 

The Lualaba beds have only a limited extension in the 
Katanga, where they occupy a small area in the Lualaba 
valley about 9° 45' S. In other parts of the colony they are 
more widely distributed, and are found on either side of the 
Congo for considerable distances above and below Stanleyville. 
They consist in the main of sandstones and calcareous shales, 
and outside of the Katanga at least are believed to be older 
than the Lubilash and to belong to early Secondary times. 
With regard to the Katanga, however, Studt is of the opinion 
that the Lualaba series overlies the Lubilash. 

Alluvial deposits are found in the valleys of many of the 


larger rivers in the central part of the Congo basin, and they 
also cover some considerable areas in the rifts of the Katanga 

Deainage System 

The Congo is the central artery of the drainage system of 
practically the whole country. Concerning the source of the 
river there has been considerable discussion. If its length 
from its mouth to the point at which its most distant tribu- 
tary rises is to be the test, the source of the Congo must 
be sought for among the headstreams of the Chainbezi to the 
south of Lake Tanganyika. The Chambezi flows into the 
south-eastern part of Lake Bangweulu, losing itself in the 
extensive marshes which mask the southern end of that lake, 
and the river which issues from it is known as the Luapula. 
The Luapula, after marking the boundary of the Belgian 
Congo for practically the whole of its course, flows into Lake 
Mweru, issuing from it as the Luvua to join the Lualaba at 
Ankoro. If, however, the matter is considered from a purelj'^ 
geographical point of view, it would appear that the Lubudi, 
which flows into the Lualaba above Bukama, is to be regarded 
as the true source of the Congo. From the headstreams of the 
Lubudi to the mouth of the Congo the valley of the river is 
normally developed. Its basin was formerly limited by the 
long diagonal range of the Mitumba Mountains, and the events 
which have added to it the drainage of the Katanga are of 
more recent date. The Lualaba, by which this region is partly 
drained, has its sources on the Congo-Zambezi divide about 
12° S, Between it and the Luapula, farther to the east, is the 
Lufira, which also rises on the divide. The two rivers, Lualaba 
and Lufira, pursue a northerly direction with many windings, 
passing through the Mitumba range in deep gorges. In about 
8° 20' S. the two rivers unite in Lake Kisale, beyond which 
the river is sometimes known as the Kamalondo. 

The next important tributary of the Lualaba is the Lukuga, 
which is connected with Lake Tanganyika, and in this way 
drains a considerable part of the former German possessions 
in East Africa. The true source of this river, however, is on 
the north-west of the Marungu plateau, and the geological 
accident which has converted it into an outlet for Lake 
Tanganyika is of comparatively recent date. The discharge 


of water from the lake is far from constant, ceasing almost 
entirely after a period of scanty rainfall, and becoming again 
established when the level of the lake has been raised by a series 
of rainy years. About 1880 it was running strongly, but about 
then a gradual fall in the level of the lake set in, and was 
continued with occasional pauses for about twenty years. 
Since about 1900 there appears to have been a change, the 
level of the lake has risen, and the river which leaves it has 
now an average depth of about 10 to 12 feet. The Lukuga 
has a fall of about 1,000 feet in its course of 300 miles, and its 
bed is therefore much interrupted by rapids. 

To the north of the Lukuga a number of rivers enter the 
Lualaba before it turns to the north-west at Stanley Falls. 
Among these are the Luama, the Elila, the Ulindi, and the 
Lowa with its great tributary, the Oso. All of them rise in 
the high mountainous country bordering the Great Rift Valley 
and pursue rugged courses almost to the points at which they 
enter the main river. 

Below Stanley Falls, where the main river definitely takes 
the name of Congo, the first large affluent is the Lindi, which 
with its tributary, the Chopo, enters from the hill country to 
the east. Much more important is the Aruwimi, which enters 
the Congo at Basoko. Its headstreams, the Ituri, the Shari, 
and various others, rise on the southern slopes of a knot pf 
mountains lying to the west of Lake Albert. Among the 
tributaries which it receives are the Ibina, which comes from 
the heights above the Semliki valley, and the Epulu and the 
Nepoko from the Aruwimi-Bomokandi watershed. The 
Aruwimi flows almost entirely through the great equatorial 
forest, which appears here to attain its maximum density. 

Farther west the Itimbiri and the Mongala drain much of 
the relatively low country lying between the Congo and the 
Ubangi-Welle. The former, which is also known as the 
Eubi or Lubi, rises to the west of the Nepoko and enters 
the Congo near Bumba. The latter is formed by the confluence 
of several streams, the most important being the Dua, the 
Ebola, and the Likame. 

The Aruwimi, Itimbiri, and Mongala flow for a great part of 
their way through the northern part of the Central Basin. 
The Ubangi occupies a somewhat different position. Its 
headstreams, the Bomu and the Welle, which follow roughly 


parallel courses, belong essentially to the plateau region which 
borders the Central Basin and forms the Congo-Nile divide. 
The Bomu forms the northern boundary of the colony, and 
as it has few important tributaries from the south it does not 
collect a large part of the drainage of the plateau except in 
the west, where the Bili, which joins the Bomu just above its 
confluence with the Welle, is the most important river of this 
Mesopotamian region. The farthest headstream of the "Welle 
rises in the same group of mountains as do the Ituri and the 
Shari, but it receives its chief northern tributaries, the Dungu, 
Duru, and "Were, from the Congo-Nile divide. On the left 
bank its principal affluents are the Bomokandi, whose sources 
are not far from those of the Epulu, and the Bima, which rises 
near the Itimbiri. Below the confluence of the Bomu and 
the "Welle, the Ubangi forms the international boundary. Its 
largest affluents on the left bank are the Lua and the Giri, 
both of which belong to the Central' Basin. Above Irebu the 
Ubangi joins the Congo, which then becomes the frontier. 

Turning now to the left-bank tributaries of the Congo, the 
first to demand attention is the Lomami. It rises in moun- 
tainous country, but as it flows northwards almost parallel to 
the Lualaba a great part of its course lies within the central 
lowlands. West of the confluence of the Lomami with the 
Congo there is a long stretch in which the main stream receives 
no left-bank tributary, as the great plain to the south is drained 
by rivers flowing in the same direction as the middle Congo. 
Of these the most important are the Lulonga, formed by the 
confluence of the Lopori and. the Maringa, and the Ruki 
system, which lies just south of the equator. The latter is 
formed by the confluence of the Busira and the Momboyo. The 
larger affluents of the Busira, the Chuapa and Lomela, rise 
in the east not far from the Lomami. The Salonga, which 
also flows into the Busira, and the affluents of the Momboyo 
are shorter and rise farther to the south. The Lukenie, whose 
headstreams likewise rise near the Lomami, drains the most 
southerly part of the same region, but flows into the Kasai. 
Below the point at which- it collects the ' surplus waters of 
Lake Leopold it is known as the Eini. 

The last great tributary of the Congo is the Kasai, which 
with its tributaries drains the northward-facing slopes of the 
South African plateau. On this plateau a number of large 



rivers rise and flow north towards the Central Basin. The 
more important of these from east to west are the upper 
Sankuru, known as the Lubilash, the Lulua, the upper Kasai, 
the Loange (Loangue), the Kwilu, the Kwengo, the Wamba, 
and the Kwango. The upper Sankuru and the Lulua, with their 
tributaries, lie wholly within Belgian territory, but the upper 
Kasai and the rivers farther to the west have their sources on 
the plateau of Angola, which belongs to Portugal. 

The Sankuru may perhaps with justice be regarded as the 
true continuation of the Kasai, notwithstanding the fact that 
its contribution to the combined stream at Basongo is con- 
siderably less. Along with its numerous tributaries it drains 
a large area in the east before it makes its great bend to the 
west some distance below Lusambo. Apart from its headstream 
the only important affluent which it receives on the right 
bank is the Lubefu, which lies between it and the Lomami. 
Farther west the Lukenie is the main drainage channel of the 
country lying north of the Sankuru. On the left bank the 
Sankuru receives the Lubi at Lusambo and the Lubudi at 

The westward-flowing Sankuru meets the upper Kasai at 
Basongo, and the combined stream, now known as the Kasai, 
flows in a west-north-west direction to its confluence with 
the Congo at Kwamouth. The most important tributary of 
the upper Kasai is the Lulua, which joins it at Bena' Makima 
and drains a considerable area to the west of the basin of the 
upper Sankuru. Farther to the west the Kasai receives the 
Kwango, which, with its tributaries, the Wamba and the 
Kwilu, forms the chief river- system in^the south-western part 
of the colony. The confluence of the Kasai with the Kwango 
is at Wissmann Pool, a short distance above the point at which 
the Fini enters the main stream. 

Below Kwamouth the Congo receives no large tributary, 
but in its passage through the Crystal Mountains it is joined 
by a number of short streams. Of those flowing through 
Belgian territory the most important are the Eluala, which 
enters on the right bank, and the Inkisi, the Kwilu, and the 
Lufu, which enter on the left. In the district of Lower Congo a 
large part of Mayumbe is drained to the Chiloango, which enters 
the Atlantic through the northern part of the Kabinda enclave. 
This part of the Chiloango basin and a comparatively small 


district in the north-east which lies within the basin of the 
Nile are the only regions in the colony which do not lie within 
the drainage area of the Congo. 

The Belgian possessions in the northern part of the Great 
Eift Valley lie, as has just been indicated, in the basin of the 
Nile. The Ruchuru, which rises in the volcanic region to 
the north of Lake Kivu, flows northward into Lake Edward, 
while the Semliki, which leaves that lake, carries its surplus 
waters to Lake Albert. Part of this drainage system lies 
within Belgian territory; it includes the basins of various 
small rivers which flow directly into the lakes. 

From this brief survey it will be seen that the rivers of the 
Belgian Congo can be more or less closely related to the 
main physical regions into which, as already indicated, 
the country can be divided. The Lubudi-Lualaba-Congo, 
with its tributaries below Stanley Falls, the lower Aruwimi, 
the Itimbiri, the Mongala and the Ubangi proper, on the 
right bank, and the lower Lomami, the Lulonga, the Ruki, 
and the Fini on the left, form the great rivers of the low 
central plateau. The upper Lualaba, the Lufira, and the 
Luapula drain the Katanga. The Eastern Highlands lie in 
the basins of the Lukuga, Ulindi, Lowa, Ituri, and other rivers 
which flow westwards towards the Congo. The rift-valley finds 
one outlet to the Lukuga and another to the Nile. The Congo- 
Nile plateau in the north is within the drainage area of the 
Bomu and the Welle, while the higher and more extensive 
plateau in the south of the colony sends its waters northward 
to form the Kasai. The short streams which rise in the Crystal 
Mountains flow directly to the Congo. The coastal region 
and Mayumbe drain mainly to the Chiloango in the north or 
to the Congo in the south, but a few small streams in the west 
find their outlet in the Altantic. 

Regime of the Congo and its Tributafies 

The rivers of the Congo system seldom remain at their mean 
level, and as a rule are either rising or falling. According to 
their position they have either a double or single maximum 
and a double or single minimum. The Congo and its left- 
bank affluents, more particularly the Kasai, have two periods 
of high water each year and two periods of low water. The 



right-bank tributaries on the other hand, and especially the 
Ubangi and the Sanga, have only one maximum and one mini- 
mum in the course of the year. On the Congo there is low 
■water in March and high water about the middle of May. This 
is caused by the heavy rains, which have taken place somewhat 
earlier in the Kasai region, in the Katanga, and in the southern 
part of the Eastern Highlands. The rivers flowing from these 
regions are not only in flood themselves, but they cause the 
main river to rise rapidly. After this the Congo again begins 
to fall, and low water is reached at Stanleyville in July, where 
the minimum is lower than that of March. At Lukolela, 
opposite the conrfuence of the Congo and the Sanga, the 
reverse is the case, the main river being lower in March than 
in July. This is due to the fact that in April the Ubangi 
begins to rise, while the Itimbiri, Aruwimi, and other right- 
bank tributaries are also in flood about this time. Owing, 
however, to the great diminution in the discharge of the 
Kasai the effect of this increase is not felt below the confluence 
of that river with the Congo, and at Leopoldville the Congo 
is at its lowest in July and August. 

The second maximum on the Congo is reached about the 
middle of December. The Ubangi and Sanga have a regime 
somewhat like that of the Nile, and do not attain their maxi- 
mum height until the month of October. It is not, however, 
till the left-bank tributaries begin to rise as a result of the 
increasing rainfall south of the equator that the Congo reaches 
its second maximum. This, as has just been said, is about the 
middle of December, after which, as a result of the annual fall 
in the northern tributaries and the intervention of a short 
dry period to the south of the equator, the river falls until it 
reaches the March minimum. 

If the above account of the regime of the Congo be correct, 
as would from recent investigations appear to be the case, it 
follows that the double maximum and minimum are due not so 
much to the alternate flooding of the tributaries lying re- 
spectively north and south of the equator, as was formerly 
believed, but rather to the double rainy season in the region 
to the south of the equator. The northern tributaries con- 
tribute to the result, but the southern appear to control the 
regime of the river. 

The variations from year to year in the amplitude of the 


annual floods of those rivers of which the discharges have been 
carefully measured is considerable, but whether the flood be 
high or low its general character along its course remains the 
same from year to year. On the Congo, Ubangi, Sanga, and 
Kasai this is particularly the case, variations in the discharge 
of their tributaries and local precipitation having only a slight 
modifying effect. From the point of view of navigation this 
is a matter of some importance. When one of these rivers 
has once been properly surveyed it is possible by measuring 
the height of water at any point to estimate within about 
a foot the height at all other points along the course of the 

EiEGiONAL Survey 
The Coastal Regions and Mayumhe 

To the west of the Crystal Mountains the land is diversified 
in appearance and presents little geographical unity. The 
coast, which is little over 20 miles in length, is generally low 
and sandy; and the shoal by which it is fringed makes it unsafe 
for navigation. This shoal, which begins a few miles south of 
Red Point (5° 44' S.), carries the three-fathom line three |and 
a half miles and the five-fathom line six and a half miles 
from the shore. Behind the coast the land rises, often per- 
pendicularly, to a low plateau which seldom exceeds 100 feet 
in height. It is sandy in some places, marshy in others, and 
is much cut up by the valleys of the various streams by 
which it is drained. At some distance inland there is a second 
and higher plateau, the escarpment of which, like that of the 
fii^st, runs parallel to the coast. It also appears on the right 
bank of the Congo estuary between Banana and Malela, where 
it varies in height from 240 to 300 feet (75 to 90 metres). 
This plateau, which is covered with sandy or sandy-clay soils, 
extends inland to the hill country of Mayumbe. The vegeta- 
tion is gerierally poor, except in the valleys of the Luibi and 
Bola, where there are considerable tracts of forest. 

Along the estuary of the Congo the scenery is as a rule very 
difierent in character. The land, which has for the most part 
been formed by the debris carried down by the great river, 
is low-lying, and is cut up by creeks in every direction. In 
many places there are mangrove swamps. The bed of the 
river, also, contains many islands and sandbanks. Of these 


the island of Mateva, which lies below Boma, is the largest, 
but there' are several others belonging to Portugal which are 
of considerable size. 

Mayumbe is the third region into which the country west 
of the Crystal Mountains may be divided. It is bordered on 
the west by a line which runs more or less parallel to the 
coast and outs the rivers Chiloango, Lubuzi, and Lukula, where 
they form falls in passing from the hills to the low plateaus 
which border the ocean. On the south and east Mayumbe proper 
does not as a rule extend beyond the divide between the basins 
of the Congo and Chiloango, while on the north it is separated 
by the Chiloango from its extension in Portuguese Kabinda 
and French Gabun. 

Mayumbe therefore belongs in the main to the basin of the 
Chiloango. It is an elevated and broken country in which 
the hills rise, sometimes abruptly, to heights varying from 
1,500 to 2,500 feet (460 to 760 metres). The valleys are narrow 
and deep, and the rivers flow in tortuous courses which are 
much cut up by rapids and falls. The soil is fairly thick, and 
consists of clay or clay and sand intermingled, resting upon 
hard rocks such as gneiss, schist, and quartzite. Much of the 
land is forested, but in places there are clearings which become 
larger and more extensive towards the south. 

Three different zones may be distinguished. In the first, 
which lies between the Chiloango and the hills on the left 
bank of the Lubuzi, the land rises from 300 feet (90 metres) 
in the west to over 1,500 feet (460 metres) in the east, and is 
even higher in the south. The soil is generally fertile, and 
in places there are considerable tracts of virgin forest. The 
conditions are accordingly favourable for the establishment 
of plantations, of which there are a number at Ganda Sundi, 
Chela, and elsewhere. 

The second zone lies between the high hills which border 
the Lubuzi and the sources of the Lukula and Nyanzi. In it 
the land rises to greater heights, and frequently passes into 
plateaus of considerable extent. The forest areas are more 
limited, and much , of the vegetation consists of savanna 
and scrub. 

In the third zone, which extends to the south of the 
Lukula-Congo divide, the land is lower, and the valleys, which 
are broader, are often bordered by marshes or gallery forests. 


The Crystal Mountains 

The name, Crystal Mountains, given by the earlier geo- 
graphers to the mountainous area which separates the central 
basin from the coast, is an unfortunate one, but no better term 
has as yet been suggested. The region was at one time occupied 
by a great mountain range, which was first reduced by the 
processes of denudation to a peneplain and then eroded into 
a much-dissected plateau. . In the more elevated districts 
it reaches heights of considerably over 2,000 feet (610 metres). 
The Congo in its passage through this region encounters rocks 
of different degrees of resistance, and thus has a course which 
is much interrupted by rapids and low waterfalls. Hence 
from Matadi to Leopoldville there are numerous stretches of 
unnavigable water. 

The physical geography of the Crystal Mountains has been 
carefully studied in places, and more especially along the 
line of railway which now connects the navigable reaches 
on the lower and middle Congo. Its general character south 
of the river is fairly well known. In the vicinity of 
Congo da Lemba, north-east of Matadi, it has the appearance 
of a much-dissected plateau. Stretches of relatively level 
ground are rare, the hills are prominent, and the whole country 
is cut up by numerous river- valleys. Between this region 
and the series of plateaus which lie north of Matadi on the 
right bank of the river, the Congo makes its way from north 
to south in a gorge, the sides of which are often from 500 to 
- 1,000 feet (150 to 305 metres) in height. In this the most . 
turbulent part of its course the river has an average fall of 
about 5^ feet per mile (1 metre per kilometre). 

Farther to the east and the north-east, that is, in the basin 
of the Kwilu and its tributary the Kwilu-Madiata, the elevation 
of the land is less and usually varies from 1,100 to 1,300 feet 
(335 to 395 metres). The surface is less irregular, and along 
the railway line between Songololo and Kimpese is almost 
level. To the north, however, its character changes: high 
hills and deep valleys succeed one another, while the average 
height of the land is from 1,600 to 2,000 feet (488 to 610 
metres). This type of country is continued north of the Congo 
below Manyanga. In places it assumes a mountainous aspect, 
and is deeply dissected by numerous rivers. Between Manyanga 


and Isaiigila the Congo itself has a much less turbulent course 
than higher up or lower down, and in places 'has even been 
navigated by steamboats. But on account of some low falls 
and various rapids this stretch is of little value. 

Eeturning to the left bank of the river, the next region to 
demand attention is the mountainous massif of' Bangu, which 
is bounded on the north by the Congo, on the south and west 
by the Lukunga, and on the east by the Pioko. It is not 
a continuous plateau but a highly dissected region which 
rises in the centre to Mount Uia, 3,445 feet (1,050 metres) above 
sea-level. On the south and west, along the right bank of the 
Lukunga, and on the east along the* left bank of the lower 
Pioko, Bangu terminates in cliffs which rise from 800 to 1,000 
feet (244 to 305 metres) above the level of these rivers. In the 
south it is particularly mountainous, its hills and elevated 
plateaus rising to heights of over 2,000 feet (610 metres), 
while its deep valleys are often deeply wooded. Northern 
Bangu on the other hand is lower and much less rugged; 
the land is undulating, the hills are low and rounded, and the 
wide valleys which separate them from one another have gentle 
grass-covered slopes. 

Mountainous country is also found towards the south-east of 
the massif of Bangu, especially between the Kwilu-Madiata 
and Thysville, where the Matadi-Leopoldville railway reaches 
its highest point, 2,428 feet (740 metres) above sea-level. 

North-east of Bangu the land is somewhat similar to that 
which lies to the west of the massif. At Leopoldville the 
Congo enters the gorge by which it passes through the 
Crystal Mountains, and from there to Manyanga — a distance 
of 87 miles — it flows in a bed which is sometimes as much 
as 1,300 feet (395 metres) below the level of the surrounding 
land. Its course is exceedingly tortuous and irregular. In some 
places it passes through narrow defiles where the rooks rise 
perpendicularly to heights of 300 to 600 feet (90 to 180 metres), 
in others it broadens out, and the river forms caldrons and 
pools often of considerable size. Eapids are numerous, and 
navigation is impossible. 

The Belgian part of the Crystal Mountains belongs almost 
entirely to the basin of the Congo. The principal tributaries 
which join the main stream on its right bank are the Fulukari 
or Kenke, the Tombe, and the Eluala, and on its left bank the 


Inkisi, the Lukunga, the Kwilu, and the Lufu. As they all 
flow through hilly country, they are practically of no value for 

The Central Basin 

Detailed information regarding many parts of the Central 
Basin does not exist. For this there are several reasons. Over 
the whole region there is great uniformity in the physical 
character of the land, and the minor differences which occur 
are in many cases obscured by dense vegetation. The rivers, 
which form the chief means of communication, have generally 
been followed by travellers, and away from them there are 
many districts which have never been described. The mineral 
wealth of the country appears to be confined to the peripheral 
regions, and the necessity for investigating their physical and 
geological structure has rather led to the neglect of the 
Central Basin. 

To state precisely the extent of the region under considera- 
tion is a matter of some difficulty. It certainly includes all the 
land with an elevation of less than 1,600 feet (488 metres) above 
sea-level, and in many places the 1,600-feet contour would mark 
the limits of the region very well, as the land frequently rises 
much more rapidly above it. But if it be taken a large district 
lying to the west of the Lualaba and to the north of the Kasai- 
Sankuru will be excluded from the region, and for this 
there appears to be no adequate reason. East of the Lualaba 
above Kindu and south of a line joining Nyangwe with the 
confluence of the Sankuru and Lubefu the land begins to rise 
rapidly only when the 2,000-feet (610 metres) contour has been 
reached, and that line may therefore be considered as marking 
in this part of the country the meeting place of the Central 
Basin with the uplands which surround it. 

The boundary of the Central Basin may therefore be pro- 
visionally defined as follows. On the west it is formed by the 
Congo and the Ubangi from Stanley Pool in the south to the 
vicinity of Libenge in the north. From Libenge it follows an 
easterly direction, keeping to the north of the Dua and Itimbiri, 
and then bears to the south, crossing the Eubi above Buta 
and the Aruwimi below Avakubi. The eastern boundary runs 
more or less parallel to the course of the Lualaba, and at no 
great distance from its right bank, to the neighbourhood of 


Nyangwe, while the southern coincides more or less with the 
fall-line where the left-bank tributaries of the Kasai-Sankuru 
make their last descent from the Angolan plateau. On 
almost all sides the Central Basin slopes down to Lake 
Leopold, which is only about 1,000 feet (305 metres) above 
sea-level. The extreme difference in level between the 
highest and the lowest parts of the region is therefore 
generally less than 1,000 feet. But only in a few places is 
there any sudden change in the topography of the surface. 
In the west a great stretch of country, including the land on 
either side of the middle Congo as far up as the confluence of 
the Aruwimi, the greater part of the basins of the Lopori and 
the Maringa, and the western parts of the Euki and the Fini, 
has an elevation of less than 1,300 feet (400 metres). On the 
other hand the land which is over 1,600 feet (488 metres) in 
height is limited in the main to the upper basins of the more 
important headstreams of the Euki and the Fini, and from 
there westward to the Lualaba. There are also one or two 
detached districts, the most important of which lies north of 
and parallel to the Kasai. 

Probably the best way in which to get a general idea of this 
immense and imperfectly investigated area is to follow the 
courses of its more important rivers, and as far as possible to 
describe the lands which they drain. Above Stanley Pool the 
Congo flows for over 100 miles between steep-faced hills which 
are high and close to the river in the south, but in the north 
become lower and recede from it. Across them the Kasai 
cuts its way in a gorge about 40 miles long to join the main 
stream at Kwamouth. About 40 miles to the north of Kwa- 
mouth the hills begin to disappear, and at Bolobo only a few 
traces of them are left. 

Above Bolobo there are few interruptions in the general 
monotony of the surface. The narrows at Lukolela are formed 
by low hills of conglomerate, which do not rise more than 
50 feet above the level of the river, and from Irebu to Upoto 
the Congo flows through a vast plain, which appears to extend 
to a great distance in every direction. On the left bank there 
is much marshy land round Lake Tumba, while farther to the 
north the Euki, the Ikelemba, and the Lulonga mostly traverse 
very flat country in their lower courses. In the region between 
the right bank of the Congo and the Giri there are great 


areas of swamp which extend upstream as far as the confluence 
of the Mongala. The drainage of this part of the country- 
indicates very well the general character of its topography. 
The rivers are numerous, and at times of high water overflow 
their banks for a mile or two on either side, while various 
channels unite them with one another. From -the Mongala, 
about a day's sail above Mobeka, there is a water route to the 
Ubangi by way of the Giri. Similar channels from the Congo 
below and above Nouvelle Anvers lead to the Lua or upper 
Giri. The Congo is also connected with the Lulonga by 
a waterway which leaves the former river opposite Nouvelle 
Anvers and enters the latter about three days' sail above its 
confluence with the main stream. In short a great part of 
the country between the Congo and the Ubangi as far north 
as the parallel of Mobeka is under water, and the population 
live on numerous small islands which rise above the surface 
of the water. 

At Upoto, which is situated almost in the extreme north of 
the great bend of the Congo, the aspect of the country begins 
to change. A range of hills which rise about 360 feet (110 
metres) above the level of the river run along its right bank 
as far as Bumba. On the south they fall somewhat steeply to 
the Congo, but on the north they have a gentle slope towards 
the Motima and are cut up by several small valleys. Beyond 
Bumba they leave the river and run towards the interior in 
a north-easterly direction. Farther to the north, between the 
Motima and the Dua, there is another range, somewhat lower 
and without steep slopes. On the whole the country which 
lies between the Congo and the Dua- Mongala has the appearance 
of a gently undulating plain, with a general increase in height 
towards the north. The surface is more deeply incised by the 
rivers which flow across it, and, while the larger ones have 
developed broad flood-plains frequently under water during 
the rainy season, the smaller ones sometimes flow in beds so 
deep that in order to cross them a descent and corresponding 
ascent of nearly 100 feet are in some cases necessary. This 
feature is even more marked farther to the north, along the 
watershed between the Dua and the Ebola, near Mogbogoma, 
where the land rises to a height of over 1,600 feet (488 metres), 
and the streams flow in deeply cut valleys. 

Above Bumba, where the hills which began at Upoto recede 


from the river, the Congo once more flows in a great plain, 
which on the right is crossed by the Itimbiri and the 
Aruwimi. The lower courses of these tributaries lie within 
the Central Basin, and the land through which they flow is 
either flat or gently undulating. The Itimbiri is said to be 
bordered in places by red cliifs, which rise perpendicularly 
from the river, while on the right bank of the Aruwimi there 
are ridges of low hills between Moganjo and Yambuya. 
Away from these rivers comparatively little is known about 
the topography of the country. 

On its left bank the Congo is joined by the Lomami some 
distance above its confluence with the Aruwimi. The lower 
part of the basin of the Lomami belongs to the plain through 
which the Congo flows, and part of the land between the two 
rivers appears to be covered with marsh. Between Sendwe 
upon the Lualuba above Eiba-Riba, and the Lomami above 
Bena Kamba there is a depression which during the rainy 
season is also transformed into an impracticable marsh. Farther 
to the south the country becomes somewhat higher and more 
undulating, but it has never been properly explored, and very 
little is known regarding it. 

Above the confluence of the Congo and Aruwimi at Basoko 
the land on either side of the main stream becomes more 
broken in character. Even below Basoko rocks and low hills 
appear on the left bank, and by the time that post is reached 
they have become continuous and rise to a height of nearly 
200 feet. Above it, however, they soon give place to loW- 
lying and swampy land. On the right bank the hilly country 
begins east of Basoko and continues with little interruption 
as far as Stanley Falls. These hills nowhere rise to any great 
height, but they indicate that the land generally is becoming 
more undulating in character, and that the surface features 
are less monotonous than those in the western part of the 
Central Basin. Beyond Stanley Falls the same type of scenery 
prevails as far as Nyangwe, and, although the country is some- 
what broken, no hills of any size lie near the river. Farther 
east of course the land begins to rise rapidly, while to the 
west a low watershed separates the basin of the Congo from 
that of the Lomami. 

The characteristic surface features of the western part of 
the Central Basin of the Congo are also found in the south 


of the region drained by the Ubangi. From the confluence 
of the two rivers northwards for a considerable distance 
much of the land which lies between them is under water 
for part of the year. The Giri, a tributary of the Ubangi, 
flows through a great swamp, where for at least three or four 
months out of the twelve the trees rise directly from the 
stagnant water. Some distance north of the Giri the land 
increases in height, the swamps disappear, and the surface 
features assume a more varied aspect. Rolling down-like 
country extends from here northwards to the low hills which 
border the left bank of the Ubangi alsove its great bend, and 
mark the northern limits of the Central Basin. For the sake 
of convenience, however, these hills may be described here. 
They run with a general direction of west-north-west to east- 
south-east, and are more or less parallel to the upper course of 
the Ubangi. Seen from the rolling country to the south they 
appear low and of little importance, but when viewed from 
the north they are somewhat more imposing, as they sometimes 
rise to heights of at least 1,000 feet (305 metres) above the 
level of the Ubangi. 

To the north of these hills, and above the rapids where they 
are crossed by the Ubangi between Zongo and Mokoange, the 
valley of that river is broad and somewhat diversified in 
appearance. In places it consists of gently undulating land, 
while in others there are belts of rounded hills which some- 
times approach close to the river and sometimes recede from 
it to a considerable distance. The vegetation is also varied, 
and on the whole the Belgian side of the Ubangi has a pleasing 

The southern part of the Central Basin falls within the 
drainage area of the Kasai. In the west lies Lake Leopold, 
which with the rivers flowing into it is drained by the 
Fini. This lake appears to be the remnant of a great inland 
sea into which the waters of the upper Kasai, the Kwango, 
and the Fini at one time drained. It was cut off from the 
Congo by a low ridge, to which the name of Mantere Hills has 
been given, and across which the Kasai at a later date cut the 
gorge that terminates at Kwamouth. A great part of the land 
formerly covered by this ancient sea lies to the east of Lake 
Leopold, and consists of marshy ground now drained by various 
rivers of which the Lutoi and the Lokoro are the most 


important. Deposition has played a great part in modelling 
tlie surface features, and the remains of ancient sandbanks are 
still to be seen. To the west of Lake Leopold the land appears 
to be higher, and at the southern end of the lake there are 
hills from 50 to 200 feet in height. Below the lake also the 
Fini passes through gently rolling downs which Grenfell 
declared to be among the most promising districts in the 
whole of the Central Basin. 

In the lands which border the Kasai-Sankuru the topography 
is somewhat more varied than it is farther to the north. The 
valley of the Kasai is well cut into the plateau of the Central 
Basin, which here slopes to the north. Near Dima, a short 
distance above the mouth of the Kwango, the surface of this 
plateau lies about 300 feet above the level of the Kasai, while 
at Basongo, where the latter stream meets the Sankuru, the 
difference of level is at least 400 feet. 

The valley of the Kasai is of varying width. About 15 
miles above Kwamouth it is at least a mile broad, while the 
edge of the plateau proper is seven or eight miles distant. 
Below Wissmann Pool it increases to at least 20 miles, and the 
Pool itself is only a large island-studded expansion of the 
river. Near the confluence of the Kwango with the main 
stream the valley is still broader, but near Dima it begins to 
contract, and from about 30 miles above that post the river 
flows between two gently inclined banks. Farther to the 
east these increase in height, and near Mount Pogge the 
undulating plateau which borders the Kasai is between 400 
and 500 feet above the level of the river. Higher up towards 
Basongo the affluents of the main stream are more numerous, 
and the plateau assumes a more dissected appearance. 

Farther to the east the general character of the land remains 
much the same. A gently undulating plateau occupies most 
of the country east of the upper Kasai and south of the Lukenie. 
It slopes towards the north, and seldom exceed 1,500 feet (457 
metres) in height. The valleys of the principal streams are 
deeply incised, and the land in their neighbourhood is often 
broken. The smaller rivers on the other hand flow in shallow 
valleys and do not greatly affect the topography of the surface. 
Minor features depend upon the nature of the underlying 
rocks. In the sandstone districts the smaller affluents of the 
large rivers flow in steep narrow valleys, which, as in the case 


of some near Lusambo, are almost canon-like in appearance. 
' Where schists are found the valleys have greater slopes, and 
often contain small clay-covered plains, which are frequently 

The Welle Region 

That part of the Belgian Congo which is drained by the 
"Welle and the Bomu with their tributaries belongs to the 
Congo-Nile watershed. In general form it consists of a great 
undulating plateau sloping on the whole from the north and 
east towards the south and west, and varying in height from 
over 4,000 feet (1,220 metres) in the former districts to about 
1,600 (488 metres) in the latter. 

The eastern part of the region as far west as 29° E. has 
a more irregular topography than the remainder of the country 
under consideration. A plateau, the average height of which 
is probably about 4,250 feet (1,300 metres), slopes down gently 
towards the north and west, where it gives place to an im- 
mense plain from 2,300 to 2,600 feet (700 to 800 metres) above 
sea-level. The plateau and the plain are separated from one 
another by an intermediate zone, in which there are numerous 
isolated hills rising from 330 to 660 feet (100 to 200 metres) 
above the level of the surrounding land. On the east of the 
plateau are a number of hills which form the Congo-Nile 
watershed, and on the south, near the "Welle-Ituri watershed, 
some groups of mountains rising to heights of at least 4,500 
feet (1,370 metres). Elsewhere the plateau appears as an 
almost unbroken plain cut up by numerous small streams. It 
is a region of special interest on account of its suitability for 
stock-raising, and the Lugwarets, who are its inhabitants, 
possess numerous herds of cattle. 

The intermediate zone of hills which lies to the north and 
west of the high plateau has in general a lower elevation. 
Many of the small isolated massif's which characterize the 
zone are of granitic formation, and the soil in their vicinity 
appears to be very fertile. In the neighbourhood of the 
Kibali the surface is much more broken, and a number of hills 
which rise to at least 330 feet (100 metres) above the general 
level of the land consist almost entirely of iron ore. 

West of the districts just described the physical geography 
of the WeUe region presents comparatively few features of 


interest. As the rainfall decreases from south to north, the 
tributaries of the Welle are more powerful than those of the 
Bomu, and have cut their way back to such an extent that, 
east of the Were at least, the greater part of the country is 
drained by the former river. West of the Were, the Bili and 
other tributaries of the Bomu flow in a westerly direction, 
and on the whole the general slope of the land is towards the 
west and south-west. On the south the country falls, somewhat 
steeply in places, towards the Central Basin. 

Over the whole of this region the land forms a series of 
broad undulations which produce hardly any visible effect on 
the contour of the surface. North of Niangara, for example, 
the country is very flat, devoid of hills, and but slightly 
undulating, and as far as the Congo-Nile divide it appears to 
consist in the main of a series of monotonous plains. The 
actual water-parting, however, is clearly marked. To the 
south and west of Niangara the country retains the same 
general character, but is somewhat lower, except where one or 
other of several groups of hills rises above the level fo the 
surrounding land. Mount Angba, which is situated on the 
right bank of the Welle near Amadis, and rises to a height of 
between 600 and 7Q0 feet above the river, is an enormous mass 
of iron ore. To the south of it Mount Majema on the 
Bomokandi near Poko is of similar formation, while higher 
up the same river lies Mount Tena. The latter, which is said 
to rise to a height of 4,900 feet (1,490 metres) above sea-level, 
is also a mass of iron ore. 

Considered as a whole, the region is one which has not yet 
been dissected by rivers to any great extent. The Welle and 
most of its tributaries wind their way between high banks of 
clayey alluvium, and the broad depressions in which they flow 
are much too shallow to be termed valleys in the ordinary sense. 
The courses of the streams are interrupted by numerous falls 
which prevent continuous navigation. In the intervening 
reaches, where the fall of the rivers is slight, they sometimes 
expand during the rainy season into large swamps. There do 
not, however, appear to be any marshy districts similar to 
those found in some parts of the Central Basin. 

Over a great part of the country the soils consist of sandy 
clays. In many places, and especially, it is said, in the 
neighbourhood of the iron mountains, these soils are rich in 


limonite, which sometimes forms a hard crust on the surface 

and makes the land unfit for cultivation. Alluvial soils occur 

in the vicinity of the rivers, and it is probably in these districts 

that the most extensive areas of cultivable land are to be 


/ The Eastern Highlands 

The Eastern Highlands are here taken to include the 
mountain system which borders the Great Rift Valley on the 
west, together with that part of the valley itself which lies 
within the Belgian Congo. The region is one of considerable 
orographical complexity, and in many places its features are 
known only in broad outline. As a general rule, however, the 
land rises gradually from the central basin to the mountains 
which border the rift, and then falls steeply to the great valley 
in which lie Lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, and Tanganyika. 

LaTce Albert. — These general characteristics are well brought 
out in the country to the west of Lake Albert. The eastern 
slopes of the mountains are drained by short rapid streams, 
while the western lie within the basin of the Ituri and its 
tributaries. Along the central part of the lake the mountains 
run parallel to the coast, from which they are not more than 
a few miles distant. Farther north they recede from it, and 
the plain of Mahagi, which on its landward side is bordered 
in places by .escarpments 700 to 1,000 feet (214 to 305 metres) 
high, intervenes between them and the lake. Towards its 
southern end also Lake Albert is bordered by a continuation 
of the Semiiki plains. 

The western slopes of the mountains have been much cut up 
by the Ituri and its tributaries, more especially by the Shari 
and the Nzi. For the greater part of their course these two . 
rivers flow through very rugged country, but near their 
confluence there is a large and important plain. In the region 
round Nioka, farther to the north, the land is less rugged, and 
there is a succession of hills with gentle slopes separated by 
small rivej-valleys. In the forest zone which lies farther 
west than the region just described the land is lower, but is 
often hilly and even mountainous in places. Among the more 
important heights in the range are the Korowi Mountains, 
the Pikoti Mountains, the Aja Mountains, and the Numa 
Mountains. These range in height from about 6,500 to 8,400 
feet (1,980 to 3,560 metres). 



The Semliki.— The rift-valley is continued to the south of 
Lake Albert by the valley of the Semliki, which flows from 
Lake Edward. It is a large river, but owing to the difiference 
of level between the two lakes, 968 feet (295 metres), it is 
broken up by rapids to such an extent that it is unnavigable 
except in its lower course, where it winds about in the marshy 
plain to the south of Lake Albert. 

The mountains which border Lake Albert on the west fall 
at Boga (south-west of the point at which the Semliki enters 
the lake) to a height of about 4,250 feet (1,295 metres). They 
rise again in Kiamata to 5,050 feet (1,540 metres), but south 
of that mountain their elevation is again reduced, and a gap 
is formed which to the north-west of Beni does not exceed 
4,035 feet (1,230 metres). It is through this gap, over 30 miles 
wide, that the great tropical forest of the central Congo 
makes its way eastward to the slopes of Euwenzori. To 
the south-west of Beni the mountains increase in height, 
and the escarpments towards the rift-valley again becomes 
well marked. The western slopes of this range are drained 
by the Ibana, a tributary of the Ituri, and to a great extent 
they are covered with virgin forest. 

On the east of the rift-valley part of the massif of Euwenzori 
lies within the Belgian Congo. This massif forms the eastern 
escarpment of the rift for a distance of about 70 miles. Its 
highest point is 16,600 feet (5,060 metres) above sea-level, and 
a considerable area on its summit is covered with perpetual 
snow. It has not yet been ascended from the western or 
Belgian side. 

LaTce Edward. — "West of Lake Edward the escarpment 
runs close to the shore. Its altitude is considerable, and in 
several places heights of over 7,000 feet (2,134 metres) are 
reached, while the culminating point near the northern end 
of Lake Edward is 10,216 feet (3,114 metres) above sea-level. 
The massif as a whole appears to be very broad and to fall 
steeply on the west, where it is much cut up by tributaries of 
the Lindi and the Lowa. 

The Ruchuru. — The upper course of the Euchuru is moun- 
tainous, but in its lower course it flows through a plain 
which forms part of the rift-valley. On the west the plain is 
bordered by the escarpment of the Itongo Mountains, the 
summits of which rise to an average height of about 7,250 


feet (2,210 metres). The escarpment on the east of the plain 
also belongs in part to the Belgian Congo ; in the south it is 
high and deeply ravined, but towards the north it is much 
lower and descends gently to the level of Lake Edward. 

The Virunga Mountains. —To the south of the plain of the 
Ruchuru the rift-valley has been blocked by a number of 
volcanoes to which the general name of Virunga Mountains 
has been given. These volcanoes may be separated into three 
clearly distinct groups, a western, a middle, and an eastern. The 
western group contains Namlagira and Ninagongo, both of 
which are still active. The eastern and central groups on the 
other hand are each composed of three extinct volcanoes, those 
in the former group being Sabinio, Mgahinga, and Muhavura, 
and in the latter Vissoke, Karissimbi, and Mikeno. The Belgo- 
German frontier crosses the region, so that some of the 
volcanoes lie partly, and others entirely, outside of the Belgian 
Congo. The highest is Karissimbi, which rises to 14,783 feet 
(4,506 metres) above sea-level. 

In addition to the eight large volcanoes there are a number 
of craters, most of which are in a more or less advanced state 
of denudation. They often follow well-marked lines of 

Lake Kivu. — The western escarpment of thp riffc-valley, 
which may be traced from the north past the region of the 
volcanic mountains, is continued along the west of Lake Kivu, 
into which it often steeply descends. The lake itself is about 
60 miles in length, and contains the mountainous island of 
Kwijwi, which belongs to the Belgian Congo. The western 
slope of the escarpment drains to the Lowa and the Ulindi, 
and has the same general character as farther north. 

The Eusisi. — The Rusisi flows from Lake Kivu to Lak^ 
Tanganyika. Between the southern end of the former lake 
and the plain in which the river flows for the greater part of 
its course there is a great barrier of primitive and eruptive 
rocks, which stretches across the rift-valley and rises to a 
height of about 2,300 feet (700 metres) above the level of the 
plain. On the east it passes insensibly into the mountains 
which border the rift- valley, but on the west the escarpment 
is clearly visible and can be traced by its high summits with 
rounded outlines. 

Across this barrier the Rusisi makes its way in a deep 



gorge. The difference in level between Lakes Kivu and 
Tanganyika is about 2,330 feet (680 metres), and the Eusisi 
falls very rapidly during the first part of its course. Later on 
its speed becomes less, and it flows through a low marshy 

The western escarpment still remains high and steep. 
Towards the Congo the land falls much more gradually, and 
the basins of the rivers which drain it, the upper Ulindi and 
the Elila, are mountainous in the east, hilly in the centre, 
and fairly flat in the east. All the more important rivers are 
cut up by numerous falls and many rapids. 

Lake Tanganyika. — Seen from the delta of the Eusisi, Lake 
Tanganyika has the appearance of an immense corridor lying 
between high and almost perpendicular walls. It has a length 
of about 400 miles, and an average breadth of about 30 miles. 
At one time the level of the lake appears to have been 
higher thaii it is at present, and the modern shore-line is 
often separated from the foot of the mountains by a long 
belt of gently sloping land, which terminates near the lake 
in a sandy' beach. 

The western escarpment between Uvira and Baraka is par- 
ticularly high, and sometimes rises to 4,000 feet (1,330 metres) 
above the level of the lake. It appears to form a high broken 
plateau, which has been carved by the rivers draining it 
into separate table-topped mountain ranges. This region, 
which is known as the Maniema, lies within the basins of 
the Elila and the Luama. To the south of it the valleys 
remain high as far as the remarkable valley through which 
the Lukuga flows from Lake Tanganyika to the Lualaba. 

Thei region through which the Lukuga flows is much lower, 
especially to the south of the river. There the characteristic 
features are wide plateaus and undulating hill country, cut up 
by numerous valleys, which are all more or less narrow and 
deep. The afi&uents of the Lukuga which flow in these valleys 
are rushing torrents during the rainy season, but during the 
dry season are often reduced to a mere trickle. Near the 
main stream the land is low and marshy, but farther off it 
rises, sometimes by terraces, to the mountains which border it 
on either side. 

South of the Lukuga the mountainous region which lies 
to the west of Lake Tanganyika is known as the Marungu. 


In tlie more elevated districts to the south there are, to the 
north of the Lunangwa, great scarped heights separated from 
one another by deep and steep-walled valleys, and huge 
shelving ridges whose surface is dotted with minor peaks. 
Towards the north and west these disappear to a great extent, 
and their place is taken by undulating plains, the elevation of 
which is not so great. To the former region the name of 
High Marungu has been given, while the latter is known as 
the Manika, or Low Marungu. The more important heights 
of the High Marungu rise to 7,000 or 8,000 feet (2,135 or 
2,440 metres) above sea-level, while the river-valleys are at 
least 2,000 feet lower. In the Low Marungu the average 
elevation is about 2,000 feet above sea-level. 


The Katanga, which occupies the south-eastern part of the 
Belgian Congo, is an extension of the high plateau region of 
South Africa and Rhodesia. Towards the north it has under- 
gone considerable radial dislocation, and large rifts or graben 
have been formed. Several important sub-regions may be 

In the south, along the Congo-Zambezi divide, the country 
consists of an undulating plateau with an altitude of between 
4,000 and 5,000 feet (1,220 and 1,525 metres) above sea-level. 
To the north of it the country in which the copper mines are 
found is diversified by frequent hill ranges, and generally lies 
between 3,500 and 5,000 feet (1,065 and 1,525 metres) above 
sea-level. It is well watered by tributaries of the Luapula, 
Lufira, and Lualaba rivers, and is as a rule covered with 
relatively thin forest. 

Still farther north the country rises by steep escarpments 
to higher plateaus which have altitudes of 4,500 to 6,000 feet 
(1,370 to 1,830 metres) above sea-level. The upland plains 
on these plateaus are undulating and furrowed by numerous 
watercourses, which cut out steep and wide ravines. The 
main watercourses find their way through this region by 
large valleys, and fall rapidly to much lower levels. 

The chief physical regions into which the Katanga as 
a whole may be divided are the following. 

The Southern Katanga. — At a first glance the whole of this 
region seems to consist of a region of hills and peaks, but 


when viewed from any one of the latter it assumes its true 
form and appears as a vast undulating plateau. On the south 
it passes into the similar plateau of Ehodesia ; on the north- 
west it is bordered by the south-west prolongation of the 
Biano plateau, and towards the north-east by the plateau of 
Kundelungu. On the north it falls steeply to the Low 

The Kundelungu Plateau. — Kundelungu is the high plateau 
which lies between the Luapula and Lake Mweru on the east 
and the valley of the Lufira on the west. Two distinct regions 
may be recognized, the plateau proper and the slopes which 
lead up to it from the rifts by which it is partly surrounded. 
The former has an area of at least 6,000 square miles, and an 
average height above sea-level of over 5,000 feet (1,525 metres). 
It presents on the whole a gently undulating and only slightly 
diversified surface. Here and there, there are shallow basins 
where, as a result of the impermeability of the sub-soil, and 
it may be the neighbourhood of a spring, the soil is damp 
throughout the year. These ' dembos', as they are called, are 
sometimes ten to twelve miles long and two miles broad, and 
their surface soils are often very fertile. 

The slopes of the plateau on the other hand are much cut 
up by rivers, and often terminate in almost perpendicular 
cliffs which mark the lines of fracture. On the west, for 
example, the Kasanga and the Lofoi leave the plateau to join 
the Lufira by hanging valleys and falls from 600 to 700 feet 
in height. On the east again the western fault of Lake Mweru 
seems to be continued to the south along the flank of the 
plateau, where a whole series of rivers leave the plateau by 
falls hundreds of feet in height. 

The eastern slope of the plateau between the Luizi and 
Lake Mweru differs somewhat from the escarpment farther to 
the south. The rivers have cut deep valleys well back into 
the plateau, and the land through which they flow forms 
rough, hilly country. In the lower courses of these and other 
rivers there are often tracts of rich alluvial soil. 

The Kibala and Mulumbwe Pfefeawi.— Separated from the 
Kundelungu by the high valley of the Lubule lies the region 
of Mulumbwe. Here the forces of erosion have long been active, 
and the country consists of a succession of hills and broad 
valleys. The summits of the larger hills are almost horizontal 


and are covered with a fertile light clay, on which the savanna 
,is comparatively luxuriant, while the valleys contain large 
tracts of alluvium on- which the vegetation is particularly rich. 

The Kibala plateau, which lies to the north-west and north 
of the Mulumbwe plateau, forms an undulating country drained 
by various tributaries of the Lualaba. Parts of the surface 
appear to be covered with laterite similar to that on 
Kundelungu, but in the larger valleys, where alluvial soils 
have accumulated, there are many fertile districts. 

The Mweru-Luapula Rift-Valley. — To the east of the 
Kundelungu plateau lies the rift-valley of the Luapula and 
Lake Mweru, which here separate the Belgian Congo from 
Northern Rhodesia. Its western border has already been 
described, and its eastern is somewhat similar in character. 
In the valley itself much of the soil is alluvial, and there are 
many fertile districts along the course of the Luapula and to 
the south-west of Lake Mweru. On the other hand consider- 
able tracts of country, especially in the valley of the lower 
Luapula, become marshy during the rainy season. The region 
has a height of about 3,000 feet (915 metres) above sea-level. 
Lake Mweru itself is a shallow sheet of water, and the greatest 
known depths do not exceed 50 feet (15 metres). It appears to 
be gradually filling up, partly as a result of the sand carried 
into it by various rivers, and partly by the vegetation which 
grows in its bed. 

The Lufira Valley. -—Beiween. the Kundelungu plateau on 
the east and the Biano plateau on the west the Lufira flows 
through another region which has been formed by subsidence. 
It is roughly triangular in shape, and is drained by the Lufira 
from the south, the Dikulwe from the south-west, and the 
Luvua from the north. In the south of this region lies a 
detached hilly region known as the Pompora and Koni Hills. 
Structurally it is a horst, akin to the Kundelungu and Biano 

The Biano Plateau and the Bia Mountains. — These also form 
a horst lying between the region of subsidence in the valley of 
the Lufira just described, and the siinilar region in the valley of 
the Lualaba farther west known as the rift- valley of Upemba. 
The Biano plateau has a height of about 5,000 feet (1,525 
metres) ; its flat surface is almost unbroken, and the rivers 
which originate on it descend by steep slopes to the lowlands 


It is continued to the north by the Mutenga-Miamba spur, to the 
west and north-west of which lie the Bia Mountains. These 
mountains, which form the border of the Biano plateau, consist 
partly of granitic rocks and are very irregular in outline. 
Their future economic development will probably depend 
mainly upon the large deposits of tin which they contain. 

The Rift-Valley of U^emba.— The Upemba rift- valley, which 
is occupied by the Lualaba, runs from south-west to north-east. 
Its south-eastern border is formed by the Biano and Kibala 
plateaus, and the north-western by the Hakansson plateau. 
The escarpments are steep, but their sharp outlines have been 
much reduced by river erosion and denudation. The larger 
rivers which enter the valley descend frOm the plateaus by 
long series of falls and cascades. 

The valley itself presents several features of interest. The 
greater part of the ancient lake which at one time occupied it 
has been filled up partly by alluvial matter carried down by 
the rivers from the surrounding uplands, and partly by the 
remains of the papyrus reed which flourished in the shallow 
waters near the land. Lakes Upemba and Kisale, the largest 
remaining portions of it, are gradually being reduced in size 
in this way. In all there are about thirty-five of these fluvial 
lagoons. At times of flood the level of the rivers is much 
higher than during the dry season, and as a consequence vast 
marshes are formed. Between these lie the villages and the 
cultivated lands which surround them. 

The Hakansson Plateau. — This forms a well-defined system 
falling steeply towards the Lualaba on the south-east, and 
more gently towards the Lovoi on the north-west. The axis 
of the chain consists of a granitic massif, the summit of which 
has been worn down into an undulating plateau broken here 
and there by a few hills and low ridges. Towards the east 
the topography is somewhat more varied, as the rivers which 
flow from the plateau into the Upemba rift cut up the escarp- 
ment and give it a more mountainous aspect. Beyond the 
confluence with the Kilubi, the Lovoi cuts its way through 
the range, which is continued to the north by a series of 
comparatively low hills. 

West of the Hakansson and Biano plateaus are other plateaus of 
similar character connecting the Katanga with theKasai region. 

The above survey of the physical features of the Katanga 


indicates that it is a region of great topograpliical diversity. 
At the present time the large deposits of copper which occur 
in the south constitute its chief claim to attention, but there 
are considerable areas where agriculture in one form or 
another could be pursued. Its soils, as might be expected, 
dififer greatly in character. Alluvial plains and swamps, some 
of which are of considerable size, occur in various localities, 
the most important being those in the Dikulwe-Lufira-Luvua 
area and along the Lualaba in the Upemba rift. Many parts 
of the high plateau are covered with sand, evidently derived 
from the Lubilash rocks which are widely distributed through- 
out the region. Such districts form rolling short-grass country, 
on which trees are generally absent. Laterite is generally 
observed where the subsoil is more or less impermeable, and 
chiefly in flat country, where surface drainage is slow. Gravels 
are found in many river- valleys. 

Another feature of interest in the Katanga are the thermal 
and mineral springs which occur all over the country. 
The waters from these springs contain sulphuretted hydro- 
gen, sodium chloride, magnesium sulphate, calcium and 
magnesium carbonates, and silica. In some cases their tem- 
perature is little below boiling-point, while in others it is little 
above that of the surrounding rock. The more saline springs 
are frequently used by the natives as sources of common salt, 
which they collect in various ways. 

The Kasai Region 

The country known as the Kasai region lies somewhat to 
the south of that river and its main tributary, the Sankuru. 
Its boundary towards the north is determined byan escarpment, 
the exact position of which will be defined later. In general 
character the region is a plateau with a gentle slope from 
north to south. The rivers as a general rule follow the slope 
of the land, and their valleys, often deeply cut, provide the 
main features in the relief of the surface. The sandstones of 
the Lubilash series, by which it is mainly covered, were de- 
posited upon a peneplained surface of 6lder rocks which appear 
as residual mountains rising above the level of the surrounding 
sandstone or are found underlying the sandstone in the valleys 
of the more important rivers. 


In the extreme west the basin of the Inkisi, a tributary of 
the Congo, is much dissected by the various rivers which drain 
it, but it has the general appearance of a plateau, with an 
average height of about 1,500 feet (457 metres), out up by 
numerous valleys of erosion. The eastern border of this basin 
is formed by a relatively high escarpment which runs approxi- 
mately from north to south, and leads to a second plateau with 
an average height of about 2,500 feet (762 metres) above sea- 
level. This plateau stretches eastward as far as the upper 
Sankuru, where it attains a height of about 2,800 feet (854 

Towards the north the plateau terminates in the low escarp- 
ment which has already been mentioned. This escarpment 
begins on the Kasai west of the Kwa gorge, and at first runs 
southward more or less parallel to the course of the Kwango, but 
north of the fifth parallel it bends to the east and crosses that 
river between Muene Kundi and Kingunshi. From there it 
runs by way of Kenge on the Wamba and Madibi on the 
Kwilu to Bena Makima on the Kasai, whence it goes in a 
north-easterly direction to the confluence of the Sankuru and 
Liibefu. The edge of the plateau is about 650 feet above the 
level of the rivers. The escarpment is much dissected, and 
when viewed from the north presents a somewhat mountainous 
aspect. To the south of the escarpment the land increases in 
altitude, and about the fifth parallel assumes its proper form 
of a continuous plateau. 

The falls by which the rivers draining the plateau descend 
from it lie back, often a considerable distance, from the escarp- 
ment. To the west of the Loange there are vertical falls, and 
the total difference in level between the upper and lower 
courses of the rivers is often about 1,000 feet (305 metres). 
Below the falls the rivers in this part of the country flow in 
deep canon-like valleys. (Some of the falls marked on maps, 
such as the Archduchess Stephanie Falls, are merely rapids, 
and the true falls lie higher up the river.) To the east of the 
Loange the falls are not well marked, and the rivers descend 
a few yards at a time over several miles, the total change of 
level thus produced being considerable. The valleys, though 
deeply entrenched, are not canon-like as they are in the west. 
In the west the falls are probably due to a change of level 
caused by sinking in the central part of the Congo basin— 


a change of level with, which the rivers have not been able to 
keep pace. In the east on the other hand the immediate 
cause of the difference of level appears to be the hardness of 
the granitic substratum on which the rivers make a relatively 
slight impression. The Loange itself is an important river 
without any important fall, and it has been suggested that it 
flows in a fractured valley. 

The soils of the region vary in character. On the plateau 
they consist mainly of sands or sandy clays ; on the slopes of 
the valleys clays are more abundant, while in the valleys 
themselves large areas are covered with clay underlain with 
an impermeable subsoil. 

To the east of the upper Sankuru the country gradually 
becomes transitional between the Kasai region proper and 
the Katanga. At first the land is much broken, and consists of 
a succession of hills and plateaus on which the soil is generally 
poor. Farther east there are large plateaus almost similar to 
that of the Biano. The land is unforested, and is covered 
in many places by a sandy clay soil. 



The data available for a study of the climate of the Belgian 
Congo are still very scrappy and imperfect. Prior to 1911 
they consisted in the main of scattered observations which 
had been made as circumstances permitted, and seldom ex- 
tended continuously over a whole year, much less over a series 
of years. In 1911, however, attempts were made to improve 
matters, and the control of the Meteorological Service was 
handed over to the Department of Agriculture. The Service 
was then reorganized, and a number of observing stations 
established throughout the country. Of these the most 
important and best-equipped were at Banana, Eala, Stanley- 
ville, and Elisabethville. At Ganda-Sundi and Kitobola 
arrangements were made to record temperature, rainfall, 
humidity, and the direction and intensity of the winds, while 
at twenty-four other places throughout the country rain- 
gauges were set up and observations provided for. About the 
beginning of 1913 most of these stations were in working 
order, but the outbreak of war appears to have disarranged 
matters, and comparatively few records covering more than 
a year or two are available. If sufficient material now exists 
to enable a general statement regarding the climatic conditions 
of the country to be made, it must also be borne in mind that 
few of the figures given below can be considered as, more than 

GrENEEAL Conditions 

The most important factor affecting the climate of the 
Belgian Congo is its equatorial position. To this is due t\e 
uniformly high temperature which prevails over the greater 
part of the country, and the well-marked double maximum in 
the annual rainfall. The heat equator lies to the north of the 
geographical equator, and the lands to the north of the latter 
have therefore a higher mean temperature than those to the 


south of it. Partly because of this the dry season is more 
marked to the south of the equator than to the north of it — 
a fact which also appears to exercise an important influence 
on temperature. The Katanga, on account of its high eleva- 
tion and southerly latitude, has characteristic features of its 
own, and must to a certain extent be treated separately. The 
districts to the west of the Crystal Mountains also have some 
peculiarities owing to their proximity to the Atlantic. 


Throughout the greater part of the country the highest 
temperatures are reached in February, March, or April, March 
as a rule being the warmest month. This applies to the 
regions lying north of the equator as well as to those lying 
south of it, and appears to require a word of explanation. The 
reasons for it, however, are by no means clear, but may be 
somewhat as follows. South of about latitude 2° S. a well- 
marked dry season begins to manifest itself. This occurs when 
the sun is north of the equator, and the land is consequently 
cooled by radiation, the lowest temperatures being reached 
about July. When the sun comes south again the temperature 
begins to rise, at first somewhat rapidly, but after the beginning 
of the rainy season more slowly. This continues during the 
whole time the sun is south of the equator, and the maximum 
temperatures are reached shortly after it has passed overhead 
on its way north, that is, about March. In the northern 
hemisphere on the other hand, owing to the fact that the 
heat equator is north of the geographical equator, there is no 
well-marked dry season, and the sky is much overcast through- 
out the year. Eadiation is not so great, and the temperature 
is more uniform. On the other hand the rainfall is somewhat 
heavier and exercises a greater cooling effect. Consequently 
the highest temperature is reached when the sun is on its way 
north, but before the heavy rains begin, that is, in February, 
March, or April. 

In the hottest month of the year the mean temperature 
varies from about 78° to 82° F. On the whole it is higher 
to the north of the equator than to the south of it. July 
or August is as a rule the coolest month except very near 
the equator, where the minimum occurs in the last quarter of 


the year. The mean temperature varies from 75° to 80° F., 
and is on the whole lower for the southern districts than for 
the northern. 

It would be rash to place too much reliance on the figures 
which are available, but when they are reduced to sea-level it 
would appear that the distribution of mean annual tempera- 
ture is somewhat as follows. From the equator there is a rise 
both to the north and to the south. In the north this rise is 
continued well beyond the frontier of the Belgian Congo ; in 
the south it probably ceases somewhere between the sixth and 
tenth parallels, but in the absence of fuller information it is 
impossible to say precisely where. 

The annual range of temperature is least in the equatorial 
districts, and becomes greater to the north and to the south of 
them. The figures available for places within 2° of the 
equator show a range of about 2° to 4° F. For the country to 
the north of this no observations have been made in the 
Belgian Congo, but at Mobaye on the French side of the 
Ubangi the annual range is 6° F. To the south of the equa- 
torial districts it varies as a rule between 7° and 10° F. 

The mean daily range as far as it is known is fairly uniform 
over the greater part of the country apart from the Katanga, 
and varies from 12° to 20° F. Absolute extremes which have 
been recorded show maxima as high as 104° F. at Luluabourg 
and 102° F. at Eala, and minima as low as 54° F. at Ganda- 
Sundi and Vivi. On the uplands of the Congo-Nile divide 
and. on the plateau south of the Kasai the range is probably 
much greater at times. 

Several regions present features of special interest. In the 
districts bordering the lower Congo west of the Crystal 
Mountains the temperature of the warmest month (February 
or March) is well up to the average, being about 80° F. In 
July or August, however, the mean temperature falls to about 
70° F., which is rather less than that of places in the same 
latitude farther to the east. These lower temperatures may 
■perhaps be explained by the presence off the west coast of 
Africa of a cold current, and its cooling effect on the local 
south-westerly winds which at that season blow over the 
districts referred to. 

The greater part of Katanga, on account of its southerly 
latitude and high elevation, has climatic conditions peculiarly 


its own. The temperature is lower botli in summer and in 
winter, and the annual range is greater. Elisabeth ville, which 
lies over 4,000 feet above sea-level, has its highest temperatures 
in October or November, that is, when the sun is on its way- 
south and just before the rainy season has begun to cool the 
air. The Coldest months are May, June, and July, when the 
sun is overhead in the northern hemisphere. The annual 
range is from about 60° F. in the coldest months to about 
75° F. in the hottest. The variations in the mean daily range 
are also much more marked here than in other 'parts of the 
country. It appears to be greatest about July, when it is as 
much as 45° F., least about February, when it does not exceed 
•20° F. 

For the Eastern Highlands and the Kasai uplands no 
reliable figures are available. In the former region the high 
temperature of the equatorial belt is modified by the great 
height of the land, and certain districts enjoy a climate of the 
warm-temperature type. The Kasai uplands are intermediate 
in latitude and altitude between the central basin of the Congo 
and the plateau of the Katanga, and in temperature they resemble 
in a modified form the southern part of the Central Basin. 


The seasonal distribution of rainfall in the Belgian Congo 
is governed by the northward and southward movements of 
the sun across the country. As a result of this movement 
there is practically everywhere, except in the Katanga, a double 
maximum and a double minimum in the course of the year. 
The districts bordering the equator lie well within the rain- 
belt at all seasons, but even there the seasonal variation is 
established. At Eala (0° 5' N.), for example, the maxima occur 
in March and October and the minima in July and January, 
the extremes being 3-2 inches in January and 7-9 inches in 
October, Farther in the interior Romee (0° 25' N.) has its 
maxima in April and November and its minima in February 
and August, the extremes being 3-3 inches in August and 
12-4 inches in April. 

Farther north, about midway between the equator and the 
northern frontier, the rainfall is less evenly distributed 
throughout the year, the maxima are as a rule closer together, 


and one minimum is longer and drier than the other. Then 
is, however, no well-marked dry season. At Yambata, whici 
is in some ways typical of this region, the months of maximum 
rainfall are April and August, and the months of minimum 
rainfall June and December. The wettest month in 1911 was 
August, with over 12 inches, and the driest December, witt 
about half an inch. 

The region between the "Welle and the Bomu is the onlj 
part of the country north of the equator with anything 
approaching a dry season. At Uere the maxima are in May 
and October, for which months the rainfall is 7-4 and 14-9 inches 
respectively. The first minimum is in July, which has 4-8 inches, 
and the second in December and January, during which period 
less than 2 inches fall. 

South of the equator the dry season is much more marked. 
In the districts round the lower Congo the first maximum is 
in March or April, and the second in November or December. 
There is a reduced rainfall in January and February, and 
a dry season which usually lasts from about the beginning of 
June till the end of September. At Banana, for example, 
April and November have over 8 inches, January and February 
about 3-5 inches, and June, July, August, and September less 
than half an inch in all. In the interior the same character- 
istics prevail, but the dry season is shorter : at Luluabourg and 
Kasongo, for example, it lasts only during June and July; 
farther east it is somewhat longer. To the south, in the 
Kasai uplands, the dry season is of greater duration and the 
total precipitation less. 

In the Katanga, more especially in the southern part of it, 
there appear the first indications of a single maximum in the 
rainy season. The observations made at Elisabethville cover 
only a few years, and the results are not always consistent, 
but the tendency is for the rainfall to begin about the end 
of September, to increase to a maximum about February, 
and to cease in April or at the beginning of May. 

Great caution must be observed in any attempt to estimate 
the total annual rainfall of the different regions of the Belgian 
Congo, as the small number of stations, the short periods 
during which observations have been made, and the uncertainty 
which must necessarily exist regarding the accuracy of the 
records render generalization dangerous. In the Central 


Basin a number of stations have an annual precipitation 
between 60 and 65 incbes. The iigures based on one year's 
observations for Likimi in the basin of the Mongala and for 
Avakubi on the Aruwimi are higher and are between 70 and 
75 inches. As these places occur in densely forested districts 
which require a heavy rainfall, it is not unlikely that they are 
typical of considerable areas, and are not exceptional either in 
time or in place. If this be so, it would follow that the mean 
annual rainfall over the greater part of the Central Basin is 
between 60 and 75 inches ; in all probability, however, the 
area with less than 65 inches is much larger than that which 
has over that amount. The records of Lusambo and Luluabourg 
indicate that the area with a rainfall of over 60 inches may be 
carried well to the south of the fifth parallel in the country 
between the Kasai and the Sankuru. 

The peripheral regions have on the whole a lower rainfall 
than the Central Basin. To the north of the Welle the mean 
annual precipitation appears to fall to between 50 and 60 inches, 
but is probably nearer the latter amount than the former. In 
the Eastern Highlands rainfall diminishes towards the east, 
and Kwesi, Nya Lukemba, and Albertville have an annual 
mean of about 45 inches, while other districts have probably 
somewhat less. To the west of the Crystal Mountains the 
rainfall is more variable, and ranges from 35 to 55 inches, 
being highest in the hill country of Mayumbe and lowest 
along the Congo. 

In the Kasai uplands the rainfall is also less than in the 
Central Basin, except in the district already mentioned between 
the Kasai and the Sankuru. Farther west, between the Kasai 
and the Kwango, precipitation appears to decrease towards the 
south, and probably falls to 45 inches or less. The south- 
eastern districts are among the driest in the country, and it is 
doubtful whether the mean annual precipitation in the basins 
of the Luvua and the Lufira reaches 45 inches. On the High 
Katanga on the other hand the summer rainfall is heavy, 
and amounts to between 45 and 50 inches. 

Considering these facts as a whole, it is evident that the 
rainfall of the Belgian Congo is not very great, and is indeed 
less than might have been expected. It is questionable 
whether as much as 80 inches falls anywhere throughout the 
colony. This is a low maximum as compared with the 


Cameroons, where records of over 150 inches are not uncommon. 
Nor is the number of days on which an appreciable amount of 
rain falls at all excessive, and very few places appear to have 
on an average more than 110 such days in the course of the 
year. As a rule the sky is usually clouded over at sunrise 
during the rainy season, but gradually clears as the morning 
advances. Between one and two in the afternoon storm clouds 
appear, and these may, or may not, lead to rain. Thunder- 
storms are of frequent occurrence in the rainy season. 

Winds \ 

Few accurate observations have been made regarding the 
strength and direction of the winds, and most of the informa- 
tion regarding them has to be gleaned from miscellaneous 
sources. Westerly winds prevail on the coast during the 
greater part of the year, and appear to make their way well 
into the interior of the continent. It is only in the east, and 
more especially in the south-east, that winds with an easterly 
component gain the upper hand. 

Mention is frequently made of tornadoes by residents and 
travellers in the Congo. Most of these, however, appear to be 
atmospheric disturbances caused by thunderstorms, and are 
not tornadoes in the true sense of the term. 

Climatic Regions 

The foregoing discussion indicates that the Belgian Congo 
may be divided into a number of climatic regions corresponding 
more or less closely with the physical regions already described. 
The main characteristics of each region may now be summed 
up and the records of a few typical stations added. 

Central Basin 

The Central Basin, owing to its equatorial position, has a 
uniformly high temperature. The annual range is slight, and 
the diurnal range, though considerable, is not excessive. 
Eainfall is heavy and is well distributed throughout the year, 
though towards the northern and southern margins of the 
region there are indications of a dry season. As a result of 
the heavy and more or less continuous rainfall the relative 
humidity of the atmosphere is generally high. 




Eala . 

Nouvelle Anvers . 

Eala . 

Nouvelle Anvers . 

0° 5' N. 

1° 5' N. 

19° 9' E. 
15° 19' E. 

19° 9' E. 



Station. Lai 
Eala . . 0° 5' N. 
Dundu Sana 3° N. 
Lusambo . 4° 58' N. 

Station. Lat. 
Eala . . 0° 5' N. 
Dundu Sana 3° N. 
Lusambo . 4° 58' N. 

22° 26' E. 

Jan. Feb. 



Long. July Aug. 

18°21'E. 3.4 4-1 

22°26'E. 3-3 6-3 

23°23'E. 5-0 2-2 



Mar. April 

76-5 76-8 

78-8 784 

80-0 79 '5 









Sept. Oct. Nov. Deo. 

75-2 75-6 74-8 76-3 

76-6 76.8 774 77-5 

77-9 77-7 77.9 77-9 

April May June 

6-0 5-7 3-5 

11-2 8-9 3-9 

7-9 8-0 1-5 

Oct. Nov. Dec. Total 

7-9 5-9 5-5 614 

11-8 5-8 0-7 60-8 

6-8 5-0 70 65-6 

Lower Congo 

The Lower Congo, on account of its proximity to the ocean 
and more southerly latitude, differs in several respects from 
the Central Basin. The mean temperature of the warmest 
months is at least as high, but the annual range is greater on 
account of the low temperatures of July and August. The 
total precipitation is also much less, and there is a dry 
season of several months' duration. For these reasons the 
region is better adapted to Europeans than the preceding one. 




. 4°8'S. 

Long. Jan. 
12°27'E. 80-0 
12°52'E. 784 









. 4°8'S. 

Long. July 
12°27'E. 73-0 
12° 52' E. 69-6 










Lat. Long. Jan. Feb. 

6°S. 12°27'E. 3-5 3-6 

4°S'S. 12°52'E. 6-2 9-3 








Station. Lat. Long. July Aug. 
Banana . 6°-S. 12° '21' E. 0-0 0-2 
Ganda-Sundi 4° 8' S. 12°52'E. O^O 0-2 











Welle Region 

The Welle region is the most northerly in the country, 
and approaches the Sudan in its climatic characteristics. 
The temperature is on the whole somewhat higher, and the 
annual range greater than in the Central Basin, and, although 
there is rain throughout the year, the precipitation during 
the southern summer is markedly low. The climatic regime 
of the region can best be illustrated by the records of Mobaye 
in French Equatorial Africa, though the rainfall there is 
somewhat greater than it is farther east. 



Lat. Long. Jan. 
. 4°20'N. 21°10'E. 77-7 





May June 

78-2 77-5 

Mobaye . 

Lat. Long. July 
. 4°20'N. 21°10'E. 76-1 





Nov. Dec. 
76-5 77-7 

Mobaye . 

Lat. Long. Jan. Feb. 
4°20'N. 21°10'E. 0-5 1-5 





Mobaye . 

Lat. Long. July Aug. 
4°20'N. 21°10'E. 4-4 6-6 




Dec. Total 
1-1 68-6 

Eastern Highlands 

The Eastern Highlands have a temperature which decreases 
with altitude, but, as no observations have been made, it is 
impossible to say at what rate that diminution takes place. 
It is obvious, however, that the climate must be sub-tropical 
rather than tropical in the more elevated areas, and it is 
possible that some districts may even be suitable for European 
settlement. The rainfall is also less than in the Central Basin, 
and appears to diminish towards the east. To the north of 
the equator it takes place at all seasons of the year, but to the 
south there is a dry season. No figures for temperature exist. 


Station. Lat. Long. Jan. Feb. Mar. April May June 

Kwesi . 1°8'N. 29°59'E. 4-6 2-9 2-5 7-0 1-8 3-1 
Albertville (Toa) 5°43'S. 29°23'E. 4-6 3-2 6-5 6-0 2-6 0-2 

Station. Lat. Long. July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Total 

Kwesi . 1°8'N. 29°59'E. 3-2 5-1 2-8 6.6 2-9 1-7 44-2 

Albertville (Toa) 5° 43' S. 39°23'E. 0-2 04 0-9 2.3 9-7 8-3 44-9 




The Katanga, or at least the High Katanga, belongs 
climatically to the northern part of the plateau of South 
Africa rather than to the Belgian Congo. The summers are 
hot and wet, and the winters warm and dry. The range 
between the hottest and coldest months is considerable, and at 
Elisabethville amounts to as much as 15° F. There, also, the 
diurnal range is very great, especially in June, July, and 
August, when it appears to exceed 45° F. At that season 
minimum temperatures in the vicinity of freezing-point are 
frequently registered, while the mean maximum temperature 
for October, the hottest month, is between 90° and 95° F. 
With the possible exception of part of the Eastern Highlands, 
the High Katanga is the only part of the Belgian Congo 
which can be considered as at all suitable for European 




Lat. Long. Jan. Feb. Mar. April May June 

11°40'S. 27°29'E. 72-1 71-8 70-7 70-6 66-0 60-6 

Lat. Long. July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. 

11°40'S. 27°29'B. 60-3 64-2 70-9 74-8 74-0 714 


Station. Lat. Long. Jan. Feb. Mar. April May June 

ElisabethviUe 11°40'S. 27°29'E. 9-3 10-3 9-5 1-3 0-5 0-0 

Station. Lat. 

Elisabethville 11°40'S. 

Long. July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Total 
27°26'E. 0-0 0-0 0-8 0-5 4-0 11-4 47-1 

Kasai Region 

The Kasai Eegion may in some ways be compared with the 
Welle country. Like the latter it has, in the north at least, 
a somewhat higher mean temperature than the Central Basin ; 
in the southern, more elevated districts, it is probably some- 
what cooler, with a greater annual and diurnal range. In the 
central districts between the Kasai and the Sanhuni the rain- 
fall may be heavier than in the Welle country ; elsewhere it 
is probably about the same in the north, but decreases toward 
the south. There is, however, everywhere a well-marked dry 
season. The only figures for the region are those for 
Luluabourg, but they can hardly be regarded as typical. 






Lat. Long. 

5°56'S. 22°25'E. 

Jan. Feb. Mar. April May June 
75-7 75-6 75-9 76-3 761 75-9 

Lat. Long July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. 

5°56'S. 22°25'E. 76-3 76-8 75-6 75-9 75-9 76-8 

Station. Lat. 

Luluabourg . 5° 56' S. 

Station. Lat. 

Luluabourg . 5° 56' S. 


Long. Jan. Feb. Mar. April May June 
22°25'E. 7-2 54 7-9 6-1 3-1 0-2 

Long. July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Total 
22°25'E. 0-1 2-5 6-5 6-6 8-7 6-6 60-9 



Notwithstanding much valuable work on the natural 
vegetation of the Congo, there are still large areas about 
which very little information is obtainable. Many parts of 
the country have not yet been subject to a detailed survey, 
and even the limits of the great botanical regions are in some 
places imperfectly known. The present chapter is therefore 
confined to an account of the main types of vegetation in so 
far as they influence human activities, and no attempt is 
made to discuss the subject from a purely botanical point 
of view. 

Several distinct types of vegetation may be recognized, 
and these correspond more or less closely with the natural 
regions of the country as defined by physical and climatic 
conditions. The tropical forest covers the greater part of the 
Central Basin, and is also found in the river-valleys of the 
surrounding regions. Savanna is characteristic of the "Welle 
country, and along with steppe covers the greater part of the 
Kasai uplands. In the Katanga vegetation is more varied, 
and ranges with altitude from tropical forest to steppe. The 
latter formation is also the prevalent type on the higher slopes 
of the Eastern Highlands. On the Crystal Mountains and in 
the country to the west of them, where physical and climatic 
conditions are more varied, there are large areas both of 
forest and of savanna. On the whole therefore it may be 
said that tropical forest is the characteristic type of vegetation 
in the Central Basin, while savanna covers the greater part of 
the peripheral region except in the highland areas, where it 
frequently gives place to steppe. As a rule, however, the 
limits of these different formations cannot be clearly drawn, 
since in many places, more especially in marginal regions, 
local conditions of soil and climate exercise an important 


The Coastal Districts 

To the west of the Crystal Mountains the natural vegetation 
is somewhat varied in character. The banks of the Congo 
and the large islands which lie in the bed of that river are 
often fringed with mangrove, brushwood, or occasional clumps 
of forest in which raphia, oil-palms, and Pandanus are found. 
Farther inland brushwood and savanna are the dominant 
types. On the low plateaus which fringe the coast and extend 
inland to the hill country of Mayumbe the forest is as a rule 
confined to the valleys of the rivers. Towards the north these 
forests are sometimes extensive and contain raphia, oil-palm, 
and other trees of economic importance, but in the south, 
where the valleys open out and give rise to big marshes, 
they disappear, and their place is taken by large tracts of 
papyrus. In the valleys of the Luibi and Bola, however, the 
forests are continued to the coast between Banana and Malela. 
The plateaus and plains of the region are as a rule covered by 
a high herbaceous vegetation in the midst of which oil-pahns, 
bamboos, and baobabs are occasionally found. 

In the central part of Mayumbe, between the sources of the 
Nyanzi and the Lukunga, south of the Lukula, and the 
mountains south of the Lubuzi, the forest is more widely 
distributed, but is frequently interrupted by open clearings 
which are covered with herbaceous plants and by plateaus on 
which brushwood is the prevailing type of vegetation. On 
the whole the forest is less rich than it is farther north, and 
trees of economic value do not attain their maximum .develop- 
ment. The oil-palm nevertheless appears to grow well. 

The northern part of Mayumbe, between the mountains 
south of the Lubuzi and the Chiloango, appears to be com- 
pletely wooded and to contain considerable tracts of virgin 
forest. In addition to various other trees of economic value 
this region possesses large numbers of oil-palms. 

In many parts of Mayumbe the virgin forest has disappeared 
and has been replaced by a secondary formation which is 
usually of much less economic value. The destruction of the 
primitive forest as a preliminary to the cultivation of the land 
is naturally most active in the river-valleys and lowland 
districts. Hence it is chiefly on the mountain-slopes that 
the largest areas of virgin forest are now found. 


The Crystal Mountains 

The so-called Crystal Mountains separate the Coastal Eegion 
from the Central Basin. Except along the line of the railway 
between Matadi and- Leopoldville and in a few other districts, 
comparatively little is known about their vegetation, but its 
general character is somewhat as follows. To the north of the 
Congo the river-valleys are usually fringed by gallery forest, 
while the intervening mountains are covered with herbaceous 
plants and form extensive savannas. South of the river 
brushwood is the dominant type except in the river-valleys, 
where there are gallery forests, and in certain districts where 
•considerable stretches of land are also under forest. One of 
these districts is situated north and north-east of Congo da 
Lemba, and extends from the valley of the Bembezi to that of 
the Lufu. Another, known as the Forest of Ziaka, lies at the 
confluence of the Kwilu and the Kwilu-Madiata. In the 
southern part of the Bangu massif the valleys, and sometimes 
the hills, are heavily wooded, and the raphia and the oil-palm, 
the umbrella-tree, and the baobab are all common; in the 
north of Bangu on the other hand the forest is less extensive, 
and the greater part of the land is covered with brushwood. 
In addition to the oil-palm the Bangu forests contain a number 
of trees of economic value. 

The Central Basin 

The limits of the tropical forest can as yet be stated only in 
general terms, as much of the region remains unsurveyed, but 
on the whole it may be said to occupy the greater part of the 
Central Basin, where the elevation of the land is less than 
1,600 feet above sea-level. In this region there is only a slight 
range of temperature between the warmest and coldest months 
of the year, while rain falls at all seasons. In the north the 
border of the forest appears to be more regular than in the 
south, and is probably determined by climatic conditions alone. 
The main rivers flow from east to west, and the northern limit 
of the forest runs more or less parallel to them. In the south 
on the other hand, where the chief tributaries of the Kasai 
flow towards the north, the forest frequently follows their 
valleys southward for a considerable distance. On the east 


the limit of the forest is generally determined by tl 
mountainous borderland of the State. 

"Within the limits thus roughly defined lies the great tropici 
forest. It ought to be stated at once, however, that the virgi 
forest is by no means continuous over the whole of this arei 
It is interrupted in places by stretches of secondary fores 
brushwood, and savanna, but, owing to the want of precis 
information, no exact account of their distribution is possibL 
It is probable, as will be seen later, that the virgin forest we 
formerly more extensive than it is now, and that the othc 
formations mentioned are in many cases the result of man 
interference with it. 

Bearing in mind then the difficulties which exist, a 
attempt may now be- made to define somewhat more exact! 
the limits within which the tropical forest is found. Accord 
ing to Thonner and Chevalier its northern border appears oi 
the left bank of the Ubangi at Bangi and runs southward a 
no great distance from the river to about the latitude c 
Libenge. After curving to south-east until it is a littl 
north of Bwado it follows an east-north-east line to nortl 
of Boyolo and Abumombazi, and finally runs eastward t( 
south of the "Welle. M. de "Wildeman, who is in agree 
ment as far as the west is concerned, is inclined to carry thi 
eastern part of the border-line farther to the north, an( 
believes that it cuts the Welle shortly before its conflueno 
with the Bomu. According to him a considerable pkrt of th( 
lower Welle at least falls within the forested area. Thii 
opinion is to some extent endorsed by a recent writer in th< 
Bulletin agricole, who has traversed a considerable part of the 
region in question and has drawn the northern limit of th( 
forest along 'the Bill from its confluence with the Bomu tc 
a point about 24° 30' E., then south-east to Bima on the Welle 
and from there along that river and its tributary the BomO' 
kandi to the east. The diversity of opinion thus indicated is 
probably due in the main to the transitional character of the 
region. As the northern limit of the forest is approached il 
is interspersed more and more freely with stretches of savanna 
and it becomes increasingly difficult to say where the one 
formation definitely gives place to the other. 

The southern limit of the forest is even more difficult tc 
determine. M. Chevalier considers that it begins at Lukolela 



on tlie Congo, and runs southward so as to embrace the greater 
part of Lake Leopold, after which it bears away to the east. 
M. de Wildeman on the other hand, while admitting that the 
land on either side of the Kasai-Sankuru is a region of transi- 
tion, considers that it should be included within the tropical 
forest. - From the botanical point of view this is no doubt 
correct, but it is also true that very considerable areas of 
savanna lie between that river and the Congo, especially in 
the east. 

In the east of the country, also, there is still much that is 
uncertain. South of the "Welle the forest follows the ArUwimi 
and Ituri eastward, crosses the Semliki, and passes between 
Lakes Albert and Edward on to the lower slopes of Ruwenzori. 
Dr. Milbraed considers that the southern limit of this part of 
the forest runs from Nyangwe on the Lualaba to Burton Gulf 
on Lake Tanganyika, but whether all the region between this 
line and the Aruwimi-Ituri can be considered as virgin forest 
is exceedingly doubtful. In the vicinity of the Aruwimi much 
of the vegetation appears to be of secondary formation, while 
to the south of the Ituri it passes quickly into the steppe of 
the Eastern Highlands. Farther south, however, in the district' 
of Lowa, there are considerable tracts of virgin forest in the 
basins of the Ulindi and Elila. It is just possible that the 
gaUery forests of the region have fostered the idea that the 
tropical forest is more continuous than it really is. 

Within the region which has been delimited the tropical 
forest is characterized by the great height and girth of the 
trees of which it is composed. The lianas which have grown 
up with the forest push their way towards the light, and 
produce their fruit and flowers among the upper branches of 
the trees. Here also epiphytes of all kinds grow in profusion, 
and combine with the rest of the vegetation to produce that 
gloom which is everywhere so marked a feature of the tropical 
forest. Among the plants there are many of considerable 
economic importance. The African rubber-tree {Funtumia 
elastica), various rubber-producing lianas (including Landoljphia 
owariensis and Clitandra Arnoldiana), the oil-palm (Elaeis 
guineensis), the raphia palms {Raphia Laurentii and Eaphia 
vinifera), and the copal tree {Copaifera Demeusei) are most 
exploited at the present time. In addition to these there are 
many trees which would furnish timber for building and 


cabinet-making if the communications of the country woul 
permit of their exportation. 

In many places, as already pointed out, the primitive fores 
appears to have been replaced by a secondary forest which : 
much less impressive. In it the vegetation is on the who] 
not nearly so dense, the trees consist as a rule of softer woo{ 
and herbaceous plants are abundant. The greater developmei 
of the undergrowth is indeed the most characteristic feature c 
the secondary forest, and probably explains the term broust 
so often applied to it by travellers in the Congo. 

The existence of the secondary forest has given rise to muc 
discussion, but no definite conclusion as to its origin y* 
appears to have been arrived at. The prevailing opinio] 
however, seems to be that it has grown up in clearings whic 
have been made at one time or other by the natives f( 
purposes of cultivation, and have at a later period bee 
abandoned. Experience in India and elsewhere lends weigl 
to the argument that the primitive forest once destroyed nev( 
reappears in its original form. The problem is one whicl 
when solved; may throw considerable light upon the futui 
development of the whole region. It has generally bee 
argued that the luxuriance of tropical vegetation is so grei 
that man cannot as a rule fight successfully against it. Bi 
if he can, even when uncivilized, so profoundly modify i 
general character, it does not seem impossible that at a moi 
advanced stage of civilization he should overcome the difficu 
ties which it presents, and turn at least the more suitable par 
of the forest area to his own account. On the other hand tl 
reckless destruction of many valuable trees which is, and hi 
for long been, taking place as a result of native methods i 
cultivation is a matter of serious consideration, and, if not i 
some way checked, will lead to the loss of what might ult 
mately prove to be a great source of wealth to the country. 

It is also important to note that the forest, whether it 1 
primitive or secondary, is not continuous over the whole regie 
which has been assigned to it. Very frequently it is cut up I 
savannas, which sometimes lie along the banks of the rivei 
but at other times are found on the higher lands separatii 
their valleys. On these savannas grasses and herbaceoi 
plants are dominant, and trees, and even woody shrubs, a 
either few in number or entirely wanting. 


An account of the distribution of these three types of vege- 
tation — virgin forest, secondary forest, and savanna — can be 
given for only the better-known parts of the region under con- 
sideration. In the north the country between the Ubangi and 
its tributary the Giri appears to be in the main covered with 
virgin forest, at least in the better-known parts near the rivers. 
Farther east, between the Griri and the Congo, west of Mobeka, 
the land, which is low-lying and marshy, is also covered with 
virgin forest. Along the courses of the Mongala, the Dua, 
and the Motima there ar« great stretches of almost level 
country, which are inundated during the rainy season. In 
these districts the tropical forest is particularly dense, and the 
large numbers of lianas which it contains render it almost 
impassable. Away from the rivers, however, there appear to 
be considerable tracts of secondary forest. Farther east, in 
the neighbourhood of Dobo, the right bank of the Congo is 
fringed by a savanna, beyond which there is a belt of forest. 
To the north of this forest lies a more extensive savanna, 
which stretches from the Molua to the Loeka, and in which 
grasses are the chief plants. Hig^her up the Congo, near 
Bumba, and perhaps farther to the east, this savanna reappears 
on the banks of the river, but as a rule it is separated from it 
by a belt of forest. Along the Aruwimi the tropical forest 
fringing the river often gives way to seqondary formations at 
no great distance off. This seems to be the case between 
Panga and Banalia, where, to the north of the river especially, 
there appears to be a ponsiderable tract of secondary forest. 
In some places even the banks of the river are covered with 
herbaceous plants. 

To the south of the Congo the forest appears to be even less 
continuous than it is to the north. In the neighbourhood of 
the confluence of the Congo and Kasai at Kwamouth the 
banks of both rivers are well wooded, but away from them 
there is bush, and in places the country has a savanna-like 
appearance. The banks of the Fini, which connects Lake Leopold 
with the Kasai, are inundated at certain seasons of the year, and 
are covered with a herbaceous vegetation from which trees are 
as a rule absent, but farther away from the river and around 
the lake the virgin forest reappears. It also covers much of 
the western part of the country drained by the Lopori, the 
Maringa, and the Busira, though it is reported to be less dense 


in these regions than elsewhere. In places the rivers ar( 
somewhat deeply entrenched, and the summits of their dividei 
are frequently covered with secondary forest. This is probabb 
due to the fact that the population here is relatively dense 
and that much of the land in the more elevated districts ha; 
at one time or other been cleared for agriculture. It has beei 
suggested, however, that the water-parting between the Busin 
and the Maringa is primitive bush-land. Regarding th( 
country drained by the upper courses of these rivers and thei: 
tributaries probably less is known than of any other part o 
the Congo. All that can with safety be said is that in th( 
eastern part of Equateur and in Sankuru there appears to b( 
very little virgin forest away from the rivers, and the greats; 
part of the land is covered with bush or savanna. Farther t( 
the east, in the lower valleys of the Lomami and Lualaba 
as well as over a part of the region between them, there ii 
again forest, but of its character little is known. 

Towards the south, where the Kasai- Sankuru marks some 
what roughly the limit of the tropical forest, secondary forma 
tions become more frequent. On ascending the Kasai fron 
its confluence with the Cbngo, the forest is frequently seen t( 
retreat from the banks of the river — at Bokala, for example, i 
is distant by about a day's march, and the intervening area ii 
occupied by bush. Farther upstream the gallery forest followi 
the river, but beyond it savanna extends as far as the eye cai 
reach. Along the Sankuru, also, the forest retains its transi 
tional character. At Butala the soil is sandy, and forest anc 
savanna alternate, while at Bena Dibele forest again becomei 
the dominant type. On the whole the characteristic featurei 
of this region are the gallery forests along the rivers and th( 
savannas and occasional forests of the interior. 

In conclusion then it seems evident that the region whic] 
has been described is essentially one in which the tropica 
forest is the dominant natural formation, and in the lower anc 
wetter parts of the country it still appears to be in almos 
exclusive possession of the land. On the higher grount 
beyond the river-valleys, where it is naturally less dense, an( 
where conditions are more favourable for human settlement 
it has been destroyed to a great extent by man and replacec 
by the less valuable secondary forest. Savanna, as might h 
expected, is most common on the margins of the region and ii 
the drier districts which lie to the west of the Lomami. 


The Wblle Region 

The vegetation of the country north of the Welle is much 
more diversified than that of the preceding region. In the 
valleys of the Bomu and the Welle, as well as in those of their 
more important tributaries, there are frequently considerable 
areas of virgin forest, which are probably due in part to the 
heavy flooding which takes place in these districts during the 
northern summer. In the gallery forest rubber-producing 
plants are common, the oil-palm is found in the vicinity of 
native towns such as Niangara, Poko, and Amadis, and coffee 
(Coffea Canephora) grows in the wild state, the best varieties 
being obtained from the northern and eastern districts. On 
its borders the virgin forest gives place to secondary forest 
and brushwood, which in some places is of considerable 
breadth, while in others it is quite narrow. The brushwood 
is composed of shrubs 10 to 20 feet in height, among which 
there are numerous small trees and an occasional large one. 
In the secondary forest on the other hand low trees pre- 
dominate, while the undergrowth only is formed of shrubs. 

On the extensive plateaus which lie between the rivers 
savanna is the prevailing type of vegetation. It frequently 
stretches for immense distances in every direction, and is- 
composed in the main of grasses and herbaceous plants. Of 
the grasses Imperata cylindrica is perhaps the most widely 
distributed ; it reaches a height of about six feet, and is said 
to form good food for cattle. On the other hand it proves 
a great obstacle to the cultivation of the land, and native 
plantations have frequently to be abandoned by their owners 
after it has taken possession of them. Intermingled with the 
grass are shrubs and bushes, together with various flowering 
plants. All are more or less burned up during the dry season, 
but spring up again immediately after the rains. 

The Eastern Highlands 

The vegetation of the eastern borderland of the Belgian 
Congo is very varied, but, as much of the region is practically 
unknown, it is impossible to do more than give a very general 
account of the greater part of it. Among the more important 
causes of the diversity which exists are altitude, surface 
features, exposure, and climate, and in the short survey which 


follows it will be seen that eacli of these is of considerab] 
importance. On the western slopes of the mountains whic 
border the great African rift-valley, the equatorial fores 
gradually disappears, and as altitude increases its place i 
taken by savanna, mountain forest, and steppe. In the nortl 
between Kilo and the Ituri, the forest appears in places, hv 
there are considerable stretches of land where trees are entire! 
wanting, and where the vegetation consists almost entirely c 
herbaceous plants and grasses. The false sugar-cane an 
Imperata cylindrica are characteristic of these districts. Th 
Shari and Nizi in their mountainous parts are sometime 
bordered by a little gallery forest, but when they descend int 
the plain they flow through land which is almost entire! 
savanna. Farther east, between the route from Irumu t 
Mahagi and Lake Albert, the vegetation of the mountai: 
region is composed almost entirely of grasses mixed wit] 
bushes and semi-woody plants. 

West of the Semliki the vegetation is somewhat differenj 
North of Beni the equatorial forest is almost continuous, an( 
extends across that river to lose itself on the lower slopes o 
Euwenzori, or to turn towards the north and south of tha 
mountainous massif. Farther south the western side of th 
mountains which border the rift-valley appear to have savann; 
on their lower slopes and steppe on their upper. ' 

In the rift-valley itself there is also considerable diversity 
As already mentioned, much of the country immediately t 
the west of Lake Albert is covered with grass and bushes 
In the valley of the Semliki, also, the vegetation is com 
paratively poor. Round Kisindi in the south there ar 
acacia forests ; farther north, to the west of Beni, there i 
a great grass plain, which is largely overgrown with Borassu 
palm ; near Lake Albert expanses of reed-grass alternate wit] 
patches of elephant-grass, barren steppes, and trees. To th^ 
east of the Semliki the western slopes of iJuwenzori also fal 
within the Belgian Congo. On them several distinct zones o 
vegetation may be recognized. Between 3,000 and 6,000 fee 
above sea-level a great part of the land is covered wit] 
savanna. Towards the lower limit it consists in the main o 
short grasses, while the acacia with which it is sometime 
dotted gives it a park-like appearance; higher up there ari 
much elephant-grass and occasional forests rich in ferns 


Above 6,000 feet the mountain forest begins to appear, and 
readies its maximum development between 7,000 and 8,000 
feet. Beyond that the slopes become steeper, and the forest 
less dense ; in it the bamboo is an important plant, and is 
found as far as 10,000 feet above sea-level. Higher up 
the vegetation gradually assumes a more or less alpine-like 

On the shores of Lake Edward there are many marshes, in 
which thorny bushes, reeds, and similar plants are found in 
quantity. To the south of it the plain of the Euchuru has 
the appearance of a bare level steppe covered with short grass 
and dotted here and there with light acacia bush. Near the 
lakes the bush becomes denser, and in various places there are 
occasional tracts of forest. East of the Euchuru lie the 
volcanic Virunga Mountains. Here, owing to lava iiows more 
or less recent, much of the vegetation is still in a state of 
development. On the lower slopes of Ninagongo, for example, 
the land is covered with what has been called virgin bush- 
forest. It consists of thickets of shrubs and trees of medium 
height, and is in places almost impenetrable. Great trees 
with tall trunks grow isolated here and there. Higher up 
the trees disappear, and a mass of bushes and shrubs hardly 
the height of a man, with rod-shaped branches, grows crowded 
together. Above the brushwood, which is representative of 
the subalpine region, c^pme the alpine growths, of which 
the most characteristic plant is the arborescent Senecio 
Johnstonii. Much, however, depends upon the age of the 
lava, and on Karissimbi, above the bamboo forest, there is 
ppen wood formed almost entirely of extremely old Hagenia 

The northern shores of Lake Kivu are formed of banks of 
recent lava which are only partly decomposed, and the vege- 
tation is consequently stunted. In the valleys of the rivers 
which flow into the lake there are frequently large tracts of 
papyrus. On the Belgian side the mountains are said to be 
covered with short grass, broken here and there by clumps of 
trees more or less extensive. 

The valley of the Eusisi varies considerably in altitude. 
On the plateau towards the west steppe conditions prevail, 
and much of the land is suited for pasture. The lower part of 
the valley is covered with reeds and hardy herbs, while round 

BBLa. CONao V 


the mouth of the river, on Lake Tanganyika, there are great 
clumps of Borassus palm. The western margins of the lake as 
far south as the Lukuga are occupied by marshes and grass- 
land ; in the latter Imperata cylindrica is often the most 
important plant. 

On the whole therefore the vegetation of the Eastern 
highlands is relatively poor, and this is explained by the 
high altitude and comparatively low rainfall of the region. 
Probably the areas which will eventually prove most useful to 
man are those in which savanna or steppe formations prevail. 
In the more fertile districts much of the land seems well 
suited for agriculture, while in the less fertile large numbers 
of cattle can be reared. It is even possible that some parts of 
the country may prove of value for European colonization. 

The Kasai Region 

In the Kasai region topographical and climatic factors are of 
peculiar importance. The land slopes down from the plateau 
of southern Africa to the central basin of the Congo, and all 
the main rivers flow from south to north. As there is every- 
where a well-marked dry season, it is only in the valleys of 
these rivers and in some restricted areas on the plateau that 
water can be found at all seasons of the year. Consequently 
the characteristic features of the vegetation of the region are 
the gallery forests of the valleys and the savannas and steppes 
of the more elevated districts. 

Many of the rivers which rise upon the plateau have their' 
origin in marshes of greater or less extent. When these marshes 
are permanently wet they are frequently surrounded by a belt 
of woodland which soon passes into savanna, and eventually 
into steppe. The woods in the vicinity of the marshes are, 
however, very unlike the tropical forest. The trees do not 
reach any great height, while the undergrowth is poor and 
the lianas few and undeveloped . Carpodinus gracilis, a rubber- 
producing plant, is often found in such districts. It is probable 
that the sandy-clay soils in the vicinity of the marshes were 
at one time more extensively forested than they are at present, 
and that considerable areas have been cleared in comparatively 
recent times in order to meet the demands of native agriculture. 

Over the higher parts of the plateau a steppe vegetation 


generally prevails, modified more or less in places by local 
conditions. The soil is frequently an infertile sand, which 
bears neither tree nor shrub, and the only plant of economic 
importance which need be mentioned is Landolphia Thollonii, 
from which much of the ' grass rubber ' of the Kasai region is 
obtained. Even the grasses fail to reach any considerable 
size. Small ponds frequently occur on the higher parts of the 
plateau ; when permanent, they are often fringed by clumps 
of trees, but when intermittent, a few herbaceous shrubs alone 
differentiate the land from the surrounding steppe. ^ 

The vegetation in the valleys is much more varied. In 
their upper parts the rivers flow in slight depressions on the 
plateau. Here and there are stretches of land which are 
inundated during the rainy season, but dry up more or less 
quickly, and beyond them are lightly wooded savannas which 
occupy the borders of the depressions and soon pass into 
steppe. A little lower down, where the rivers cut their way 
more deeply into the plateau, the vegetation begins to change 
in character. In the marshy parts of the river-beds woody 
plants appear, and give the first indication of the gallery 
forest. To begin with, they occur only in scattered patches, 
but later on they become more numerous and form a con- 
tinuous fringe to the rivers. 

In their middle courses the rivers flow in deeper valleys, 
firom which marshes are usually absent, but, as evaporation is 
less intense than on the plateau, the soil remains humid. As 
a result the gallery forest assumes considerable importance, 
and two types may be distinguished. In the immediate 
vicinity of the rivers the land is inundated for at least part of 
the year, and the trees here attain their maximum develop- 
ment. Among those of economic value may be noted Clitandra 
Amoldiana and Clitandra robustior, from which rubber is 
obtained. In the dry forest which lies farther up the slopes 
of the valley other rubber-producing trees, such as Landolphia 
owariensis and Funtumia, are found. Parts of the dry forest 
have been destroyed by the natives in order to obtain land 
for cultivation, and in the vicinity of the native villages the 
oil-palm is often grown. Beyond the forest fringe lies the 
savanna on gently inclined or undulating ground. In favour- 
able conditions the trees grow fairly close to one another, and 
give a park-like aspect to the landscape, but where the 

F 2 


humidity is less they grow in open formation, and are ofte 
stunted in their growth. In this open savanna Landolphi 
hum His and Garpodimis gracilis are common. As in the dr 
forest, much of the land has been cleared by the nativei 
Beyond the sayanna of course lies the steppe. 

In the lower courses of the rivers of the Kasai region th 
rate of the current is checked, and the debris carried dow: 
from the plateaus is deposited and forms extensive sandbank 
and intermittent marshes. These are unsuitable alike fo 
forest and savanna, and are as a rule covered with papyrus 
Beyond them savanna Sometimes appears, but they often pas 
directly into steppe. 

In a highly generalized account such as the above it ii 
obviously impossible to take account of local conditions. Thes« 
are sometimes of considerable importance. On the plateav 
the soils with an admixture of clay usually bear a richei 
vegetation than those which consist only of sand. In the 
same region the depressions on the surface of the land are 
sometimes covered with forest to a greater or less extent. It 
is possible indeed, as has often been argued, that the forest 
area of the Kasai region was formerly much greater than it 
now is, and that by a process somewhat similar to that which 
has taken place in the Central Basin it has been reduced within 
its present limits. The natives, when seeking land suitable 
for cultivation, naturally selected the more fertile districts, 
but in burning off the vegetation they did much to destroy 
the fertility of the soil. 


The Katanga on the whole may be regarded as a region of 
transition between the evergreen tropical forest of the Central 
Basin and the steppes of the South African plateau. Owing 
to the variety of its geographical features, however, and to 
corresponding differences in soil and climate, there is con- 
siderable diversity in its vegetation, and gallery forest, 
savanna of various types, steppe, and marsh are all to be 

The greater part of the High Katanga is a wooded savanna. 
From a distance it has the appearance of an impenetrable 
forest, but on closer investigation it is seen to be vezy different. 


The trees belong in the main to the Leguminosae, and among 
them Acacia and especially Cryptosepalum are very abundant. 
They grow in open formation, and their slender trunks are 
seldom more than 20 to 40 feet in height. In the humid 
districts, and more especially along the banks of the rivers, 
they are more closely planted, and are sometimes bound 
together by lianas. When the soil is very dry on the other 
hand they become xerophilous and consist in the main of 
thorny acacias. From place to place the continuity of the 
forests is broken by clearings, which may be several miles in 
length, and this alternation of forest and steppe is one of the 
most characteristic features of the country. Moreover the 
hills which lie between the rivers are often covered with 
coppice and grass. The region is essentially one in which 
there is a constant struggle between forest and steppe, and 
the growing interference of man tends to give the victory to 
the latter. The annual fires originated by the natives, and 
the felling of timber for fuel by Europeans in the mining 
areas, alike contribute to the limitation of the woodlands. 

In the more elevated parts of the Katanga — at heights of 
5,000 feet and more — savanna gives place to steppe. The 
plateau of Kundelungu may be regarded as typical in this 
respect. The plants, among which leguminous varieties pre- 
dominate, are hard and thick-set. There are few flowers, and 
in general the country presents the ' aspect of a somewhat 
bare greenish-yellow region extending in all directions. Only 
in the neighbourhood of the marshy districts in which the 
rivers have their sources, and along the numerous water- 
courses, are there any trees. Among them are tree-ferns and 
various kinds of pahns; in places bamboos are also found. 
Farther down on the slopes of the plateau the vegetation 
gradually becomes richer and more abundant. 

Elsewhere in the high country plant life is similar to one or 
other of the two types which have just been described. On 
' the Kibala and Mulumbwe mountains savanna predominates. 
On the Kibala mountains it is rich, while on the Mulumbwe it 
is poor, and trees are found only round the sources of the 
rivers and along their courSes. The Manika plateau on the 
other hand is a steppe, and its vegetation consists of low 
grasses intermingled with various flowering plants. The 
Marungu, as the mountainous region to the west of Lake 


Tanganyika is called, is somewhat similar in character, and is 
covered with grasses and various herbaceous plants. Trees 
are found in the more humid districts and in the vicinity of 
the watercourses. 

In the north of the Katanga the transition towards the ever- 
green tropical forest becomes well marked, and along the 
rivers, which flow in relatively deep valleys, at the foot of the 
waterfalls, where they descend from higher to lower lands, and 
in the plains which lie beyond, there are considerable tracts of 
relatively dense gallery forest. The rift- valleys have a vege- 
tation peculiarly their own. Along the course of the Lualaba, 
between Bukama and Ankoro, lies the rift-valley of Upemba, 
in which there are great tracts of marsh-land. Here papyrus 
is the most important plant, and it grows so extensively that 
the great masses of it which break away during the rainy 
season render navigation on the river and lakes extremely 
difficult. Large tracts of papyrus also occur in the valley of 
the Lufira near Sampwe, and in the valley of Lake Mweru and 
the Luapula. Trees of considerable size, with a dense creeping 
undergrowth, often border these valleys, but on the whole the 
vegetation is not so dense as in the tropical forest. Along the 
shores of Lake Mweru, also, there are often extensive tracts of 
high grass. 



A BROAD distinction may, be drawn between the savannas 
and the forest with respect to the wild animals by which they 
are inhabited. To the former region belong the large ungulates, 
such as the antelope, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, wild ass, and the 
rhinoceros, together with some of the carnivores, such as the 
lion, one species of the leopard, and the hyena. The forest 
on the other hand is particularly the home of the chimpanzee, 
the gorilla, and almost innumerable monkeys. The elephant 
is found in both regions, while the okapi and one species of 
the leopard are confined to the forest. 

Of the carnivores the leopard is by far the most dangerous 
in the Belgian Congo. The big leopard or panther inhabits 
the eastern, southern, and south-western parts of the Congo 
basin. Over the rest of the country it is the forest leopard 
(which has shorter legs than the panther and larger rosettes) 
that is the prevailing type. On the north-east frontier, near 
Euwenzori, there is a third species, which has markings almost 
like those of the jaguar. 

The lion is found across practically the whole of the Kasai 
region in the south, and he has also made his way into the 
TJbangi region in the north. On the whole he shuns the dense 
forests and the more thickly populated parts of the country. 

The spotted hyena, Hyaena crocuta, appears to be practically 
confined to the savanna lands, and is of very doubtful occurrence 
in the forests or in the west of the country. In the north and 
south it grows to a considerable size, and is very fierce. 

Cats of various kinds are widely distributed. The golden 
cat, Felis aurata, is found throughout the northern half of the 
Congo basin, and smaller wild-cats are found almost every- 
where. The cervalini cat is found in the north and north-east, 
and the civet-cat in all parts of the country except the densely 
forested regions, where there are large numbers of genets. 


The various groups of animals included under the general 
name of antelope are well represented in the Belgian Congo. 
Among the Tragelaphinae are the bongo (Boocercus), the bush- 
buck or harnessed tragelaph (Tragelaphus), and a variety of 
the marsh-loving tragelaph {Tragelaphus gratus). The bongo 
is an inhabitant of the forest regions to the north, west, and 
east of the central region ; the bushbuck is found in one form 
or another in different parts of the country ; T. gratus, which 
has elongated hoofs so that it may walk in soft mud, spends 
most of its time in water, and may often be seen among the 
reeds with all but its head and horns submerged. Several 
varieties of eland are known. Taurotragus oryx livingstonei 
is found in the extreme south-west, south, and south-east of 
the Congo basin. A second group of antelopes, the Hippo- 
' traginae, is represented by the roan antelope (Hippotragm 
equinus), said to be found in the northern basin of the Ubangi, 
while another form of the same animal belongs to the south- 
west and south-east of the Congo basin. Among the Cervi- 
caprinae are the reedbuck {Gervicapra), one species of which is 
found in the western Congo, while others occur over all the 
southern half of the country outside of the forest area, and 
the waterbuck (Kobus), of which there are also various kinds. 
The most important member of the Cephalophinae is the yellow- 
backed duiker (Oephalophus sylvicultor), which has now been 
recorded in various parts of the Congo basin. The hartebeest 
belongs to the Bubalinae ; the Cape hartebeest {Buhalis cama) 
penetrates to the south-western limits of the Congo basin, and 
it is just possible that the great hartebeest {Bubalis major) 
may exist in the north-western part of the country. 

Several varieties of buffalo are found in the country. The 
most "interesting is the red dwarf buffalo {Bos nanus), which 
lives in the Ituri forest, and some varieties of which occur in 
various parts of the Central Basin. The Cape buffalo {Bos caffer) 
extends over those parts of the South African plateau which 
lie within the Belgian Congo, and has apparently made its 
way north in the east of the country almost to the Semliki. 
In the north the buffalo of Central Africa {Bos planiceros) is 
found along the Ubangi. 

The okapi {Ocapia johnstoni) is an inhabitant of the tropical 
forest. In the east it has been found as far south as the 
vicinity of Nyangwe and the Maniema country, while in the 


north it extends at least as far west as the Lua. Giraffes of 
various species live on the savanna lands to the north and 
south of the tropical forest. The rhinoceros is widely dis- 
tributed in the western, northern, and some of the eastern 

The elephant is a native of all the wooded districts of the 
Congo, but its numbers have diminished greatly owing to 
the way in which it has been killed for the sake of its ivory. 
The type which is most common throughout the whole region 
is Elephas africanus cyclotis. A dwarf variety, provisionally 
known as E. africanus pumilio, is said to exist in the western 
part of the equatorial region. 

In the tropical forest the anthropoid apes and monkeys 
are widely distributed. The chimpanzee is found mainly to 
the north and east of the Congo-Lualaba, but it also appears 
to the west and south of that river. The variety found in the 
north and north-east is Simia troglodytes schweinfurthi, while 
farther to the south, between the Lualaba and the west coast 
of Tanganyika, S. t. marungensis is the predominant type. 
The chimpanzee of the Lower Congo and Mayumbe is prob- 
ably Simia pygmaeus. The gorilla is reported to be widely 
distributed throughout the greater part of the forest region. 

Throughout the forest there are many species of monkeys. 
The baboons, it is true, prefer the open country, and are not 
so well represented in the Congo as in other parts of West 
Africa. On the other hand the mangabeys are exceptionally 
well represented, and the Cercopithecinae contain several 
varieties which are believed to be indigenous to the country. 
Lemurs are found in the Ituri forest and elsewhere. 

A few of the remaining animals of the Belgian Congo are 
worthy of mention. Bats are very numerous and include 
various varieties of the fruit-bat, in addition to large numbers 
which are insectivorous. Among the insectivores are shrews, 
moles, and hedgehogs. The rodents are represented by the 
flying anomalures, the squirrels, the porcupine, the ground-pig, 
the pouched rat, and others. Hares are found, but apparently 
not within the densely forested area, and hjn-axes are chiefly 
arboreal forms of the sub-genus DeitdroTiyrax. The hippo- 
potamus is found in the rivers. 

Few of the birds of the Belgian Congo appear to be peculiar 
to the country, and most of them aref similar to those found 

90 ' FAUNA 

in various other parts of Africa. The guinea-fowl, Fhanidus 
niger, extends from the Gaboon right across the northern forest 
belt as far as the Ituri. One species of true vulture {Neophron 
monachus) and the fishing vulture [Gypohierax) are found over 
the greater part of the Congo basin. A flamingo, probably 
Phoeniconais minor, and three species of pelican — Pelicanus 
rufescens, P. onocrotalus, and P. sharpei — may be seen on the 
broad reaches of most navigable rivers, and the red-beaked, 
scissor-billed tern and two other species of the tern are common 
objects in the same and similar localities. The white egrets 
are Herodias alba and H. garzetta, and the crowned crane is of 
the West African variety. There are over twenty species of 
sunbirds. The parrot is represented by a love-bird, by three 
species of grey and green parrots (Poecephalus), and by the 
grey parrot, which is found everywhere except in the extreme 
south-east. Among other birds found generally over the 
whole region are starlings, cuckoos, hoopoes, ground-thrushes, 
eagle-owls, and various others. 

The reptiles of the country include pythons, tree-cobras, 
tree-vipers. Cape vipers, and egg-laying vipers. The large 
monitor lizard is abundant wherever there is water. Tortoises 
and turtles are represented by various freshwater forms of 
Pelomedusa, Sfernothaerus, and Trionyx. The common African 
form of the crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus) is found all over 
the Congo basin in rivers of any size. In the main Congo 
there also exists the slender-snouted crocodile (C. cataphr actus), 
and in the Ubangi the short-headed crocodile (Osteolaemus). 
Among the frogs and toads may be mentioned the hairy frog, 
Trichobatrachus, and Gampsosteonyx, a frog with unwebbed 
toes ending in sharp, long claws, and various Eanine frogs of 
the genera Chiromantis. Of the true toads (Bufo) there are at 
least three species, and of the narrow-mouthed ant-eating 
toads three genera. One or more species of the Xenopus- 
genus of the aquatic tongueless frogs may often be seen 
floating amongst the water vegetation on the surface of still 
pools and backwaters. 

Insects in great variety are found in all parts of the Belgian 
Congo. Termites, the so-called white ants, often do great 
damage to houses and stores, but may be of some value in 
assimilating and turning into mould the fallen trees or rotten 
branches of the forest, and thus improving the surface soil. 


The dwellings of these, termites are a characteristic feature of 
the scenery i-n many parts of the country. In the north they 
are high, and not much broader at the base than at the top, 
but almost always capped by a roof of wide-spreading eaves. 
This type also prevails throughout the greater part of the 
forest belt. In the south, where the soil is derived from 
sandstone or red laterite, the ant-hills are of great size, and 
rise to a sharp pinnacle at the top without any roof or cap. 
In all the Kasai region this is the characteristic type. 

Among the true ants several varieties are widespread 
throughout the Congo. Of these the ' driver ant ' is the most 
troublesome, but among the others are a large reddish-yellow 
ant, Oecophylla maragdina, which builds its nest on the trees 
it frequents, small black ants, whose bite causes a serious 
swelling of the part affected, and another type of tree-ant, 
which dwells in the swampy forests, and builds round black 
nests in the forks of trees. 

There are several kinds of bees. In various parts of the 
country, Apis melifica, an African variety of the domestic 
honey-bee, is found. It is usually wild, but the natives are 
aware of its value, and in some districts take steps to attract 
it to the vicinity of their villages. Of wasps there are several 
species, the most common being the mason- wasp (SpTiegidae), 
which is said to be one of the most, prominent insects in the 

The mosquito and the tsetse fly are described in the section 
on 'Health Conditions' (see pp. 312-14). 



The basin of the Congo is inhabited almost entirely by the 
negro species in more or less typical form, tinged in many 
parts by an alien element which appears to have made its 
way southward by way of the Nile. The principal elements 
in this negro population are the Batwa, or pygmy, the Bantu 
negro, and the Nilotic negro. 

The Batwa 

The Batwa, or pygmies, are belieyed to form the aboriginal 
race of the Belgian Congo, and they are certainly the most 
backward. They are found in various parts of the country, 
and are probably most numerous between the Aruwimi and 
the Bomokandi, in the great Congo bend, and throughout the 
country lying between the upper Kasai and Lake Tanganyika. 
Their name varies according to the region in which they live. 
Between the Lopori and the Congo are the Bafoto, the Aka 
live on the upper Bomokandi, the Batembo between Lake 
Mweru and Lake Tanganyika, and the Bafete on the lower 
Lomami. Nor is it uncommon to find the same name borne 
by a Batwa tribe and a tribe of forest negroes. This may be 
due to the latter having displaced the former and taken its 
name, or it may be that the Batwa sometimes adopt the name 
of a Bantu community when they are attached to it, as is 
frequently the case, in the capacity of game-hunters. 

The Batwa are considerably below normal height. The 
men seldom exceed 4 feet 7 inches, while the women are often 
under 4 feet. They have large brachycephalic heads, and 
a yellow or reddish-yellow skin, sometimes much lighter than 
that of the people among whom they dwell. Some of the 
men have long black beards, which grow freely, and the body 
is usually covered with much short ' felted ' hair. The nose is 
flat and broad, the upper lip long, and the body well pro- 
portioned, though the neck is short and weak. 


The Bantus 

Over tlie greater part of the Belgian Congo the Bantu 
negroes predominate. This term, however, is philological 
rather than ethnical, and especially on the border-line does 
not correspond with variations of physical type. At the 
same time it is extremely convenient, and to a certain extent 
justifiable on physical and physiological grounds. The variation 
in type among the Bantus is due probably to a varying ad- 
mixture of alien blood, which is most marked towards the 
north and east. This foreign element cannot be identified 
with certainty, but, since the Bantus appear to approach the 
Hamites in those respects in which they diEfer from the negro 
proper, it is probable that the Hamites have entered into the 
composition of the Bantu peoples. The following account of 
the Bantu peoples of the Belgian Congo is not intended to be 
comprehensive, as considerations of space forbid, but rather 
aims at giving an outline of the geographical distribution of 
the more important tribes, with some account of their physical 
characteristics. Concerning their ethnical relationship it will 
be well to speak with caution, as when all is said and done 
our knowledge of this subject is still of a very hypothetical 

In the coastal region and in Mayumbe the principal tribe s 
are the Bakongo, properly so called, and the Mussorongo, 
Kakongo, Mayumbe, Babwende, and Basundi, who are allied 
to them. The Kakongo, who are on the right bank of the 
Congo estuary, appear to be a much mixed community. In 
the hill country of Mayumbe live the people of the same name : 
physically they are rather slender, their average height is 
about 5 feet 8 inches, and their skin is very dark in colour. 
The Basundi and the Bakongo inhabit the region of the 
Crystal Mountains, the former living to the north of the river 
and the latter to the south. The Bakongo as a whole appear 
to be a degenerate race, the primitive type having been 
degraded by several centuries of. contact with the worst forms 
of European civilization. 

For the sake of convenience the Central Basin may be sub- 
divided. Along the course of the Congo there are several 
important tribes. The Bateke are found mainly in the French , 
possessions on the right bank of the river, but some branches 


of this family are settled on the left bank to the north of 
Stanley Pool. They are very mixed in physical type, some 
of the chiefs being fine-looking men, while many of the poorer 
people are coarse, and have ugly, unintelligent faces. Allied 
to them are the Bambuno, who inhabit parts of the country 
between Stanley Pool and the lower Kwango. The Babuma 
of the lower Kasai are also connected with this group. 

The Bangala occupy both banks of the Congo from its 
confluence with the Ruki to above the point at which it 
is entered by the.Mongala. Their territory extends north- 
wards and eastwards so as to include practically the whole of 
the Griri basin (apart from its most northern districts) and the 
lower parts of the basins of the Dolo and the Mongala. On 
the south the Bangala country includes the greater part of 
the basin of the Lulonga and a small part of the country 
drained by the Lopori and the Maringa above their confluence 
at Basankusu. Related to them are the Bayanzi, or Babingi, 
who formerly occupied the left bank of the river between the 
mouth of the Kasai and Irebu, but are now in a more restricted 
area, and the Bapoto, who dwell along the river above the 
Mongala confluence. 

East of the Bangala and north of the Bapoto are a number 
of tribes classed under the general name of Gombe. It is 
questionable, however, whether they belong to the same group 
as the Bangala, or whether indeed the different tribes which 
bear the name ought to be regarded as closely related to one 
another. The term Gombe appears to be applied by the 
riverain tribes to all the inhabitants of the interior who 
provide them with manioc and other foodstuffs. 

The principal tribes comprising the Gombe group are the 
Gombe proper, who live on both banks of the Mongala above 
the Bangala country and on the left bank of the Motima, the 
Bwela between the Gombe and the riverain Bapoto, the 
Maginza to the north of the Motima, the Mabali in the basin 
of the Dua, the Buja to the west of the Itimbiri, and the 
Mabinza farther to the east.. To the south of the Congo a 
second group of Gombe people lie east of Nouvelle Anvers. 
In the north, in the basin of the upper Lua, a tributary of the 
Ubangi, there is a third group, who employ a Gombe. form of 
speech, although they are apparently surrounded on all sides 
by people speaking Sudanian languages. 


All these peoples are well spoken of as regards their physical 
appearance. Of the Bangala it is said that the faces of the 
men are nearly always agreeable and even handsome, exhibiting 
no marked prognathism. Their bodies are almost perfect in 
proportion, and from the sculptural point of view they some- 
times reach the climax of negro beauty. The Bayanzi are 
generally above the medium height, and their bodies are well 
set up, their limbs -wiry, though somewhat slight, their 
shoulders broad, and their chests well developed. The Gombe 
are also reported to be splendidly built, and to have an 
irreproachable frame. 

Farther up the Congo, between the confluence with the 
Itimbiri and Stanley Falls, the Mongo occupy the left bank 
of the 1 former river. They appear to extend far into the 
interior, and will be dealt with later. On the right bank are 
a number of tribes which will be treated along with those of 
V the Aruwimi basin. 

To the north of the Congo the most important Bantu- 
speaking people, and one of the most important in the whole 
country, are theAbabua. The exact limits of the country 
which they occupy appear to be still unsettled. It is agreed 
that it lies between the "Welle on the north and the Bomo- 
kandi-Makonga on the east. On the west it certainly extends 
as far as the Bali, a tributary of the Eubi, but some authorities 
carry it as far as the Likati. The southern boundary, in the 
vicinity of the Eubi, is not well defined. As a whole the 
country occupied by the Ababua is traversed from south-east 
to north-west by the Bima, and is covered by extremely dense 

The Ababua are divided up into a number of tribes, and it 
is probable that a good deal of ethnic mixture prevails. Among 
the chief tribes are the Mondingima, the Mogongia, the 
Moganzulu, and the Moginita in the east of the country, and 
the Mobati, the Molissi, and the Boganga in the west. On 
the whole they appear to be a well-made race. They are 
neither tall nor heavily built, and the body is well proportioned, 
the head small and very round, the nose flat, the lips heavy, 
and the forehead low. The women are in general good-looking, 
but tend to be small in stature. Both sexes have brilliant 
eyes, and an agreeable expression, but appear to be wanting 
in intelligence. Activity rather than vigour appears to be 


their chief physical characteristic ; the men make bad porters, 
and when taken from their own locality are of little value. 

Belonging to the same linguistic group as the Ababua are 
the Bakongo and the Mobenge. The Bakongo, who are the 
fishermen of the Welle, live on the banks of that river to the 
north of the Ababua, but it is questionable whether they 
belong to the same ethnic group. The Mobenge are settled in 
the country between the "Welle and the Likati. To the north 
of them along the banks of the former river are the Basango. 

To the south-east of the regions just described Bantu- 
speaking peoples are continued along the Congo and up 
the valleys of the Aruwimi and Lindi. Among them are 
the Basoko, Babali, Turumbu, Bagunda, Lokele, Topoke, 
Bamboli, and Bakumu. They live in a forested region, and 
it is seldom that any one tribe covers a considerable area. 
Physically the people are inferior to the Ababua and various 
other tribes which have already been described. The body 
is well formed, but the legs are short, and the face often ugly 
and prognathous. Indeed it is said that the farther one goes 
from the Congo or the middle course of the Aruwimi the more 
these people tend to be short-legged, long-armed, and of ugly 

East of the Congo and south of the Lindi there occurs a 
break in the Bantu-speaking peoples, as far at least as the 
Belgian Congo is concerned. 

Within the great bend of the Congo the most important 
people are the Mongo or Balolo. They and various tribes 
connected with them are said to occupy much of the Central 
Casin as far south as the Lukenie. From the ethnological 
point of view, however, this region has not yet been carefully 
studied, and further information is necessary before any very 
definite statements can be made. The Mongo are of poor 
physical development, and one writer describes those between 
the Lomami and the Lopori as ' small of stature and meagre 
of build, a backward forest race '. Others appear to be more 
vigorous, and the Tumba tribes, on the north-eastern shores of 
Lake Tumba, are said to be a fine virile race. 

In the southern part of the colony the Luba-Lunda group of 
peoples occupy all the country from the Kwango affluent of the 
Kasai to Lake Tanganyika. This group includes theBaluba 
and the Balunda, and probably the Warega and the Maniema 


are connected with them. The Warega occupy the basins of 
the Ulindi and the Elila to the west of the rift- valley. They 
are a tall, well-made people, and are both muscular and hardy. 
To the south of them are the Maniema, also in all probability 
belonging to the Luba-Lunda group. But, as their country 
was during the nineteenth century a great centre of the Arab 
slave-dealers, it is likely that they have undergone a certain 
amount of intermixture with other people. They are not very 
tall, but their supple bodies are well formed and well pro- 
portioned. In colour they are light, their noses are somewhat 
less flattened than those of the average negro, and their lips 
are not so thick. The women are described as being singularly 
pretty and graceful. 

The Baluba peoples occupy a large area to the south of the 
Lnkuga and between Lakes Tanganyika, Mweru, and Bang- 
weulu in the east, and the Kasai in the west. In the east, 
where they exist in the greatest racial purity, they founded 
the States of Katanga, Urua, and Uguha. West of the 
Lomami, where they have intermixed to some extent with the 
Bakete aborigines, they include the Basonge and the Bashi- 
lange. In the eastern region a large area bounded on the 
north by the Lukuga, on the east by the Nyemba and the 
Lukumbi, and on the west and south by the Luvua-Lualaba 
is occupied either by Baluba-hemba or by Bahemba. The 
most important families in the Baluba-hemba group are : the 
Bangoy, settled between the Luisi and the Lukusu ; the Baluba 
between the Nyemba, which flows into the Luvua, and the 
Kibumba ; the Bakitentu on both sides of the Lukulu near the 
Luvua; the Bamwika on the islands of the Luvua above 
Kiambi ; and the Basonge in the districts between the Lualaba 
and the Lukuga. In the Bahemba group are : the Bakyombo 
between the Luisi and the Lukulu; the Bamwenge near 
Mount Kaomba ; the Bamulenda along the course of the Kimbi 
between the Lukusuwi and the Lukulu ; the Bakinsunkulu 
at the sources of the Lubile ; the Bakiliba farther down the 
same river ; and the Bakasanga south of the Lukuga. Neigh- 
bouring peoples outside the region just described, such as the 
Katanga, who live farther to the south, are also of Baluba 
stock. The Batabwa, to the south-west of Lake Tanganyika, 
seem to be of somewhat different origin. They are smaller 
than the Baluba, less well made, and somewhat shrunken in 

BBLs. conao G 


The Basonge, who belong to the same ethnic stock as the 
Baluba, occupy a considerable part of the country between 
the Lualaba and the Sankuru from the fifth to the seventh 
parallel of south latitude. Among the more important tribes 
of this people are the Basanga, the Beneki, the Bena Kalebue, 
and the Mona Kialo. The men are tall and muscular, and are 
said to possess a certain natural dignity which gives them an 
air of superiority over neighbouring people. The women 
sometimes possess grace, and even beauty. ' 

To the north of the Basonge are the Batetela. They are 
reported to be well above the average height, to possess 
considerable muscular strength, and on the whole to be good- 
looking. Though black is their prevailing colour, some are 
light yellow. The tribes which must be included under the 
general name of Batetela extend over a very large region : 
a number inhabit both banks of the Lubefu and adjoin the 
Basonge, while others live to the north of the Lukenie and 
are neighbours of the Akela. Considerable variety of civiliza- 
tion exists among these various tribes: those in the south 
have adopted a culture suitable to the plains, while those in 
the north exhibit to the full all the charabteristics of a forest 
people. Some of the western Baluba are known as Bashilange. 
They are probably an intermixture between the real Baluba 
and an earlier Bantu people, the Bateke, who occupied the 
same region. Physically they are much inferior to the eastern 
Baluba and to the Batetela. 

The Bushongo, to whom the name Bakuba has frequently 
been applied, inhabit a large extent of territory south of the 
Sankuru river and between the Kasai and the upper Sankuru, 
Their southern frontier runs from about 5° 20' S. in the west 
to about 5° S. in the east. To the north of the Kasai-Sankuru 
the Bushongo Meno occupy the country from about the mouth 
of the Lubefu to about the region of the Swinburne rapids. 
They consist of a number of tribes, not altogether homogeneous, 
some of which have crossed the river and been incorporated 
in the great Bushongo empire. 

The Bushongo proper are divided into a number of tribes. 
The Bambala, round whom the rest of the nation has grown 
up, inhabits the country about Mushenge. The Gw^mbi live 
to the north of them in the angle formed by the Sankuru and 
the Lubudi near their confluence, the Idinga to the WOst of 


them, and the Bashoba to the south of the Idinga. In the 
extreme west, near the confluence of the Kasai and Sankuru, 
are the Bakele ; to the south-west of them the Bienge occupy 
both banks of the lower Luchwadi, while the Grali Bushongo 
live along the right bank and the Bambali along the left bank 
of that river farther to the east. The Inyenye are south of 
the Bambala and north of the Yungu, and the Malongo occupy 
the district between the Langala and the Kasai. Farther south 
are the Mudi Langa and the Bakete. East of the Bambala 
are the Bamboy; the Bangendi inhabit the plains farther 
north ; and the Bangongo dwell between the Lubudi and the 

The Bushongo, particularly the Bambala, are a well-made, 
good-looking folk. They are remarkable for their relatively 
high standard of civilization and are not only in possession 
of a history and an organized system of government, but are 
distinguished by an artistic sense, which finds expression in 
the proficiency with which they pursue certain crafts, such as 
embroidery and wood-carving. 

The Bushongo Mono, whose general position has already 
been described, are likewise divided into a number of tribes. 
The Dibele, the Bandunjeke, and the Tonkfushere follow in 
succession along the right bank of the Sankuru from Bena 
Dibele to below its confluence with the Sankuru. The Bohindu 
and the Bashui live to the north of the first two of these on 
the left bank of the Lukenie, while the Gelukenie occupy 
the country on the right bank. Two tribes have crossed 
to the left bank of the Sankuru— the Buluku, who hold a strip 
of land above the point at which the Lubefu joins the main 
stream, and the Bambingi, who hold a similar strip above the 
confluence of the Sankuru and the Lubudi. 

Farther west, between the Kasai and the Loange, there are 
several tribes of some importance. The Bashilele, who are said 
to be connected with the Bashilange, occupy the country to 
the north. To the south of these in the east are the Badjok. 
They are small and ill-conditioned, and in appearance are dark 
and ugly. Their manners are in all respects bad, but they are 
reputed to be among the most active and enterprising of the 
trading peoples of Africa. To the west of them are the 
Bakongo, whose territory extends across the Loange as far as 
the Luana. Formerly they occupied the whole country between 



the former river and the Lubue, but they sold the southern 
part of it to the Bapenda, who now inhabit a large area between 
the Lubue and the Kasai. The Bapenda appear to be an 
inferior race and are said to be too cowardly to attack big 
game except by means of automatic traps. South of the 
Bapenda are the Bapindi, to whom they are believed to be 

In the basin of the Kwilu there are many tribes, only 
some of which have as yet been investigated. The Bambala, 
one of the most important, fall into two distinct groups. The 
southern group who appear to form the parent stem occupy 
the territory between the Kwilu and the Kwengo from the 
mouth of the latter as far south as a line drawn through 
the sources of the Luano. They are also found between the 
Djari and the Kwengo as far south as a line passing through 
Kisamba. The west bank of the Kwengo is also occupied by 
them, but they do not appear to extend far into the interior. 
The northern group of the Bambala is found on both sides 
of the Kwilu, but is cut in half by the Bayanzi, Basongo, 
Bahuana, and Bapindi, who occupy the banks of the river. 

The Bambala are a comparatively tall people, and, although 
they are slenderly built, they are very wiry, and in powers 
of endurance are said to be quite equal to the Bakongo. 

The Bahuana are also found in two districts separated 
from one another. One group occupies the territory between 
the Kwilu and the Inzia from the confluence of the two 
rivers as far south as the fourth parallel. The other is situated 
on the right bank of the Kwilu from the Lubuzi almost as 
far as Kikwit. There are also one or two small enclosures 
elsewhere. Though well built, the Bahuana are generally 
rather short in stature, and have not the same powers of 
endurance as the Bakongo and the Bambala. 

The Babunda occupy a stretch of territory which lies 
between the Kwilu and the Kalembo, and extends roughly 
from 5° to 5° 30' S. and from 19° to 20° E. Physically they 
are of much heavier build than other peoples dwelling in this 
part of the country. They are large-boned and tall, but 
their legs are rather short for symmetry. In colour they 
are very dark. 

The main body of the Bapindi are found on the right bank 
of the Kwilu between the parallels of 5° 30' S. and 6° 30' S., 


■while a smaller colony lives on the left bank of the Kwengo 
between the Bambala and the Bayaka. As far as is known 
the main group of the Bapindi extends eastward as far as 
the Kasai. 

The Bayaka inhabit a somewhat ill-defined territory between 
the rivers Kwango and Inzia, and between the fifth and sixth 
parallels of south latitude. They are almost divided into 
two sections by some groups of Bambala people, with whom 
physically, physiologically, and culturally they show a con- 
siderable resemblance. The men are rather short, but they 
are generally well built and good-looking, and some of the 
women are even pretty. 

The Bakwese, who live on the upper Kwilu about 6° S. 
are divided into three tribes, the Bagwa-ndala, the Bakwa- 
Mosinga, and the Bakwa-Samba. Of these the first is appa- 
rently the most important. To the south of the Bakwese are 
the Balua, whose territory between the Kwilu and the Kwengo 
extends as far south as latitude 6° 30' S. 

The Bayanzi (including their sub-tribes, the Wanguli and 
the Makwa) live on the east bank of the Kwilu from its mouth 
to about 4° 30' S. and extend eastward as far as the Kancha 
and the Kasai. South of the fourth parallel they are separated 
from the Kwilu by Bahuana and Bambala peoples who live on 
the banks of the river. On the left bank of the Kwilu they 
are found from 4° to 4° 30' S. It is possible that the Bakonde 
on the left bank of the lower Kwilu and the Badinga between 
the Luela and the Kancha are also Bayanzi. Physically, the 
best specimens of the people are found in the up-country, 
the worst on the river banks. 

So far little has been said of the tribes occupying the more 
southerly parts of the Kasai region, and indeed very little 
appears to be known regarding them. They belong to the 
Lunda group of the Bantu people, and their wild savagery 
has made travel in their country a matter of great difficulty. 
The men are said to be large and well made, more so indeed 
than their neighbours on the other side of the Angolan 
frontier. Their colour is also lighter, and the lips are not 
so thick. 

Of the tribes to the north of the Kasai there is also little 
detailed information. The Bankutu inhabit a large stretch 
of territory which lies on both sides of the Lukenie between 


the meridians 23° 30' and 23° 30'. In the east their frontiers 
"run off from the banks of the river towards the north-east 
and the south-east. They are essentially a forest people, and 
in general character they resemble other forest peoples farther 
to the north. Physically, however, they appear to be rather 
degenerate in type. Some distance to the north of them are the 
Akela, who also dwell in the forest but belong to a better type. 
They are tall, thin, and well-proportioned, and in physical 
appearance are superior to the Bankutu. West of the Bankutu 
are the Lukenie, who live along both banks of the river. 

The Lesa occupy the country between the Kasai in the 
south and the Fini- Lukenie in the north from the confluence 
of these two rivers in the west to the Lekore, a tributary 
of the Lukenie, in the east. They are of average height and 
well made, but have little muscular development. They are 
a rather cowardly people, and at the first hint of danger take 
to flight. In temperament they are friendly, but of loyalty or 
good manners they know nothing. 

The Sudanian Njegeoes 

The people who live in the north of the Congo are distin- 
guished from practically all the other inhabitants of the 
country by the fact that they speak one or other of the 
Sudanian languages. The line of demarcation between them 
and the Bantus has already been indicated, but it may now 
be more precisely stated. It starts on the Ubangi, in the west, 
in the neighbourhood of Ibenga, separating in a general way 
the basin of the Griri from that of the Lua. From the head- 
streams of the former river it bears east until it reaches the 
Mongala, and then north-east to the Dua, a short distance 
above the point at which it unites with the Ebola. Thence 
it runs almost due east to about the meridian which passes 
through Yakoma, after which it turns towards the north, and 
reaches the Welle some distance above its confluence with the 
Bomu. The banks of the Welle are occupied by the Bakango, 
who often speak the language of the people with whom they 
have dealings in the interior. It is probable, however, that 
the majority of the people between Jabbir and Bambili have 
originally come from Ababua families, and if this be the case 
the linguistic frontier may be drawn a little to the north 


of the Welle as far east as Bambili. From Bambili the line 
marking off the Bantu-speaking peoples turns towards the 
south-east, and follows an irregular course across the Aruwimi, 
and as far as the Lindi, whence it runs west towards the Congo, 
north of Stanley Falls. To the south of this a great part of 
the basin of the Lindi, and its tributary the Chopo are 
occupied by people of non-Bantu speech. 

To the north of the Congo the most important groups 
are the Azande and the Mangbetu in the east, and the 
various people who speak Bwaka and Banda in the west. 
In the Lindi basin, east of the Congo, are the Bamangu, the 
Bakumu, the Wapai, and various other tribes, whose ethnic 
relations are far from clear. 

The Azande, who are also known as the Niam-Niam, occupy 
practically the whole of the country between the Welle and 
the Bomu, and extend as far east at least as the headstreams 
of the Yei, an affluent of the Nile. At one time they invaded 
the region which they now inhabit, and under different chiefs 
took possession of the land, driving out or absorbing the 
indigenous tribes. The subjects of these chiefs settled down 
in the country assigned to their leaders, and took the names 
by which they are now distinguished from one another. The 
Abanja are settled in the extreme west, near the confluence 
of the Bomu and the Welle, the Ambwaga stretch across the 
middle Were, while the Abali are between the upper Were 
and the Bomu ; the Embili live to the west of the lower 
Gurba, the Avurn-ezo between the Grurba and the Duru, a,nd 
the Adio in the east near the headstreams of the Yei. All 
these tribes, with the exception of the Abanja and the Adio, 
have as chiefs the Avurn-G-ura, or descendants of Gura, the 
founder of the dynasty. They are considered as belonging 
to a superior race, and have certain privileges to which the 
simple Azande may not aspire. 

Physically the Azande are a fine, well-built race. The men 
range from about 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet in height, and the 
women are in proportion. The colour of the skin is a medium 
brown. Both men and women are very graceful in all their 

The Mangbetu appear at one time to have formed a more 
powerful people than they do at present. They are probably 
derived from an intermixture of two different races: the 


conquered, including a whole number of more or less indigenous 
"tribes, of which the most important were the Bangba, the 
Medje, the Makere, the Mangbellet, the Mobadi, and others ; 
and the conquerors, who imposed their manners and customs 
upon them so successfully that the Azande name is claimed 
by all. 

The region in which the Mangbetu are settled is situated 
on both sides of the middle Bomokandi. On the north it 
extends as far as the "Welle from Dungu to below Niangara, 
on the east to the lands occupied by the Azande, south of the 
Kibali, and the territories of the Momvu north of the Nepoko 
river, and on the west to the Abarambo country between the 
Bomakandi and the "Welle below Niangara. Farther east, 
and separated from the main body of the Mangbetu, are the 
Mobadi, Munvu and Mangbellet, who also appear to be ruled 
by Mangbetu chiefs. 

The Mangbetu people hold a high place among the peoples 
of the Congo. Not only are they well built, strong, and 
muscular, but they are also agile and graceful. Their reputa- 
tion for courage, intelligence, and devotion is not excelled 
by any other people in the country. 

The neighbours of the Mangbetu are the Momvu on the 
east and the Abarambo on the west. The former are said 
to be short ih stature, and to be darker in colour than the 
Mangbetu, to whom they are generally considered to be an 
inferior race. They are, however, robust, patient, and devoted 
to agriculture. The Abarambo men are strong and muscular, 
and the women well made. They are a savage people, sus- 
picious, malicious, and full of superstition. 

In the second region of non-Bantu speaking peoples, that 
of the Ubangi bend, the Banziri are one of the most important 
peoples. They live along the banks of the river in that part 
of the country where it begins to change its direction from 
west to south. They are a fine-looking race, and are probably 
allied to the Bwaka, who occupy the country lower down the 
river, between Libenge and Mokoange, and extend far into 
the interior. Still farther south between the Ubangi and the 
Lua are the Monjembo, who belong to the same linguistic 
group. The Banda group of Sudanese people is represented 
in the Belgian Congo by at least two tribes, the Banza and 
the Grobu. The latter occupy a stretch of country between 


the Banziri and the Bwaka, while the Banza are farther to 
the east. The tribes which speak one or other of the Sango 
languages are : the Sango and the Yakoma, who live along the 
course of the Ubangi-Welle, the former in the region round 
Banzyville, and the latter in that round Yakoma ; the Bongo 
farther south, between the Ubangi and the Ebola ; and the 
Mongwandi to the south of the Ebola. 

Unlike most of the Bantu-speaking parts of the Congo, 
where considerable diversity of physical type is accompanied 
by some form or other of Bantu speech, the region which 
has just been described shows little variation in physical type, 
but very considerable differences in language. The inhabitants 
are as a rule of medium height and well proportioned. The 
head is usually long, though in the north there is sometimes 
a marked tendency to brachycephaly. The facial character- 
istics are hardly those of the true negro, and in the east 
especially an almost European cast of countenance is often 
seen. The colour of the skin varies : in most cases it is a dark 
chocolate brown, but in some places, as, for example, along the 
course of the Ubangi, it is a dark brownish black, and in others 
a light red or yellow brown. The hair is as a rule short and 
woolly, but among the Mongwandi and some other tribes it is 
longer and less curled. Everything points to the fact that 
very different ethnic strains have entered into the blood of 
these people. 

In the region which lies in the basin of the Lindi, to the 
east of the Congo, several tribes may be noted. The Bamangu, 
who live near the Congo, are described as a. very handsome 
people, noted for their extreme licentiousness. It is said that 
their bows resemble those of the Azande and of the Sudanese 
tribes to the north of the Congo basin. There also appears 
to be some resemblance between them and the Mangbetu. 
The Bakumu, who live farther east, belong to a' less handsome 
physical type. The body is sometimes well formed, but the 
legs are often short like those of the forest negro, and the face 
is ugly and prognathous. 


The Family 

Among the negro peoples generally the family is the social 
unit. In its most elementary form it consists merely of the 
man, with his wife or wives, and those of their children who 
have not married and acquired homes of their own. It may, 
however, be extended so as to include not only others who are 
connected by ties of blood, but slaves, and even strangers. 
The size of the family group, and the relation of its different 
members to each other, accordingly varies considerably from 
one tribe to another. 

Polygamy is practically universal. The most notable ex- 
ception to this rule are the Bushongo, who appear to be 
monogamous, as far, at least, as women of legitimate Bushongo 
blood are concerned. As, however, they frequently have 
concubines whose parents have surrendered them as pledges 
for debt, the distinction is perhaps more apparent than real. 
Among those tribes which are openly polygamous the number 
of wives possessed by each man varies considerably. ■ "With the 
Baholoholo and the Lesa the average seems to be two, while the 
great chiefs do not have more than six. Other tribes, and more 
especially some of those who dwell outside of the limits of the 
tropical forest, practise polygamy to a much greater extent. 
The Basonge chiefs are said to have as many as 200 wives, 
and the Mangbetu chiefs have also large numbers. In these 
cases, however, it is probable that only a few are wives in the 
real sense of the word, while the remainder are merely 
servants. Among the forest tribes several wives are the rule, 
and only those men who are too poor to afford this content 
themselves with one. Indeed it seems to be the general 
practice of the native to invest his surplus capital in wives, as 
his more civilized brother invests his in real estate. They 
add to his importahce, and bring him in a handsome return. 


Nor do the women object. The single wife has to perform 
alone not only all the domestic work but no inconsiderable 
part of the field-work as well, whereas when there are several 
wives the field-work at least is divided among them, and the 
share of each is proportionately reduced. The additional tax 
levied by the Government on all wives after the first is said 
to be restricting the practice of polygamy in various parts of 
the country. 

As a man is actuated at least partly by economic motives in 
his desire to possess more than one wife, so does the betrothal 
partake more or less of the nature of a bargain between him 
and the family — usually the father — of his future wife. 
Sentiment, however, is by no means absent. Beauty, or what 
the native considers to be beauty, is an important factoi; in 
regulating his choice. Among some tribes (the Warega, for 
example) moral qualities, of which chastity does not appear to 
be one, are said to be much sought after. With the Bangala 
again the social position of the woman is a consideration by 
no means negligible. Whether there is any afiection between 
a man and his wife has been disputed^ but the general con- 
census of opinion appears to be that it does exist in many 
cases ; much of course depends upon the circumstances of the 

The methods by which a marriage is arranged vary from 
tribe to tribe. In many cases the would-be bridegroom first 
assures himself of the consent of the woman whom he has 
chosen. This custom prevails, for example, among the 
Warega, the Ababua, and the Baholoholo. With the Basonge, 
the Mangbetu, and the Mayumbe on the other hand the 
consent of the woman appears to be taken for granted. 
Whatever be the prevailing custom, however, the subsequent 
procedure is usually much the same. The father — sometimes, it 
may be, the maternal uncle — of the woman is approached either 
directly by the man himself, by his father, or by his friends, and 
after long bargaining an arrangement is arrived at. The bride- 
groom either directly or through his father pays a certain dowry, 
and in return receives his bride. It is questionable, however, 
whether this system ought always to be regarded as marriage 
by purchase pure and simple. The Basonge, for example, 
protest energetically against the idea, and say that the father 
who gives his daughter in marriage always retains the right 


to bring her home if her husband beats her without due cause. 
Among the Warega again the custom exists of transferring 
a woman from one husband to another even after marriage, if 
the latter offers better terms. The Baholoholo father does not 
make his demands till the marriage has been arranged, and 
then his future son-in-law is rather expected to pay up without 
demur. If the father refuses his consent it is not unusual for 
his daughter to elope. A modified form of marriage by capture 
appears to exist among the Ababua, the man sometimes carrying 
off the woman who consents to be his wife. But in whatever 
way the marriage is arranged the Ababua husband has to 
give presents to his wife's relations not only at the time of the 
marriage Uut at intervals thereafter. On the other hand 
when the parent accepts the first payment he in fact engages 
to give a second girl in place of the first if she dies or is 
otherwise lost to her husband. 

On the whole then it would appear to be impossible to 
make any general statements in regard to the nature of the 
native marriage. Mutual affection undoubtedly exists in 
many cases, in many others the feelings of the woman are 
disregarded, frequently the marriage is based on economic 
considerations alone. But it seems to be generally considered 
that the parent who gives a daughter in marriage loses the 
service of a worker, and must be compensated for his loss. 
On the other hand a husband who loses a wife by divorce or 
flight is entitled to reclaim the dowry which he has given 
for her. 

The age at which marriage takes places varies according to 
circumstances. Probably the great majority are arranged 
between young people of marriageable age, but there are 
important exceptions. The man is frequently the older of the 
two, as it is he who has to provide the necessary dowry, 
though for this he often obtains assistance from his father. 
In any subsequent marriage into which he may enter the 
difference in age is usually greater, and in those tribes where 
the chiefs have a large number of wives young girls are 
frequently married to old men. Child marriage also exists in 
some parts of the country. Among the Bangala, for example, 
girls are occasionally married when they are only three or four 
years old, and similar customs prevail with the Bushongo and 
the Baluba. In some cases the Bushongo mothers conclude a 


marriage between their children while both boy and girl are 
of tender years. The Warega appear to have adopted the 
Arab custom of espousing girls who have not reached a 
marriageable age. 

The number of children born of a native marriage is 
generallj' small, and the rate of infantile mortality is high. 
The woman has seldom more than two, or at most three, 
children, and the average number of births per union is still 
lower. For this there are various reasons, but the most im- 
portant are probably the loose sexual morality prevalent 
throughout the country, and the large number of wives 
possessed by the chiefs in certain districts. Among some 
tribes abortion and infanticide are by no meats uncommon. 
For the high rate of infant mortality ignorance and disease 
are mainly responsible. The mother, even when she is 
attached to her child, as indeed is usually the case, takes few 
precautions against changes of temperature, insanitary con- 
ditions, and other causes of illness and death among infants. 
Malaria also is prevalent in most parts of the country, and, 
although the adult negro appears to be immune, there is 
little doubt that many children fall victims to the disease. 
Diphtheria, scarlatina, and meningitis are , all more or less 

Family affection is by no means wanting. As a general 
rule parents seem to be attached to their children, and often 
play with them. The children on the other hand reciprocate 
these feelings, and are particularly devoted to their mother, 
with whom they are most brought into contact. Nor do 
parents and children cease to care for one another when the 
latter have grown up. The married woman who has been 
ill-treated by her husband can usually find a home with her 
father, a fact which indicates that the family tie is at least 
acknowledged. Again, contrary to a widely prevalent opinion, 
it is not true that old age is held in little respect by the 
natives of the forest region. Among the "Warega the old and 
infirm are carefully provided for by their children, who take 
their advice and have great faith in their wisdom. The 
Ababua likewise care for the old people, and provide for 
them even if they are unable to work. The same appears to 
be true of the tribes who occupy the more open savanna lands. 
The influence of the old men is great among the Baholoholo, 


and if they become infirm their children build huts for them 
near their own and provide for their wants. 

As might be expected, however, little attention is paid to 
to the education of the children. As they grow up they, learn to 
take part in the work of the family. Boys are taught by their 
fathers to clear the forest, to hunt and fish, girls by their mother 
to cook and work in the fields. "With some tribes a certain 
amount of moral training is also given to children ; thieving 
and lying are severely punished, and respect for old people 
and the dead is inculcated. In the majority of cases, how- 
ever, it would appear that there is no specific teaching, and 
that such rules of conduct as exist are learned almost un- 
consciously. "Where initiation ceremonies are in vogue, as 
they are in some parts of the Kasai region, a more formal 
training is sometimes given. The Bushongo youth, for 
example, have detailed, if somewhat gross, rules of conduct 
laid down on these occasions for their future observance. 

In the native family the husband and father holds the chief 
place. It is he who assigns their tasks to each member of the 
family, and it is he who gives his daughters in marriage and 
receives the dowry which is paid for them. "With regard to 
the latter point some writers have maintained that it is not 
the father but the maternal uncle who is in this respect the 
head of the family. For this, however, there appears to be 
very little evidence, although it seems to be the case that the 
maternal uncle is one of the relatives whom children are 
taught to respect. Among the Ababua, for example, he has 
the right to correct his nephews and nieces if he finds them 
engaged in wrong-doing. 

But if the powers of the father are great, they are by no means 
unlimited. As already mentioned, his father-in-law is often 
able to intervene if he ill-treats his wife. On the other hand 
a woman guilty of serious misconduct may be deemed fortunate 
if she escapes with a beating. As a rule the father retains the 
obedience of his sons only until they set up establishments of 
their own, though in some cases, as already indicated, his 
moral authority continues to be great over both his children 
and his grandchildren. His power over his daughters is more 
absolute, as they are often regarded as his personal property 
with whom he can do what he will. 

The position of woman is more difficult to define. In some 


cases she is regarded as little more than a slave who can 
be sold or transmitted from father to son with the family- 
goods ; in others sh'e occupies a position of importance, and 
is able to exercise considerable influence. A few illustrations 
will serve to indicate how impossible^t is to make any general 
statement on this subject. Among the "Warega women are not 
only well treated but are admitted to the public assemblies, 
where they are allowed to take part in all discussions. "With 
the Mangbetu their position both at home and in public is 
generally recognized as being an important one. On cere- 
monial occasions a Mangbetu chief is aJways accompanied by 
his principal wives, who may take part in the ' palaver ', and 
otherwise use whatever influence they possess. The Baluba 
women again occupy a place in village life which more or 
less corresponds in importance to that of the family to which 
they belong. In many cases indeed they are able to hold 
the position of chief, and in general they are regarded both in 
public and in private as possessing almost equal rights with the 
men. The Baholoholo women do not appear to take part 
in public life to the same extent, but they are treated with 
respect and regarded as human beings who possess distinct 
rights of their own. In the Bushongo country also the 
position of the women is not without a certain dignity. The 
mother of the king is a person of considerable importance, 
and there are numerous women in the council, which consists 
of the older inhabitants of the region. In domestic matters 
also the relations of husband and wife are well defined. The 
duty of the husband is, to hunt for game, and to defend the 
honie if attacked, that of the wife to till the land and cook 
the food. Children, while young, are entirely under the 
control of the mother, and only when they begin to grow up 
does the father have the right to control their actions. 

In other tribes, however, the position of women appears 
to be much less favourable than in the cases which have just 
been described. Thus among the Ababua the women, although 
Well treated in a general way, occupy a very inferior place, 
and a wife may even be sold if it pleases her husband to do 
so. The same is true of the Bangala. Among the Basonge 
the woman also holds a very dependent position ; she is con- 
sidered mainly as an agricultural labourer, and may be sold or 


Domestic Slayeey 

According to law slavery does not now exist in the Belgian 
Congo. The practice of domestic slavery, however, is so wide- 
spread in the country, and is so closely interwoven with the 
existing social system that any attempt to interfere with it 
would at present be inadvisable. Accordingly, while the 
State does not recognize the practice, it does not interfere 
with it, except in as far as is necessary to protect the slave 
against abuse, and to give him help when he appeals for it. 
The extent to which the State is able to intervene in such 
cases, however, is obviously limited, and in many parts of the 
country it is probable that conditions are much as they were 
before the annexation of the colony to Belgium. Nevertheless, 
it is necessary to recognize that the system is more or less 
in a state of transition, and that it is not always possible to 
•make definite statements regarding the extent to which it 
is practised and the relations which now exist between 
masters and slaves. 

A man may be reduced to a state of slavery for one or other 
of several reasons. Sometimes he is born into it, but it is by 
no means always the case that the children of a slave are 
themselves slaves. Among the Baholoholo, for example, the 
child of a female slave is free, and among the Ababua a slave 
who marries a free woman himself becomes free when his first 
child is born, while a female slave at once regains her liberty 
if she marries a free man. With the Bushongo the children 
of slaves belong to the master of their parents, and are unable 
to marry Bushongo girls, but in other respects they are con- 
sidered as free. Formerly all prisoners taken in war became 
the property of their captors, and it is probable that in some 
parts of the country many people still lose their liberty in 
intertribal feuds. Poverty is also a frequent cause of slavery, 
and a man without resources of his own is often glad to attach 
himself as a slave to a master who will provide him with the 
necessaries of life. Thieves caught in the act, adulterers, and 
other criminals are with some tribes compelled to atone for 
their fault with their liberty. 

As might be expected, the position of the slave varies greatly 
from tribe to tribe, but on the whole is not so unfavourable as 
is sometimes imagined. In most cases he is treated as a 


member of the family, and like other members thereof has 
a well-defined position with corresponding rights and duties. 
Domestic slavery as practised among the Mangbetu, for 
example, imposes no great hardships. Although their social 
position is lower, the slaves live much as their masters do, 
and if they are unpaid they receive presents from time to 
time. Indeed it is not uncommon for a slave who regards 
himself as unfairly treated in this respect to transfer his 
services to a new master on the first opportunity. Moreover 
the Mangbetu do not appear to sell their slaves, at least to 
strangers, and do not them. They may marry, but 
their masters possess certain rights over their offspring. Under 
the Ababua the position of the slave seems to be much less 
favourable. He cannot withdraw from the authority of his 
master, and can redeem himself only with his master's con- 
sent. His owner also seems able to sell him, exchange him, 
or even to kill him. On the other hand the customary 
usages of the tribe afford him. a certain amount of protec- 
tion. Public opinion, for example, would oppose the sale of 
a man out of the village in which he had lived for a number 
of years without serious cause. Among the Baluba again 
there is nothing, apart from Belgian law, to prevent a master 
fi:om killing his slave, but public opinion would be much 
against him if he did so. 

On the whole the relation in which a man stands to his 
slaves is determined by his position as head of the family of 
which the slaves are members, and, apart from the fact that 
the' tie between them is in some respects more permanent, 
there is often little difference between the way in which he 
treats his slaves and the way in which he treats his wives and 
daughters. He exacts obedience from them, and in return 
gives them his protection. The slave has to be provided with 
a hut and food, and sooner or later with a wife or wives. In 
return he has to render certain services which vary from tribe 
to tribe, but the extent of which are all more or less clearly 
defined by custom which almost possesses the force of law. 
His right to have property of his own varies. Sometimes, 
as with the Bangala, he may even own slaves, sometimes 
everything which he possesses is his master's, and can be dis- 
posed of by him at his will. Very frequently there is some 
method by which he may ultimately regain his liberty. "With 



the gradual extension of Belgian rule the worst abuses of the 
system of domestic slavery will gradually disappear. And that 
such abuses did exist there can be little doubt. The Ababua 
and the Bangala were at one time accustomed on the death 
of the head of a family to kill and eat several of his slaves, 
and other tribes probably did the same. 

Houses and Villages 

The style of domestic architecture, though almost always of 
a primitive description, varies considerably from one part of 
the Belgian Congo to another. For this there are several 
reasons. Much depends upon the building materials which 
are available, and as a result the hut of the forest is often very 
different from that of the grass-land. Climatic conditions 
have also to be considered : in some districts it is necessary 
for the natives to take precautions against heavy rainfall and 
consequent flooding, while in others they have to protect them- 
selves against the relatively cold weather which prevails at 
certain seasons of the year. The stage of civilization which has 
been reached by the native is also indicated by the type of house 
in which he lives, and the homes of the pygmies of the tropical 
forest are naturally very different from those of such relatively 
civilized people as the Mangbetu. That foreign influences 
must not be excluded from consideration is shown by the fact 
that the native hut in the neighbourhood of European settle- 
ments has frequently undergone considerable improvement. 

The position, structure, and size of the native village are 
also subject to much variation. Position may be determined 
by one or other of several factors, of which the most important 
are a supply of good water, security against floods, the 
proximity of good arable or pastoral land, facilities for 
hunting and fishing, and suitable means of defence. The siz.e 
of the village on the other hand is mainly dependent on 
social and political conditions, which in turn are at least 
partly determined by geographical environment. As a rule 
social and political units are larger on the savanna than in 
the forest, and consequently it is in the former region that 
the largest villages are generally found. The structure of the 
village is influenced by similar conditions. "Where a low 
state of political development prevails it consists at most of 


a double row of huts arranged more or less irregularly along 
the main path. Among more highly developed communities 
on the other hand the houses or groups of houses are often 
arranged symmetrically around the abode of the chief; de- 
fensive works, when they exist, are organized with care, and 
various communal buildings are provided. 

The most primitive type of hut in the Congo is that 
constructed by the Batwa. As he spends his time mainly in 
hunting, and is constantly moving from place to place in 
pursuit of his game, a permanent habitation would be of little 
value to him. In many cases he merely constructs fo:* 
himself a cage of boughs, which are stuck into the, moist 
ground at their thick end and then bent over in a flattened 
semicircle and pressed into the soil by their tips at the slender 
end. Other withes are bound round horizontally, and when 
the skeleton thus formed has been covered with leaves thei 
building is complete. The villages are little more than 
encampments hidden in the recesses of the forest, security 
and the proximity of game being usually the main factors, 
which determine their position. 

Among the other peoples of the Congo the villages are of 
a more permanent character. In the tropical forest they are 
generally small, and seldom contain more than 100 huts, 
while many consist of twenty, or even less. A few illustrations 
will serve to show the general conditions by which their sites 
are determined. On the lower Congo, and especially in 
Mayumbe, villages are found in the most diverse situations ; 
some are concealed in the depths of the forest, while others 
are perched high up on the mountain-slopes. The proximity 
of drinking water and arable land are probably the most 
important factors nowadays in the choice of village sites, but 
formerly the places which were selected had in addition 
a good defensive position. Wherever it is found, however, 
the village is nearly always of the same type. The huts are 
arranged in two parallel rows on either side of a pathway or 
open space, those in each row being separated from one 
another by an interval of a few feet. The whole village is 
usually surrounded by banana plantations. 

The "Wangata, who occupy part of the region which lies 
near the equator between the left bank of the Congo and the 
Ruki, live on the low plateaus which rise abovvJ the surround- 



ing inundated land. As a rule the huts are built on either 
side of a footpath which follows the axis of the plateau, those 
belonging to one family group being separated from those 
belonging to another by an open space. The Bosanga, who 
live to the south of the Wangata, and the Bombwandza, to the 
east of them, cut a series of re-entrant angles in the forest 
along the line of the path, and in each of these angles a 
family group is installed. 

The Bangala live on both sides of the Congo above 
Coquilhatville, and devote much of their time to fishing. 
Their villages are accordingly situated in the vicinity of the 
river, and usually consist of several parallel rows of huts, the 
whole being surrounded by banana plantations. 

The Lesa, on the left bank of the lower Lukenie, live on 
the marginal district between the forest and the savanna. 
Their villages, however, are often found just within the forest 
border, and their sites are carefully chosen, partly with a 
view to defence and partly with a view to access to good 
water and arable land. A village may contain several groups 
of houses separated from one another by small plantations, 
and in each group the huts are built on either side of the 
pathway, sometimes touching one another and sometimes 
a few yards apart. At either end of the village there are 
several huts occupied by the young men, to whom the safety 
of the community is entrusted. The chief's house is situated 
in the centre of the main group of buildings. Each village 
also contains a forge, and a sort of public hall, in which the 
inhabitants sit and talk. 

Along the Aruwimi the villages are somewhat different in 
type. The Banghelima, who occupy both sides of the river 
between Basoko and Panga, and the Bapopoie, who live 
in the interior mainly to the south of the Aruwimi, build 
their huts without any order along the streams and along 
the principal routes. The Banghelima are fishers, and place 
their villages where easy access can be had to the rivers, while 
the Bapopoie choose sites near water and arable land. All the 
houses belonging to one family group are placed together. 

The Warega, in the basins of the Elila and the upper 
Ulmdi, east of the Lualaba, build their homes in more or less 
continuous rows along the main paths. One tribe, the 
Malinga, place their villages near the smaller rivers, while 


another, the Ntata, live on the summits of the high mountains, 
where defence is easy. The Warega village is always simple in 
design, and a structure placed at one end of the single street 
is the only public building which it contains. 

The Ababua, to the south of the "Welle, live in small villages, 
which are carefully fortified. As a rule about 'twenty estab- 
lishments are grouped together, the huts being placed sym- 
metrically on either side of an open road, 30 to 70 feet in 
width. The whole is surrounded by an impenetrable defence 
of brushwood, in 'which there are one or two carefully guarded 
openings. In the centre of the village a small elevated post 
provides a suitable point from which to observe the approach 
of a stranger along the paths which lead to the village. 

So much for the villages of the tropical forest. Several types 
of houses are found within the same region. The most common 
is that of which the ground plan is rectangular. In the 
Lower Congo, where this type prevails, the roof is gable-shaped, 
and as a rule overhangs the walls of the hut so as to provide 
a veranda on which the inhabitants may sit during the day. 
The hut is divided by a partition into two apartments, one 
of which is used as a kitchen and the other as a bedroom. 
The materials employed are poles and thatch, derived from 
a variety of palm widespread throughout the region. 

The huts of the "Wangata are somewhat similar in design. 
The framework is constructed of poles which are bound 
together with lianas. Formerly both the outside and the 
inside of this skeleton were covered over with bamboos, and 
the intervening space was filled with leaves. This method, 
however , was found to be objectionable, as it provided a 
refuge for all kinds of vermin, and in many cases the Wangata 
now content themselves with liding the interior of the hut 
with cork. The roof is generally constructed of plaited 
bamboo leaves, and when well made will last for years. The 
women's huts are frequently built in a single line under a 
continuous roof. Another building found in the "Wangata 
village, and known as the ingomba, is merely a shed, which 
is open to all the winds that blow; it is the place where 
the natives sit, talk, and eat during the day. 

The Ababua huts are also rectangular in plan, while the 
roof, which is gable-shaped, overhangs on the side fiacing the 
street in such a way as to form a veranda. The different huts 


are placed close to one another facing the street in such a way 
as to form a continuous row. A variety of raphia palm known 
as sese provides most of the material which the native requires 
in the construction of his abode. 

In the Aruwimi region a very diflferent type of domestic 
architecture makes its appearance. The principal form of 
structure among the Bapopoie, for example, is a four-sided 
hut usually from 6 to 9 feet square. The walls, which are 
made of wood, are about 4 feet high, while the roofs, which 
rise in the shape of a pyramid to a considerable height, are 
constructed of large marantaceous leaves fastened in horizontal 
rows against a frame of basket-work. In some cases the base 
of the hut, instead of being square, is round. When finished, 
the building may have a height of 18 or 20 feet, and has the 
appearance of a gigantic candle-extinguisher. In the region 
occupied by the Ababua and allied tribes there appears to be 
more than one type of hut, but the most prevalent is that 
with a circular base and a conical roof. The diameter of the 
ground-plan varies from 10 to 12 feet ; the walls, which are 
about 5 feet high, are formed of wooden stakes, the interstices 
being filled with mud, and the roof is jnade from the carefully 
arranged leaves of the likungu. Generally there are two 
doorways, one of which opens out into the open space round 
which the huts are built, while the other is at the back, and 
affords a means of retreat into the forest. The hut of the 
chief is often distinguished by the fact that the supports on 
either side of the principal doorway are carried upwards from 
5 to 10 feet, and are decorated with the spoils of war. 

On the savanna geographical conditions are less unfavourable 
than in the forest for the growth of large communities with 
a more or less developed sysfem of government. As a result 
the villages are often larger and more complex in structure. 
The sites are mainly determined by the occupations of their 
inhabitants. The Banziri, for example, are traders and fishers, 
and their villages lie close to the river, the huts being arranged 
in two long lines forming a wide street. Some of these 
villages are over a mile in length, and appear to be well 
populated. Farther to the east, in the country between the 
Bomokandi and the "Welle, the Mangbetu usually place their 
villages where there are good water, fuel, and fertile soil. 
Travellers have, however, noted that these people are not 


without an aesthetic sense, and that they often select sites 
possessed of great natural beauty. The villages are sometimes 
of considerable size, and the huts are arranged around an 
open space, on which there is often a large hall used for public 
meetings and similar purposes. The plan of the village varies, 
and it may be circular, elliptical, square, or intermediate, but 
it is always well built and carefully looked after. Generally 
speaking, there are no fortifications, but this rule is not 
invariable, and the houses of the chiefs at least are sometimes 
surrounded by a zareba or palisade. 

The Baluba occupy the country to the south of the Lukuga. 
Their villages are often carefully planned. The chief and his 
family occupy a number of huts, which form a rectangle at 
the end of the principal street. Around them, on the side 
remote from the village, are the dwellings of the chief per- 
sonages with their families and clients. In the main street of 
the village' are the huts of various other of&cials and their 
followers. The less important people live in streets running 
parallel to the main street. 

Among the Basonge, who dwell on the borders of the equa- 
torial forest between the Lubilash and the Lualaba, there 
are also many large villages. Kolomani, situated on the 
Lurimbi, a tributary of the Lomami, was said to have a 
population of 10,000 in 1897, and a few years later Pania 
Mutombo had one of 2,000. Many other Basonge villages 
appear to be well built and prosperous. The streets are long 
and broad, and the huts of the various family groups are 
surrounded by small gardens. Frequently each person of 
importance has his own quarter, varying in size from four 
to twenty huts, which runs at right angles to the main road, 
and is encompassed by a hedge. The largest of these is occu- 
pied by the family of the chief, and is built round a great 
rectangular court, in the centre of which stands the residence 
of the chief himself Opposite the entrance to the quarter 
of the chief stands the hall which serves as a meeting-place 
and council chamber, and not far off is the forge, where 
the village gossips congregate. Basonge villages are some- 
times fortified by a palissade of tree-trunks, but the practice 
is by no means common. 

In the Kasai region conditions vary. The Bushongo 
villages, which are often found scattered on the savanna by 


the side of running water, are generally small, and the houses 
are grouped in hamlets of a dozen or even less. The larger 
villages, however, may consist of several streets, each formed 
by a double line of huts. Behind each house there is usually 
a small granary about three feet high, while in the street 
there are often some open sheds, where people work or rest. 
A fetish house is also a common object. The villages are 
separated from the surrounding bush by a cleared space of 
varying width. The Bakongo villages are likewise small, and 
seldom contain more than fifty houses. In the centre there is 
an open space, except for the residence of the chief, and 
around it the other houses are built in the form of a square 
or a circle. The whole is surrounded by a palisade, beyond 
which are various sheds where the inhabitants meet to weave 
or to gossip. 

On the savanna the native house is perhaps more varied in 
structure than it is in the forest, partly on account of the 
diversity of building material, and partly because of the 
influence exercised by foreign invaders. The Banziri huts 
are shaped like bee-hives, and have thick grass roofs which 
reach to the ground. As they have a diameter of about 
12 feet they are fairly capacious. Occasionally in this region 
one comes across a square or oblong habitation built partly 
of mud, the owner of which has come under the influence 
of the European, and has, as far as possible, adopted his 
style of architecture. 

The Mangbetu are probably the best builders in the whole 
of the Congo region. The ground-plan of their huts is either 
circular or rectangular, but the former predominates. The 
walls, which are between two and a half and three feet high, 
are made of clay, which sometimes becomes very hard, and is 
susceptible of acquiring a high degree of polish. The frame- 
work of the roof is made of poles, which in the circular hut 
form a- cone-shaped structure ; in the square and rectangular 
huts the roofs are sloping. As a rule straw is used as thatch, 
but its place is sometimes taken by leaves. The walls are 
often ornamented on the outside by geometrical designs, such 
as the interlacing of the rhombus and the circle, drawn in 
black, white, and red, or by the designs of various objects, 
such as men, animals, guns, and tools. 

But it is in the construction of the hangars which they use 


as public halls that the Mangbetu really excel. These are 
often of large dimensions, and are built with great care. 
The roof may be of varied architectural design, and the sup- 
porting pillars, of which there are sometimes as many as 
sixty, are often carved with designs which show considerable 

The Basonge hut is usually rectangular in form. Its walls, 
which are about three feet high, are constructed of logs planted 
one against another. At each corner instead of a log there 
is a long flexible pole, and when these are bent down and 
fastened to one another they give the skeleton of the roof 
a somewhat oval appearance. Various grasses and herbaceous 
plants are used for thatching purposes. The Baluba hut is 
constructed on somewhat similar principles ; it is usually 10 
to 13 feet square, and the walls have a height of about 4 feet. 
The stakes whi6h form the skeleton of the roof, instead of 
being bent down as in the Basonge hut, are merely drawn 
together and fastened so as to give the roof a pyramidal form. 
Besides the principal hut there are similar but smaller ones 
for slaves and the older boys and girls. 

Several types of dwellings are found in the Kasai region. 
Among the Bushongo the plan of the hut is rectangular, the 
dimensions being 18 feet by 14. The roof, which is gable- 
shaped rests upon walls about 6 feet high. The leaves of the 
J)alm are extensively used in the construction of both walls 
and roof. The Bangongo huts are similar but smaller. Quite 
another type is found in some parts of the middle Sankuru. 
There the walls of the huts, which are about 15 feet by 9, are 
made of poles about 12 feet in length fixed vertically in the 
ground at a distance of from 4 to 6 inches from one another. 
The frame of the dome is constructed of long flexible sticks, 
which are fastened to the top of these poles and bent over 
to meet in the centre so as to describe the arc of half a circle. 
The whole construction is covered with a thick thatching of 
dry grass. In the upper part of the house there is a rack 
of wattle, which serves as a loft for keeping provisions. 

One or two other types of native hut, the structure of which 
is determined more or less by climatic conditions, may be 
described before concluding. The Baholoholo hut is small, 
the ground-plan forming a square of which the sides are 
about 8 to 10 feet. The walls are formed of canes planted 


in the ground, and rising above it to a height of about 4 feet. 
Longer and more flexible canes are placed among these at 
intervals, and bent over so as to form the skeleton of a more 
or less dome-shaped roof The inside walls are then plastered 
over with mud derived from the nearest ant-heap, while the 
roof is covered with reeds, herbs, and straw. The whole 
structure is very light, but on account of the materials of 
which it is constructed does not suffer much from the violent 
winds which are a 6haracteristic feature of the Tanganyika 
region. Behind his own hut the head of each family has 
an enclosure in which are situated the dwellings occupied by 
his wives, together with a shelter for his live-stock. The 
buildings where he stores his sorghum are usually situated 
outside the enclosure. 

In some of the eastern districts (as, for example, among the 
Warundi people, who dwell on the slopes of Kuwenzori) the 
villages are usually placed at the bottom of the valley, so that 
the inhabitants may be protected against cold. The huts, 
which are circular in plan, are large, their diameter being 
from 20 to 25 feet. The whole building is covered with 
grasses or herbs, and the interior is lined with reeds to afford 
a protection against the cold. Bamboos are also used to make 
partitions by which the hut is divided into two or three 
apartments. As a farther protection against cold the entrance 
is often more elaborate than is usual with a native hut, and 
consists of a tunnel-like archway several feet in length. 


With the European occupation of the Congo the develop- 
ment of native political institutions was more or less arrested. 
In many parts of the country the advent of the white man 
seriously weakened the authority of the local chiefs, but it 
was not till 1910 that any attempt was made to regularize 
their position and to give them a place in the administrative 
system. In that year, however, the Belgian authorities 
decided to recognize various chiefdoms, and to invoke the aid 
of their chiefs in the government of the country. The chiefs 
so recognized were in general the customary heads of the 
tribes or subdivisions of tribes to which they belonged, but 
power was retained to remove any one who proved unsatis- 
factory, and to appoint another in his place. The authority 
allowed to these chiefs was in general that which they 
possessed by custom, and it was stipulated that it should be 
exercised in the customary manner, for example, with the aid 
of a council when that had hitherto been the practice. Con- 
sidering the powers moreover which some chiefs had wielded 
in the past, it was only natural to provide that they should 
not do anything which was contrary to public order, and that 
they should not contravene any laws expressly designed to 
supersede native customs, as, for example, laws forbidding 
murder, cannibalism, &c. In addition certain new powers 
were conferred upon them. The working of this system 
will be discussed later (see 'Government', Chapter XV), the 
object of the present chapter being rather to describe the 
general character of such political institutions as grew up 
under native conditions. Although the authority of these 
•institutions has in many cases been weakened, and their 
powers reduced, they still continue to exercise considerable 
influence upon native life in most parts of the country. 

If the family is the social unit, the village is the political 
unit. In the forest region, as already indicated, it is generally 


small, and on the whole political institutions are more rudi- 
mentary there than they are on the surrounding savannas, 
where as a general I'ule the larger states and the more highly 
organized societies are to be found. (This does not of course 
imply that large States alone exist in the latter region, and 
small States alone in the former, but it suggests the prevailing 
tendency.) Several villages may be grouped together under 
a local chief, who recognizes the authority of the chief of the 
tribe. Each village also has its own chief, who may be, but 
is not necessarily, the head of the family group composing 
the village. This system, which is fairly advanced for the 
forest region, appears to be that which the Ababua have 
developed. The various tribes grouped under this common 
name have no supreme chief, and each tribe is autonomous, 
and occupies a definite geographical area. Within the tribe 
there are a number of groups, each of which has collective 
ownership over part of the territory occupied by the whole 
tribe. These groups (called etina in the native tongue) are 
again subdivided into clans, or makere, each of which consists 
of several village communities. At the head of each of the 
makere there is a chief, and the chief of the oldest maleeri is 
sometimes recognized as the chief of .a certain number of 
cadet-clans, and sometimes as chief of the whole etina. The 
etinas, although they are autonomous, in their internal 
organization recognize a certain order of precedence, which 
is signified by the offering of the leopard. A man who kills 
one of these animals offers it to the chief of the elder makere 
of the elder etina of the tribe to which he belongs. 

A somewhat similar but less complex grouping is found in 
other parts of the ^forest region. The Lesa,,who belong to it, 
although they live rather upon its margin, form a good example. 
With them the political unit is, as usual, the village, but the 
country which they occupy appears to be divided up into 
a number of districts, over each of which there is a chief, on 
whom the village chiefs are more or less dependent. The 
latter, however, are the real rulers, and, though they do not 
seem to exercise a very active authority, they are held in some 
respect by their subjects. The district chiefs at one time had 
considerable power, as they were usually the heads of the 
families to which the village chiefs belonged, but that power 
has greatly decreased, though it is still said to exist. In all 


his decisions the chief of a village is assisted by an assembly, 
consisting of the older and more notable men of the com- 
munity. When a chief dies he is succeeded by his eldest 
surviving brother, or in default of a brother, by his son. 

The Mayumbe, another forest people, are organized on 
somewhat similar lines. Each village has its chief, who 
often possesses considerable authority. Before the arrival of 
the Europeans, for example, he had the power of life and 
death in his hands. In all matters of importance he is assisted 
by a council of notables, but the extent to which he is under 
its control probably varies from place to place and from time 
to time. Another official of the village who formerly exercised 
a good deal of authority was the* mambotic. He commanded 
the army in time of war and took the place of the chief as 
president of the council. when military matters of any kind 
were under discussion. In contrast with what occurs in most 
other parts of the Congo, a Mayumbe chief when he dies is 
usually succeeded by the son of his eldest sister. 

Sometimes a group of villages, each with its own chief, are 
united under the general authority of a supreme chief, known 
as the kulundu. His authority, however, seems to be vague, 
and, although he is often held in considerable respect, it is 
questionable whether he has any real power. 

As already said, the political organization of the various 
peoples who inhabit the savanna regions is often more highly 
developed. Perhaps the best illustration of this fact is the 
system of government which formerly prevailed among the 
Bushongo. Their empire, for such it was, was ruled by a 
hierarchy of officials more elaborate than has been recorded 
of any other African people. It was in the full possession of 
its powers when the white man first entered the country, but 
is now showing signs of decay. The supreme chief is the 
nyimi, who at one time bore the title of Chembe Kanji 
('representative of God upon earth'). Under him are the chiefs 
of the vassal tribes and a great number of local chiefs, who 
owe allegiance either to the nyimi himself or to one or other 
of the vassal chiefs. Theoretically the nyimi was an absolute 
monarch, and in public and on all ceremonial occasions was 
treated as such. In fact, however, the government was con- 
trolled to a greater or less extent by the Tcolomo, or function- 
aries of the court. Of these functionaries there were a great 


number, and the more important of them held sway, except 
when the nyimi happened to be a man of more than ordinary 
ability. As the representative of the people, all land was 
regarded as belonging to the nyimi, and he was able to give 
it to, or take it from, whomever he pleased. The subject 
tribes which were settled on Bushongo territory paid tribute 
to him, and upon all the villages over which his rule extended 
certain dues were levied. It was from these resources that 
the members of the kolomo derived their income. 

"When the nyimi died his throne passed to his brothers in 
order of age, and in default of brothers to the sons of his 
sisters in the same order. Such at least was the theory, but! 
it was rarely put into practice, as the nyimi had and used the 
right to disinherit those of his relations whom he disliked.. 
As a rule therefore he was able to designate his heir from 
among his brothers, nephews, and even cousins, but he was 
compelled to limit his choice to the descendants of his female 

The Jcolomo included various military, judicial, and ad- 
ministrative officials, together with representatives from all 
the subject tribes. In addition all those who were engaged, 
in the more important industries and arts, such as weavers, 
blacksmiths, musicians, and dancers, had the right to be 
represented at the court of the nyimi. These various officials 
were not hereditary, and in theory the nyimi alone could 
appoint a successor to any one who died or became disqualified ; 
in practice his choice was generally decided for him by public 

Among the Basonge, who also dwell outside of the tropical 
forest, there is a somewhat similar tendency to the growth of 
large political units. The chief of the village community is 
as usual the real ruler, but in some cases this community has 
attained considerable proportions, and may number several 
thousand people. Under such conditions the power of the 
chief is often great, though much will depend upon his 
personal qualities. In all important matters he acts only after 
consultation with his council, which is composed of some of 
his older and presumably wiser subjects. Not until a man 
has acquired a reputation for considerable wisdom ~ is he 
invited to take part in the deliberations of this august body. 
The court officials on the other hand are usually young and 


vigorous, as upon them devolves the duty of carrying out the 
decisions arrived at by the chief in council. 

The bonds which unite various villages together into groups 
appear to be somewhat loose. An important chief frequently 
exercises a certain authority over a number of smaller villages, 
whose local chiefs are to some extent subject to him, but his 
power over them is not as a rule very great. Each year they 
send him tribute in the form of slaves, cattle, or food, and in 
former times he was entitled to demand from them a con- 
tingent to his armed forces in the event of war breaking out. 
In return he had to afford them protection if their lands were 
invaded by strangers. Among some of the Basonge tribes 
the suzerainty of the supreme chief is even more illusory. 
The village chiefs meet at frequent intervals and elect one of 
their number as their overlord, but, as he holds office only for 
a, short time, his authority is practically non-existent. 

A chief when he dies is as a rule succeeded 'by his eldest 
son. Should the eldest son be notoriously stupid or cruel, 
the village council nominates another member of his family in 
his place. If on the other hand he is a minor, they appoint 
a regent, who is usually the brother of the dead chief.' 

The Baluba, who dwell in the open woodland of the south- 
east, have also a political organization which is more highly 
developed than that of the forest peoples. The country which 
they occupy appears to have been conquered for them by 
a great chief called Tumbwe, whose successor lives in the 
Marungu Mountains near Lake Tanganyika. Not being able 
to administer the whole of his vast area by himself, he 
entrusted it to the sons of his relative Kabalo. Shola, the 
elder, occupied the north-west of the country, while Kayua, 
the younger, occupied the south- east. Each, after he had 
fixed on a site for his own village, distributed at least part of 
the remainder of his land among his children, nephews, and 
those of his followers whom he specially wished to reward. 
The condition of the grant was that they too should establish 
villages, each. with its own local chief. Around the various 
leaders thus designated the bulk of the people grouped them- 
selves, each man according to his own inclination. The 
different chiefs and sub-chiefs are bound by custom to provide 
their overlord with part of the yearly crop, together with 
a share in the proceeds of the chase. 


The whole political system is therefore a hierarchy, based 
upon a blood-relationship which is always determined through 
the female line. When a chief dies he is succeeded by his 
brothers, and on their decease the office passes to the eldest 
son of their eldest sister. If there is neither sister nor brother 
the chieftainship passes to a cadet branch of the same family. 
The chief is assisted in his administrative, judicial, and 
executive functions by a council of notables, who, in the iirst 
instance at least, are nominated by him. A right to be sum- 
moned to the council appears to belong to the successors of 
those who have once held a place upon it, but they cannot 
avail themselves of this right until it has been recognized by 
the chief. Occasionally the latter summons all the freemen 
of his village to a conference, but such an assembly does not 
have much real power, and the government remains in the 
hands of the chief and his council. 

The Mangbetu also, as might be expected from the general 
state of their civilization, have a well-organized political 
sj'stem. At the head of each tribe is a chief, who places his 
sons, brothers, or notables as secondary chiefs in different parts 
of the country over which he rules. Each of these has several 
villages under his control, and, as he cannot be in all of them 
at once, he in his turn appoints local chiefs for each. The 
administration of justice is one of the most important matters 
with which these various officials have to deal. Cases of little 
importance are settled by the village chiefs, while others are 
taken either to the chief of the group of villages to which the 
litigants belong or to the chief of the tribe himself. It is said 
that Okondo, one of the greatest of the Mangbetu chiefs, was 
accustomed to spend four or five hours each day in the 
administration of justice. This system is rendered possible 
only by the fact that the country occupied by the Mang- 
betu is very fertile, and consequently densely populated. The 
villages are numerous, and few of them are far distant from 
the tribal head-quarters. 

The tribal chiefs are assisted in the discharge of their duties 
by a council, which consists of the secondary chiefs, warriors 
of distinction, and old men who have gained a reputation for 
political wisdom. All give their advice freely, but the chief, 
at least when he is a man of some ability, has the final decision 
in his own hands. Formerly he had the power of life and 


death over his subjects, but since the occupation of the country 
by the Belgians all matters of grave import are settled in 
European courts. 

As a general rule a Mangbetu chief is succeeded by his son. 
In the event of his being without a direct heir, or for other 
special cause, his place is taken by his brother. 

It has already been indicated that the powers of the chiefs, 
with or without their councils, were at one time much greater 
than they now are. They made war and peace, dispensed 
justice according to the tribal law such as it was, and con- 
trolled to a greater or less extent the economic and social life 
of their subjects. , To-day in all the regions which are 
effectively occupied by the Belgians intertribal war is for- 
bidden, and, although the administration of justice is often left 
to the local chiefs, they are compelled to observe the general 
laws of humanity. In some cases indeed the people seem to 
prefer to take their disputes to a European court when one is 
available. Such appears to be the practice in Mayumbe, where 
nearly everything is said to be tried before a European 
tribunal, and various other tribes regard such a tribunal as 
a final court of appeal. 

It was rather custom with the force of law than laws that 
were consciously made which governed the daily life of the 
people. In the civil domain this system probably worked, 
and in many cases still works, indifferently well. If a man 
obtained a loan or entered into an agreement with another, he 
generally did so before witnesses who were conversant with 
all the facts. The chief and his council had therefore little 
difficulty in learning the truth or in coming to a decision in 
accordance with tribal or village custom. If the defendant 
himself was unable to repay his loan or fulfil his engagement, 
it became the duty of his family to do it for him. The 
coUective responsibility of the family for the default of its 
individual members was probably the nearest approach made 
by these primitive peoples to a general principle of law in 
civil affairs. 

The methods adopted in the pursuit and punishment of 
crime were open to much graver objection. The chief offences 
recognized were murder, theft, and adultery, and as a rule the 
criminal concealed his act, not because it was against the law, 
and not because it was morally wrong, but because its detection 



would have brought swift retribution upon himself. Indeed 
in most parts of the country the custom was for the aggrieved 
party or his surviving relations to take the law into their own 
hands when the criminal was caught in the act, and to put 
him to death or to otherwise maltreat him. If on the other 
hand no one raised a complaint, there were generally no 
means by which an offender might be put upon his trial. A 
stranger, for example, might be murdered within the confines 
of a village, but, as no one was directly interested in him, his 
murderer generally escaped. Punishments, whether inflicted 
by the injured party or his family or by order of the chief 
and his council, were as a rule very severe. Whipping and 
mutilation, often of a most atrocious character, were common, 
and it was only among the more advanced tribes that the 
principle of compensation "was admitted. 

If the criminal were not caught in flagrante delicto, recourse 
was had to supernatural means for his discovery. The sorcerer 
was appealed to, lots were cast, and the person thus designated 
was compelled to submit to the ordeal by poison, which in 
one form or another was common throughout most parts of 
the Congo. Even in cases where a chief with his council 
honestly endeavoured to arrive at the truth with regard to 
a suspected person they resorted to this method if other 
means failed. For further details regarding the part played 
by the sorcerer in the administration of justice see page 151. 



The Bantu and Sudanian Negroes 

Mental Characteristics 

It is difficult to obtain a clear idea of the mental charactor- 
istics of the natives of the Congo. AH accounts which arc 
available are liable to have been influenced either by the 
interests or the sentiments of those by whom they have been 
written, or by the special conditions which prevail among the 
people to whom they relate. Some statements of a general 
nature may, however, be made. The native child appears to 
be active and intelligent, but his mental development often 
ceases about the age of puberty. This fact has never been 
satisfactorily explained, but may be due to one or other of 
several causes. The loose state of sexual morality, and early 
and excessive sexual indulgence are believed to have a very 
prejudicial effect on the intellectual growth 'of the youth of 
the country. On the other hand it must also be remembered 
that by the time a boy has reached the age of eight or ten 
years he has learned everything that the village to which 
he belongs has to teach him, and that as a rule no further 
demand upon his intellectual faculties is made. Or it may 
be that the real cause of the early cessation of intellectual 
growth among these native peoples must be sought for among 
the conditions which determine racial differences. 

The adult negro is, however, by no means devoid of intelli- 
gence. He has considerable powers of assimilation, and is 
easily taught to do manual labour of a kind to which he has 
hitherto been unaccustomed. The Mayumbe, for example, 
though by no means so alert as some of the other natives of 
the Congo, are said to learn in a fortnight all the work required 
of them in the cocoa plantations, and statements of a similar 
nature have been made of other forest tribes, such as the 



Bangala and the Wanga. Of some an even better account 
is given. They are said to understand quickly, and to answer 
promptly, all questions put. to them on matters of which. they 
have cognisance, but to become fatigued if the interrogation 
is unduly prolonged. Sometimes they show no little lin- 
guistic capacity: it is said that an Ababua will easily learn 
in a fortnight the dialect of a tribe previously unknown 
to him. 

The Congo negro is not devoid of reasoning power, but 
he has little conception of general ideas, and in argument 
he relies mainly upon illustration and comparison. He also 
makes frequent use of the reductio ad ahsurdum, and has 
a child-like delight in attempting to place his opponent on 
the horns of a dilemma. As a rule he is not logical in his 
methods of thought, and will frequently after accepting the 
major and minor premisses of an argument refuse to accept 
its conclusion. On the other' hand the members of some 
tribes are full of good sense, and, if a course of action thought 
to be desirable is placed before them in a plain and simple 
fashion, they will agree to it without hesitation. Though 
native powers of generalization are, as has already been said, 
limited, different tribes appear to vary greatly from one 
another in this respect. Some have very few abstract words 
in their language, others a considerable number. The Baluba, 
who are said to be capable of seizing an abstraction when it 
is presented to them, may perhaps represent a state of negro 
development a little above the average. They have words 
in their language for such ideas as mankind, poverty, and 
health, but not for friendship, charity, tenderness, or chastityj 
which represent abstractions to which they are unaccustomed. 

Within certain limits the native is a close observer of 
nature. Everything connected with matters which closely 
concern his daily life are carefully noted by him and stored 
in his memory for future use. His knowledge of plants and 
animals is often extensive, he makes a good guide, and he 
has an almost malicious joy in nicknaming people on account 
of any minor peculiarities which they may happen to possess. 
But as a rule he does not seek for an explanation of what he 
has seen. Often indeed he is too ignorant to discover it, but 
in any case he is mentally too lethargic to trouble himself 
further with matters which do not directly concern him. 


The imagination of the native is well developed, but only 
within comparatively narrow limits, and it is sometimes 
difficult to distinguish it from conscious exaggeration or even 
deliberate mendacity. He cannot refrain, for example, from 
describing a small crowd of people as a- multitude of men 
numerous as the trees. On the other hand it is questionable 
whether he is ever able to imagine conditions of life unlike 
those to which he himself has always been accustomed. To 
explain the sea to a forest negro is said to be an almost 
impossible task. In foresight also he is generally lacking. 
He acts on the impulse of the moment, and is as a rule too 
much occupied with the things of the present to pay much 
attention to those of the future. The luxuriance of vegetation 
by removing the fear of absolute starvation is no doubt partly 
.responsible for this, and it is interesting to note that tribes 
(such as the Mangbetu and the Basonge) which live on the 
savannas with their recurring dry seasons are accustomed 
to take somewhat longer views. But it may be noted that 
even in the forest the cultivation of such plants as manioc 
implies that the native is able to look ahead for at least a year. 
The native is also under the control of custom to such an 
extent that his inventive faculties are not given much oppor- 
tunity to develop. When he is faced with a difficulty he 
prefers to surmount it by means which are intellectually the 
more easy even if they ultimately involve him in a course 
which is physically more laborious. Thus if a tree stops his 
path he finds it easier to go round the obstruction than to 
plan for its removal. In some cases he has been known to 
adapt the methods of the European to his own requirements, 
but generally he takes everything for granted, and is seldom 
on the look-out to devise means to improve his position. 

Intellectual Attainments 

That the standard of civilization reached by the natives 
of the Belgian Congo is low goes without saying. No native 
system of writing has been devised, and, except in the rela- 
tively few cases in which a man has been trained in a mission 
school, he is unable either to read or write. The most impor- 
tant means of communication, apart from verbal statements, 
is the tam-tam, or drum, which is found in almost every 


village. With the Congo people it takes the place of a national 
telephone, and among the more skilful tribes is used to a 
considerable extent. ' 

In all matters involving arithmetical calculations very little 
progress has been made. Among many tribes the peoplp are 
usually able to count up to 100, but beyond that they seldom seem 
able to go. Sometimes they have words for 200 and higher 
numbers, and sometimes, as with the Ababua, anything above 
50 is expressed only in general terms. The decimal system 
of notation is employed, and both when they are actually 
counting or making calculations, and when they are stating 
numbers the natives use their fingers and toes very freely. 
As they are ignorant of all but the most obvious movements 
of the celestial bodies, they make little use of them in their 
division of time. As a rule they mark the prpgress of the 
year by the alternation of the dry and rainy seasons. The 
Bangala who inhabit a region where it is almost impossible 
to distinguish the one from the other appear to make their 
reckoning by reference to the rise and fall of the Congo. 
The phases of the moon enable most tribes to divide the 
year into lunar months. By the sun they can tell the time 
of day with remarkable accuracy. 

The geographical knowledge possessed by the natives is 
usually very limited. As a rule they know only the country 
within a few miles of their own homes, but a certain amount 
of course depends upon the main occupations of the tribes 
to which they belong. Those who are engaged in trade, for 
example, not only possess a good deal of information about 
the region from which they obtain their staple commodities, 
but have some acquaintance with the main trade-routes and 
the more important rivers in their own part of the country. 
Tribes which have been accustomed to provide porters for 
Europeans also acquire in time a certain knowledge of the 
outside world. But with these and such exceptions the Congo 
native shows little interest in what lies beyond the limits 
assigned to his village. His practical skill as a traveller is 
by no means negligible. "With the help of the sun he is 
usually able to orient himself, and he often shows considerable 
skill in locating himself when far from home. Some tribes 
are also able to make rough but accurate maps of the country 
around their homes. Among those who are able to do this 


the Mangbetu are specially noted, but the "Warega and the 
Basonge have also some skill in this respect. 

Their knowledge of the past is very fragmentary. Most 
tribes possess traditions regarding the events which led to 
the occupation of the land of which they are in possession, 
but beyond that they are usually ignorant of everything of 
which they have not personal knowledge. But to this general 
statement the Bushongo form a notable exception, as the 
history of their tribe appears to go back in a more or less 
accurate form for several centuries. Among the Basonge 
also a considerable amount of local history is handed down 
from one' generation to the next. Curiously enough it is 
regarded as secret, and is told only to the notables of the 

Native medicine is a curious combination of sorcery and 
empirical skill, the former predominating among the more 
ignorant tribes, and the latter among the more advanced. For 
the most part the treatment of the sick is entrusted to the 
sorcerer, or to professional healers, whose secrets are handed 
down from father to son. Native herbs enter largely into 
their pharmacopoeia. Manioc leaves are much used because 
of the prussic acid which they contain, and charcoal, burned 
banana stems, decoctions of the bark of many different kinds 
of trees or of leaves steeped in boiling water, palm-oil, and 
the oils of certain nuts such as the kola, are all more or less 
rationally used, either externally or internally. Hot fomenta- 
tions are applied to swellings, rheumatic pains, and strains. 
.Massage is much in vogue among certain peoples for severe 
indigestion, lumbago, headache, and various other complaints. 
Broken limbs are straightened and set in rude splints. The 
application of all these remedies is usually accompanied by 
magic rites, chants, and other ceremonial acts. 

Practical STcill 

Even in matters which closely affect his daily life the 
native does not show any great ingenuity in devising, or 
skill in executing works of public utility. To his house alone 
does he appear to give much attention. The roads between 
different villages are usually tracks which in the course of 
time have been beaten into the semblance 'of paths. Byit 


on their upkeep no labour is expended. If one should happen 
to become blocked by a falling tree, the native seldom thinks 
of removing the obstacle, he simply passes round about it. 
There are, it is true, exceptions to the rule. In the Mangbetu 
country some of the roads, especially those which lead to the 
villages of the chiefs, are well made, and the Baluba villagers' 
unite to clear the paths which lead to their fields and wells. 
Elvers are bridged only when they are quite unfordable. To 
construct a bridge lianas are fastened to trees on either side 
of the river and swung across to the opposite side. By 
interlacing these with other lianas a structure is provided 
which, if it has been carefully made, will sometimes last for 
several years. 

The canoe is almost everywhere the sole means, apart from 
human porterage, which the native has devised for the trans- 
port of goods. However long and shapely it may be, it is 
nothing but a hollowed-out tree-trunk, and into its construc- 
tion the skill of the carpenter does not enter. In size it 
varies : many are designed to carry from two to six men, but 
others are larger ; and it is said that some of those used by 
the Mayumbe are capable of transporting three tons of coco- 
nuts. Apparently the natives are quite content with the canoe 
for purposes of navigation; and in many cases spend more time 
and labour in devising an appropriate figurehead for it than 
in seeking to improve the type to which it belongs. On the 
upper Ubangi and on its headstreams, the Bomu and the 
Welle, where the Sudanese have made their influence felt, 
the art of navigation is somdwhat more advanced, and the - 
canoes used there are practically boats. They are so con- 
structed that they draw little water, and are therefore 
admirably adapted for these rivers and their tributaries, where 
they are required to glide on the surface, the depth of the 
rivers at some seasons of the year being measured only by 
inches. On the "Welle and the Bomu these boats have very 
thick sides, and are also fitted in other ways for use on rivers 
whose courses abound in rocks and rapids. In some parts 
of the Congo, however, the natives have not even reached the 
canoe stage of navigation. When the Warega desire to cross 
a river which is too broad to be bridged they make use of 
very primitive rafts consisting of several tree-trunks rudely 
fastened to one another. The inhabitants of the district round 


the lower Lomami use rafts for purposes of transport, and the 
Bakwese, one of the very backward tribes of the western 
Kasai region, do the same. Sometimes these rafts are made 
of bundles of papyri or reeds, and are similar to those employed 
on the upper Nile. 

Agricultural methods are discussed elsewhere, but it may be 
noted here that even in those districts where there is a well- 
marked dry season the natives do not appear to practise the 
art of irrigation. On the other hand they are sometimes 
compelled by the necessities of the case to undertake the 
drainage of their lands, and this they do by constructing 
small channels. Some of the riverain tribes are accustomed 
to dam the rivers along which they live in order to obtain 
suitable fishing grounds. 

On the whole then it would seem that the native is very 
much the creature of his environment. To obtain from it his 
daily needs he shows a certain amount of ability and even of 
ingenuity, but with him. sufficient to the day are the needs 
thereof, and he takes little thought of the ways and means by 
which his position might be rendered more comfortable and 
more secure. 


Among the natives of the Congo the artistic faculties are 
not developed to any great extent, though some tribes show 
considerable skill in tattooing, weaving, and the manufacture 
of pottery. Their attempts at painting and drawing are 
with few exceptions either very simple or very crude. The 
Mangbetu, the Ababua, and various other peoples decorate 
the outsides of their houses with designs of one kind or 
another, mainly geometrical figures, representations of animals, 
and scenes from daily life. Articles of domestic use are fre- 
quently ornamented in a somewhat similar fashion. But all 
that they do is by way of imitation, and imagination seldom 
appears to enter into their art. Occasionally, however, there 
are exceptions. The Bushongo are distinguished by a re- 
markable artistic sense, which finds expression in the pro- 
ficiency with which they pursue certain crafts, such as 
embroidery and wood-carving. 

Sculpture is confined to working in wood, and occasionally 
in ivory. Among the objects most commonly made are fetishes 


of various kinds, models of men and of animals, and articles 
of domestic use. The designs are usually crude and con- 
ventional, and give little evidence of artistic sense. An 
exception must, however, be made for certain tribes, such as 
the Mangbetu, who work in ivory. The objects made by 
these people, such as trumpets, knife -handles, goblets, and 
statues, often show considerable skill and a more developed 
sense of beauty than is to be found in most other parts of the 

Although the natives of the Congo can hardly be called 
musical in the ordinary sense of the term, they have various 
musical instruments, some of which are much in use. Of 
these the simplest and probably the most primitive is the 
tam-tam ; it is merely the segment of a tree-trunk, the inside 
of which has been scooped out through a narrow slit. The 
tamtam is used for that drum-signalling which is, or at least 
was, so common in different parts of the country, and in which 
some native tribes had acquired a high degree of proficiency. 
An advance on it is the drum proper, which consists of a 
hollow wooden , receptacle with its open end covered over 
with a stretched skin. The tambourine, made of a wooden 
hoop over which a skin is likewise stretched, and the friction 
drum, in which the noise is produced by rotating a stick 
passed through the centre of a leather drum- head, are also 
found in various parts of the country. Several types of wind 
instruments are also in use. Flutes and pan-pipes are made 
from reeds, and whistles and trumpets from the horns of 
various animals. The stringed instruments include primitive 
forms of the guitar and the zither. Of dances there are various 
kinds. The war dance, which is participated in by the men 
only, usually loses all idea of rhythm, and frequently degene- 
rates into a sham fight, while those dances in which the women 
alone take part are probably connected with sexual phenomena. 
Dances in which there is only one performer, male or female, 
are as a rule connected with religion, witchcraft, or the 
practice of medicine. On these occasions the dancer some- 
times whirls himself into a state of frenzy, in which he is 
supposed to be able to reveal the names of suspected persons, 
witches, and criminals, and to give other important evidence. 
But most common of all are the dances in which both sexes 
take part, as they provide one of the chief means of amuse- 


ment at the command of the native. They may take place on 
any festive occasion, such as a marriage, the gathering in of 
the crops, or even a funeral. 


Probably nothing throws a clearer light upon the present 
condition of the natives of the Congo than a survey of their 
industries. It shows that they have passed beyond the stage 
at which all their time, energy, or inclination is required to 
provide for the immediate necessities of their existence, but 
it also indicates that they have advanced but a comparatively 
short way towards providing themselves with the needs of 
even the poorest civilized community. 

Weaving is carried on in almost all parts of the country, 
but notwithstanding the abundance of various fibres it has 
made comparatively little progress. In one or two regions, of 
which Mayumbe is probably the most important, cotton is 
spun and woven, but the product is said to have a texture 
little, if anything, finer than the better kinds of native basket- 
work. Elsewhere on the other hand the indigenous industry 
has disappeared owing to the importation of European goods. 
It is probable, however, that it will again develop, especially 
in those districts where cotton is now being grown under 
Belgian supervision. But the bulk of the material used for 
weaving is derived from the raphia and other palms. With 
the fibres of these plants the natives manufacture various 
fabrics, which differ in quality according to their skill. Some 
of the Basonge work is said to' be remarkably fine and durable, 
though the pieces woven are not much larger than a pocket- 
handkerchief, and have to be sewn together in order to make 
clothes. But in a country where clothing is usually at a dis- 
count woven goods are frequently used for other and more 
necessary purposes. The Ababua, for example, chiefly employ 
them to make bands, with the aid of which the women are 
able to carry their children while at work. Among other 
fibres which are sometimes woven are those of the kapok 
and banana, with which the Bangala do a certain amount of 
crude weaving. 

The manufacture of basket-work appears to be a more 
important industry than weaving in many parts of the country. 


The raw materials employed vary according to locality, and 
reeds and .rushes, the fibres of the Borassus, raphia, and oil- 
palms, and the leaves of the Pandanus are all used in the 
localities in which they grow. Among the articles more fre- 
quently made are baskets, mats, sieves, hats, fishing-nets, and 
shields. In quality of workmanship they range from rude 
vessels of interlaced reeds, such as those carried by the Lesa, 
to the skilfully made mats of the Mayumbe, which are often 
tinted in various designs. 

Ropes are made from various plants. For rough work, and 
among the ruder peoples lianas from the forest are alone 
used. For articles of a finer quality, however, the fibres of 
the pine-apple, raphia-palm, banana, and other plants are 
utilized. The Mangbetu use hair for certain purposes. 

Of all the industries of the country the working of metals 
is that which is held in highest repute. It is the only one 
indeed in which a certain amount of specialized skill is 
required, and those who are engaged in it may be regarded 
as practically the only craftsmen of the Congo. The raw 
material is obtained from various sources. Sometimes it is 
found at hand, and the Ababua and the Lesa obtain their 
supplies in the ground at a depth of from six to ten feet 
below the surface. The Basonge on the other hand look 
for theirs in the mountainous parts of their country, while 
the Baluba get it from the limonite on the banks of the 
Lukula, and in the vicinity of the Lualaba. The Mangbetu, 
who formerly obtained iron ore from the iron hills in their 
neighbourhood, now depend for the most part on imported 
European iron. The methods employed in smelting the ore 
are, as might be expected, of the most elementary descrip- 
tion. It is heated by means of a charcoal fire, and then 
well hammered with a view to getting rid of all foreign 

A hammer and an anvil, along with rude bellows, usually 
nxade from the trunk of a tree, are the only implements at 
the disposal of the native smith, but with their aid he can 
fashion a great number of articles, such as arrow-heads, knives, 
hoes, rings, bracelets, bells, and hammers. The Basonge are 
said to be the best blacksmiths in the Congo, but the Mangbetu 
also have a high reputation. They can do much European 
work if they have a model ; they make, for example, hingesj 


bolts, and pincers, and it is said that they make them much 
better than a European could with the same means at his 
disposal. Their aim, however, is practical rather than artistic. 

Although the Congo blacksmith works mainly in iron, some 
tribes make use of other materials. The Mangbetu employ 
copper and brass for the manufacture of articles of luxury, 
and the Basonge and Baluba make bracelets and similar 
articles from copper, which they apparently obtain from the 
Katanga in the form of crosses. 

On account of their skill the native smiths are highly 
regarded by their fellows, and among some peoples rank next 
in importance to the local chief. In many cases they devote 
either all or the greater part of their time to their work, and 
depend upon it for their livelihood. But in some districts the 
industry seems to be declining in importance. It is said 
that as a result of the spread of European goods the Mayumbe 
have not only given up the smelting of iron ore, but have 
to some extent abandoned the use of home-made articles in 
favour of those imported from abroad. 

Reference has already been made to woodwork in connexion 
with sculpture. The industry is not specialized to the same 
extent as iron-working, and each man is his own carpenter, 
though some are recognized as being more than usually skilful, 
and are employed on work demanding special care. The tools 
are of the simplest description, and consist of a hatchet, an 
adze, and sometimes, but by no means always, a knife. Dried 
leaves with a rough surface are occasionally used for polishing 
purposes, and take the place of the glass-paper of the Euro- 
pean carpenter. The articles made are of the most varied 
description. Canoes probably rank first in importance in all 
the regions in which they can be used ; after them come 
articles of domestic use, such as beds, stools, bowls, plates, 
and spoons, handles for such implements and weapons as the 
hoe, the hatchet, and the lance, and various objects used for 
social, religious, and ceremonial purposes, such as the tam- 
tam, the fetish, and the mask. The Mangbetu are said to 
be specially skilled in all work of this description, and many 
of the articles which they make have a finish which is almost 
entirely wanting in that of other tribes. 

In most parts of the country the manufacture of pottery 
is carried on by the women. As the natives of the Congo 


are ignorant of, and liave evolved nothing similar to, the 
potter's wheel, the fashioning of the clay is done entirely by 
hand. The vessels when made are either placed in the sun 
to dry and harden, or burned over an open fire or in a closed 
oven. The articles produced in this way vary greatly in 
quality of workmanship. "With most tribes the object is 
purely utilitarian, and little or no attention is paid to style 
and finish. With others, however, more care is taken. The 
Mangbetu not only make very elaborate vessels, but they 
polish them and ornament them on the outside with various 
designs. The Bushongo also have carried the art of pottery 
to a relatively high stage of perfection. The articles which 
they make are decorated with various designs, but they do 
not engage in the industry to any great extent, as they make 
considerable use of gourds for carrying water and for cooking 

Other industries are of comparatively little importance. To 
prepare his manioc and maize the native pounds it in a mortar 
with a pestle, and sometimes passes the flour thus obtained 
through a sieve. No other process is known, nor indeed is 
one necessary, as each household provides its own supply just 
when it is required. 

The skins of wild animals are used for various purposes, ■ 
but no attempt is made to tan them. Throughout the whole 
country only one method appears to be followed. The skins 
are scraped and dried in the sun, after which they are put to 
the purpose for which they are intended. 

Some knowledge' exists regarding the use of paints and 
dyes among the more advanced tribes. The Mangbetu have 
various colours for the decoration of the body. Purple they 
obtain from the dust of a red wood, black from the juice of 
a certain fruit, and white from white earth. The Bangala 
also have a rudimentary acquaintance with the art. To colour 
cloth black they place it in stagnant water, while to make 
it red they use the sap of a plant somewhat akin to the 
myrtle. The Baholoholo and the "Warega obtain red from 
the Pterocarpus. The Bushongo also make use of various 
colours. The red which they use is derived from the wood 
of the tukula, black from charcoal, yellow from the wood of 
the boa, and white from a mineral substance. 


The Batwa 

The Batwa are a more or less nomadic people of the forest 
area. Their standard of civilization is much lower than that 
of the sedentary peoples of the Congo basin, and the conditions 
under which they live are very different. 

Social Organization 

The Batwa group themselves together in small communities 
varying in size from two to twenty families under the rule 
of one of their number, who by stronger will or greater 
ability has been able to assume the command. When several 
of these communities simultaneously desire to go on a big 
hunting expedition, or to move from one region to another, 
they sometimes unite themselves under a temporary chief 
whom they have chosen for the purpose. "When their object 
has been attained the various groups separate, and the authority 
of their leader ceases to exist. If they have occasion to come 
together again they may choose some other person to com- 
mand them. 

As hunting is practically the sole occupation of these people, 
and as the sedentary negroes are often in want of animal food, 
certain relations have grown up between them. The Batwa 
take their surplus game to the Bantus, and exchange it for 
arms, pottery, and provisions, articles which they cannot, or 
which their mode of life does not permit them, to produce for 
themselves. If they do not obtain what they desire by friendly 
means they steal it, but always, it is said, leave a piece of 
smoked flesh in its place. Often, however, they place them- 
selves under the protection of a powerful? Bantu, and in 
return for game receive [provisions and a disused hut, which 
serves as a temporary abode. The Bantu becomes the kolu, 
or patron,'3of the Batwa, and acquires a certain amount of 
prestige from the fact. So much so is this the case that, if 
a Batwa is captured by one of the sedentary negroes, his 
captor will endeavour to obtain a wife for him in the hope 
of establishing a Batwa family, who jWill be attached to him, 
and will provide him with animal food. 


The Family 

Polygamy is practised by some tribes, but not by others. 
The Batwa of the district round Lake Tanganyika, for example, 
are monogamous, and . among them the husband enters the 
family group to which his wife belongs. "Where polygamy 
prevails the reverse is the case, and the wife follows her 
husband. The first wife is not considered more legitimate, 
nor does she enjoy a higher rank, than the others. When 
a Batwa desires to marry he addresses himself to the father 
of the girl, and sometimes appeals to his Tcolu for the neces- 
sary dowry. As a rule, this is not excessive. With regard 
to the repayments which have to be made if the woman 
subsequently dies, the Batwa often conform to the customs 
prevailing among the settled tribes to which they are 

The division of labour among the different members of the 
family is very simple. The father with his grown-up sons 
engages in hunting, obtains the fruit of the oil-palm for the 
manufacture of wine, and constructs the rough huts which 
serve as temporary abodes. The women occupy themselves 
with the menage, and sometimes do a little basket-work or 
fishing. But apart from hunting, work is not held in much 
honour, as the Batwa can get all that he wants by exchange. 

The Batwa appear to have some idea of a future life, and 
they believe that after death a man is able to reappear to 
his relations in order to make his desires known to them. 
When such reappearances are thought to be taking place the 
Batwa construct in the neighbourhood of their camp a shelter 
in which they place victuals for the benefit of the deceased. 
They also believe in metempsychosis, and invoke their dreams 
as a proof that men are transformed into animals after their 
death. Some privileged people are thought to escape this 
fate, and to be replaced in the world of men by women of 
their tribe. Others are less fortunate and become hokali, 
or vagabond spirits, who roam the forest, wicked and dangerous. 

Moral Ideas 
The standard of morality among the Batwa is in general 
very low. Adultery is common, so common indeed that 


it is considered murder to kill the guilty party. To thieve 
from a stranger is considered rather a virtuous act, provided 
that the theft is condoned by a piece of meat being left in 
place of the article stolen. To steal from a Batwa on the 
other hand is regarded as a grave crime, and may lead to 
serious fighting unless the aggrieved one appeals to his Icolu, 
who may endeavour to settle the dispute according to the laws 
of his own tribe. In all other matters it is the same. The 
only principle of justice for the Batwa is that of vengeance. 
Whoever does him an ill or causes him a loss is to be killed, 
whatever the cost. Hence the various Batwa communities 
are almost always at war with one another. The only factor 
which makes for a more orderly settlement of disputes is the 
influence of the Tcolu, which of course is moral rather than 


The Batwa possess little property. They claim the right 
of hunting where they like, but if any one disputes their 
claim they go elsewhere, after having killed some one. They 
have no slaves, but if they find an unattacjied member of their 
own race they do not hesitate to sell him to the sedentary 
negroes. Their goods consist of women, dogs, lances, knives, 
arrows, an old hut in some neighbouring village, and poultry. 
The laws of inheritance vary. With the Batwa of the Busira 
the custom is for the father of a dead man to inherit if his son 
has no children. Round Lake Tanganyika on the other hand 
the father inherits all the property of his son even if he leaves 
children, with the exception of his wife, who marries one of 
her deceased husband's brothers. If the dead man's father 
is not alive he is succeeded by one of his brothers, or, failing 
brothers, by one of his children. Similarly, when the chief of 
a family group dies, his place is taken by his eldest surviving 
brother, and only on the death of the last of his brothers 
does his son succeed. Disputes are frequent, and as there 
is little law recourse is had to force. Sometimes the holu 
intervenes, but as a rule the Batwa prefers to settle the matter 
for himself in his own way. 



Geneeally speaking, the natives of the Congo believe in 
the existence of a Supreme Being who is the creator of all 
things and is incapable of doing evil, but who is so high and 
distant that he pays no attention to the affairs of ordinary 
humanity. This Supreme Being is believed by at least some 
tribes to have created a number of other beings who act, as it 
were, as his vicars on earth, and to whom he has given great 
but not creative power. These have divided their authority, 
in whole or in part, with human beings, animals, and inanimate 
objects, such as stones, rocks, trees, and water. The spirits 
which inhabit these are generally conceived as harmful, 
treacherous, and wicked, ever ready to strike an evil blow 
when a suitable opportunity presents itself. One gives death, 
another defeat, a third bad crops, while others are supposed 
to specialize on different types of disease. In these evil spirits 
the native implicitly believes, however hazy may be his ideas 
regarding the higher orders of the hierarchy. To combat their 
evil power he attempts to conciliate them by gifts, and to 
protect himself by talismans. Of all talismans the fetish is the 
most common. 

As a general rule the fetish is not regarded as an idol, and 
is not worshipped. Its power is not given it by the Supreme 
Being or by one of the secondary spirits, but has been attributed 
to it by the natives themselves, sometimes as the result of a 
disturbing and inexplicable circumstance, but more frequently 
as the result of special incantations which have been performed 
over it. Any object, it would appear, may become a fetish, 
if it has been consecrated by the proper ritual. Often it is 
made with a view to the purpose it is intended to serve, but 
frequently it happens that the native picks up a stone which 
appeals to his fancy, sees a tree which strikes him as peculiar, 
or selects one or other of innumerable objects for reasons 
which it would be hard to determine, and proceeds to make 


it into a fetish. This he does either by his own power of incan- 
tation or through the village fetish-man, who acts as his inter- 
mediary. Thus the native has a great number of fetishes, to 
one or other of which he turns in every important act of 
his life. There is one for each malady from which he is 
liable to suffer, one which protects him against the spirit 
bringing peace, if he wants war, and one-* against the spirit 
bringing war, if he wants peace, one which protects his crops, 
another which renders his marriage fruitful, and so on in 
almost infinite variety. Few fetishes provide for all the 
desires of their owner, and most of them have only limited 

As fetishism plays so important a part in the daily life 
of the native, it may be considered- still further. Several 
important subdivisions of the whole group of fetishes may 
be recognized. In the first subdivision are living animals 
such as the leopard, the hippopotamus, and other representa- 
tives of the indigenous fauna. The idea of fetish animals, 
probably originated in the belief of the people in metempsy- 
chosis. The spirits of the dead pass into certain animals, 
which the native therefore regards as sacred. Lest the spirits 
should become sad and therefore irascible in their new abode,, 
he conciliates them with gifts of food and in other ways. 

Secondly, there are fetishes which consist of the repre- 
sentatives of living objects. Among them are some which 
belong to chiefs, sorcerers, and other notable men, and 
which on that account are able to inflict injuries, or to inter- 
fere with the schemes of less important people. Others are 
domestic fetishes, and are the protectors of the house or 
person to which they belong. Again, there are those which 
are the property of the whole village community whose 
interests they are supposed to guard. These fetishes are nearly 
always made out of a block of wood. Though both men and 
animals are represented in this way, the former are by far 
the more common. A large number are concerned with the 
propagation of the race, and according to modern ideas are 
more or less obscene. They are often dressed up in gaudy 
clothes, but the magic does not reside in the clothes but in 
the objects themselves. 

A third group of. fetishes consists of inanimate objects, not. 
representative of men and animals, to which incantation has 

K 2 


given a special virtue. These include fixed objects, such as 
stones and trees, and movable objects, such as bracelets, 
collars, teeth, and other articles which may be included under 
the general name of amulets. Among the Mangbetu, for 
example, amulets are much more common than other forms 
of fetish ; in many parts of the Congo forest on the other 
hand it is the ordinary fetish which is generally found. 

The position of the fetish varies. Those belonging to chiefs 
and notables remain in their possession. The domestic fetish 
is kept in some safe place in the native hut. Those which 
are the common property of the village community are placed 
in fetish-houses, which are often situated in the middle of the 
village street. The various amulets are sometimes worn on 
the person, and sometimes placed where it is believed that 
they will prove most serviceable ; for example, those which 
protect the crops are hung round the plantations, while those 
which assure the safety of the canoe are safely concealed 
within it. Fixed objects, supposed to be fetish, such as trees 
and cross-roads, are either avoided by the native or approached 
with superstitious awe. 

The fourth category of fetishes is that of fetish acts. In 
some tribes when a child is born, or it may be when he reaches 
puberty, the father, or in some cases the fetish-man, forbids 
him to do certain things. He may, for example, forbid him to 
eat the flesh of certain animals on the ground that his familiar 
spirit dwells in them. Some men again must not be seen 
eating, while others are forbidden to drink or to smoke in 

The fetish is the object of ceremony but not of worship. 
Apart from his belief in a Supreme Being and his super- 
stitions regarding spirits who always seek to do him harm, 
the native has no religious ideas. He thinks only of evil 
spirits which must be conciliated, and of evil influences which 
must be overcome. To calm the first he makes offerings not 
as a sacrifice, but as a bribe, in order that their neutrality 
may be assured ; to protect himself against the second he 
has recourse to his fetish. But fetishism is not a religion. 
The native has little knowledge of right and wrong. With 
him sin is not an evil act committed against a good God, 
but a mistaken act which may arouse against the doer of it 
the anger of a spirit evilly disposed. In short what the 


native fears is the material and not the spiritual result of 
sin. By doing wrong he believes that he will arouse the 
spirits or the fetishes of others, and in order to protect himself 
against them he has only one thought, and that is to have in 
his own possession a spirit which will neutralize the adverse 
powers. What makes him hesitate when he is about to 
commit a wrong act is the fear that his own fetish will not 
be able to protect him against the fetishes of others. He 
knows that it has no power of itself. But he believes that, 
as a result of the incantations which have been pronounced 
over it either by the sorcerer or by himself, the inert material 
has been endowed with an inferior soul, and has acquired 
a special and well-limited power by which it is able for 
a time at least to perform certain functions. "When it fails 
him, as fail him it often must, he does not consider that his 
own misdeeds have caused it to de^y him its protection, nor 
does he lose faith in it. The failure is simply due to the fact 
that it has ceased to be active, and to restore to it the virtue 
which it has lost he takes it to the sorcerer, who once more 
repeats his incantations over it. In fact the' native regards 
his fetish in much the same way as the European regards 
the potato which he carries in his pocket as a protection 
against rheumatism. 

There are several kinds of incantation — objurgation, the use 
of cabalistic words, and the repetition of phrases without any 
precise meaning. There is no idea of praying to the fetish 
when incantations are performed over it; on the contrary 
it is told what its duties are, and it is exhorted to act accord- 
ingly. Evil spirits likewise are not entreated, but are 
commanded and even threatened. As to the cabalistic words 
used on some occasions, they appear to be known only to the 
sorcerer, and perhaps to the native chiefs. 

Belief in a future life is general, but there is much vague- 
ness regarding the form which it is to take. A few tribes 
appear to believe in the existence of another world into which 
man will pass after death, but the majority hold in some form 
or other the idea of reincarnation. According to some of 
the Congo peoples not only are the souls of the dead rein- 
carnated, but every man, whether he be a chief, a simple free- 
man, or a slave, is able in this life to select the animal into 
which he will pass after death. On no account will he eat 


the' flesh of that animal, and it is said that he even tries to 
conform to its customs, so that he may be certain of inhabiting 
it after death. It seems probable that this belief had much 
to do with the horrible practices which at one time took place 
in certain crocodile and leopard societies. 

Among other tribes a somewhat different view is taken. 
Man is not considered as having the power of selecting the 
animal into which his soul will ultimately pass. That is 
settled for him by his conduct during life. The souls of good 
men take up their abode in the bodies of those animals which 
are reckoned ^oble, while the souls of wicked men are reincar- 
nated in the bodies of those animals which are held to be 
unclean. Among many of the tribes dwelling in the north 
of the country the souls of the great chiefs reappear in the 
gazelle, the hippopotamus, and the leopard ; in the south, 
where the cruelty of some of the old chiefs is still remembered, 
it is believed that they live again in the leopard and other 
bloodthirsty beasts. 

The belief in a future life has probably had much to do 
with the practice of human sacrifices which formerly pre- 
vailed in many parts of the country. The natives believed 
that it was only fitting that when a great man died he should 
take with him into the new life all that had made him happy 
in the old. In many tribes wives, slaves, and even children 
were slain after the death of their lord and master. 

As already indicated, the power of the fetish-man or sorcerer 
is very great. Among a people who believe in evil spirits it is 
only natural that there should be some one to whom they may 
turn for help and protection. Thus the sorcerer has become 
an essential factor in the maintenance of social order and 
of family life ; he protects, he exorcizes, and he cures. Without 
him almost every act of the native would be either impossible 
or dangerous. He alone is able to wield the necessary powers 
to discover and to overcome hostile spirits, and therefore his 
services are required at almost every turn. He presides 
over the ceremonies by which the future is foretold, and, as 
crime and disease are believed to be due to evil spirits, he is 
frequently both judge and doctor to his village. 

So ingrained is the belief in spirits in the mind of the 
native that he will do nothing while in ignorance of the 
attitude which they are likely to assume. If he is about 


to create a new village, to nominate a successor to the departed 
chief, to clear a plantation, or to declare war, he has recourse 
to some ceremony by which the intentions of the spiritual 
world will be declared. One example of this type of ceremony 
may be given. When in the old days an Azande chief con- 
templated war, he took a young hen to the sorcerer, who 
placed before it some grains of maize along with a small piece 
of a poisonous tree which had been boiled with it. If the hen 
ate only of the maize it did not die, and it was therefore safe 
to assume that the expedition was one which could be under- 
taken with every prospect of success. If on the other hand 
the hen ate the root as well as the maize it died, and from 
that fact it was deduced that the expedition if undertaken 
would have a fatal termination. The sorcerer, on opening 
the body, was moreover able to declare the nature of the 
unfavourable influences which were at work. 

Magic, it may be noted in passing, is practised in various 
other forms. A native will squat for days before an effigy 
which represents an enemy or a danger, pouring imprecations 
upon it, and driving nails into it until he has reached its 
heart, so that he may kill the person or exorcize the danger 
which it is intended to represent. 

The power of the sorcerer is almost as great in political and 
social life as it is in the affairs of the supernatural world. In 
the administration of justice he play? an important part. 
Evil spirits frequently act through human beings, and the 
sorcerer alone is able to discover these spirits and to take the 
necessary measures of protection against them. Thus the 
search for criminals is often entrusted to the sorcerer, and in 
this capacity he wields considerable power, a power which is 
much abused. Abstract, theories of justice do not as a rule 
trouble him, and most of what he does is done with a view to 
his own aggrandizement. Accordingly he seldom accuses 
a rich or powerful person, even if he has good reason for 
believing him guilty, and the rites which he performs 
usually end in an attack or some innocent but helpless 

The political power which the sorcerer derives from the fact 
that he has to be consulted before any decisive step can be 
taken by the community, together with his control over the 
administration of justice combine to make him a very impor- 


tant person, and with many tribes his authority is greater 
thaii that of the chief. 

For somewhat similar reasons th« sorcerer is the medicine 
man of the native village. The people believe that all ill- 
ness is caused by evil spirits, and accordingly medical treat- 
ment is always accompanied by magic and ritual. It fre- 
quently happens, however, that the sorcerer possesses a certain 
empirical skill. He knows and is able to make use of all the 
knowledge which the people have collected in the course of 
centuries regarding the treatment of disease. Sometimes also 
he possesses, perhaps without knowing it, certain special 
powers, such as that of hypnotism. Most sorcerers are, how- 
ever, little more than charlatans who trade upon the ignorance 
of the people. 

On the whole the sorcerers appear to have exercised an evil 
iniiuence in the country. Their power was great, and they 
nearly always abused it. Whoever tried to resist their 
authority was pursued by their implacable vengeance, and was 
fortunate if he escaped with his life. The nature of their 
work tended to develop their mental capacity, and they were 
generally more intelligent than the people among whom they 
dwelt. They were, for example, clever enough to know how 
to increase their importance, and to trade better on native 
credulity they wore masks and surrounded themselves with 
all kinds of grotesque ceremonial. On the other hand they 
have always resisted any progressive movement, and since 
the arrival of the Europeans they have formed one of the 
chief obstacles to the progress of civilization. They quickly 
saw that their authority was threatened, and have done every- 
thing in their power to maintain it. In those parts of the 
country where Belgian rule is firmly .established the power of 
the sorcerers has been broken, but it is probable that they still 
celebrate their bloody ceremonies in the depths of the forest 
and in the more remote parts of the country. 

The power which the sorcerer exercised in one form or 
another over human life was very great, though it belongs to 
a period which is now rapidly passing away. At one time, 
however, human sacrifice played a very important part in the 
so-called religious life of the people, and competent observers 
have declared that more lives were lost in this way than 
through either pestilence or war. In order to complete this 


review of the attitude of the native mind towards religious 
matters some notice must be taken of the purposes for which 
such sacrifices were made. 

Reference has already been made to the custom which at 
one time prevailed among various tribes of slaying a man's 
wives and slaves when he himself died. In such cases the 
idea underlying the sacrifice seems to have been somewhat 
as follows. To ensure that a man should hold a position at 
least as important in the next life as that he had held in the 
life from which he had just departed, it was necessary that he 
should not appear unattended before the spirits. If he did 
so, they might consider him a mean person, and reincarnate 
him in the form of an unclean animal. On the other hand, if 
he went accompanied by a fitting retinue, they would be 
suitably impressed and would give him at least the body of 
a noble animal in which to dwell. Nor were the survivors 
unmindful of their own comfort. They feared that, if he were 
unhappy, their deceased relative might return either as an 
animal or a spirit to plague them, whereas, if he were happy, 
he would leave them alone. 

Human sacrifices were also made with the direct intention 
of conciliating evil spirits. The sacrifices generally con- 
sidered the most agreeable were those in which blood was 
shed, and for this reason animals were frequently killed. 
Their flesh was eaten, for ' the flesh is not the blood, and the 
blood alone counts '. Man also was sacrificed, for he was the 
noblest of the animals and therefore likely to prove most 
acceptable to the evil spirits. But a certain amount of dis- 
crimination was shown in the choice of victims. The least 
valuable members of the tribe were usually selected, slaves 
and prisoners of war being taken first. Women, on account 
of their value as labourers, were sacrificed only on the death of 
the men entitled to the fruit of their labour. The ceremonies 
at which those sacrifices took place were often of the most 
dreadful description, numbers of people often being slain on 
each occasion. 

Trial by ordeal also led to the death of many people in 
the Congo. If a man died prematurely or otherwise, if a 
woman fell iU, if a misfortune overtook the tribe, or if any 
other untoward event occurred, it was considered that an 
evil spirit working through a member of the community was 


responsible for the calamity. To the sorcerer was entrusted 
the task of discovering the guilty party, and this he proceeded 
to do by incantation and lot. Sometimes the person desig- 
nated in this way was immediately put to death, but more 
frequently he was compelled to undergo the poison ordeal. 
This took various forms which need not be discussed here. 
As a rule, however, the sorcerer was able so to manage matters 
that the wealthier members of the tribe were able to escape 
from the fate which would otherwise have awaited them. 



Notwithstanding the growing importance of the mineral 
industry in Katanga, the future progress of the Congo will 
depend very largely on the extent to which the agricultural 
and forest resources of the country can be developed. This 
chapter will therefore be devoted to an account of the products 
of the soil, and a consideration of the factors involved in any 
attempt to increase the yield to be obtained from it. 

Such a study requires the consideration of a number of 
different but closely related problems. (1) First in importance, 
from the point of view of the colony as a whole, comes native 
agriculture, because upon it depends the livelihood of the 
greater part of the population. (2) But native agriculture, 
however important it may be for the inhabitants, contributes 
but little to export trade, in which Europeans are mainly 
interested, and upon which the material prosperity of the 
country largely depends. Hence the exploitation of the 
natural products of the forest has been undertaken with native' 
labour, 'but mainly for the benefit of the white man. As 
neither party has any definite interest in the care of these 
products, such exploitation tends to become reckless and 
destructive, and eventually the natural resources of the forest 
become exhausted. (3) Plantations are then established either 
for the cultivation of plants indigenous to the country or for 
the cultivation of those introduced from abroad. (4) A further 
branch of agriculture is the attempt to improve native methods, 
partly at least with the object of providing an exportable 
surplus. (5) Lastly there may be noted the endeavours which 
have been made in the Katanga to introduce European 
agriculture properly so called. 

This classification must not be too rigidly applied, but it 
affords a basis for a consideration of the economic resources 
of the country so far as these are dependent iipon the productive 
qualities of the soil. 


Native Ageicultuke 

In the Belgian Congo the production of food is practically 
the only occupation of the native. Climatic conditions make 
it possible for him to reduce his clothing to a minimum, while 
from the natural products of the country he easily obtains all 
that he requires for the construction of his dwelling, and 
manufactured goods he has for the most part been able to do 
without. But with regard to food the position is different. 
The fruits of wild plants, though they sometimes form a 
valuable addition to his supplies, do not provide him with all 
that he requires for his maintenance, and the cultivation of 
the soil is therefore the one pursuit to which he seriously 
devotes himself. 

The methods of native cultivation are usually of the most 
primitive description. They vary, however, from place to 
place, and the following account must therefore be regarded 
as somewhat generalized in character. When the forest native 
desires to create a new plantation he usually cuts down the 
trees to within three or four feet of the ground. The under- 
wood, where it exists, is also cut down, and along with the 
trees is left to dry for several weeks, after which the whole is 
set on fire. The stumps and larger branches are as a rule only 
partially destroyed by this process, but that does not prevent 
the native from beginning cultivation, and it is only gradu- 
ally that the land is cleared. After the ashes have been 
spread over the surface the first crop is frequently planted 
without anything further being done, but for certain crops, 
such as manioc, the soil is generally collected into small 
mounds. For subsequent crops it is customary to turn over 
the soil at least once. On the savanna somewhat similar 
methods are pursued. The bushes and herbs are cut down 
and burned, and the roots removed either with a hoe, a wooden 
fork, or by hand. The soil is then turned over, the clods 
broken up, and the loose roots collected. As a general rule 
clearing the land is done by the men, while the cultivation is 
entrusted to the women. 

The implements used are of the simplest description. Every 
native possesses a hoe, with which he performs most of the 
labour required on the land. Rude hatchets and knives are 


his principal tools when engaged in clearing the forest or 

The natives are generally ignorant of all that concerns the 
fertilization of the soil. Among pastoral peoples it is occa- 
sionally the custom to collect farm-yard manure and to use it in 
the cultivation of vegetables, but in most parts of the country 
th,e land is cropped until its natural fertility is exhausted, and 
then abandoned. The impoverishment of the soil which 
results from this method of agriculture, and the steady 
destruction of the more valuable virgin forest in order to 
obtain fresh land, are matters of serious concern for the future 
welfare of the colony. It is dilBcult to see what remedies can 
be introduced while the natives remain in their present state 
of development, and the facts mentioned must be recognized, 
as tending to limit the agricultural area and to reduce its 

The plants cultivated by the inhabitants of the Congo vary 
according to the climatic conditions of different regions. On 
the whole it might be said, though the statement must not be 
construed too literally, that root-crops are characteristic of the 
forest areas and cereals of the savannas and steppes. Manioc 
and taro are almost entirely grown in the former region, 
while yams and sweet potatoes are also cultivated to some 
extent in the latter. Daso on the other hand is prac- 
tically confined to the savannas. Of the cereals maize is 
cultivated to a slight extent in many parts of the forest region, 
and rice more extensively in those districts in which it is 
grown. Maize and rice, along with sorghum and eleusine, are 
the most important crops of the savanna. In the still drier 
steppes upland rice, "sorghum, millet, and a little wheat are 
grown. Fruits are most important in the forest. The banana, 
the safo, and Anona Mannii are mainly found in that region, 
while the pine-apple and the papaw are more widely distributed. 
Oil is obtained from various sources. The natives of the forest 
get it from the oil-palm and the raphia-palm ; those on the 
savanna cultivate the ground-nut and sesamum. Leguminous 
plants, such as beans and Voandzeia, are chiefly grown in the 
savanna and steppe regions. 

-Pastoral pursuits are most common in the savannas and on 
the steppes, where cattle and sheep are frequently kept. The 
characteristic animals of the forest on the other hand are the 


pig and the goat. Fowls are found everywhere, bees mainly 
on the savanna. 

It is a fact of considerable interest, as showing that agri- 
cultural conditions in the Congo are by no means as unchange- 
able as might have been expected, that the most important 
foodstuffs now cultivated have be^n introduced into the, 
country only within comparatively recent times. Down to the 
end of the fifteenth century, at least, the indigenes probably 
relied mainly upon bananas, yams, millet, eleusine, and the 
products of the oil and raphia palms. Manioc, maize, sweet 
potatoes, rice, tobacco, sugar-cane, onions, and probably the 
ground-nut have all been introduced subsequently. Even 
millet and eleusine may have been much less widely dis- 
tributed than they are at the present time. Whether new 
plants can be introduced into native agriculture, and the 
cultivation of ' indigenous plants extended and improved, i& 
therefore a question of some in^portance which wiU have to 
be discussed later. 

Root Crops 

Manioc. — Manioc, or cassava, is one of the most important 
food-crops in the equatorial forest. Two main species of the 
plant are generally recogi^ized, bitter manioc (Manihot utilis- 
sima) and sweet manioc {Manihot Ay pi), but there seem to be 
several varieties of each. They are herbaceous or semi- 
shrubby perennials, with very large fleshy tapering tubers. 
These tubers, which are often 3 feet long, and 6 to 9 inches in 
diameter, are filled with milky juice. The sap of the bitter. 
, manioc contains hydrocyanic acid, and is therefore highly 
poisonous. To get rid of the poison the natives of the Congo 
place the tubers in a river or marsh, and leave them there to 
ferment for a period of three to eight days. When fermenta- 
tion has ceased they are taken out and washed, and are then 
supposed to be safe. If the roots have been placed in stagnant 
water, however, they retain a disagreeable flavour, and are 
often dangerous to health. Sweet manioc on the other hand 
may be eaten raw, but, as hydrocyanic acid sometimes exists 
in the older plants, these are often subjected to the process of 
fermentation. In some districts where the natives ignore the 
differences between sweet and bitter manioc, as in the uppet 


Ituri, fermentation always takes place. As bitter manioc 
yields the larger crop it is more generally grown. 

The methods of cultivation differ in details in different 
parts of the country, but the general principle is everywhere 
much the same. The land is cleared of the forest by which it 
is covered, and the soil collected into small heaps about a foot 
high and three feet apart. In each of these heaps four or five 
cuttings are placed, and with the exception of several weedings 
the land is often left till the crop is ready. In some cases, 
however, the natives prune the young plants in order to 
prevent them running to wood. The tubers of sweet manioc 
attain their fall development in about twelve months' time, 
but for bitter manioc a period of twelve to twenty months is 

Manioc enters into the food-supply of the natives in various 
forms. To make chiJcwangue, or native bread, the tubers are, 
after fermentation, washed and ground down into a kind of 
paste. A large handful of this is then wrapped up in a banana 
. leaf and baked in an earthen pot. When carefully prepared, 
it is not unpalatable to Europeans. With some peo|ples 
fresh tubers are simply grated down into a paste and boiled, 
while with others fermented tubers are dried in the sun. In 
the latter case they do not deteriorate rapidly, and can stand 
transport without injury. The flour derived from them is 
sometimes mixed with palm-oil, and eaten in the form of 
porridge, seasoned with salt and condiments. 

As a general rule the yield of manioc grown by the natives 
does not exceed six tons per acre, but in some cases it appears 
to be much greater. The crop is a particularly exhausting 
one for the soil, and after it the land often lies fallow for 
seven or eight years. The cultivation of manioc is therefore 
one of the factors tending to bring about the destruction of 
the primitive forest, 

Yams. — Yams are grown both in the forest and on the 
savanna. Various species of the plant have been recognized, 
but some varieties of Dioscorea alata appear to be most gener- 
ally cultivated by the native. A piece of virgin soil is 
selected, and on it cuttings are planted either on the flat 
surface or on small mounds, 16 to 20 inches high. Later on 
the land receives an occasional hoeing, and when the plants 
have reached a certain height stakes 10 to 13 feet in height 


are provided, to which they may cling. The tubers may be 
lifted at the end of a year, but two years are generally allowed 
to elapse before this is done, in order that the crop may be 
fully developed. . In the forest region planting takes place at 
all seasons, but on the savanna only at the beginning of the 
rains. Certain species, Dioscorea iulbifera (Linn.) , and Dioscorea 
anthropophagorum (Chev.) also produce eatable, bulbous growths 
on their stems. These species, however, usually contain a toxic 
element, and have to be specially cooked before they can be 

Although yams are not so important as manioc, they enter 
largely into the food- supply of the native population, and are 
specially valuable in times of scarcity. They are generally 
boiled before use. 

Sweet Potatoes. — The sweet potato is also grown both in the 
forest and on the savanna. It belongs to the genus Ipomoea 
Batatas, and the natives distinguish several varieties according 
to the colour of the tubers, which may be white, red, or yellow. 
The plant requires a light and well -drained soil, and, in the 
earlier stages of its growth, a considerable amount of moisture. 
In the savanna regions therefore it is generally planted at 
the beginning of the rainy season. The method of cultivation 
is somewhat as follows. The soil is heaped up into little 
mounds or ridges about a foot in height and 2 to 3 feet apart. 
On each of these mounds three or four cuttings are placed at 
a distance of 20 to 24 inches from one another. Subsequent 
labour may be reduced to a minimum. One or two hoeings 
are necessary, but, provided the young plant succeeds in 
establishing itself at once, its further growth is sufficient to 
keep down all weeds. The crop varies according to the 
environment, but seldom exceeds four tons to the acre. 

The tubers when exposed to the air deteriorate rapidly, and 
are therefore either taken from the ground only as required, 
or when lifted are cut up into small pieces and dried in the 
sun or by artificial means. To prepare them for consumption 
they are either boiled and seasoned in various ways, or grilled 
in the ashes of a gentle fire. The young shoots of the plant 
are sometimes gathered and cooked in place of other 

Taro. — Taro (Cohcasia antiqtiorum), although not a plant 
of great importance, is found in many parts of the Congo, 


especially in the damper regions. Several varieties have been 
recognized. As a rule the leaves are in more demand than the 
tubers, which are bitter and have to be cooked for five or six 
hours before they can be eaten. The leaf stalks can also be 
used as food after the outer layers have been removed. To 
propagate taro the natives take the stump of an old plant and 
place it in fresh soil. It may reach maturity at any time of 
the year, and is often used in place of sweet potatoes when 
these are not fit for consumption. 

Galadium. — Caladium, a member of the Aroideae, or Arum 
family, resembles taro, but must be distinguished from it. 
The tubers are cooked in the same way as those of taro ; the 
leaves on the other hand are used to a much less extent. 

Baso. — Daso (Coleus Daso, Chev.) is a small plant of the 
savanna regions, where it is grown for the sake of its tubers. 

Potatoes. — Potatoes have been introduced into the country, 
but do not appear to have spread far from the Government 
posts and mission stations where they were first cultivated. 
In the Katanga some good crops have been obtained. 


Maize. — Maize can be grown both in the forest and on the 
savanna ; it is cultivated to some extent by most peoples in 
the Belgian Congo, though it seldom forms their chief article 
of diet. The native usually selects for this crop a piece of 
damp fertile soil, which he clears and burns over in the usual 
fashion. The ashes are then spread on the land, and the seed 
is sown. Small holes are made in the ground by means of 
a hoe at intervals varying from 1 to 3 feet, and a few grains 
are placed in each. Later on the land is weeded, and the 
young plants thinned out, only one or two being left in each 
clump. When the crop begins to approach maturity pre- 
cautions have to be taken against the depredations of birds, 
which flock to it from all quarters. The harvest is a very 
simple affair. Women and children break off the ears by 
hand and carry them home to the village. 

Notwithstanding this slovenly method of cultivation, the 
yield per acre sometimes amounts to eighteen bushels. It 
varies greatly, however, with the rainfall, the variety culti- 
vated, and the fertility of the soil. In the forest the crop is 
generally heavier than on the savanna, as there each plant 



usually carries several well-developed ears; on the savanna 
on the other hand one rather small ear is the rule. In some 
districts two crops are taken off the same piece of land in one 
year, but in such cases the second crop is always smaller than 
the first. 

Maize is used by the native in various ways. "While still 
green it is often eaten after being roasted among hot ashes or 
boiled. More frequently perhaps it is preserved for use in 
the dry season, sometimes in small granaries specially erected 
for the purpose, and sometimes in closed earthen vessels, which 
are kept inside the huts. When wanted it is ground down 
into flour by primitive methods, and converted into a thick 
dough. Frequently also it is used along with sorghum or 
eleusine in the manufacture of a native variety of beer. 

Sorghum. — Sorghum is grown mainly on the savanna and 
steppe regions surrounding the equatorial forest; thus it is 
a crop of some importance in thb Katanga, in the Eastern 
Highlands, and in the Welle and Kasai regions. It is culti- 
vated in much the same way as maize, and reaches maturity 
from four to six months after the seed is sown. In the earlier 
period of its growth, more especially during the second month, 
the plant contains prussic acid, and is then a source of danger 
to domestic animals ; later on this diminishes in quantity, and 
disappears entirely before the ripening of the grain. 

The natives, after grinding sorghum into a coarse flour, 
make it into a kind of porridge, of which they are said to 
be very fond. They also mix it with other foodstuffs, such as 
haricots, ground-nuts, palm-oil, and pilipili. As mentioned 
above, it is used along with maize in the manufacture of 
a native beer, which is often drunk to excess. The straw is 
sometimes dried, and employed in the construction of small 
temporary shelters. 

Millet. — The species of millet known as Pennisetum typhoi- 
deum (Rich.) is an important cereal of the steppe lands of 
the Congo, and more especially of the Kasai region, where 
some of the natives have large areas under cultivation. For 
such lands it is well adapted, as a low rainfall is sufiicient for 
its growth, it does not require a fertile soil, and it reaches 
maturity between three and flve months after the seed is put 
in the ground. When the grain is ripe the ears are cut ofi", 
and the straw used for feeding live-stock. In some cases the 


plants are left in the soil as they yield crops during three 
successive years. 

Millet, after being converted into flour, is made into a thick 
paste, often with the addition of palm-oil or some indigenous 
condiment. In this form it is much relished by the native, 
and in some cases forms his chief article of food. From millet 
he also makes a kind of beer, which appears to be consumed 
in considerable quantities. : 

Eleusine. — Eleusine (JEleusine coracana) is grown by the 
native of the savanna regions in the east and south of the 
countrj'-. It thrives on relatively poor soil, and frequently 
yields a crop where other cereals cannot be cultivated. As it 
ripens in a comparatively short time, four or five months after 
sowing, it is often planted when it is seen that other crops 
are likely to result in failure. 

When harvest arrives the ears of eleusine are collected by 
hand, and placed upon mats to dry in the sun. They are then 
rubbed between the hands and the grain detached. The coarse 
flour derived from eleusine is used much in the same way as 
that made from sorghum. As in the case of several other cereals 
which have been mentioned, eleusine is fermented and a native 
beer made from it. 

Wheat. — Attempts to grow wheat have been made in several 
places, but chiefly in the neighbourhood of the missions of Les 
Peres Blancs at Badouinville and Kilo. At the former place 
the missionaries are said to have succeeded, in favourable 
years, in obtaining a crop of nearly 30 bushels to the acre, 
but the average yield is only about half that amount. At 
Kilo also encouraging experiments have been made. When 
the natives grow it they often use it in the manufacture 
of beer, which is said to be better than that obtained from 

Rice. — Rice is at the present time grown in different parts 
of the Congo, and its cultivation tends to spread. The chief 
producing area is in the country round Stanleyville, where it 
is an important article of native diet. Elsewhere, in the 
Welle region, Kivu, Katanga, and the north-eastern districts 
of the Kasai, it is regarded rather as a luxury. The upland 
variety of the plant, dry rice, is most generally cultivated, 
marsh (or wet) rice, though it yields a much larger crop, being 
practically unknown. 

L 2 


As there is no well-marked dry season in the coulitry round 
Stanleyville, rice may be grown at all seasons of the year ; it 
is, however, as a rule sown between January and July. A piece 
of suitable land is selected, and the trees are cut down by men, 
or, if trees be wanting, the grasses which take their place 
are uprooted by women. The men then go over the land, 
making with their hoes a number of small holes, may be seven 
to ten to the square yard, while the women who follow place 
a few grains of seed in each hole and cover them up. With 
the exception of an occasional weeding no further cultivation 
takes place until the crop is ripe, though, as it approaches 
maturity, it has often to be protected from birds. Irrigation 
is not necessary, as a rainfall of about 14 inches spread over 
three or four months appears to be sufficient to ensure an 
average crop. 

When the harvest arrives the ears of rice are cut oflF with 
a knife or piece of sharpened wood, and placed in heaps. 
A few days later, when the grain has loosened in the ear, it is 
beaten out and conveyed to a granary, where it is usually 
stored for some time before being used. It is consumed in 
various forms : rice-biscuits, sweetened with honey or sugar- 
cane, are much eaten by the natives, and rice boiled in a little 
water and seasoned is also a favourite dish. 

In the Kasai region the methods of cultivation are much 
the same, but the seed is sown at the beginning of the rainy 
season. Maize is sown along with it, and, as it ripens first, it 
provides the cultivator with a crop upon which to live until 
the rice is ready. 

The cultivation of rice is capable of being extended in many 
parts of the Belgian Congo, and experiments which have been 
made at the agricultural station at Kitobola appear to indicate 
that with a little more care the native might obtain a con- 
siderably larger yield per acre (see p. 195). 


Banana. — In some parts of the forested region the banana 
constitutes the chief food of the native population. The 
plantain is the species mainly cultivated, and of it nearly 
every district has its special varieties. To make a plantation 
the land is cleared and planted with young shoots taken from 
old plants elsewhere. These produce fruit at the end of a 


year and a half, and immediately thereafter die, their place 
being taken by two or three young shoots which appear at 
the foot of each plant. ' This process continues until the land 
is exhausted. 

The forest peoples use the banana in a variety of ways. 
As it ripens at all times of the year, it provides a constant 
supply of food. The fruits may be roasted in hot ashes, or 
boiled in palm-oil or water and ground down into a paste. 
A nourishing flour may also be jnade from it, and in the 
north-east of the colony at least it is used in the manufacture 
of an alcoholic drink. The outer fibres of the stem of the 
plant are converted into ropes and cords, while the skins 
and dry leaves are used in the fabrication of native soap. 

Other Fruits. — Of the other fruits of the Belgian Congo it is 
unnecessary to say much. The pine-apple is grown in many 
districts, both in the forest and on the savannas, and is often 
eaten by the natives while still in an unripe condition. The 
papaw is also widespread, but is seldom cultivated ; its fruit is 
eaten raw. The mango is chiefly found in the Lower Congo 
and in the eastern part of the colony. The fruit of the native 
plant is mediocre in quality, and selected varieties have been 
introduced from the East Indies for propagation by the natives. 
The safo {Canarium Saphu, De Wild.) may be seen growing in 
the vicinity of nearly every village in the equatorial districts. 
It belongs to the same family as the nutmeg, and its fruit, of 
which the natives are very fond, is like a large violet-coloured 
prune. The safo spreads naturally, and is seldom cultivated. 
Two species of the Anonaceae may he mentioned. Anona 
Mannii is a native of the equatorial forest, and is found scattered 
throughout the greater part of it. Anona senegalensis on the 
other hand is an inhabitant of the savanna and steppe regions. 
Both produce fruits much sought after by the natives. The 
fruit of the lianas of plants belonging to the family of the 
Apocynaceae, such as LandolpJiia owariensis and Glitandra 
Arnoldiana, also form an occasional article of native diet. 

Oil-producing Plants 
Oil-Palms. — The distribution of the oil-palm (Elaeis guineen- 
sis) and the position of its products in European com- 
merce will be discussed later (see p. 183). For the native, 
also, the tree is one of the most valuable of the forest region. 


There are several varieties, the most useful for the productioi^ 
of oil being those with a relatively small stone and a relatively- 
thick pericarp. The fruit of other varieties is cooked and 
eaten. The oil is obtained either by boiling and crushing 
the fruit or by allowing it to ferment before crushing. "When 
fresh the oil is of a yellow orange colour, and has a consistency 
in the ordinary temperature of the Congo somewhat similar to 
that of butter in this country. It is much used in native 
cookery, and is freely rubbed on the body, probably to protect 
the skin against the rays of the sun. In many parts of the 
Upper Congo the stones are not used by the natives except at 
times of scarcity, when they are broken and the kernels eaten ; 
elsewhere, however, as in some parts of the district of Equateur, 
the stones are crushed, and the oil which they contain is 

The sap of the oil-palm provides the native with an alcoholic 
beverage of which he is very fond. To obtain it one of several 
methods may be adopted. In some cases the male flower-stalk 
is cut off just below the inflorescence, and on the part remaining 
attached to the tree a deep incision is made. A small calabash 
placed in a suitable position collects the escaping sap. Fer- 
mentation begins at once, and, if the natives desire a strong 
liquor, they allow it to continue for two days. The wine is 
then placed in closed vessels, where it remains in a good 
condition for several weeks. 

The oil-palm also provides the native with some of the 
materials which he requires for the manufacture of soap. The 
flowers, stalks, and other refuse are burned, and the ashes, 
which are rich in alkalis, are put in water, mixed with palm- 
oil, and boiled for several hours. The pasty substance which 
results is then rolled into balls about the size of a potato, and 
is ready for use. 

Among other products of the oil-palm serviceable to the 
native are : the leaves, which he uses as a thatch for his hut ; 
the fibres, which he weaves into a rough cloth ; and the heart, 
or terminal shoot, which he regards as a vegetable delicacy. 

Saphia Palms. — Large areas in the forest region are covered 
with one or other of the different varieties of the raphia palm, 
some of which are of considerable value to the natives. Between 
the stone and the hard shell of the fruit there is a thin layer 
of oily matter, from which a reddish oil, more liquid than 


palm-oil, may be extracted. The sap of Raphia vinifera, as is 
indicated by the name,%rnishes a wine which is held in equal 
repute with that derived from the oil-palm. Some tribes 
obtain a similar drink from the sap of Raphia Laurentii. In 
both cases it is often collected by boring a hole in the centre 
of the palm-tree. Among ojiher uses to which the raphia 
palm is put by the natives the following may be mentioned. 
The somewhat concave inner side of the stem, or midrib of the 
frond, has its transverse section very similar to a tile, and is 
much used for roofing purposes in some parts of the Congo. 
The petioles of the fronds of Raphia Sese are plaited and made 
into thatch. The fibrous parts of the young leaf may be used 
in the manufacture of native cloth. Poles, building-laths, 
ropes, fishing-lines, and various other articles may also be 
obtained from some part or other of the frond of the raphia. 

For its distribution and place in European commerce see 
page 187. 

Ground-Nuts. — The ground-nut {Arachis hypogaea) is an 
annual herbaceous plant belonging to the Papilionaceae, a 
sub-order of the Leguminosae. In the Belgian Congo it is 
cultivated mainly on the savanna lands, but it also grows well 
in the forested areas. Although it thrives on light and even 
poor soil, and reaches maturity four or five months after it is 
sown, it requires a good deal of attention. A fine covering 
of tilth has to be maintained on the surface in order that the 
peduncle of the flower may push the ovary several inches 
underground, where the seeds are developed. Hence it is 
usually grown in small quantities, very often close to the huts 
of the natives, who are in this way able to give it the care it 
requires. In the forested area, where it is sometimes grown 
in small plantations, its cultivation might profitably be extended, 
as it is one of the comparatively few plants suited to native 
agriculture for which there is an extensive foreign demand. 

The ground-nut is not as a rule an important article of 
diet among the peoples of the Congo. It is eaten raw, boiled, 
or roasted, but rather as a delicacy than as a staple foodstuff. 
Some tribes extract the oil from the nuts for cooking or other 
purposes, but this practice is by no means general ; others 
grind the nuts into flour and use it along with maize and 

Sesamum. — Sesamum is grown mainly on the savanna, but 


not as a rule to any great extent. The land is cleared in the 
dry season, and the seed sown at the beginning of the rams. 
During the growth of the plant an occasional weeding is all 
the attention that the land requires. The crop matures in 
three or four months after sowing, when the plants are cut 
down or pulled up, and placed upon mats in the sun until the 
pods containing the seed burst open. A light beating is then 
sufficient to detach the grain from its covering. To obtain 
the oil the grain is roasted, pounded in an earthenware vessel, 
and thrown into hot water. The oil then collects on the 
surface, and is easily skimmed off. It is used for various 
purposes in native cookery. 

Castor-Oil Plants. — The castor-oil plant {Eicinus communis) 
is grown in many parts of the Belgian Congo. In some 
regions (as, for example, in the Upper Ituru) it is the only 
source of oil known to the natives. To obtain the oil the seed 
is first dried and roughly pounded, and then placed in boiling 
water and stirred for some time. After this process the oil, 
which is dark in colour and very impure, may be skimmed oflF. 
It is used by the natives mainly to anoint the body and as 
a cosmetic, its value as a purgative being apparently unknown. 

Gourds. — Gourds of various kinds are grown in the vicinity 
of most native villages. The uses to which they are put are 
various, but some varieties are grown especially for the sake 
of the oil which is contained in their seeds. 

Miscellaneous Food-Crops 

Beans. — Beans are grown to a much greater extent on the 
savanna than in the forest, as the climatic conditions are there 
more favourable to them. There are many varieties, differing 
from one another in size, colour, and flavour. As a rule they 
are interplanted with other crops, such as maize, manioc, or 
sweet potatoes. Beans seldom, if ever, form the staple food 
of the native, but in many places they constitute a not un- 
important article of diet. They are either boiled in water or 
stewed along with a little oil or ground-nut. 

Bambarra Grround-Nut.— This plant (Voandzeia subterranea) 
is only cultivated in the savanna regions, as it is more sensitive 
to damp than the ground-nut, to which it is allied. Like that 
plant, its fruits mature below the surface. They are sometimes 
roasted or boiled, and sometimes ground down into a flour, 


from which a kind of pastry is made. Notwithstanding its 
value as a foodstuflp, however, Voandzeia is cultivated only to 
a comparatively slight extent. 

Cajanus Indicus. — This is a shrubby plant, growing to a 
height of from four and a half to six feet, and is found in 
the savanna regions. The ' beans ' produced by it are cooked 
in the same way as ordinary beans. 

Miscellaneous. — Certain varieties of capsicum are much 
sought after by the natives in order to give a flavouring to 
their ordinary food. One of these varieties, Capsicum frute- 
scens, known as pilipili, is grown in many villages. A 
tomato, Solanum Lycopersicum, is also widespread throughout 
the country. The fruit is about the size of a greengage, 
but possesses a finer flavour than the European variety. 
Solanum Melongena, which flourishes in various parts of the 
savanna region, produces a fruit shaped , somewhat like a 
cucumber. Several species of Amarantaceae are found in 
the vicinity of native villages, sometimes wild and at other 
times cultivated. The young shoots and leaves are cooked as 
vegetables. Purslane {Portulaca oleracea), Hibiscus Sabdariffa, 
sometimes known as ' Guinea sorrel ', and a variety of native 
onion {Allium angolense) are among other vegetables cultivated 
to a greater or less extent by the inhabitants. 


Tobacco. — Several varieties of tobacco are grown in the 
Congo, some being more suitable to the forest and others to 
the savanna. Comparatively little is known regarding them, 
but the following have been recognized: Nicotiana rustica, 
Nicotiana Tdbacum, Nicotiana Tabacum, var. brasiliensis, and 
Nicotiana Tabacum, var. virginica. Tobacco is almost always 
cultivated by the natives in small patches either in their fields 
or around their huts. They appear to devote little attention to 
the plant while it is growing, but occasionally snip off" the buds 
in order to develop the leaves. The methods of preparing the 
tobacco for use are also primitive in the extreme. In some 
cases the leaves after they have been cut are exposed to the sun 
on the roof of the hut or are hung up in the interior ; in others 
they are bruised between two stones and rolled into balls, 
which are then dried in the sun. The product can seldom be 
smoked by Europeans, and the native himself, when he can 


afford it, often buys factory-made tobacco. Among some 
tribes tobacco is used in the form of snuff. In such cases it is 
frequently mixed with other articles to give it greater strength, 
the clove being sometimes used for this purpose. 

Hemp. — The cultivation of hemp still appears to be carried 
on in many parts of the country, but it is not grown for its 
fibre, which in tropical countries is of little value, but for its 
seed, which the natives desire on account of its narcotic proper- 
ties. The evils resulting from the practice of smoking it are 
so great that the Government has prohibited its cultivation 
and sale. 

Kola. — The kola-nut is the fruit of a tree belonging to the 
order Sterculiaceae. Several species have been recognized in 
the Congo. StercuUa Ballayi is found mainly in the Lower 
Congo, where it is sometimes cultivated, and S. acuminata is 
an inhabitant of the equatorial forest. The natives chew the 
nuts to allay thirst or even hunger. 

Textile Plants 

Cotton. — Eecent attempts to induce the natives to cultivate 
cotton for export will be dealt with elsewhere. For a con- 
siderable time before these attempts were made, however, 
cotton appears to have been grown in certain districts, but the 
output was of little importance. In the Kasai region several 
native varieties are known, but the methods adopted by the 
tribes who' grow it are of the most primitive description. 
The seed is sown before or during the rains, but the plant 
receives very little attention until the crop is ripe. Ep'en then 
the fibre is often allowed to remain ungathered until it has 
deteriorated to a great extent. In order to dry it the natives 
expose the cotton to the sun or place it in front of a fire. 

Domestic Animals 

Cattle. — In certain parts of the savanna and steppe regions 
considerable numbers of cattle are kept by the natives. The 
districts in which they are most numerous are in the Lower 
Congo, the more elevated parts of the Welle country, the 
Eastern Highlands, and the Kasai region. 

In the east of the country which lies north of the Welle 
there are cattle-raising districts near the summits which form 
the watershed between the Congo and the Nile. The cattle of 


this region vary considerably. The Dinka breed, which appears 
to have originated in the basin of the Nile, has a well-developed 
body and large horns, and is said to be a good producer of 
milk. The "Wadai breed, which is allied to the Dinka, is also 
well developed, but is much less valuable as a milk-producer, 
though it is said to be capable of considerable improvement. 
A third breed, kept by the Lugwaret tribe, is small, and 
gives little milk. 

Various parts of the Eastern Highlands are also occupied by 
pastoral tribes. This is especially the case in the region of 
Wanyabongo, to the west of Lake Kivu and the Rusisi. There 
several distinct breeds are found. Cattle either without horns 
or with short horns appear to be numerous only to the west of 
the Rusisi. They are better milkers than the larger, long- 
horned breed to be found farther north. Throughout the 
whole region comparatively little seems to be done by the 
natives to improve their cattle. They have, it is true, a few 
orade ideas about selection, but their notions of what is 
desirable frequently vary from tribe to tribe and from time 
to time. 

As a rule native cattle receive little attention. During the 
day they feed upon the natural pastures, and arQ guarded by 
the children of the tribe ; at night they are driven into an 
open enclosure. The calves, however, are more carefully 
tended, and at night are sheltered by the natives either in 
their own huts or in special buildings. During the rains food 
is usually abundant, but in the dry season the cattle have 
frequently to be driven to better- watered districts. 

As the native seldom drinks milk, he usually makes it into 
cheese, of which he is exceedingly fond. Butter is also made, 
but is mainly used to anoint the skin, and is never eaten 
except by those tribes who have been in contact with Europeans. 
In some districts, as in the Eastern Highlands, many tribes 
eat a considerable amount of meat, and large cattle-markets 
are held at fixed intervals in various parts of the latter region. 
There is also a considerable trade in hides, which are used for 
clothing, the covering of granaries, and various other purposes. 

Sheep. — Sheep are most numerous in the savanna and steppe 
regions in the south-east of the Welle country, in the Eastern 
Highlands, and in the Kasai region, but they are also found 
within the forested area in the region round Stanleyville, in the 


valleys of the Lowa and Lomami, and elsewhere. They are 
generally wooUess, and in those cases where they do have 
a little wool it is of poor quality. The flesh is eaten, but is 
much less appreciated than that of the goat. 

Goats. — Goats are met with in all parts of the Congo. As 
a general rule they provide only a small amount of milk, 
though some varieties found in the Eastern Highlands and in 
the Kasai region are better in this respect. The flesh is much 
appreciated, and it is mainly for this reason that the animal 
is kept. It receives no special attention, and during the day 
wanders about the village in search of food ; at night it is 
taken into the hut of its owner. In the Eastern Highlands 
the goat is of considerable importance, as there it forms the 
mainstay of the poor man, just as cattle form the mainstay of 
the richer members of the community. 

Pigs. — The native pig is most common in the districts of 
Bas Congo, Kwango, Kasai, and Ubangi. Like the goat it 
receives little attention, and is allowed to pick up a living 
from the garbage lying about the village. Owing to the con- 
ditions in which it lives it is subject to disease, and at the best 
its flesh is much less desirable than that of the European pig. 

Fowls. — In all parts of the Congo fowls are numerous, but 
they are generally small in size, and do not lay many eggs. 
In some districts (as, for example, in parts of the Eastern 
Highlands) they are regarded as a special perquisite of the 
women. They receive little attention, and appear as a rule to 
be reared for the sake of their flesh rather than for their eggs. 
The Barbary duck is also common throughout the country ; it 
is easily raised, and its flesh is esteemed. In some villages 
a few pigeons are kept by the inhabitants. 

Bees. — Bees are found in many parts of the Congo, but seem 
to be most numerous in the steppe and savanna regions. The 
natives are very fond of honey, and adopt various devices in 
order to obtain it. In some cases they simply search for the 
bees' nests, which are usually found in the hollows of trees or in 
cracks of the rocks, and proceed to smoke them out ; in others 
they make a sort of primitive hive, which they hang in a tree 
after placing in it a small amount of honey in order to attract 
the bees. The wax is said to be of good quality, but hitherto 
the native has paid little attention to it ; in some cases, however, 
it appears to have been collected and sold. 


Natural Pboducts 

The most important products derived from the natural 
vegetation of the country are rubber, palm-oil, and copal, but 
piassava, raffia, and other fibres are exported to a slight extent. 
With the exception of some varieties of rubber these products 
are mainly obtained from the forest region, and it is only 
occasionally that the savannas and steppes produce articles 
much sought after by Europeans. From the survey which 
follows, however, it will be seen that the natural resources of 
the country are by no means inexhaustible. The sole object 
of the natives who collect the raw material is to obtain as 
much as possible with the least- expenditure of labour. This 
leads to wasteful methods of exploitation, which, on account of 
the size of the country, the Government is able to do little to 
prevent. Moreover in the case of some plants, such as those 
which produce rubber, the development of plantations in other 
parts of the globe where the climate is favourable and labour 
cheap and abundant has led to a fall in price which seriously 
affects the output of the natural product when it becomes 
more difficult to obtain. Hence there is a movement towards 
the establishment of plantations, and these have some special 
advantages in the Congo. The difficulties of transport, which 
are very great when the raw produce of the forest has to be 
collected from widely scattered areas', can be reduced, and the 
preliminary processes of manufacture, which are usually neces- 
sary before export, can be more efficiently undertaken. In the 
case of rubber and oil the movement towards plantation culti- 
vation is well marked. Copal is in a somewhat different 
category, but it may be noted that much of that which is now 
collected represents the accumulation of past years, and it is 
impossible to say how long the present output can be main- 
tained. The raphia palm has as yet only been exploited to 
a slight extent, and the question of cultivating it has not 


The production of rubber has played a very important part 
in the political and economic history of the Belgian Congo. 
In 1887, the first complete year for which export statistics 
exist, the total .output of the country was about thirty metric 


tons. During the following fourteen years the annual exports 
steadily increased, and in 1901 exceeded 6,000 metric tons. 
Since then, however, they have shown a gradual decrease, and 
in 1915 amounted to only about 2,200 tons. The decline in the 
value of rubber relatively to that of the other exports of the 
country is even more marked. In 1900 nearly 85 per cent, of 
the total value of the exports of the country was credited to 
it, but in 1915 it accounted for about 15 per cent. Never- 
theless it still holds an important place in the trade of the 
Congo region, and its present position and future prospects 
are matters of considerable interest. 

Until quite recently all the rubber exported from the 
Congo was derived from uncultivated plants indigenous to 
the region. These plants belong to the order Apocynaceae, 
and include trees, climbers or vines, shrubs, and herbs. The 
vines, which are by far the most important, belong to the 
three genera, Landolphia, Clitandra, and Carpodinus. The 
majority of them are woody climbers, and many of them 
attain a great size. In addition to the vines, a number of 
bushy plants belonging to the same genera furnish 'root 
rubber' from their underground stems (rhizomes). Some of 
these plants occur normally as vines in the forest, but develop 
a bushy habit when growing upon open ground, where there 
are no trees to serve as supports. The shrubs are therefore 
. characteristic of the savanna, in contrast to the vines, which 
are inhabitants of the forest region. The only indigenous 
rubber-tree of any importance in the Congo is that known 
as Funtumia elastica (Stapf), or Kickxia elastica (Preuss). 

Although the vines belong to the forest, their growth appears 
to be most satisfactory either upon its outskirts or in the 
more open spaces in the interior, where they have free access 
to light and air. In the densel}' wooded districts the stem of 
the vine remains slender until it has reached the top of the 
tree which affords it support, and is able to expose its leaves 
to the light. After this it increases in thickness, but vines 
growing under these conditions obviously develop slowly. 

The number of rubber-producing vines belonging to the 
genus Landolphia is considerable, and only a few of the more 
important need be mentioned here. Among these Landolphia 
owariensis undoubtedly holds the first place. It is a climbing 
shrub which frequently attains a length of over 300 feet; 


normally it is found as a vine, but on the savanna it sometimes 
occurs as a bush. Landolphia owariensis is one of the chief 
sources of Congo rubber, and the product is of excellent 
quality. Landolphia Klainei (Pierre) is likewise a climbing 
plant of considerable length ; it has a vigorous growth, and 
provides part of the rubber obtained from the Congo forest. 
Landolphia Thollonii (Dewfevre) is a dwarf shrub from six to 
twelve feet high. Owing to its central tap-root it is able to 
grow in regions which have a long, dry season, and hence it 
flourishes on the savanna and on some parts of the steppe. It 
is the principal source of root rubber, which is obtained from 
the bark of its underground stems, or rhizomes. Other species 
of Landolphia which occur in the Congo are Landolphia 
Gentilii (De Wild.) and Landolphia Droogmansiana (Dewfevre). 

The genus Clitandra is poorer in rubber-producing plants. 
The most important species is Clitandra Arnoldiana (De Wild.), 
the lianas of which sometimes reach a length of 350 feet. It 
is found in various parts of the forest region. Other species of 
more or less value are Clitandra Mannii (Stapf ) and Clitandra 
robustior (K. Schum). The genus Carpodinus is relatively poor 
in rubber-producing plants, and the only species which need 
be mentioned are Carpodinus Gentilii (De Wild.) and perhaps 
Carpodinus ligustrifolia (Stapf). 

Funtumia elastica (Stapf), or KicTixia elastica (Preuss), is a 
large tree, sometimes attaining a height of 100 feet, with an 
erect, tapering, cylindrical trunk, usually covered with a mottled 
grey bark. It owes its name of ' silk rubber-tree ' to the fact 
that its seeds have an attachment of silky hairs. It i§ essentially 
a forest tree, and in the Belgian Congo it thrives not only in 
the tropical forests of such districts as Bangala, but also in the 
savanna forests, where there is a more or less well-marked dry 
season. Funtvmiia elastica, in its indigenous condition, does 
not provide much of the Congo rubber, and it is rather as 
a cultivated tree that it has to be considered. 

The collection of rubber from wild plants scattered through- 
out the country must necessarily be done by natives without 
European supervision, and the methods employed by them are 
primitive in the extreme. Incisions are made in the vine 
either as it hangs on its supporting tree, or after it has been 
pulled down and laid along the ground. In some cases the 
latex does not flow freely, but simply fills up the cuts which 


have been made and there coagulates. The strips of rubber 
thus formed are then pulled off, and rolled into balls either at 
once or after they have been washed in warm water to remove 
fragments of bark. If the latex flows freely at first, as it 
sometimes does, the cut is n.ot sufficient to hold it, and in 
such cases various devices are adopted. Sometimes the native 
collects it in his hand and smears it over his body, from which 
he afterwards peels it in long strips ; at other times he catches 
it on a leaf and spreads it out in a thin layer so that it may 
coagulate rapidly. 

In the case of certain vines the latex flows so freely that it 
has to be collected in cups made from leaves, or in other 
receptacles, and afterwards coagulated. In such cases incisions 
are either made in the stem as before, or the stem is cut up into 
short lengths, which are placed upright in a trough so that 
they may be drained as completely as possible. Coagulation 
of the latex thus collected is then brought about in one of 
several ways. The juice of two species of Costus (C. afer and 
C. lucanusianus), is employed to coagulate the latex of Lan- 
dolpJiia owariensis while that of Clitandra Arnoldiana coagu- 
lates readily after a long boiling, provided the process is 
carefully performed. Some tribes pursue a more primitive 
method, and simply pour out the latex on the soil and wait till 
coagulation takes place. This process, however, as may 
readily be imagined, produces a rubber of very inferior 

To obtain and coagulate the latex from the small bushy 
forms of Landolphia, Clitandra, and Carpodinus a different 
procedure is necessary. The rhizomes are pulled up and 
exposed to the sun for some time, in order that the latex may 
be coagulated. They are then cut up and beaten with wooden 
mallets to remove the bark, which contains the latex. The 
further processes employed vary from one region to another, 
but in a general way it may be said that the bark is alternately 
pounded and washed until the vegetable fragments are removed 
from the crude rubber. In certain districts machinery was 
introduced by the European companies operating therein, but 
some of them have had to cease work on account of the want 
of sufficient raw material. 

The native practice, already referred to, of cutting and 
pulling down the stems of the rubber vines in order to tap 


them more easily and more effectively has given rise to con- 
siderable discussion.' The obvious objection to the practice 
is that the stem is destroyed in the process of extracting 
the rubber, and this, of course, is true. But it is argued 
that not only is the yield of rubber much larger when 
the lianas are cut down, but that the plants are not killed, 
and soon throw out new shoots from the basal portions 
of their stems. These shoots, it is said, can be treated in 
a similar fashion in two or three years' time, as the quality of 
rubber which they yield is much superior to that given by 
seedling vines of the same age. Moreover in the depths of 
the forest there are innumerable vines, poor and of little value 
because of the want of light and air, but ready to take the 
place of more vigorous plants when these are removed. Tapping 
on the other hand is said not only to give an inferior yield of 
rubber, but to lead to the speedy death of the vine. The 
number of incisions made by the natives is excessive, and 
large slices of bark are sometimes removed, exposing the 
inner wood and rendering it liable to the attacks of insects 
and fungoid pests. When, as often' happens, the lianas are 
torn from the trees to which they cling, but not cut, they do 
little more good, and only serve to cumber the ground. Those 
which are not torn down are tapped too frequently, the" vitality 
of the plants is affected, and their death speedily follows. 

The policy of the Government in regard to these different 
methods of obtaining rubber has changed more than once. 
At one time the system of exploitation by cutting down the 
vines was regarded as wasteful, and attempts were made to 
restrict it as much as possible. In 1910, however, partly as 
a result of the researches of De Wildeman, Chevalier, and 
others, a decree was issued which permitted the cutting of the 
lianas, providing that the main stem was left to a height of 
about five feet above the level of the ground. The matter, 
however, can hardly be regarded as settled. Native methods 
of tapping, it is true, usually end in the death of the plants, 
and it is probable that certain species of vines, even if carefully 
tapped, are liable to be killed. On the other hand Seret 
• found that Clitandra Arnoldiana died after the stems had 
been cut. It is possible therefore that plants which will not 
stand carefiil tapping will also be killed by cutting. 
The destruction of rubber-producing plants, which for one 



reason or another was widespread about tlie end of the last 
century, led the State to take energetic measures to .preserve 
what was then its chief source of wealth. These measures 
need not be recapitulated here, but their general character 
may be gathered from a decree published in 1904, which 
enacted that for every 100 kilogrammes of rubber collected in 
the State lands and forests a certain number of trees or vines 
were to be planted. In this and other ways a large number of 
rubber vines, especially Landolphia owariensis, LdndolpMa 
Klainei, and Clitandra Arnoldiana were established. But the 
experiment was far from being a success. The cost of planting 
the vines and tending them in the earlier stages of their 
growth was considerable, their growth was slow, and their 
yield was less than that obtained from wild vines. In 1909 
the decree requiring replanting was abrogated, and in 1910 
many of the plantations were abandoned. 

Meanwhile various experiments had been made in the 
cultivation of rubber-trees, and the attempts to establish 
plantations received a new impetus from the gradual decliae 
in the output of rubber, the success of plantations in Ceylon 
and Malaya, and the rise in price, which was to* culminate in 
the boom of 1910. Progress has necessarily been slow, but 
the general principles governing the cultivation of plantation 
rubber are now fairly well known. Experiments have been 
made with Funtumia elastica, Hevea brasiliensls, and Manihot 
Glaziovii, and the relative merits and demerits of each have 
been carefully considered. As the question is one of con- 
siderable importance in relation to the future economic 
development of the Congo, a brief review of the work which 
has been accomplished is given here. 

Funtumia elastica is indigenous to the Congo, the districts 
of Ubangi, Bangala, and Aruwimi being among those in which 
it is most frequently found. It was only natural therefore, 
when the idea of establishing rubber plantations was first 
entertained, that experiments should be made with this tree. 
A number had been planted as early as 1901, but it was not 
till 1906 that their cultivation was seriously undertaken, and 
not till after the abandonment of the compulsory planting of ' ' 
vines in 1909 that they became of prime importance in the 
attempts to grow plantation rubber. By the end of 1910 there 
were about 3,500,000 trees in various State plantations in 


different parts of the country. Further progress, however, 
was checked by the fact that experiments in Hevea brasiliensis 
had apparently given much better results, and a number of 
Funtumia plantations have since been abandoned. 

The view that Hevea is better adapted for cultivation than 
Funtumia is now generally accepted in the Congo. At the 
same time the latter tree has undoubtedly certain advantages. 
It grows quickly and easily even on soil of moderate fertility, 
and appears to be able to survive in districts too dry for Hevea. 
It is also less subject than that tree to attacks of insect pests. 
In addition it requires to be tapped only once or twice a year, 
and the latex, which is of good quality, is easily coagulated by 
means of boiling water. '' 

On the other hand, as is now generally recognized, the yield 
from Funtumia is considerably less than that from Hevea. Its 
tapping also presents some difficulty at times, as it tends to throw 
out branches from an early stage of its growth, and, although 
these can be lopped off, the surface of the trunk is left rough 
and irregular. To overcome these difficulties it was suggested 
that Funtumia should be planted in coppice formation, the 
trees being placed at distances of only six feet from one 
another, instead of twelve feet, as is usually the case. As the 
trees increase in size the less vigorous are cleared out. By 
this method, it is claimed, the trunks of the young trees are 
drawn upwards towards the light, few branches are developed, 
and as the soil is always shaded the expense of keeping the 
laud clean is reduced to a minimum. The investigations made 
with a view of testing this system of cultivation have, however, 
not given satisfactory results. Measurements taken at Gazi, 
in the district of Stanleyville, during the three seasons 1912-15, 
showed that the increase in circumference of trees grown in 
close formation was little more than half that of trees grown 
in open formation. Both lots had been planted in 1909, but, 
whereas those growing in open formation were about ready for 
tapping, those growing in close formation did not appear 
likely to yield rubber for four or five years. Though the 
question cannot yet be regarded as finally settled, it hardly 
seems probable that this method will regain for Funtumia 
the position which it has lost. 

Whether the cultivation of Funtumia will be taken up by 
the natives in plantations of their own is also a matter on 

M 2 


which it would be hazardous to express a definite opinion. 
It is true that the tree grows easily, and does not require 
a great deal of attention, but much will depend upon the 
extent to which the native can be induced to undertake work 
for which there is no prospect of an immediate return. The 
land would have to be cleared, planted, and kept comparatively 
clean for a period of six or seven years before any return 
could be obtained from it. It is possible that the State might 
do something to encourage such plantations by remitting part 
of their taxes to natives who had a certain number of trees in 
good condition but not ready for tapping. 

Hevea hrasiliensis appears to have been first introduced into 
the Belgian Congo in 1899, when about fifty trees were planted 
in the neighbourhood of Coquilhatville. The number was 
gradually increased, and in 1904 there were about 3,0,00 trees 
in that district. For several years after this very little progress 
was made. At that time the proper methods of tapping Hevea 
had not been discovered, and the plantations in Malaya had 
so far not proved a success. The State moreover was then 
devoting all its energies to the cultivation of rubber vines. 
But, with the failure of these and the successful development 
of the plantations^ in Malaya, a new impetus was given to the 
cultivation of Hevea. By the end of 1911, 250,000 had been 
planted in the country, and since then the number has been 
largely increased. 

Hevea hrasiliensis is a large forest tree, which may reach 
a height of 100 feet. It has a well-developed trunk, sometimes 
measuring 10 to 12 feet in circumference, and the branches 
are high. Though an inhabitant of the Amazon lowlands, it 
possesses very considerable powers of adaptation, and is at 
present being grown successfully under very varied conditions 
of temperature, rainfall, and elevation. In the Belgian Congo 
it appears to thrive where there is a rainfall of at least 
60 inches, though in Mayumbe it is grown with somewhat less 
than that amount. If the climate is satisfactory, Hevea will 
grow on relatively poor land, but the best results are obtained 
on good alluvial soils, as the growth of the tree is then most 
rapid. On the whole Hevea is a more difficult tree to cultivate 
than Funtumia. The seed has to be selected, and the young 
plant grown with some care. It is said that the best results are 
produced when the seedlings are left in the nursery till they are 


several feet in heiglit. The upper parts of the stems are then 
cut off, the plants lifted, and the roots trimmed, after which 
the ' stumps ' thus obtained are carried in bundles to the place 
where they are to be planted. The great advantage of this 
method is that by it the best roots may be selected ; the dis- 
advantage is that the humidity of the air is not so great as in 
Malaya, where the method originated, and a number of plants 
have consequently suffered in transit. The use of seed-baskets 
is also practised on occasion. A single seed is soAvn in each 
basket, and the plants thus raised are kept under shade and 
well watered until required for planting out. The entire 
basket is then placed in the soil without disturbing the roots. 

The first Hevea trees grown in the Congo were planted at 
a distance of about 16 feet from one another, but they were 
evidently too close, and a number of them died. The distance 
now observed is from 23 to 25 feet, or even more. To reduce 
the expense of keeping the land clear various catch crops have 
been attempted, but it is believed that they tend to retard the 
growth of the Hevea trees. The matter, however, is still the 
subject of experiment. 

Hevea also presents greater difficulties from the point of 
view of tapping than does Funtumia. The method which has 
been evolved depends upon the fact that, if the initial incisions 
are reopened after a short interval by cutting off a thin slice 
of bark from one of the edges of the cuts, a further flow of 
latex takes place. This procedure may be repeated again 
and again with a similar result. To do it successfully, how- 
ever, requires a certain amount of skill, as to get the best 
results shavings of one-twentieth of an inch in thickness, or 
even less, have to be taken from the bark. 

The cultivation of Hevea in the Congo can as yet hardly 
be regarded as having passed far beyond the experimental 
stage, but so far the results have been satisfactory. The tree 
appears to find climate and soil well adapted to its growth. 
In the Malay region a plant three years old has an average 
circumference of about 14 inches at a height of 3 feet above 
the^ound, and a plant ten years old one of about 54 inches. 
For the Congo corresponding measurements, made, however, 
on a much smaller number of trees, gave 12, and from 36 to 
over 34 inches respectively. 

But it is by the amount of rubber which it yields that 


Hevea must stand or fall, and here again the results which 
have been obtained do not pass beyond the experimental stage.' 
On the Malayan rubber plantations it has been estimated that 
the average annual yield is between 396 lb. and 630 lb. per 
acre for trees between ten and eleven years old. The experi- 
ments made at Bakusa, Eala. Musa, and Kitu, on trees from 
ten to twelve years old, showed an annual yield per acre 
varying from 352 lb. to 528 lb. Some of the best results 
obtained from Funtumia of a similar age gave from 164 to 
176 lb. per acre. 

' As yet only provisional conclusions can be drawn from the 
experiments made in regard to the cultivation of Hevea and 
Funtumia in the Congo. On the whole, however, it would 
appear that Hevea is well adapted to the conditions which 
prevail over a considerable part of the country, and that- 
a larger yield may be expected from it than from Funtumia. 
On the other hand it is a more difficult plant both to grow, 
and to tap, and for this reason it is suitable for cultivation only 
on plantations which are controlled by Europeans. Probably 
the latter statement is also true of Funtumia, but there is just, 
a possibility that the natives may eventually be induced to 
grow it on small plantations of their own. 

A third variety of rubber, known as Ceara, is obtained from 
Manihot Glaziovii (Miill. Arg.), which has had a somewhat 
varied history in the Belgian Congo. For some time it had 
a certain vogue in the country chiefly on account of its rapid 
growth and the small amount of care which it seemed to 
demand. In the equatorial forest, however, where there is 
great humidity at all seasons of the year, it began to suffer, 
when about four years old, from cryptogamic growths, and its 
cultivation had to be abandoned. Perhaps because of its 
failure there, it was also neglected elsewhere, and some planta- 
tions, which had been established in Mayumbe, were practically 
abandoned. Within the last few years its climatic require-/ 
ments have been better understood, and it is once more being 
grown in certain regions. The most important plantations at 
present are situated at Bokala in the district of Moyen CoD^o. 

Manihot appears to grow best when the trees, which are 
raised from 'stumps', are planted about 13 feet apart, as in 
that case their crowns are touching when they are about four' 
years old. This is important, as trunks which are exposed to 


the sun, give but little rubber. The methods of tapping are 
somewhat peculiar. The outer bark of the tree is removed 
from one-fourth or more of the circumference of the stem to 
a height of 6 feet, and the stripped surface is then moistened 
with the acid juice of a citrus fruit, or with some solution 
such as acetic acid, in order to facilitate the coagulation of 
the latex. A large number of small horizontal incisions are 
then made by stabbing the bark with a knife, care being taken 
that the cuts do not penetrate too deeply. The latex exudes 
from the cuts, and in contact with the acid solution quickly . 
coagulates on the stem. A certain amount of skill is necessary 
in carrying out the work. If the incision be too slight, the 
yield of latex is feeble, while, if it be too deep, the tree speedily 

What place Manihot will eventually take in the production 
of rubber in the Congo it is as yet impossible to say. It has 
the advantage of growing well in dry situations, where other ■< 
rubber trees will not survive, and the rubber produced is often 
of excellent quality. Little information is at present available 
regarding the yield which it may be expected to give ; but the 
results of similar plantations in German East Africa leads to 
the conclusion that the return from Manihot will be greater- 
than that from Funtumia, but less than that from Hevea. It 
is, however, a tree that is not likely to be grown outside of 
plantations controlled by Europeans, 

The Oil-Palm 

The oil-palm (Elaeis guineensis) is one of the most important 
trees of the Belgian Congo. It is placed by botanists in the 
tribe Cocoineae of the natural order Palmae, together with 
the one other genus Cocos to which the coco-nut palm belongs. 

The oil-palm is essentially a tree of the tropical forest, but, 
though widely distributed therein, it is not found everywhere. 
It appears to prefer the more open spaces, and is most common 
in and around existing or abandoned native villages. There 
its abundance is probably due to seeds which have been 
scattered by chance, as the tree, being of slow growth, is 
seldom or never planted by the natives. 

The best soil for the oil-palm is one rich in humus, moist, 
but well drained. It seldom grows in marshy districts, but it 


flourishes on deforested lands at a slightly higher level. Pro- 
vided, however, it receives a sufficiently heavy rainfall — 50 to 
70 inches are said to be necessary in the Congo — the quality 
of the soil is of comparatively little importance. A certain 
amount of light and air are also necessary in order to obtain 
the best results ; when grown in the depths of the forest, it 
gives a comparatively poor yield. 

The oil-palm requires a. long period in order to reach 
maturity. In the district of Equateur, for example, the trees 
.do not appear to give a normal yield before they are fifteen 
years of age, but after that they continue to bear abundant 
crops for at least another twenty years. Nevertheless it is 
unfortunate that in many cases the natives have been careless 
of the source of wealth provided for them by the oil-palm. 
Many trees have been destroyed in the process of clearing the 
forest for agricultural crops, and many more have been reck- 
lessly cut down in order the more easily to obtain their fruit. 
The Government has at various times tried to check this 
destruction, but apparently with little success. 

The.valtxe of the oil-palm in native economy has already 
been discussed (see p. 165). In international trade it holds 
a position of considerable importance. "Within recent years 
palm-oil and palm-kernels have been exported in increasing 
quantities to European markets, where they are chiefly 
employed in the manufacture of soap, candles, and glycerine ; 
some qualities of palm-oil are also made use of in the manu- 
facture of tin-plate. Until about 1911 these exports came 
almost entirely from the district of Mayumbe. The amount 
contributed by the interior was small, as the railway rates 
were high, and modern factories for the extraction of the oil 
were wanting. In 1911, however, a convention concluded 
between the Government and Lever Brothers, the makers of 
Sunlight Soap, prepared the way for the development of the 
palm-oil industry over large areas in the Central Basin. 

By this convention, which was finally approved on April 24, 
1911, Lever Brothers engaged to form a Belgian company 
{SocUte anonyme des huileries du Congo helge) with a 
minimum capital of :2 5,000,000 francs, and to build within six 
years a factory capable of treating 6,000 tons of fresh fruit per 
year in each of the districts in which they were given conces- 
sions. These districts consisted of the country lying around 


and within 60 kilometres (37^ miles) of the following posts : 
Bumba and Burumbu on the Congo, Lusanga on the Kwilu, 
Basongo on the Kasai, and a place 25 miles south of Ingende 
on the Ruki. If within sik years of the approval of the con- 
vention the company established a factory capable of extracting 
the oil from 6,000 tons of fresh fruit per year in any of these 
regions, it was to have ■ the right, until April 24, 1921, of 
leasing within that region 75,000 hectares (185,336 acres) of 
land bearing oil-palms at an annual rent of 25 centimes per 
hectare (about one penny per acre). If on the other hand it 
built a factory in any district capable of using 15,000 tons of 
fresh fruit annually, it was to have the right of selecting 
200,000 hectares (494,230 acres) of land in that district, provided 
that the total holding in the Congo did not exceed 750,000 
hectares (1,853,360 acres). From January 1, 1945, the company 
is to obtain proprietary rights over parts of the lands which it 
has hitherto held on lease, the amount which it will receive 
being determined in the following way. In each of ■ the 
districts already mentioned it may choose 40,000 hectares 
(98,846 acres), but not more than 150,000 hectares (870,670 
acres) in all. In addition, however, it may select 4 hectares 
(9-8 acres) for every metric ton of oil, or its equivalent, that it 
has exported from these districts by a port of the colony during 
the preceding five years. The total amount of land which it 
may acquire must not exceed 750,000 hectares (1,853,360 acres). 
It will remain subject, to an annual payment of 25 centimes 
per hectare, and may not be sold without the consent of the 
Government, which would be entitled to receive one-half of the 
purchase money. 

According to the agreement the company is to undertake 
the development of existing plantations, and to establish new 
ones where necessary. All labour is to be free, and is to be 
paid for at the rate of at least 25 centimes' per day, together 
with rations. Where contracts are made with the natives for 
the regular delivery of fruit the minimum price is to be fixed 
so that an equivalent wage will be secured to the labourer. 
In each. of the districts one doctor at least is to be maintained, 
and a hospital and school are to be established. Half of the 
officials of the company are to be of Belgian nationality, and 
one-third of the material required, other than that manufac- 
tured at Port Sunlight, or according to the secret processes of- 


Lever Brothers, and one-half of the merchandise imported by 
the company into the colony are to come from Belgium. All 
roads, railways, telegraphs, telephones, &c., constructed by the 
company are as far as possible to be free to all. 

Under the convention a good deal of preliminary work has 
already been accomplished. Factories have been built at 
Leverville on the Kwango, and at Alberta, near Bumba, on 
the Congo. Means of transport are being improved, and a rail- 
way has been laid down from Leverville. Measures are also, 
being taken to clear the land around the palm-trees, and to 
protect them from unnecessary destruction by the natives. 


Copal has within the last few years become one of the most 
important exports of the equatorial forest. It is a resin which 
is secreted in large drops by certain trees belonging to the 
faniily of the Leguminosae, and in the Belgian Congo is pro- 
duced by Copaifera Demeusei, and perhaps by some other 
trees whose position has not yet been determined. Among 
the regions in which Copaifera Demeusei is most abundant are 
the districts of Equateur, Moyen Congo, Lac Leopold II, 
Bangala, Ubangi, and Stanleyville. In these districts it is 
usually found in the marshy places which occur in the vicinity 
of the rivers. 

Copal is found under various forms. Green copal is obtained 
from the ' tears ' which are spontaneously exuded in the 
fissures of the bark. In Guinea incisions are made in order to 
facilitate the collection of the resin, but, until recently at least, 
this method has not been employed in the Congo. In the 
marshy districts the natives prod for copal under water with 
a stick shod with iron, recognizing its presence by the sound 
it gives forth when struck ; they also collect it in considerable 
quantities on the sandbanks, where it has been deposited by 
rivers during times of high water. In the district of Equateur, 
notably in Busira Manene, a variety of fossil copal called 
dangi is found in the soil; it has a very pure sound, and is 
lighter, yellower, and more brittle than that collected from 
the trees. 

The natives who collect copal remove from it some of the 
grosser impurities, such as bark, earth, and insects before they 


dispose of it. Prior to being sent to Europe, the hard and soft 
gums are separated from one another. The former are plunged 
into, a solution of caustic soda for half an hour, and are then 
washed in water and placed in the sun to dry. The pieces are 
then sorted out, and any impurities which remain are removed. 
The whole process is, however, carried out in a very crude 
manner. The softer gums, of more recent formation, are not 
able to stand ,this treatment, and are merely scraped and 
packed for export. 

Copal is used in Europe for the manufacture of varnish, the 
most suitable kinds being hard, transparent, and brittle. The 
colour is also of importance, as upon it depends the colour of 
the varnish produced. The natives say that different kinds of 
copal trees yield copal of different colours, but how much 
truth there is in this statement still remains to be seen. 

Until 1910 the annual export of copal from the Belgian 
Congo seldom exceeded 1,000 tons. Since then it has rapidly 
increased, and in 1916 amounted to 8,700 tons. The develop- 
ment of the export trade appears to have been due in part to 
the increasing demand for copal on the European market, and 
in part to the impetus given to its collection by the fall in 
the price of rubber. The Government seized the opportunity 
of fostering an industry which might eventually prove of great 
value to the c6lony, and to encourage the native collector 
established a market at Basankusu, the capital of the Lulonga 
district, where he might sell his copal at a fixed price instead 
of dealing with a trader, as had been his custom in the case 
of rubber. 

The Eaphia Palm 

The raphia palm, whether considered from the native or 
the European point of view, is one of the more useful trees of • 
the equatorial forest. It flourishes in marshy places, and some 
varieties thrive on land which is completely inundated. 
Among the more important species the following may be 
noted. RapMa Laurentii (De Wild.), often known as the 
bamboo palm, is very common in the district of Equateur, 
where it sometimes forms considerable forests. It is one of 
the largest of the raphia palms, and often rises to a height of 
45 feet, the leaves being from 15 to 45 feet in length. Raphia 
mnifera ilso appears to be widely distributed, but differs from 


E. Laurentii in the fact that it does not grow in the same 
close formation. It is usually found in clumps scattered here 
and there, and often at some distance from one another. 
Further, unlike R. Laurentii, it does not flourish on inundated 
lands, but prefers the more elevated districts in the middle of 
the marshes, and the denser parts of the tropical forest. It is 
a comparatively small tree, and is often not more than 10 or 
12 feet in height. JRaphia sese (De Wild.), another common 
species, is a large plant, but is less developed than E. Laurentii, 
and the leaves are much smaller. Eaphia Gentiliana (De/Wild.) 
and Eaphia monbuttorum (Drude) may also be noted. 

From the European point of view the most important 
products of these palms are piassava and raffia. Piassava, 
which is much used in Europe for the manufacture of stiff 
brooms, is produced by the sheath of the lower parts of the 
leaf-stems. These are cut down and steeped in water for a 
considerable time, after which the fibrous strands can easily 
be separated by beating. In order to get the best results some 
care is necessary in the preparation of piassava. The fibres 
should be well cleaned, and should have as nearly as possible 
the same diameter (1-5 to 3 mm.) for the whole of their length. 
Those which are thickest, most flexible, and darkest in colour 
command the best prices on the market. Raffia, which is 
obtained from the upper epidermis of the follicles of the young 
leaves, is much used in Europe by horticulturists, vine-growers, 
and others. The Congo product is apparently not so good as , 
that which comes from Madagascar, and greater care requires 
to be taken in its preparation. 

At present only small amounts of piassava and raffia are 
exported from the Congo. 


The cultivation of plants which either are not indigenous 
or, if indigenous, are of little or no economic value in their 
native state, is a matter of some difficulty, and an account of 
the attempts which have been made will show that so far 
coinparatively little progress has been achieved. The obstacles 
to such progress are of course considerable. Plants, and 
more especially cultivated plants, when transferred to a new 
environment, require a good deal of attention, and in the 


absence of expert attention are unlikely to succeed. But it is 
just in this respect that many attempts to introduce new crops 
into the Congo have been doomed to failure. The methods 
followed have often been wholly empirical, and it is only 
within the last few years that endeavours have been made 
to introduce a properly trained scientific staff. Further, 
apart from the production of rubber and oil, which have 
already been discussed, it has not yet been shown that the 
Congo possesses any special advantages in soil or climate for 
the cultivation of a crop of world-wide importance. Its climate 
does not seem so well adapted to the growth of cocoa as San 
Thome, nor its soil so well adapted to the growth of coffee as 
Brazil. Whether any such crop will yet be discovered remains 
to be seen. The interest which has hitherto been shown in 
the production of rubber has no doubt diverted a certain 
amount of attention from the possibility of other crops, but no 
definite evidence has yet been adduced to show that the Congo 
possesses any great potentialities in this respect. On the other 
hand the . question of a sufficient supply of labour presents 
some problems which it will not be altogether easy to solve. 
(See pp. 302-4). 



The cultivation of cocoa was first attempted in the Belgian 
Congo in 1895, and for some years it was grown along with 
coffee on State plantations, where the better soils were reserved 
for it. But, partly owing to the want of proper scientific 
knowledge, these attempts did not prove a success, and the 
State plantations have almost entirely disappeared. On the 
other hand private enterprise has become increasingly active, 
and a number of important plantations have been established 
in Mayumbe and elsewhere. 

In Mayumbe the principal plantations lie between Luki and 
Chela, on either side of the railway line which runs from 
Boma to Chela. Among the more important companies 
operating in this district the following may be noted : Societe 
anonyme d'agriculture et de plantations du Congo, Societe de 
colonisation agricole du Mayumbe, Plantations coloniales {La 
Luki), Societe anonyme Urselia, Society Urselia secunda, and 
Compagnie sucriere europeenne et coloniale. Outside of 
Mayumbe cocoa is grown by Plantations Lacourt on their 


property situated near the confluence of the Kondue and the 
Sankuru, not far from Lusambo. An important experimental 
station has been established by the State at Ganda-Sundi, 
some distance north of Chela, in order to investigate the best 
methods of cultivating the cocoa plant and preparing its 
products for the market. Another station at Barumbu, almost 
in the centre of the equatorial forest, is trying to discover 
whether the cultivation of cocoa can be advantageously pursued 
in this region. The results so far are distinctly promising. In 
1907, 32,000 trees in bearing produced a crop of only 10 tons 
of dry cocoa, but under the more careful methods of cultiva- 
tion afterwards adopted that amount had been increased to 
41 tons in 1915. A number of young plantations are also 
expected to become productive before long. 

In Mayumbe the plantations are generally situated between 
500 and ]-,200 feet above sea-level, but in some cases they are 
as high as 2,500 feet. The "most suitable districts are in the 
valleys and on the lower slopes of the hills. Cocoa requires 
a deep and permeable soil, and this is usually, but not always, 
found in regions covered with virgin forest. In such regions 
also the soil is rich in humus, and the richer and deeper it is 
the greater the crop that it will produce. 

The climatic conditions of Mayumbe differ somewhat from 
those which prevail in other parts of the world where cocoa is 
extensively grown. There is a well-marked dry season, but 
the relative humidity of the atmosphere is always high, and it 
is said to be owing to this that the plant is able to thrive. 
A certain amount of shade, however, appears to be necessary 
for cocoa during the first three or four years of its growth: 
AVhen the land is cleared various trees, such &s Eriodendron 
mango, and kola, are for this reason sometimes left standing; 
but the practice is not without its drawbacks. Large trees 
take up a considerable amount of water during the dry season, 
and if they are blown over, as is often the case, they do 
a considerable amount of damage. In place of them the 
banana is frequently grown ; it taxes the soil somewhat, but it 
provides a good shade, and also affords an opportunity for a 
catch crop. When bananas cannot be obtained the higher 
varieties ofpois cajou are sometimes used. 

The value of shade-trees is still a matter of some dispute. 
On the one hand they often give a much^needed protection 


not only to young plants, but to older trees, which, if they are 
unshaded, yield a large return, but are rapidly exhausted. 
Moreover, they prevent the removal of the soil by erosion, 
or the loss of its fertility by intense solar radiation. On the 
other hand, if the plants are too much shaded, they have 
a vigorous growth, but do not produce fruit. It was formerly 
thought that in those parts of the tropical forest where there 
is rain at all seasons shade-trees were not so necessary as in 
Mayumbe, but recent experiences at Barumbu indicate that 
without them the yield of cocoa rapidly diminishes. 
, The cocoa plantations of the Congo appear to be subject to 
various insect and fungoid pests. Of the insects the most 
dangerous is a Hemiptera (Sahlbergella singularis), which 
attacks the pods and causes canker in the branches, rendering 
them sterile and sometimes bringing about the death of the 
tree. They are aided in their work of destruction by various 
fiingi, which find an entrance into the plant by way of the 
punctures and lesions produced by the insects. The best way 
of meeting the attacks of these pests, which are capable of 
doing considerable damage, is to spray the trees with a solution 
containing petrol, soap, and Bordeaux mixture; all wounds 
ought at the same time to be closed up by a covering of 
vegetable tar. 

The fermentation and drying of cocoa are a work of con- 
siderable difficulty, and in Mayumbe special buildings have 
been erected for the purpose. Evidently a good deal has still 
to be learned regarding the processes in question, as a recent 
report on cocoa exported from the Congo says that, while some 
of it is excellent, much of it suffers from want of proper care 
in its preparation. 

The cultivation of cocoa is the only agricultural enterprise 
undertaken by Europeans in the Congo which has yet risen to 
a position of much importance. The progress which has been 
made is considerable, but the product still plays quite an 
unimportant part in the world's markets. For the last three 
years for which figures are available the annual exports averaged 
726 metric tons. It is probable that, as the best methods of 
cultivating the plant and preparing the product for market 
become better known, the output will increase, but it is 
questionable whether it will ever rank high among the exports 
of the colony. So far Mayumbe has proved the most suitable 


region in the Congo for the production of cocoa, but, while the 
rainfall there is sufficient in normal years, it is occasionally 
deficient, with the result that the crop may be reduced by as 
much as 30 per cent, or even more. If it should eventually 
prove to be the case that cocoa can be successfully cultivated 
in the equatorial districts of the interior, this difficulty would 
not arise, but others connected with labour and transport 
might prove to be serious. 

The history of the cultivation of coffee in the Belgian Congo 
is somewhat chequered. A number of varieties, some of which 
are said to be of considerable value, are indigenous to the 
country, others have been imported from Liberia, Arabia, and 
Brazil. Various experiments made between 1885 and 1892 
induced the Grovernment to undertake the cultivation of coffee 
on an extensive scale, and plantations were established- at 
a number of posts, including Coquilhatville, Bikoro, Ikenge, 
Bombimba, Nouvelle Anvers, and Barumbu. By the end of 
the century these plantations contained over 2,000,000 plants, 
and by 1904 the annual export had risen to 160 tons. Since 
then the plantations have one by one been abandoned, and the 
exports have declined almost to vanishing point. 

A variety of causes contributed to the failure of an industry, 
which for a moment seemed full of promise. The climatic 
conditions of the Congo are not unfavourable to the cultivation 
of coffee, but the soils of the country are not so admirably 
suited to it as are those of Brazil. The development of the 
Brazilian industry, partly at least as a result of its special 
advantages, led to a fall in the price of coffee on the European 
market to a figure which made its' cultivation in the Congo 
unprofitable. Further the planters were handicapped by the 
fact that they were working without expert advice, and that 
they had little or no knowledge of the varieties on which to 
specialize, or the proper methods of cultivation to pursue. 

In order to discover whether the cultivation of coffee on 
proper scientific principles can be successfully undertaken in 
the Congo, the agricultural service about 1912 established an 
experimental plantation near Stanleyville. In all probability 
the results obtained here will show whether there is any real 
future for coffee in the Congo. 



Ramie belongs to the genus Boehmeria, of the family of the 
Urticaceae, Two important species may be recognized, B. 
tenacissima, or China grass, and B. nivea, to which the name 
of ramie is often more particularly applied. 

Various experiments have been made regarding both species 
in the Belgian Congo, and in some districts the results appear 
to have been satisfactory. At Eala, for example, a plantation 
on good soil produced four crops per year, and similar results 
have been obtained from some fertile valleys in the Lower 
Congo. There are probably many other districts scattered 
throughout the country where the conditions are at. least as 
favourable. As the plants are grown without irrigation the 
shoots, and therefore the fibres, are shorter than those obtained 
from similar plantations in Malaya. 


Agave rigida, from which the fibre known as sisal hemp is 
obtained, has long been grown on the Lower Congo, where it 
was probably first introduced by traders or missionaries. 
Various experiments were made regarding its cultivation, but 
for a number of years very little progress was recorded. 
Eventually large plantations were established at Kalamu, near 
Boma, and in 1912 contained about 30,000 plants. A specimen 
of the products which was sent to London in 1916 was valued 
at £50 per ton at a time when fair Manilla hemp was selling 
at £53. The quality was reported to be good, but the fibre had 
been insufficiently washed. Agave Cantula is also grown on 
the Lower Congo. Its fibre is softer and finer than that derived 
fi-om Agave rigida, and specimens of it were valued in London 
in 1916 at £53 per ton. Though insufficiently washed, it was 
said to be suitable for admixture with Manilla hemp. Agave 
Azul gives a fibre which is said to be as good as Mauritius 

Furcraea gigantea, from which Mauritius hemp is obtained, 
has been grown in the Belgian Congo to a slight extent for 
a number of years. In 1910 a plantation of some size was 
established at Kalamu. The product seems to be somewhat 
inferior to the best qualities which appear on the market. 



' Kapok 

Eriodendron anfractuosum, from which kapok is obtained, 
grows wild in various parts of the Belgian Congo. It is a tree 
which might ultimately prove of some value to the natives, as 
it not only furnishes a fibre which could be exported, but 
produces an oil which can be used in the manufacture of native 
soap and for other domestic purposes. 

Within the last few years experimental plantations have 
been established at Kalamu, Congo da Lemba, and Eala. The 
seeds for these plantations were imported from Java, and came 
from a variety of the tree which is more productive that that 
which grows in the Congo. How far the experiment will be 
a success yet remains to be seen. 

The Improvement of Native Ageiculture 
At a first glance it might seem that the improvement of 
native methods of cultivation would lead to a large increase in 
the agricultural output of the country. But apart from the 
general effect which such an improvement would have in 
reducing the necessity which at present, exists for destroying 
part of the virgin forest each year, and apart from the benefits 
it would confer on the native population by diminishing the 
danger of famine, ii is questionable whether there is much 
that can be done. The root crops upon which the natives of 
the forest region mainly depend cannot be exported. Of the 
cereals which provide the bulk of the food of the inhabitants 
of the savannas maize is the only one which has a world 
market, and it could probably be cultivated on an extensive 
scale, but it is doubtful whether the heavy cost of transport 
would permit of its exportation. Hence it is that attention 
has been mainly concentrated on two or three crops which 
seemed well suited to the country, and for which there is 
a special demand abroad. Of these the most important are 
rice and cotton. 


Rice is grown by the natives in different parts of the Congo 

(see p. 163), but important experiments have been conducted 

by the State in recent years with a view of extending and 

developing its cultivation. These experiments were made at 


Kitobola, which is situated in the valley of the Lukunga in 
the Lower Congo. At first upland rice alone was grown, but 
recently some varieties of marsh rice introduced from Ceylon, 
Java, and Italy have been cultivated on irrigated lands. The 
results so far obtained have shown that irrigated land produces 
about twice as much as unirrigated land, and produces it at 
nearly half the cost. The quality of the rice does not appear 
to be so good, and much of it is used to feed animals, but this 
is a matter which can probably be remedied. 

It is questionable, however, whether any development of 
irrigation on an extensive scale is to be looked for in the 
near future, and probably more attention will be paid to 
increasing the area under upland rice. In the valley of the 
Lukunga there are considerable stretches of land on which it 
might be succJessfuUy grown. Their soil is too damp for other 
crops, and they are at present uncultivated. The main difficulty 
seems to lie in the fact that all the agricultural operations of this 
region are performed by women, who are even less willing 
than men to abandon their old methods and experiment in 
new crops. 

The world-scarcity of foodstuffs during the latter years of 
the war made it necessary to consider whether the output 
of the Belgian Congo could be increased. As about 80 per 
cent, of the total area under rice (25,000 to 30,000 acres) is 
situated in the region round Stanleyville, it was to that part 
of the colony that attention was directed. The chief obstacles 
to exportation at present are the colour of the grain, the fact 
that much of it is broken by the native methods of preparing 
it for the market, and the heavy cost of transport to Matadi. 
In the -time at their disposal the Government could do little 
to improve the quality of the crop, but, in order to remedy the 
•deficiencies of native milling, steam machinery was set* up at 

The greater part of the surplus crop has of late been sent 
to the troops operating in East Africa, but when conditions 
again become normal an increased amount will probably 
be available for export. There seems no reason indeed why 
the cultivation of rice should not be greatly extended. In 
many parts of the- Congo climate and soil are well suited to 
its growth, and in some districts at least the natives take 
readily to its cultivation. But an improvement in quality 

N 2 


and a reduction in freight rates are essential if it is to take 
a place of any importance in the world's markets. 


A little native cotton has always been grown in a few districts 
in various parts of the ■ Belgian Congo, but some years ago, 
when it seemed likely that the world's supply of raw cotton 
would fall short of the world's demand, it was only natural 
that its cultivation on a more extensive scale should be con- 
sidered by the Government. In 1909 it was decided that the 
best course was to induce the natives to grow it on their own 
account, and with that end in view they were provided with 
seed and a fixed price for the crop was guaranteed them. 
Experiments along these lines were continued for two years 
in the Lower Congo, the eastern districts, and the Kasai region, 
but were ultimately abandoned. The specimens of cotton 
obtained are said to have been of good quality, but they were 
very limited in amount ; the native evidently preferred to 
devote himself either to the cultivation of foodstuffs or to the 
Qollection of forest products. 

Within the last few years further experiments have been 
made. In 1915 small quantities of cotton were grown in the 
Kasai region at Luebo, Luluabourg, Mushenge, and elsewhere, 
but the results were only moderately successful. Egyptian 
varieties showed themselves liable to various diseases, and 
American ones were not miich more resistant. Better results 
have been achieved at Nyangwe, where some experiments 
carried out under the supervision of an American expert show 
that cotton may be successfully cultivated in parts of the 
surrounding region. 

In 1916-17 attempts were made to persuade the natives in 
the neighbourhood of Nyangwe and Kasongo to devote part 
of their land to it, and 177 small fields with a total area of 
about 125 acres were placed under that crop. A market 
was established at Nyangwe, and the unginned cotton was 
purchased at the rate of 20 centimes per kilo, which corre- 
sponded to about 60 centimes per kilo for ginned cotton. The 
product was sent to Europe, where it was ciassed as equivalent 
to American ' middling '. In the same year the State farm at 
Nyangwe had about 135 acres under cultivation. The cotton 


which it produced is said to be of excellent quality, and the 
seed obtained has beeh distributed to the natives of Manieina. 
and Sankuru. In 1917-18 the area cultivated by the natives 
was considerably extended. The exports so far have been as 
follows : 

1915 . . . 2-9 metric tons 

1916 . . . 11.2 

1917 . . . 22-5 

The natives are reported to have been greatly pleased with 
the results of their labour, some of them having received as 
much as 50, 75, and even 100 francs. It is probable therefore 
that, if nothing unforeseen occurs, a considerable extension of 
the area under cotton will take place in the region between 
Nyangwe and Kasongo. The population is denser than in 
many other parts of the Congo, and appears to take more 
readily to the cultivation of new crops. 

As a result of the experiments which have been made, 
attention is at present being concentrated on two varieties 
of American cotton, Triumph big boll and Simpkins early 
prolific. The former, which is extensively grown in Texas, 
has a fibre of medium length, and produces a good crop. The 
latter has a shorter fibre but ripens early, and is particularly 
suitable for those regions which have only a short dry season. 
It is probably the best adapted for cultivation in the country 
round Nyangwe. 

Those parts of the Kasai region which lie round Luebo, 
Luluabourg, and Lusambo also appear to be well adapted to the 
cultivation of cotton, as climate and soil are both reported to 
be favourable. An experimental station at Loukala, north-west 
of Sankuru, has already given some satisfactory results. 

In the Lower Congo the demand for labour on the planta- 
tions will probably prevent much being done in regard to cotton. 
Little attention has so far been given to the Welle country, 
but it is a region which, given good means of transport, might 
well become of considerable importance. 

It is questionable, however, whether any great progress will 
be made in any part of the Congo, at least for a long time to 
come. Native cotton is of little value, and the cultivation of 
exotic varieties, such as medium or short American, involves 
expert superintendence. So far the aim has been to improve 
native methods of cultivation rather than to establish planta- 


tions on European lines, and.althougli agricultural experts a,nd 
missionaries can give much help, progress in this direction 
must necessarily be slow. Nor can much be advantageously 
done until means of transport have been greatly improved. 
The native is not likely to demand cotton for his own use, 
except in small quantities, for a long time to come, and 
arrangements would have to be made for the rapid export of 
the crop, in order to prevent its deterioration. Existing 
facilities, in addition to being insufficient, are much too 


The High Katanga is the only region in which the cultivation 
of the soil by Europeans has as yet made much progress. It 
would be incorrect no doubt to think of it as a white man's 
country, but climatically it is better adapted to European 
settlement than any other part of the Belgian Congo. The 
reasons for attempting to develop its agriculture were strong. 
Until recently it was necessary to import into Katanga at 
high rates the greater part of the foodstuffs required by the 
mining population. There was therefore an urgent need of 
an agricultural community whose labours would supply the 
home demand. That comparatively little progress has yet 
been made is hardly surprising. The majority of the whites 
who have gone there have been attracted either by the high 
rate of wages in the mining centres or by the prospect of finding 
minerals on their own account. Concerning the land there 
was at first little information. Practically nothing was known 
of the character of the soil, of the crops most suited to it, and 
of the best methods of cultivating them. 

The investigations which have since been made regarding 
the fertility of the soil are not yet numerous, and, though 
some reports ar6 pessimistic, there appear to be large areas 
suitable for cultivation. The rainfall is greater than in 
Rhodesia, and is more certain. At the same time the plateaus 
appear to be healthy, if some necessary precautions are takeni 
On the 'whole it seems probable that a considerable amount of 
deyelppment is possible, though it is unlikely that the / region 
will have a great agricultural future. In the course of a few 
years it may be able to supply the more important needs of 


the mining community, and even to grow one or two crops for 
export, but beyond that it is unlikely to go. 

The progress which has been made up to the present may 
be briefly recounted. Previous to 1909 a small number of 
farms had been established, chiefly by the British officials of 
the Tanganyika Concessions. As a rule they consisted of a 
few acres, and were cultivated by the native with his hoe. 
In that year, however, the Compagnie foncUre agricole et 
pastorale [La Pastorale) was formed with the object of intro- 
ducing European methods of agriculture into the Katanga, 
and for that purpose received a grant of about 375,000 acres 
from the Comite special (see p. 280). The task before it was one 
of considerable dif&culty. Most of the land was forested, and 
there were neither roads nor rural habitations. Animals, 
implements, and seeds were alike wanting, while native labour 
was both costly and hard to obtain. In these circumstances 
the company set itself to investigate the nature of the country, 
clear suitable areas, settle colonists, and provide them with 
houses, outbuildings, and other necessaries. Unfortunately it 
was handicapped by want of funds, and its activities were 
limited, but it performed a useful service, as it succeeded in 
locating good agricultural land in several districts. 

As Belgian settlers were not coming freely, and as there 
seemed a possibility that the best land would be occupied by 
colonists of other nationalities, the Government resolved in 
1911 to establish an agricultural department of its own in the 
. region. La Pastorale had started farms at various places, near 
Elisabethville, at Katentania, where it has bought cattle and 
buildings belonging to the Tanganyika Concessions, at Kapiri 
at the foot of the Biano plateau, and elsewhere, but the Miss'ion 
agricole decided to confine its labours to districts not too far 
distant from Elisabethville, which was the natural market for 
agricultural produce, and yet not too near it lest their native 
labour might be enticed away by the higher wages prevailing 
at the mines. Two villages were established as depots for 
mining wants, Nieuwdorp, 100 miles, and Bellefontaine, 78 
miles distant from Elisabethville. Lands were deforested, 
rivers cleared, marshes drained, and roads provided. In 
addition, an experimental station was established at Munama, 
in order to study the best methods of cultivating plants which 
appeared suited to the Katanga. In the south of the country 
several farms were established without State aid. 


In 1915 there were thirty farms and the total area under 
cultivation' was estimated at 2,145 acres. Since then there 
has been little change. Maize is everywhere the chief crop, 
but potatoes, sweet potatoes, manioc, and vegetables are also 
grown. Vegetables appear to be the most profitable crop, as 
they can be grown at all seasons of the year. 

The future development of the region must necessarily be 
slow. The cost of clearing the land and improving it is 
considerable, and must be undertaken with caution, as the 
really fertile districts are scattered. In some places drainage 
is necessary in order to minimize the danger of malaria, which 
in any case is frequent when the land is cleared for the first 
time ; almost everywhere irrigation must be provided to 
ensure a supply of water for vegetable gardens during the dry 
season. The valleys of some of the rivers contain fertile soil, 
but they cannot be immediately utilized, as the regulation of 
the waters must first be undertaken. It is also dif6.cult to 
obtain settlers of a desirable type, as the Belgian peasant does 
not take iiaturally to colonization. In his economical way he 
lives comfortably at home, and he shows no great desire to try 
his fortune in unknown lands. The few who do go abroad prefer 
the United States, Canada, or even the Argentine, where the 
difiiculties to be overcome seem less formidable, and where 
they may have friends and relatives. Even if colonists were 
more numerous, the State could not afford to settle large 
numbers at once. In addition to the expenses already men- 
tioned, which in any country would be considerable, and which 
are much greater in the Katanga on account of the cost of 
transport, the would-be farmers usually arrive without resources 
of their own. Houses have to be built for them, implements 
provided, and financial assistance given. 

On the other hand the development of the mineral industry 
will provide the Katanga farmer with a growing market for 
many years to come. Even at the present time he is very far 
from being able to meet its needs. In 1913, and the mining 
population has grown rapidly since then, it was estimated that 
to meet the home demand 9,000 to 10,000 acres of maize, 
500 acres of wheat, and a herd of 15,000 cattle would be neces- 
sary. Obviously then there is considerable scope for agricultural 

The only other region in which Europeans have settled to 


cultivate the soil is in the north-east, where there are a few in 
the vicinity of the gold mines at Kilo. 

The earliest .attempts at . stock-raising in the Congo were 
made by the missionaries, Les Peres Blancs, who had settle- 
ments at Baudouinville and Albert ville (Toa). Their first 
experiments were unsuccessful, but they seem to have sur- 
mounted their difficulties, and they now have a flourishing 
herd of 150 head of cattle. Goats and sheep are also raised 
by them. Another important experiment was made when La 
Pastorale introduced a herd of 960 head of cattle from Rhodesia, 
and settled some at Katentania, on the Biano plateau, and 
others in the district round Lulua. At the end of 1914 the 
herd at the station at Katentania numbered over 1,700. Most 
of the animals belong to the Barotse breed, and appear to 
thrive upon the plateau, if they are carefully treated. They 
would do better, however, if forage plants were to some extent 
at least substituted for steppe grasses during the dry season, as 
at that time the natural supply of food is scanty. The breed 
might also be improved by the introduction of good stock 
from Europe. 

In several other districts experiments are also being made. 
At Miao, about 25 miles south of Luluabourg, a State station 
has been established. The Marungu plateau is also said to fee 
suitable for stock-raising, and arrangements are being made to 
investigate its value. 

The whole question of cattle-raising is complicated by the 
distribution of the tsetse fly. 



The mineral wealth of the Congo is found almost entirely 
in the regions of older rock which surround the Central Basin. 
It includes copper, tin, iron, gold, coal, and diamonds. The 
extent to which each of these occurs is only partly known, 
and their value cannot yet be determined. 


The copper deposits of the Katanga have up to the present 
received most attention. The belt of country in which they 
occur begins a little to the west of the Lualaba, not far north 
of the eleventh parallel of south latitude, and runs first in an 
easterly and then in a south-easterly direction. In the west 
the breadth of the belt varies from 25 to 40 miles, but in the 
south-east it is considerably broader. Its. total length is about 
250 miles. The copper-bearing strata are harder as a rule 
than the rocks of the surrounding country, and in consequence 
the ore deposits are usually situated in the residual hills and 
ridges. One or two deposits, however, and notably Luishia, 
occur in low-lying districts. The hills which contain copper 
always form a strong contrast to the neighbouring lands 
because, unlike the latter, which are timbered, they are bare 
of trees and shrubs, while between them and the woodlands 
grows the misuka, or mahobohobo, bush (a variety of wild 
loquat), which is here an excellent indication of copper. The 
absence of trees, which is believed by various writers to be 
due to the presence of a solution of salts of copper in the 
subsoil, has facilitated the work of the prospector. 

The copper deposits are situated in quartzose strata varying 
from incoherent sandstone to pure quartzite, and in schists, 
shales, and limestones. The more abundant copper minerals 
are malachite, chrysocolla, azurite, and melaconite. Finely 
divided chrysocolla, azurite, and malachite are found impreg- 
nating the country rooks, and also in the form of mammillary 


masses, the three minerals also being frequently associated 
with one another. Melaconite, while often associated with 
these, occurs also in ores intimately mixed with limonite and 
manganese dioxide. 

The ore- bodies vary in size from comparatively small ones 
scattered over the country to largQ ones like those at Elisabeth- 
ville and Kambove, which are between 3,000 and 3,000 feet in 
length. These bodies, whatever their size, are very similar in 
general form, and probably all have a common origin. Near 
the centre of the deposit, and parallel to its extension, is a 
sugary sandy quartz, much fissured, in which copper carbonates 
and oxides occur in large masses. Away from this quartz the 
country rock is impregnated with malachite, chrysocolla, and 
azurite. The earlier investigators believed that the deposits 
were derived from copper sulphides, which probably occurred 
in fissure veins. According to their theory the ore-bodies in 
process of exploitation contained the copper derived from 
a considerable depth of sulphide veins, and it was, expected 
that when the latter were reached they would prove to be much 
narrower than the out-chopping oxidized ores. More recently 
some doubt has been cast on this theory of the origin of the 
copper deposits, and it is said that the small quantity of 
sulphides found to date, notwithstanding the fact that exploita- 
tion has extended to depths at which, under existing climatic 
conditions, the zone of secondary enrichment should have been 
encountered, is rather against the idea that the deposits are 
vein-like bodies. Various experts seem inclined to support 
the view that they are of sedimentary origin, but the matter 
cannot be regarded as settled either one way or the other. 
When the problem is solved, however, it will probably enable 
sa more accurate estimate to be made of the extent of the 
reserve of copper in the colony. 

The mining and smelting of copper ore were followed for 
centuries by the natives living in the vicinity of the copper 
deposits, and the mines worked to-day by Europeans were 
originally native mines, which have been re-located. The 
want of good means of communication is a serious drawback, 
and; the development of the copper-belt is at present confined, 
to its south-eastern and central parts, which are connected 
with the Ehodesian railway system. The most important 
centres are at, Elisabethville, Luishia, and Kambove, but new 


mines are about to be opened up at Kamatanda and Fungu- 
rume near the main line from Kambove to Bukama. 
' The Star of the Congo mine, situated about six and a half 
miles from Elisabethville, was until recently the most important 
source of copper in the Katanga. The ore, which is almost 
entirely obtained from open-air workings, is washed on the 
spot before being sent to the smelters at Lubumbashi. For 
some years it was obtained almost entirely by hand labour, but 
in 1914 steam shovels were introduced to strip off surface 
formations and mine the soft ore. 

The niine at Kambove was opened in 1913 on the completion 
of the railway from Elisabethville. It is reported to be 
enormously rich, and the Union miniere now obtains the 
greater part of its ore from this source. The high-grade 
material is picked out, and sent to Lubumbashi by rail, while 
the low-grade is reserved for future treatment. Luishia, 
which is about 55 miles from Elisabethville, on the way to 
Kambove, produces a powdery ore containing quantities of 
cobalt and iron, and a considerable part of it has to be screened 
or briquetted before use. Operations here were for some time 
suspended, but have apparently been resumed. 

Lubumbashi, which is situated close to Elisabethville, is the 
smelting centre for all the ore mined in the Katanga. By 
1915 five furnaces had been erected there, and two others were 
completed in 1918. As a result the plant at Lubumbashi is 
able to produce 40,000 tons of copper per year. The flux is 
dolomitic limestone, which is obtained near the Star mine. 

The provision of fuel for the blast furnaces is a problem of 
considerable difficulty. Originally coke was imported from 
Europe at a cost of £12 per ton, and later on from the Wankie 
coal-field in Rhodesia at a cost of £5 8s. In 1912 it was decided 
to build coke-ovens on the spot, and arrangements were made 
with the Wankie Company to supply, and with the Rhodesian 
railways to carry, coal at such rates as would permit the manu- 
facture of coke at about £4 8s. per ton. Two batteries of 
coke-ovens, which were completed in March 1914, have now 
a considerable output, while the gases liberated in the process 
are used for heating purposes. In the spring of 1914 also 
a contract was made with the "Wankie Company to provide the 
fuel necessary for the furnaces then in course of erection. The 
contract runs for fifteen years from July 1, 1915, and by it the 


Union miniere binds itself to take 100,000 tons of fiiel per year, 
of which not less than 40,000 tons and not more than 60,000 
tons shall be coke. The working of the coal deposits at Luano, 
about 50 miles south-east of Broken Hill, is also under considera- 
tion. The quality of the coal there varies, but as soon as a kind 
suitable for smelting is found operations will be begun. At 
the same time it may be noted that the Luano coal appears to 
lie in a somewhat inaccessible valley, and it may prsve rather 
difficult to convey it from the mines to the main line. Wood, 
which is found abundantly in the vicinity of the smelting- 
works, is used for the production of steam-power. 

At present only the high-grade ores of the Katanga are 
smelted. These amount to ^bout 20 per cent, of the whole 
quantity mined, and contain as a rule from 14 t© 16 per cent, 
of copper. The remainder of the ore is being reserved for 
future treatment, and its utilization depends mainly upon the 
extent to which it is possible to make use of the electrolytic 
process for the extraction of the copper. Extensive schemes 
are now under consideration for the establishment of hydro- 
electric works near the falls of the Lufira and on the Lua- 
laba, and for the erection of electrolytic plant at convenient 
centres. It is believed that by the leaching process low-grade 
ores down to those containing 4 per cent, of copper can be 
utilized, and that even high-grade ores can be treated by it 
more cheaply than by smelting. 

As the treatment of the low-grade ores is urgent — about 
three-fourths of the copper contained in the high-grade 
direct-smelting ores of the mines at present worked has 
already been extracted — and, as it was impossible to purchase 
leaching plant during the war, it was decided to erect a con- 
centrating plant, the material for which could be more easily 
obtained. This concentrating plant is now in course of erection 
and, when completed, will be capable of treating from 3,600 to 
4,000 tons of low-grade ore daily for the production ofconcen- 
trates. By the use of these concentrates it is hoped that the 
producing capacity of the existing smelting plant will be 
increased to 44,000 tons per year. The leaching plant it is 
proposed to proceed with later, when the necessary capital and 
labour are available. 

The production of copper ingots has increased rapidly since 
1911, partly owing to the natural development of the region, 


and partly to the greatly increased demand for copper arising 
out of the war. In 1911 the total output of the Union minihe, 
which controls the production, was 997 tons, in 1913 it had 
risen to 7,400 tons, and in 1917 to 27,460 tons. As a result 
of labour troubles in Ehodesia affecting the supply of coal, 
influenza, and other causes the output for 1918 fell to about 
30,000 tons. In 1916 the average cost of production and 
transport to Europe worked out at £41 1 Is. 3d. per ton, while 
the average price for which the copper was sold was £103 
per ton. In 19 the cost of production had risen to £61'7 
per ton. Previous to the outbreak of war the whole of the 
product was sold to Germany, but since then it has been sent 
to the United Kingdom. 

At the present time the Union miniere employs a staff of 
470 Europeans and about 7,500 Africa,n natives. Until recently 
the company had little difficulty in getting all the labour it 
required, but there are indications that with the further 
development of the mines the labour problem will become one 
of considerable difficulty. In 1917 indeed, and still more in 
1918, there appears to have been a decided scarcity. The native 
population in the south of the Katanga is small, and does not 
offer a sufficient surplus for working the mines. The Union 
miniere has, it is true, been able to draw upon it to some 
extent, but the bulk of its labour it obtains from Ehodesia, 
while a certain amount comes from Nyassaland. Eecently, 
also, negotiations have been entered into with Portugal to 
obtain a supply from Angola, but whether this can be de- 
pended upon is doubtful, as large demands are already made 
upon it by the cocoa plantations of San Thomd and Principe. 

The labour hitherto obtained is fairly efficient, judged by 
African standards, and the chief difficulties rise from the fast 
that the native, who does not love continuous work, frequently 
deserts in order to return home. "Wages vary according to 
circumstances. A few years ago mine natives began at 15s. 
a month, in addition to their food, and gradually increased 
their earnings. It was then estimated that on an average 
each native cost his employers £2 8s. per month. This was 
mainly due to the expense of foodstuffs, which had to be 
imported. As a result of the recent rise in prices the cost of 
labour is now considerably greater. 

"With regard to the future little can be said. The copper 


resources of the Katanga are believed to be enormous, but at 
the present time no accurate data appear to be available for 
estimating their extent. The depth of the deposits actually 
worked is unknown, and throughout the copper-belt there are 
many other deposits capable of profitable exploitation. A few 
years ago Mr. F. E. Studt (the metallurgist of the Tanganyika 
Concessions) calculated that the total reserves of ore above 
water-level in the Katanga exceeded 40,000,000 tons, the 
average content of copper being about 8 per cent. If this 
estimate be approximately correct, the Katanga is likely to 
prove one of the chief copper-producing regions in the world 
for many years to come. 

Deposits of copper have been found in other parts of the 
Congo, but so far they have proved of little importance. It is 
said that in many places copper sulphides occur in the practi- 
cally flat Kundelungu rocks. The deposits are small and 
' pockety ', and have no known relation to igneous rocks ; it is 
probable that they are of sedimentary origin. Near Siku 
M'Bidi, about seventy miles south-east of Kasongo, there is 
a quartz vein eight feet wide and traceable for about 100 feet, 
which contains a fair proportion of copper minerals. Cupri- 
ferous quartz-calcite veins occur in the same region (as, for 
example, at Kitala in the Lower Kata;nga). It is reported 
that the Geomine has recently discovered copper deposits 
at Baudouinville on Lake Tanganyika. In the Lower Congo 
cupriferous pyrites is abundant in the diabasic rocks. The 
Bamanga copper deposits, which lie on a small island in the 
Congo about seven miles below Ponthierville, were at one 
time worked, but now appear to be abandoned. The ore occurs 
in parallel fissure veins or in short lenticular bodies deposited 
in discontinuous fractures, some of which at least are faults. 
Along the Congo river copper placers (thin beds of pebbles of 
rich copper ore intermingled with recent river sands) are 
reported to exist. It is doubtful whether any of these deposits 
will prove of much value. Even in the island of Bamanga, 
where picked ores contain from 31 to 55 per cent, of copper, it 
has been found unprofitable to continue operations, and in the 
other places mentioned the conditions under which mining is 
possible are even less favourable. 



Tin is the most important mineral of the northern part of 
the Katanga. The principle deposits occur in a belt of country 
which lies on the north-west slope of the Mitumba Mountains, 
and extends in a north-easterly direction from a point near 
Busanga on the Lualaba by way of Kiambi to the Niemba. 
The Cambrian or pre-Cambrian schists of which this belt is 
mainly composed enclose bands of granite, and it is in the 
vicinity of these that the cassiterite, or tinstone, is generally 
found. The conditions under which it occurs appear to vary. 
In the south-western part of the 'belt the veins, which range 
from almost pure quartz to rocks which are practically peg- 
matic, are situated in the metamorphic regions near the 
granite, but sometimes in the granite itself. They are vertical, 
and occur in two sets : one which is quite uniform in its contents 
of cassiterite runs from north-west to south-east, while the 
other is at right angles to it, and is sometimes richer, but on 
the whole less constant in value. The veins vary in length 
from 300 to 4,000 feet. Cassiterite occurs in good and often 
very large, crystals embedded in the quartz and is frequently 
more abundant near the borders of the veins. Residual 
deposits, which economically are more important, are derived 
from the weathering of these veins. 

In the north-eastern part of the belt, in the country round 
Muika, the schists are cut by granites in which there are 
intrusions of pegmatite, and it is in these intrusions that the 
cassiterite is found. Following the course of the lodes there 
are beds of detrital material,' which are as a rule richer in 
cassiterite than the pegmatite from which they are derived, on 
account of the concentration which has taken place and the 
simultaneous abstraction of valueless constituents. 

The chief deposits which have as yet been worked are at 
Muika, a little to the south-east of Kiambi. They are owned 
by the SocieU de recherches minilres du Bas-Katanga, and 
are said to be the richest which have as yet been found. The 
mining so far has been little more than experimental, and has 
been undertaken mainly with a view to determining the 
position of the most suitable deposits. The monthly production 
in 1914 was about 10 tons of cassiterite, with a tin content 
of 65 to 73 per cent. For the further development of the 

TIN 209 

region it is proposed to build a hydro- electric plant upon the 
Luvua. When this is done it will be possible to erect stamping- 
mills and to begin working the mines in earnest. Just before 
the outbreak of war hopes were expressed that by 1917 the 
monthly output would be 200 tons. Owing to difficulties 
which have since arisen, however, the works have been 
temporarily closed down. One of the chief drawbacks of the 
region is the absence of proper means of communication. 
Before the war the ore which was mined was sent by river 
and rail to Boma, and the total cost of freight from Kiambi 
to ■ Antwerp amounted to about £20 per ton. The various 
improvements suggested will be discussed later (see p. 234). 

In addition to the mines at Muika, various others have been 
located. The Bakat, which owns those at Muika, has another 
promising block to the north-west of Kiambi. East of that place 
the Geomine has found tin, while to the north and south of it 
the MinerJcat has also prospected successfully. At Mulongo 
all three companies have claims. The Geomine has also 
located tin at Kikonja, and on the Lukusi between Kikonja 
and Mulongo, while the MinerJcat has discovered it between 
the Lukuga and the Niemba in the vicinity of the coal-field of 
the Lukuga. The mines on the Lukusi are at present the most 
important, and have hitherto produced about 300 tons of tin 
yearly, but a more extensive plant has now been laid down, 
and considerable developments are expected in the near future. 
In the south-west, where the Union miniere has extensive 
holdings, there are deposits of considerable extent in the 
neighbourhood of Busanga and Kasonzo. Those at Busanga 
have already produced a large quantity of cassiterite. 


Gold is found in various geological formations in the Belgian 
Congo, but with the exception of the country round Kilo no 
great source of supply has as yet been located. Lode-pro- 
specting so far has consisted mainly in tracing placer deposits 
to their source, and little success appears to have been achieved. 
The one lode which has been carefully examined is situated at 
Ruwe in the Katanga. The rock which contains the ore 
consists of a single indurated banded sandstone, which is said 
to be about 1,200 feet long and from 3 to 20 feet wide. 

flELo. cosao O 


It varies in value, but according to one estimate made some 
years ago it is worth about £3 10s. per ton in gold, silver, 
platinum, and palladium. Below tbe point at whicb the lode 
crops out the debris derived from it contains nuggets of gold, 
some of which are two inches in diameter and weigh up to 
300 grammes. The general opinion seems to be that the gold 
found in these nuggets was dissolved from the lode and 
deposited in situ in the detrital material. For a time these 
deposits were worked and a certain amount of gold obtained. 
Since then operations have ceased, but the Union miniere, 
which has concessions there, intends when the Katanga railway 
reaches Ruwe to investigate them still further, and if possible 
to develop them. 

Some quartz veins containing gold have also been discovered. 
One of these is situated about five miles from Kasama, near 
the confluence of the Lufonzo and the Lukala. It is owned by 
the Geomine, and is said to yield 30 grammes of gold per ton. 
Other veins have been found at Nhowa, upon the left bank of 
the Lualaba, north-west of Ruwe. The yield of gold obtained 
from them is small, but it is possible that richer ores exist. 
In the Katanga nearly all the rocks impregnated with malachite 
contain gold, but it always occurs in very small quantities. 
The sands and gravels in the beds of many of the rivers which 
originate in the copper deposits of Kambove and elsewhere 
also contain gold, which can be recovered by washing. 

The most important placer deposits in the colony are found 
in the vicinity of Kilo, where they occur along the headstreams 
of the Ituri. The country rock is diorite, and it is probable 
that the gold is derived from pyritiferous quartz veins, which 
seem to be particularly numerous at the point of contact 
between the diorite and the granite. The auriferous deposits, 
which are generally superficial, are believed to cover a much 
wider area than has yet been investigated ; they are known, 
however, to vary greatly in value. The gold itself occurs in 
the form of grains and nuggets, and has been worked at Kilo 
since 1905. No payable lode appears to have been discovered 
as yet, though rumours of rich finds are frequent. 

In various parts of the world gold ores occur in or closely 
associated with banded quartzite or siliceous schists rich in 
haematite or magnetite. The Kanwa mine, situated on the 
Tele river— a tributary of the Itimbiri— is a placer of this 

GOLD 311 

type. The region is a heavily wooded, sharply dissected 
plateau, formed principally of a gneiss-schist complex. Within 
this complex is an extensive band of quartzite, which is in 
part replaced by haematite. The gold is found in the beds of 
the streams which flow through the region, and appears to be 
most abundant in the vicinity of the iron-ore band and along 
the line of contact with the schist-gneiss complex. At Nebula, 
not far from Kanwa, there is another placer deposit of similar 
character, and gold has also been found in • the haematite 
quartzite of Babeyru, farther to the east. 

At Moto, which is about 85 miles north-west of Kilo, the 
country rock is reported to be granite, diorite, and haema- 
titic schists, and gold of good quantity is found, though the 
grains are as a ruje rather fine, and large nuggets are rare. 
Placers have also been found to the south-east of Moto along 
the courses of the Kibali and of its tributaries, the Lemba, 
Kadi, and Kira, and at the confluence of the Aru and Abu 
headstreams of the Kibali. 

In the Lower Congo gold has been found in certain streams, 
the clayey alluvium of which is derived from diabase. It is 
probable that the only deposits likely to prove of commercial 
value are confined to a belt in which basic igneous intrusions 
are particularly abundant. 

On the whole the Belgian Congo does not appear to be rich 
in gold. The mines at Kilo at present produce the greater part of 
the total output, which in 1917 was valued at 10,720,000 francs, 
and unless valuable lodes are discovered in the vicinity it is 
unlikely that they will seriously affect the world's supply. 


Diamonds are known to §xist in various parts of the Congo, 
but the only field which has yet proved of much importance is 
in the Kasai region. It belongs to the SocietS Internationale 
forestiere et miniere du Congo, and lies within the area 
drained by the Kasai and its tributaries from the west, the 
' most important of which are the Lovua, the Chikapa, the 
Longachimo, the Chiumbe, and the Luembe. As far as is 
at present known the diamond-bearing area is triangular in 
form, and measures 130 miles from north to south, while it is 
65 miles wid^ at its southern base along the Angola frontier. 



The first diamonds were discovered in 1907, but exploitation 
proper did not begin till 1913. The stones occur either in the 
present river gravel, particularly in the riffles and pot-holes of 
certain of the smaller streams and in the sand-bars of the 
larger ones, or in the alluvial deposits of the terraces which 
mark the former levels of the rivers. They are somewhat 
similar to those obtained in German South-West Africa, but 
on the whole are smaller. The average weight is probably 
about one-tenth of a carat, though at least one stone weighing 
about 15 carats has been found. A considerable percentage of 
the diamonds are water-white, while the rest are in part yellow 
and off-colour stones, and in part deep yellow, topaz, and 
apple-green. The output was estimated at 90,000 carats in 


For some years it has been known that there are diamonds 
in the Katanga, and investigations regarding the extent to 
which they occur have been made in two regions. The first of 
these is in the Kundelungu, where there are a number of 
' pipes ' similar in geological character to those which produce 
the diamonds . of Kimberley. The largest of these is on the 
eastern slope of the plateau in the basin of the Luanza, a small 
river which flows into the Luizi, a tributary of the Luapula, 
and here the chief workings have so far taken place. Other 
'pipes' are known to exist in the basin of the Katme, a 
tributary of the Lualaba, in the basin of the Lashipuka, a 
tributary of the Luapula, and in the basin of the Kasanga on 
the western slope of the plateau. 

The work at Luanza has been hindered by the hardness of 
the surface rock and the scarcity of labour, and, although a 
number of small diamonds have been found it is not yet known 
whether the enterprise will prove a commercial success. Before 
the outbreak of war it had been decided to open up another 
' pipe ' and to introduce more efficient machinery, but since 
1914 operations generally appear to have been suspended. 

The second region where diamonds are known to occur lies 
in the basin of the Lualaba, where they were first discovered 
in 1906 in the alluvium of that river and some of its tributaries, • 
especially the Mutendola creek. The district within which 
they have been found lies between the confluence of the Gule, 
a little north of Ruwe, and the mouth of the Kalule, a short 
distance above Bukama. About one-half the stones obtained 


are colourless, while the others are yellow, brown, and rose ; 
all, however, appear to be small. 

The exploitation of diamonds in the Katanga has so far 
been conducted by the Comite d' exploitation des Kundelungu- 
Lualdba. As other prospectors, however, claim to have made 
discoveries of importance, the Government has decided to 
withdraw its prohibition of diamond-mining in the Kunde- 
lungu by others than the Gomiti. But in order to regulate 
the output all stones which are found must be handed over to 
the Grovernment, which fixes the price. In 1917 it was 3 francs 
45 centimes per carat. 

Diamonds, topazes, and other precious stones have also been 
discovered in the north-east of the colony in the concessions 
granted to the Societe forestiere et miniere and the Societi 
miniere de la Tele. Regarding them very little is as yet 


Up to the present time the most important deposits of coal 
which have been discovered are those which lie to the north 
of the Lukuga river near Lake Tanganyika. The geological 
conditions under which it occurs do not yet appear to have 
been determined. By some it is thought to be of Permo- 
Triassic age, while by others it is considered to be much older. 
The gently inclined bed-rock in which it is found contains 
five, beds of coal from 2 to 6^ feet thick, and with a total 
thickness of about 16 feet. These beds are -separated from one 
another by less than 32 feet of barren material. The coal has 
been traced for some 20 miles, and underlies at least 12 square 
miles. The extent of the coal-field and its proximity to the 
Lukuga railway led to high hopes at the time of its discovery, 
hopes, however, which as yet remain unfulfilled. The coal, like 
that of some of the inferior qualities found in Rhodesia, is 
relatively poor in carbon, and contains large quantities of ash. 
For some time it was consumed on the Tanganyika steamers, 
but its use there appears to have been abandoned. Experiments 
made with it as fuel for the locomotives on the Kigoma-Dar- 
es-Salam railway have also failed, but will be renewed when 
deeper seams have been reached. A more recent report states 
that the coal mixed with timber is now used on the Grands 
Lacs railways and that the results are considered to be very 


satisfactory. Suggestions have been made to treat the coal 
mechanically in order to prepare it for industrial purposes, 
but whether such attempts will succeed is as yet uncertain. 

The coal discovered in other parts of the Congo appears to 
be even less promising. South of Bukama some seams have 
been found, but they are very impure, and contain much shale 
and pyrites. (It has recently been stated, however, that the 
coal is better than is here indicated, but definite information 
is still wanting.) Farther north, on Katanga Creek, a tribu- 
tary of the Lubumba river, there are carbonaceous shales which 
• contain coal, apparently of little value. Lower down the river, 
near Ponthierville, a few thin seams of coaly matter have been 


Iron ore of various grades is widely distributed in the 
Belgian Congo, but owing to their relative inaccessibility they 
have been investigated only to a slight extent, and com- 
paratively little is known about them. The deposits which 
may ultimately prove of commercial value occur in the older 
rocks surrounding the Central Basin. The most important 
are probably those lying in the Katanga to the south of the 
copper belt. They consist of haematite and magnetite, which 
are altered to limonite near the surface and along planes of 
free water circulation. As they are usually harder than the 
surrounding rocks, they often stand up as conical hills. In 
the vicinity of the Lualaba, in the west of this district, some 
of the ores are reported to contain 65 per cent, of iron. The 
want of fuel for smelting the ore, and the prohibitive cost of 
exporting it, have prevented any attempt to exploit it,' and it 
would seem likely that, for a considerable time at least, the 
iron ores of the Katanga must remain among the undeveloped 
resources of the country. 

The Kasai region consists of flat-lying sandstones and shales 
resting upon a surface of older rocks believed to be pre- 
Cambrian. The deeper river-valleys have cut through this 
blanket of younger rocks, exposing the older formations, which 
also rise up in places from among the sandstone. The pre- 
dominant older rock within the area bounded by the Kasai, 
the Luebo, and the Lulua is an iron formation. It appears to 

IRON 215 

be a dark-grey, brown, or red-banded rock, closely resembling 
the banded iron ores in the Vermilion range in Michigan. 
Haematite and magnetite are its principal constituents. 

In the Welle region there are also considerable deposits of 
iron ore, which form lines of conical hills running a little west 
of north parallel to the general strike of the ancient schists 
and gneisses. They consist of dense, rather fine-grained 
haematite, with some magnetite, and are often banded, the 
purer ore bands alternating with those of a more siliceous 

In the east of the colony the mountains in the Maniema- 
Kivu region are also reported to be rich in iron ores. They 
usually occur in conical peaks and rounded mountains, and 
are of all gradations, from light-coloured impure quartzite, the 
rock replaced, to dense fine-grained specular haematite, with 
some magnetite. 

Over a great part of the Congo there are also superficial 
deposits of iron ore. They include ferruginous clays and 
sandstones, and are in part detrital deposits, the ferruginous 
residuum of rocks which have weathered away, and in part 
chemical deposits laid down by surface waters heavily charged 
with iron. At one time they furnished the native with the 
greater part of the iron which he used, but it is questionable 
whether they would be regarded as worth exploitation by 
European methods. 

As it is unlikely that the iron resources of the Congo will 
be developed for a considerable time to come, comparatively 
little attention has been paid to them, and few details regard- 
ing their character and value are obtainable. But that they 
constitute a valuable reserve of wealth for the colony can 
hardly be doubted. 

Bituminous Shales 

In the rocks of the Lualaba system some beds of bituminous 
shales have been found in the vicinity of Ponthierville, near 
Stanleyville, and at several points along the line between 
these towns. The beds have a maximum thickness of about 
5 feet, and upon distillation yield from 70 to 170 litres of oil 
per ton. Associated with some of the outcrops are thin layers 
of lignite. A company has bored for oil without success, and 


whether it will ultimately be found appears to be doubtful. 
Much depends upon the degree of folding which exists in the 
Lualaba rocks underlying the Central Basin, and the soundings 
which have so far been made are not particularly encouraging. 
Bituminous rocks have also been reported from various places 
along the Atlantic coast. In the vicinity of Chipanga there are 
folded sandstone and cavernous limestone of considerable 
thickness. These rocks are 'saturated with asphalt, and upon 
analysis show about 24 per cent, of asphaltic matter. Several 
small oil-seeps rise there, and the general geological formation 
is believed to be favourable for finding oil. Bitumen is from 
time to time said to be found floating on the surface of Lake 

Miscellaneous Mineeals 

Metallic. — Platinum and palladium occur in the gold- 
bearing veins, and platinum iti the detrital deposits at Euwe. 
A little native silver is associated with the copper ores at 
Bamanga, and the galena of the copper quartz vein at Kitala 
in the Lower Katanga is reported to be slightly argentiferous. 
A little galena has been found at several points along the 
railway in the Lower Congo, and to the east of the Lulua river, 
about 7° S. In the Katanga manganese ores are frequently 
associated with the iron deposits, but their value is unknown. 
Tungsten is said to occur in the granitic region of Mulongo, 
and traces of it are also found with the tin at Kiambi. 

Non-Metallic. — Rock-salt is not known to exist, but in 
the eastern part of the colony there are a number of hot and 
cold springs, from which the natives of that district have long 
obtained salt. Many of these springs are situated along faults 
parallel to the Great Rift Valley. Near Nyangwe and on the 
shores of Lake, Tanganyika there are other springs from which 
salt is occasionally obtained. In various parts of the Katanga 
saline springs, mostly thermal, are quite common. Among 
other non-metallic minerals may be mentioned monazite, 
zircon, and anatase, which have been found in concentrates in 
gold-prospecting. Ba;rite occurs in large residual masses on 
the Lower Congo railway half-way between Thysville and 
Matadi. Asbestos is said to occur in the Katanga. 



The Belgian Congo has at the present time 1,250 miles (2,013 
kilometres) of railway. The first lines to be constructed were 
those which link up the navigable reaches of the Congo. Later 
on the mineral region of the Katanga was connected with the 
South African system, and the railway has since been continued 
to Bukama at the head of navigation on the Lualaba. A third 
important line is that which runs from Kabalo on the Lualaba 
to Albertville on Lake Tanganyika and," in conjunction with 
the Kigoma-Dar-es-Salam railway, opens up a route to the 
Indian Ocean. The most important development of the im- 
mediate future will be the completion of the line connecting 
the Katanga railway at Chilongo with Lobito Bay on the 

As the great system of inland waterways afforded by the 
Congo and its tributaries was entirely cut off from access to 
the sea by the long series of falls and rapids which lie between 
Leopoldville on Stanley Pool and Matadi on the lower Congo, 
the necessity for a railway connecting these two places was 
felt from the moment that attempts were first made to develop 
the interior. In 1885 a group of British capitalists sought a 
concession for the construction of such a line, but they made 
conditions to which the Independent State was unable to 
agree, and the project fell through. In 1887, under the auspices 
of the Compagnie du Congo pour le commerce et I'industrie, 
a preliminary survey of the route of the proposed line was 
initiated, and in 1899 the Compagnie du chemin de fer du 
Congo was founded to undertake its construction. "Work was 
actually begun in March 1890, and in March 1898 railhead 
reached Dolo, on Stanley Pool. 

The construction of the line involved very considerable 
engineering difficulties. The structure of the so-called Crystal 
Mountains in the part where they are crossed by the railway 


is somewhat as follows. In the west there is the massif of 
Palabala, through which the Congo flows between Isangila and 
Matadi. Farther to the east is the massif of Bangu, or rather 
its prolongation to the south, in traversing which between 
Leopoldville and Manyanga the Congo has cut a rocky defile, 
where its waters descend in a series of falls over a succession of 
rocky barriers. Between these two massifs there lies a com- 
paratively level country drained by several parallel rivers. 
The watersheds which separate their basins, though sometimes 
high, are much less difficult to cross than the massifs already 

These physical facts determine the general profile of the 
lirie. As soon as it leaves Matadi it becomes involved in hiUy 
country and crosses the torrential Mpozo at a distance of 
5 miles from the town. Then it begins to ascend the Palabala, 
and 9 miles from Matadi reaches an altitude of 918 feet, 
having risen 711 feet in 4 miles. After descending the eastern 
slope of the Palabala as far as there is one, the railway follows 
an up-and-down course for some distance, and then gradually 
rises to the watershed which separates the basin of the Mavutete 
from that of the Lufu. Here it is 1,295 feet above sea-level. 
About 46 miles from Matadi it enters the relatively level 
country which extends to the foot of the eastern massif, a 
distance of about 84 miles. In this part of the route the rail- 
way crosses the Lufu, the Kunkula, the Sansikua, the Kwilu, 
and the Gongo. Here the greatest difference in height is 
between the crossing of the Lufu, which is 961 feet above sea- 
level, and the pass at Zole over the watershed between the 
Sansikua and the Kwilu, which is 1,575 feet above sea-level. 
Each of the rivers crossed, however, means a descent on the 
one side and an ascent on the other. 

Beyond the Grongo the railway meets its second great diifi- 
culty, the southerly prolongation of the massif of Bangu. The 
ascent begins at a point 139 miles from Matadi, and in the 
course of the next 5^ miles the railway rises from 1,903 feet to 
2,448 feet above sea-level. The latter altitude, which is the 
highest on the line, is reached at Thysville at the pass of 
Zona Gongo. From Zona Gongo to Tampa, a distance of 
56 miles, the railway traverses mountainous country, the 
lowest heights being reached at the passage of the Inkisi, and 
the Lukusu, 1,739 feet and 1,706 feet respectively above sea- 


level. Beyond Tampa the line follows the valley of the 
Lukaya for a considerable part of the way to Stanley Pool. 

From the foregoing sketch it is obvious that the physical 
difficulties in the way of the construction of the railway were 
very great. To overcome them involved a heavy expenditure, 
and unfortunately it was necessary, in order that the line 
should be constructed at all, to cut down the outlay on the 
permanent way to the lowest possible amount. It was intended 
indeed that parts of it should be provisional only, and that 
various improvements should be introduced as opportunity 
might offer. So far, however, little has been done, and the 
railway is now quite inadequate for the demands made upon 
it. The gauge is only 2 feet 5| inches ( -75 metre) ; the minimum 
radius of the curve was originally 164 feet (50 metres), but has 
since been increased to 196 feet 10 inches (60 metres) ; there are 
gradients of 1 in 22 on the straight line and of 1 in 35 to 1 in 
43 on the curve. The steepest gradients occur in the ascent of 
Palabala; elsewhere they do not exceed 1 in 30 except in a 
few sections in the mountain districts round Thysville. 
Numerous steel bridges had to be constructed in order to cross 
the rivers of the region. That over the Inkisi has a length 
of 328 feet, and several others are between 164 and 328 feet. 
Many of the bridges are on a steep slope, sometimes as much 
as 1 in 32, while some are on a curve as well. The most 
remarkable is perhaps that which crosses the Shute ravine. 
It has a length of 131 feet, a gradient of 1 in 36, and a curve 
of 164 feet (50 metres) in radius. 

The difficulties on the existing railway arise mainly from 
the steepness of its gradients and the sharpness of .its curves. 
The narrowness of its gauge is less important as far as the 
economical working of the line is concerned. But the steep- 
ness of the gradients does not permit an engine to pull more 
than three or four loaded wagons at one time, and on an 
average a locomotive does not pull its own weight of goods. 
The sharpness of the curves on the other hand does not permit 
a high rate of speed to be attained. Further the number of 
sidings where trains going in opposite directions may pass one 
another is still limited. The general result is that the expense 
of working the line is considerable, and freights, notwith- 
standing the reductions made in 1910 and subsequently, are 
still high. Until something of a drastic nature has been done 


to lower them the development of the communications of the 
interior of the country will be of comparatively little value. 

As a matter of fact the reconstruction of the whole line is 
necessary, as any minor rectifications which might be made 
would do little to improve the existing state of affairs. A few 
years ago it was suggested by Colonel Thys that the road 
should in great part be rebuilt, that it should carry a double 
track, that the gauge should be 3-28 feet (1 metre), or 3-48 feet 
(1-06 metre), the gradients not more than 1 in 50, nor the 
radius of the curves less than 492 feet (150 metres). He also 
suggested the construction of a number of tunnels, some of 
which would be of considerable length, of larger and better 
bridges over the rivers, and of numerous embankments. The 
matter was still under consideration when war broke out, and 
since then nothing has been done. 

At either terminus of the railway transhipment from rail to 
steamer or from steamer to rail is necessary for the bulk of the 
merchandise carried by it. But the facilities for this are still 
very unsatisfactory. After the line touches Stanley Pool at 
Dolo it turns westward and runs by way of Kinshasa to 
Leopoldville. The latter port, however, has few facilities for 
transhipping goods, and its proximity to the first falls of the 
lower Congo makes it rather a dangerous place for steamers to 
lie. Kinshasa, which is higher up and therefore safer, is still 
undeveloped as "a port, though various companies have wharves, 
and warehouses there. Proposals for the establishment of a 
satisfactory port on the Pool have been made from time to 
time, but up to the present nothing of much importance has 
been done. At the lower end of the line Matadi is also badly 
provided for receiving and despatching goods. 

Notwithstanding the difficulties under which it labours, 
however, the railway from Matadi to Leopoldville has played 
an important part in the economic development of the colony. 
It not only carries on all the trade between the ports on the 
lower Congo and the whole of the interior, with the exception 
of the Katanga and some of the eastern districts, but it is the 
outlet for all the goods which collect at the French port of 
Brazzaville on the side of Stanley Pool opposite to that on 
which Leopoldville stands. Some of this trade comes by way 
of the Ubangi and the Congo, and some by way of the French 
railway from Minduli to Brazzaville. The high rates on the 


Congo line are an additional inducement to the French to 
continue their own railway to the Atlantic at Pointe Noire. 

The present rates for the carriage of goods from Matadi to 
Leopoldville are as follows (before 1912 they had been much 
higher and had the effect of adding anything from 30 to 50 
per cent., and in some cases 100 per cent., to the cost of the 
goods at the ports of the lower Congo) : 

Class of goods Bate per met.iic ton 

£, s. d. 
Wines, copper, gold coin, and precious metals . . 38 

Textiles 30 8 

Silver coin ... 16 

Provisions 640 

Paint, varnish, oil 5 12 

Building materials, ironwork, copper money, and flour 4 16 

Salt, sugar and briquettes 4 

Rice, steamers, agricultural or industrial material . 3 4 

The freight rates for the transport of Congo produce from 
Leopoldville to Matadi are as follows : 

Class of goods Rate per metric ton 

£ s. d. 

Ivory 40 

Rubber 5 12 

Other goods 1 17 6 

The following table shows the amount of traffic (passenger 
and goods) on the line during the years 1911-16 : 

Goods in metric tons 

No. of passengers 

Matadi to Leopoldville to 


Leopoldville Matadi 




54,237 11,666 




60,176 ' 13,760 




62,210 15,219 




22,709 17,739 




29,968 31,567 


The Mayumbe railway, which runs from Boma almost due 
north, was begun by the SocieU des chemins de fer vicinaux 
du Mayumbe in 1898 with the object of developing the agri- 
cultural resources of the Mayumbe district. The original 
intention was that it should be carried to the French frontier at 
Dungu on the left bank of the Chiloango, about 124 miles from 
Boma, but the cost of construction was so great that in 1901 
the company was permitted to stop operations when railhead 
reached the Lukula, 50 miles from the starting-point. In 1907, 
at the request of the company, whose financial position appears 


to have been far from sound, the State took over the entire 
administration of the line. An attempt made in 1909 to reduce 
the freights which had been fixed by the company was un- 
successful, as that body refused its consent. In 1910 the State 
continued the line across the Lukula towards Chela, and on 
this section, where it had sole control, charged rates which were 
lower by 50 per cent, than those on the southern section. This 
state of affairs soon became very unsatisfactory, as the higher 
rates which prevailed in the south checked the development 
both of the line and the country through which it passed, and 
in 1914, the State decided to take over the whole line. The rates 
existing in 1918 were, however, still very high. It is said that in 
Africa the charge on ordinary merchandise ought not to exceed 
Ifd. per ton-mile (10 c. per tonne-kilometre), and on wood 
Ifd. to ^|d. (3 c. to 4 c. per tonne-kilometre). The rates actually 
levied on the Mayumbe railway are very much higher. For 
cocoa the tariff is Is. yi. per ton-mile (78 c. per tonne- kilometre), 
for rubber 3s: 2d. (2 fr. 38 c), and for timber e^^^d. (38 c.). 

The railway has now reached Chela on the Lubuzi. It con- 
sists of a single line with a gauge of 1 -968 feet (-60 metre). 
There are no modern locomotives in use, and the rolling-stock 
is limited. 

After the completion of the railway from Matadi to' Leopold- 
ville the next stage in the development of the communications 
of the country was obviously the construction of a line between 
Stanleyville and Ponthierville, where the Congo is again un- 
navigable. The work was undertaken by the State with the 
assistance of a limited liability company known as the 
Compagnie des chemins de fer du Congo superieur aux Grands 
Lacs africains. This company was originally founded in 
1902 to connect the Congo with the Nile and Lakes Tanganyika 
and Albert by a vast system of railways. It quickly realized, 
however, that such a grandiose scheme was quite beyond 
its powers for the time heing, and adopted the much more 
practicable idea of turning by means of railways the unnavi- 
gable portions of the Congo above Stanley Falls and between 
Sendwe and the Porte d'Enfer. 

The rapids between Ponthierville and Stanleyville are not 
caused, like those below Stanley Pool, by the passage of the 
river through a mountain region, but by a gradual fell in the 
level of the land. Between the first fall immediately below 


Ponthierville and the last immediately above Stanleyville the 
river falls 131 feet. The railway forms the chord to the curve 
which the Congo describes between the two towns mentioned. 
It runs through forest country in which there are no great 
changes of altitude, and the chief physical obstacles to be 
overcome are the relatively deep valleys of a number of rivers 
following parallel courses to the Congo, which they join on its 
left bank. 

The line starts on the left bank of the river opposite to 
Stanleyville, the initial height above sea-level being 1,404 feet. 
The track follows a course which rises with alternate ascents 
and descents to a point between the Usengwe and Bikubi 
rivers, where it is 361 feet higher than at the starting-point. 
From this point, which is 71 miles distant from Stanleyville 
and only 10 miles distant from Ponthierville, the line descends to 
the latter town situated at a height of 1,543 feet above sea-level. 

In the construction of the railway attention was paid to the 
lessons taught by the working of the Matadi-Leopoldville line. 
The metre gauge (3-28 feet) was adopted, the minimum radius 
for the curves was fixed at 328 feet (100 metres), and the 
maximum gradient at 1 in 50. For purposes of traction these 
limits are slightly increased, owing to the fact that some of the 
steepest gradients occur on the curves. The sleepers are made 
of wood which was cut in the vicinity, hombali, a very hard 
close-grained red wood resembling cedar, giving the most 
satisfactory results. Of the fourteen bridges which were 
rendered necessary by the rivers the first to be constructed 
were made of wood and the remainder of steel. The longest 
are those over- the Malinda and the Biaro ; they do not exceed 
210 feet in length. The additional expense involved in the 
more careful construction of the line has been fully repaid 
by the greater efficiency of the locomotives employed and by 
reduced running expenses. 

The second line built by the Compagnie des Grands Lacs is 
that which runs from Kindu to Kongolo. The course which 
it follows is somewhat more difficult than that of the first line. 
The station at Kindu is situated on the left bank of the Congo 
a little below the village of Sendwe, where the river is ob- 
structed by rapids. As far as the crossing of the Lufube, about 
107 miles from Kindu, the railway follows the upstream course 
of the river, and is never more than 10 miles from its bank. 


In this section the construction of the permanent way pre- 
sented few difficulties. The country, except near Kindu, is 
generally flat, and the bridges which it was necessary to con- 
struct were neither numerous nor important. Beyond the 
Mulengoi the railway departs from the river, and more difficult 
country begins. One important obstacle which it was necessary 
to overcome was the range of heights which are continued 
across the Congo at the Porte d'Enfer. 

The line, which is on the metre gauge, has a length of 
217-5 miles. The details given with regard to the construction 
of the line from Stanleyville to Ponthierville apply in this 
case also, with the exception that wooden sleepers are replaced 
by metal ones. 

The third railway built by the Compagnie des Grands Lacs 
is that which connects Kabalo with Albertville on Lake Tan- 
ganyika. The German line from Dar-es-Salam to Kigoma by 
way of Tabora threatened to bring the western shores of Lake 
Tanganyika and some of the eastern districts of the Congo 
within the German sphere of influence, and the Belgian line 
was constructed partly at least with the object of providing an 
alternative route which would be confined to the colony. The 
railway was begun in 1911, but owing to the war its com- 
pletion was delayed until the Germans were finally defeated 
on Lake Tanganyika. 

The railway begins at Kabalo, situated on the Lualaba a 
short distance to the south of Kongolo, and takes advantage 
of the gap through which the Lukuga flows from Lake Tan- 
ganyika. It has a length of about 168 miles, and for the first 
part of its way runs on the left bank of the Lukuga, but at a 
considerable distance from the river itself. Here there are 
no engineering difficulties of any kind, but at about 103 miles 
from Kabalo a considerable amount of work was involved in 
carrying the track from the high ground which it had hitherto 
occupied down to the valley of the Lukuga, which it follows 
for the last 43 miles or so of its course. Farther on also some 
blasting was necessary in order to prepare the way through 
the gorge of Mitwanzi, in which the Lukuga flows shortly 
after it leaves the lake. 

As regards gauge and methods of construction the line 
appears to be similar to the other sections of the Grands Lacs 



The following tables show the traffic (passenger and goods) 
carried on the different sections of the Grands Lacs railway 
since 1912 : 

Stanleyville — Ponthierville Section 

Goods in metric tons 

No. of 

Stanleyville to Ponthierville to 



Ponthierville Stanleyville 




17,471 766 




22,002 1,970 




23,147 2,248 




12,022 2,450 


KiNDu— KoNGOLO Section 

Goods in metric tons 

No. of 

Kindu to Kongolo to 



Kongolo Kindu 




13,701 334 




15,343 365 




21,149 3,530 




4,779 230 





The heavy trafBc in an upstream direction on both sections, 

especially during the first three years, is to be explained in 

part by the fact that a considerable quantity of material was 

being imported at that time for the construction of the line 

from Kabalo to Albertville on Lake Tanga;nyika. On the 

Kindu-Kongolo section, for example, the Grands Lacs company 

carried the following traffic for its own account : 

Goods in metric tons 

Kindu to Kongolo Kongolo to Kindu 

12,165 57 

13,290 159 

16,607 3,428 

2,365 90 

A certain amount of railway material was also sent by this 
route to Bahama for the construction of the northern part ef 
the Katanga railway. 

The longest and in some respects the most important rail- 
way in the Belgian Congo is that which runs through the 
Katanga from Sakania on the frontier, where it connects with 
the South African and Ehodesian system to Bukama at the 
head of steam navigation on the Congo.^ By it the valuable 
mineral region of the Katanga is brought into direct railway 
communication with the ports of East and South Africa, and is 
also connected by rail and river with the ports on the 
lower Congo. 

BBLo. coaao 


From the time when the possibility of finding great stores 
of mineral wealth in the Katanga was first realized the question 
of connecting it with the outside world became of the first 
importance. In 1902 the Compagnie du chemin de fer du 
Katanga was founded with the object of studying the route 
and eventually constructing the line which would connect the 
Rhodesian frontier with the navigable Congo. At that time 
little could be done, as the railway from the south was 
still 500 miles distant from the frontier. By 1906 the 
position had sensibly improved. The Ehodesiaii railway 
had reached Broken Hill, which was only 140 miles from 
the frontier, and the Tanganyika Concessions had begun to 
prospect for minerals. Two things were, however, requisite 
for the development of the copper mines which they dis- 
covered, railways and coal. As the latter could be obtained 
from the Wankie field about 60 miles south of Victoria Falls, 
the case for the railway became very strong, and in 1908 an 
agreement was arrived at by which the Tanganyika Con- 
cessions agreed to furnish the money necessary for its con- 
struction from Broken Hill to the frontier at Sakania, while 
the Compagnie du chemin de fer du Katanga agreed to con- 
tinue it to the copper mines at Elisabethville. Work was 
immediately begun ; in November 1909 railhead reached the 
Belgo-Ehodesian frontier, and in October 1910 it arrived at 
Elisabethville. As far as the actual development of the 
Katanga mines was then concerned the most important part 
of the work was thus completed, as an inlet for coal and oiher 
mining requisites and an outlet for copper had been provided. 
But from the Belgian point of view much had still to be done. 
The Government viewed with considerable apprehension the 
way in which the Katanga appeared to be falling under the 
economic control of British and South African groups, and 
desired to link it up more closely with the remainder of the 
colony. The Compagnie du chemin de fer du Congo accord- 
ingly arranged to begin work at Bukama, notwithstanding the 
difficulties in the way of transporting the necessary material 
to that place, and to build a line southwards, while a Belgian 
company, the Societe coloniale de construction, founded by the 
Societe commerciale et miniere, undertook the construction of 
the line from Elisabethville, which it was to continue until it 
should meet the line coming from Bukama. In June 1913 


Elisabethville was linked up with Kambove,* 96 miles distant, 
and the whole work seemed likely to be completed in 1915, 
when all plans were disarranged by the war. Progress became 
much slower, but in July 1915 railhead had advanced to 
Chilongo, 69 miles from Kambove. Shortly thereafter the 
financial position improved, work was energetically resumed 
on both sections of the line, and, notwithstanding the con- 
siderable engineering difficulties encountered in traversing 
the 'Biano country, the line was successfully completed in 
May 1918. 

For the greater part of the way the railway runs across the 
plateau country of the Katanga, where the line is comparatively 
easy to build. Beyond Kambove the land rises, and the rail- 
way reaches its highest point on the Biano plateau. Prom 
there a steep descent leads to the valley of the Lualaba at 
Bukama, and it was on this section of the line that the con- 
struction of the permanent way presented most difficulties. 
The Katanga railway between the frontier and Bukama has a 
length of about 450 miles. Like other lines connecting with 
the South African system, it has a gauge of 3-48 feet (1-06 
metre). Both rails and sleepers are of steel, the use of wood 
for the latter being rendered impossible by the white ant. The 
rolling-stock is modem. The engines, which weigh 70 tons 
each, are as powerful as the large goods engines used in 
Belgium, but they are so constructed that wood may be used 
as fael. The wagons used for the tra:^sport of copper have 
a capacity of 35 tons, and are fitted with arrangements for the 
automatic unloading of their contents. Those which convey 
coal and coke from "Wankie to the mineral districts have 
a capacity of 30 tons. For passenger traffic corridor cars 
are employed, and the mail trains, which run twice a week and 
provide direct communication with Cape Town, have restaurant 
cars attached. Carriages and wagons are provided with auto- 
matic couplings, and goods and passenger trains are alike 
equipped with vacuum brakes. 

The principal stations between the frontier and Bukama, 
with their distances from the frontier, are as follows : Sakania, 
7| miles, is the customs station for all goods coming from 
Rhodesia ; Kasumbalesa, 95 miles, has iron deposits ; Elisabeth- 
ville, 158 miles, is the centre of the copper-smelting industry, 
and has a branch line to the Star mine ; at Kamatanda, 



243 miles, there is a branch line to the copper mines at Likasi, 
where the Union miniere proposes to erect works for the con- 
centration of the poorer ores; Kambove and Fungurume, 
357 and 300 miles respectively, are the centres of important 
copper-mining districts ; Chilongo, 325 miles, is the station at 
which the Katanga railway will eventually be linked up with 
the Benguella railway from Lobito Bay ; Kamana, 344 miles, 
is a mission station of the Peres Benedictins and the centre of 
their agricultural estates ; Lubudi, 381 miles, is in the neigh- 
bourhood of the tin mines belonging to the Union miniere and 
of the coal deposits recently discovered by the Simkat; Bukama, 
450 miles, is at the head of steam navigation upon the 

The traffic on the Katanga railway is already considerable, 
and with the development of the mineral industry will rapidly 
increase. In 1917 over 600,000 tons of goods were carried on 
the uncompleted line. This compares very favourably with the 
Matadi railway, where the annual movement amounts to only 
about 80,000 tons. The freights on the Katanga railway are 
also much lower. In 1915 they varied from l|d. per ton-mile 
(10 c. per tonne-kilometre) to B>\d. per ton-mile (60 c. per 
tonne-kilometre), according to the nature of the goods carried. 
Train- loads of coal going through to the mining centres were 
charged at the rate of slightly less than |d. per ton-mile 
(4-5 c. per tonne-kilometre). 

Various extensions of the existing railway system have been 
suggested. The more important, partly because it has strong 
financial backing and is already in course of construction, is 
that which will eventually connect Katanga with the Atlantic 
coast at Lobito Bay. So far as it has yet been built it lies 
wholly within the Portuguese territory of Angola, and is the 
property of the Companhia do Caminho de Ferro de Benguella, 
90 per cent, of the shares of which are owned by the Tangan- 
yika Concessions. From Lobito Bay the railway runs south- 
ward to Benguella, after which it goes first in a south-easterly 
and then in a northerly direction to reach the high Angolan 
plateau. The construction of this part of the course was one 
of very considerable difficulty. Between Benguella and Mount 
Sahoa the line rises 1,115 feet in 13| miles and passes over 
high embankments and through numerous deep tunnels, which 
had to be made in the granitic rocks. On this section of the 


line lies tlie Lengue Gorge, a narrow meandering defile, where 
it was found necessary to construct about one and a third mile 
of rack-rail. Beyond the Lengue Gorge the railway con- 
tinues to cross very difficult country. Between Mount Sahoa 
and the watershed between the Coroteva and the Chicutucoto 
the line rises from 1,128 feet to 2,903 above sea-level, falls to 
1,761 feet in the valley of the Catengue, and rises again to 
2,930 between the Solo and the Sapa. On the section which 
lies between 200 and 225 miles from Lobito Bay the Lepi 
Mountains have to be crossed at a height of 4,651 feet, and 
here the gradients are often very steep. Farther on, at Lepi 
Portella, the highest point reached by the line is 6,082 feet 
above sea-level. At Huambo, which is 265 miles from Lobito 
Bay, the altitude is 5,413 feet. Beyond Huambo the country 
becomes much more level. The line crosses the Bulu-Vulu 
plateati, which constitutes the watershed between the Kubango 
and the Kwanza to reach Chinguar, 323 miles from Lobito, 
where railhead has for some years been stationary. The 
embankments have been constructed as far as Belmonte, 
62 miles farther on, but the difficulty of obtaining rails 
during the war has delayed the completion of this section 
of the line. Beyond Belmonte the track of the line does not 
appear to have been finally settled, but its general direction 
after crossing the Kwanza is along the Congo-Zambezi water- 
shed. Few engineering difficulties exist, and it is believed 
that the work of construction will be easy. 

As part of the route has been only roughly surveyed, it is 
impossible at present to give exact figures regarding the 
length of the line. From Lobito Bay to the Belgian frontier 
the distance is estimated at about 790 miles, and from the 
frontier to Chilongo, the point of junction with the Katanga 
railway, about 385 miles. According to these figures Kambove, 
the present centre of the copper-mining district, would be 
about 1,245 miles from Lobito Bay, and Elisabethville 1,344 
miles. These figures must, however, be regarded for the moment 
as approximate only, and for their accuracy much will depend 
upon the route finally taken by the railway. 

The Lobito Bay railway will, when completed, enable the 
Atlantic port to enter into serious rivalry with Beira for 
the trade of the Katanga, and the main factors which will 
determine the routes taken by goods and passengers into or 


out of that region may here be considered. At the present 
time the chief means of access into the Katanga is by the 
railway which runs from Beira by way of Salisbury, Bulawayo, 
Victoria Falls, Kafue, and Sakania to Elisabethville, Kambove, 
and Bukama. By it the distance from Beira to Elisabethville 
is 1,619 miles, and to Kambove 1,718 miles. As, however, 
Salisbury, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, and Kafue are approxi- 
mately the angles of a four-sided figure it is proposed to 
shorten the route by constructing a line from Salisbury to 
Kafue. This would reduce the distance from Beira to Elisa- 
bethville to 1,032 miles, and from Beira to Kambove to 1,131 

Under these circumstances it is difficult to determine the 
direction which the trade of the Katanga will ultimately 
take. Until the Beira line is shortened all the conditions are 
in favour of Lobito Bay becoming the port of the region. 
Assuming that the figures given above for the length of the 
line connecting it with Kambove and Elisabethville are 
approximately correct, the saving of distance by Lobito Bay 
would be about 275 miles in the case of Elisabethville and 
about 473 in the case of Kambove. But it is questionable 
whether competition will ever arise in this form. The survey 
for the shorter route between Salisbury and Kafue was com- 
pleted just before war broke out, and it is not improbable that 
work may be begun on it in the not distant future. If and 
when it is completed the state of affairs will be somewhat 
different from that indicated above. Elisabethville will be 
about 312 miles and Kambove about 114 miles nearer to Beira 
than to Lobito Bay. But other factors have here to be taken 
into consideration. From Beira there are two sea routes to 
London, one by way of the Suez Canal, and the other by way 
of the Cape. The former is over 2,000 miles longer than the 
route from Lobito Bay, and is, in addition, burdened by the 
heavy dues at the Suez Canal, while the latter is nearly 3,000 
miles longer than the route from Lobito Bay. It is true that 
freight rates are usually higher from western ports than from 
eastern, but with the development of trade that inequality 
will probably be reduced. On the other hand Lobito Bay 
is one of the best harbours on the coast of Africa, and facilities 
for the transhipment of goods can easily be provided. Lastly 
it may be noted that with the development of the Katanga 


Kambove is likely to become more and more the centre of 
the producing area, and the relatively slight di£ference of dis- 
tance in favour of Beira (about 114 miles) is hardly likely to 
outweigh the other advantages possessed by Lobito Bay. In 
this connexion it must be remembered that the Tanganyika 
Concessions are largely interested in the prosperity of the 
Benguella route, and will naturally do all in their power to 
advance it. 

On the whole then it seems probable that in the future 
the copper industry of the Katanga will depend more and 
more on the Benguella railway for the carriage of its exports 
and imports (apart from coal). Still more likely is this to be 
the case in regard to the tin mines. The southern part of the 
concession granted to the Tanganyika Concessions for the 
exploitation of its tin deposits lies on either side of the railway 
south of Bukama, and the mines which are at present being 
worked are for the most part situated at no great distance 
from it. The alternative route here is that by way of the 
Lualaba-Congo and its connecting railways, but the numerous 
transhipments involved make it unlikely that it will be used 
for the southern part of the field at least. On the other hand 
when the northern districts round Lake Upemba are developed 
they will probably be served by it. "Work on the Euwe gold 
deposits, some of which are also owned by the Tanganyika 
Concessions, has been postponed until they are reached by the 
Benguella railway. 

The Government of the Belgian Congo, however, cannot 
be expected to view with complete satisfaction the diversion 
to a foreign port of some of the most important elements in 
its export trade, and various schemes have been suggested 
to connect the Katanga with the, lower Congo. The Trans- 
congolais, that series of navigable reaches of river linked 
together by railways, which now connects Bukama with 
Matadi can, as already indicated, play but a small part in 
the trade of the mineral districts on account of the numerous 
transhipments involved and the length of time required for 
the journey. Another projected line, and one for which the 
route was partially surveyed before the outbreak of war, will, 
if completed, link up Bukama with some point on the Matadi- 
Leopoldville line, not far from the latter port. From Bukama 
it would probably run in a north-westerly direction to the 


Sankuru at Mutombo Mukula. Keeping to the south of the 
Kasai-Sankuru, it would then go by Luluabourg and Luebo 
to Joko Punda at the head of navigation on the Kasai. 
(Another suggestion is that the line should go by Kanda 
Kanda and Kakota to Joko Punda.) From that point it 
"would run in a somewhat more easterly direction, and would 
cross the Kwilu at Leverville and the Kwango at Muene 
Kun'di. With the exception of some hilly country north- 
west of Bukama, the suggested route is comparatively level, 
and the main engineering difficulties would be connected 
with the bridging of the numerous rivers which flow 
from the Angolan plateau to the Kasai-Sankuru. The 
total length of line to be constructed would probably be 
between 1,100 and 1,200 miles, while the total distance between 
Kambove and Matadi is estimated at 1,600 miles. As far as 
the Katanga alone is concerned it is difficult to see what 
advantages such a line would possess over the one from Lobito 
Bay, apart from the fact that it would be entirely confined to 
Belgian territory. The distance is greater, and, until the 
Leopoldville-Matadi line has been reconstructed, access to 
the coast is more difficult. Moreover Matadi as a port is 
not to be compared to Lobito Bay, and, although it offers 
a shorter , route to Europe, it is very questionable whether 
the slight gain in this respect would compensate for the cost 
of the longer haulage overland. On the other hand there 
is no doubt that the projected line would be of consider- 
able value to the development of the country through which 
it passed, much of which is distant from good lines of com- 
munication, and it is partly with this object in view that the 
surveys have been undertaken. 

Another project which has been advocated in various quarters 
is the construction of a line from Kabalo on the Lualaba 
to Lusambo on the Sankuru. The distance between these 
two places is about 313 miles. Below Lusambo the Kasai- 
Sankuru provides about 600 miles of navigable waterway 
before its confluence with the Congo 132 miles above Leopold- 
ville. For the southern Katanga at least this route would 
notf prove very valuable. It is true that it is much shorter 
than the Transcongolais, and involves one transhipment less 
from steamer to rail and from rail to steamer, but these 
are comparatively slight advantages to set against the fact 


that four transhipments would be necessary between Bu- 
kama and Matadi, and that the state of the river between 
Bukama and Kabalo is very unsatisfactory at certain seasons 
of the year. "With regard to the north of the Katanga and 
some of the eastern districts of the colony the position is 
very different, as the completion of the lines from Dar-es- 
.Salam to Kigoma and from Albertville to Kabalo tend to bring 
these regions within the hinterland of Dar-es-Salam. From 
Dar-es-Salam to Kabalo the distance is estimated at 1,008 miles, 
and it is not improbable that a good deal of the produce of 
the country round Kabalo, as, for example, the tin of Kiambi, 
may find its way to the eastern port if an alternative route to 
Matadi is not provided. Before the outbreak of war the Germans 
sought to attract such trade by low freight rates, and the 
prospect of their success caused alarm in Belgium, as it was 
evident that Hamburg and not Antwerp would be the ultimate 
destination of the tin and other articles exported. It was 
mainly with the object of countering the German move that 
the Kabalo-Lusambo line was suggested. To make the Kasai- 
Sankuru a really useful navigable way will involve con- 
siderable labour, but apart from, that there are certain 
advantages in the proposed route. From Kabalo the railway 
haulage to Matadi would be little more than half that to 
Dar-es-Salam, while the number of transhipments would be 
the same. Steamer freights to Europe would of course be 
lower from the former port. A good deal will depend on the 
rates charged by the different railways, but it does not seem 
impossible that a considerable part of the trade of the 
northern Katanga may eventually be attracted to Matadi. 
At the same time, it may be noted, the coal-fields in the basin 
of the Lukuga are likely to find one of their most profitable 
markets to the east of Lake Tanganyika, and this will tend 
to encourage a return freight from Dar-es-Salam. An alterna- 
tive to this line is one which would run from Ankoro to 
Lusambo instead of from Kabalo. 

Two other routes which it is proposed to construct from 
Kabalo may here be mentioned. Navigation on the Lualaba 
between that port and Kongolo is not free from difficulty at 
certain seasons of the year, and the proposal is to Hnk up the 
two places by a railway about 55 miles in length. A through 
route would thus be provided between Albertville and Kindu 


which would facilitate trade between Lake Tanganyika and 
the lower Congo. 

The second projected route from Kabalo is intended to 
connect that place with the tin mines of Kiambi and with 
Pweto on Lake Mweru. Its exact direction does not appear 
to have been finally settled, but it will either follow first the 
Lualaba as far as Ankoro, and then the Luvua for the whole - 
of its course from Lake Mweru, or it will strike straight 
across from Kabalo to the valley of the Luvua, which it will 
reach at a point some distance from its confiuence with the 
Lualaba. The whole line will be of considerable value, but 
the part most urgently needed is the section between Pweto 
and Kiambi. Below Kiambi the Luvua is navigable for at 
least part of the year. 

As navigation on the Lualaba between Bukama and Kikonja 
also presents seasonal difficulties, it is now proposed- to con- 
tinue the Katanga railway northward to Kikonja. Such a line 
would be of considerable value to the tin-mining industry in 
the vicinity of that town. 

At the present time the north-eastern districts of the 
Belgian Congo are without good means of communication 
with the ports on the lower Congo. The rivers, owing to- the 
numerous rapids along their courses, are of comparatively 
little value, and the time taken for the transport of goods is 
excessive. Accordingly much of the produce exported from 
this region, and more particularly gold from the mines at 
Kilo, rubber, and ivory, finds its way to the coast of the Indian 
Ocean, at Mombasa. This route involves transport by porters 
overland, and by lake, river, and railway, and numerous tran- 
shipments are necessary. To overcome these difficulties a new 
line has been suggested which would start at Stanleyville and 
run to some point at the southern end of Lake Albert. From 
Boga one branch would run northward to Kilo, the centre of 
the important gold-mining area, while another would run south 
to Lake Edward. This line, when constructed, will prove of 
considerable value, but so far only preliminary surveys have 
been made. A railway from the Congo to the Welle is also 
under consideration. It is proposed that it should run from 
Bumba on the Congo by Buta, on the Eubi, and Niangara, on 
the "Welle, to the gold mines at Moto. A further suggestion 
is that it should be continued from Moto to the Nile, probably 


at Rejaf. The preliminary survey for the first part of the line 
has already been made. 

Another projected line, but entirely outside of the Belgian 
Congo, might conceivably affect the direction taken by some 
of its trade. At the present time a French line runs from 
Brazzaville, on the opposite side of Stanley Pool, to Minduli, 
but as it is not connected with the coast it merely acts as 
feeder to the Belgian port at Leopoldville. The proposal 
is to continue this line from Minduli to the Atlantic coast 
at Pointe Noire. The total length would be about 365 miles, 
and according to the plans under consideration at the out- 
break of war the gauge would be S'^S feet (1 metre), the 
radius of the sharpest curves 328 feet (100 metres), and the 
maximum gradient 1 in 50. The main drawback appears to 
be the want of a good natural harbour at Pointe Noire. On 
the whole it is probably safe to conclude that the proposed 
railway would, if completed, carry a great part, if not the whole, 
of the French traffic. Whether the trade of the Belgian Congo 
would in part take the same route will depend very largely 
upon the condition of the Matadi -Leopoldville line. If 
nothing is done to render it more efficient than it at present 
is, a considerable amount of trade might easily be lost to it. 
On the other hand the Government of the Congo is now con- 
sidering an extension of the Mayumbe railway to the mines 
at Minduli. This would provide a shorter route than at 
present, and would in addition overcome some of the other 
difficulties which have been mentioned. 

Inland Wateewats 

The Belgian Congo possesses a remarkable system of inland 
waterways. The Congo itself rises in the extreme south-east, 
and flows in a great curve throtigh the central part of the 
colony. One. of its tributaries, the Ubangi, with its head- 
streams, the Bomu and the Welle, drains the peripheral regions 
of the north, while another, the Kasai-Sankuru, performs a like 
function for those of the south. In the Central Basin a 
number of rivers' of less importance flow into the main stream. 
On the outside of the great bend are the Mongala, the Itimbiri, 
and the Aruwimi, which come from the north or east, while 
within the bend the Lulonga, formed by the Lopori and the 


Maringa, and the Ruki, formed by the Busira and the Momboyo, 
flow in a westerly direction. Farther to the east the Lomami 
has a course parallel to that of the Congo south of Stanleyville. 
Thus the waterways of practically the whole colony east of 
the Crystal Mountains lead to the main stream, which is still 
the chief means of communication in the country. 

This great system of rivers is, however, by no means so 
valuable as might at first sight appear. Its chief defect is of 
course the fact that as far as shipping is concerned it is un- 
connected with the sea, and inland navigation can only be 
said to begin at Leopoldville, the terminus of the railway 
which connects the upper and the lower Congo. The rivers 
themselves moreover vary greatly in value from one part of 
their course to another. Those which rise in the highland 
areas surrounding the Central Basin usually descend to it by 
falls or rapids, and these frequently form a complete barrier to 
navigation. In their rapid upper courses also they collect 
much sand, which is deposited when their gradients are 
reduced. Sandbanks which change their position more or 
less with every flood are therefore a common feature in many 
of the rivers. On the other hand the tributaries of the Congo 
which rise in the Central Basin have often failed to deepen 
their beds to any great extent, and their shallow courses are 
easily blocked by trees, sand, and other materials. The extent 
to which these various obstacles may be overcome will be 
discussed later. It must also be borne in mind that as a result 
of the annual movement of the belt of equatorial rainfall north 
and south of the equator the amount of water in most of the 
rivers varies considerably in the course of the year. The 
Congo, which benefits from the double rainy season to the 
south of the equator, is the chief exception to this rule. 

As hydrographical work in the Belgian Congo is still in its 
infancy, it is impossible to- describe in detail the extent to 
which its various rivers are navigable, and the following 
account must be regarded as more or less provisional. 

The Congo. — From Stanley Pool to Stanleyville the Congo 
affords a navigable waterway 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) in 
length. In the Pool itself, the Belgian channel to the south 
of the island of Bamu has a depth varying from 6 to 20 feet 
(2 to 6 metres), while the French channel to the north is 
almost everywhere over 10 feet (3 metres). From Stanley 


Pool to Chumbiri (some distance above the confluence of the 
Congo with the Kasai) the river flows between high banks, 
and varies in breadth from ],100 to 3,000 yards (1,000 to 2,600 
metres). This part of its course, which is over 125 miles (200 
kilometres) long, is known by the Belgians as the chenal, and 
by the French as the couloir. Notwithstanding some dangerous 
rocks, navigation is everywhere comparatively easy, as the 
depth varies from 10 to ^0 feet (3 to 6 metres). Above 
Chumbiri the Congo broadens, and its bed is occupied by 
many sandbanks and islands. Its average breadth is from 
5 to 6 miles (8 to 10 kilometres), but at Bolobo, Lukolela, and 
Gombe (opposite Liranga), there are short stretches where it 
decreases to 2 miles or less. With the increase in the breadth 
of the river there is a reduction in its depth, but as far as 
Coquilhatville it is navigable by steamers drawing 10 feet 
(3 metres) or less, and by lighters carrying not more than 
500 tons. The rate of the current varies. At Kimpoko, at the 
entrance to Stanley Pool, it is about 5 knots, while in the 
chenal it averages from 3-3^ near the banks (4 to 5 during 
high water) to 5 in the middle of the channel. A vessel 
steaming 6 knots would just manage to ascend the river, but 
most modern river-boats are much faster, and attain a speed 
of 15 or even 20 knots. The winds generally blow up-stream, 
usually between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Near the equator they 
diminish in intensity and duration, and north of it they are 
felt only between 1 and 3 in the afternoon. 

Above Coquilhatville the river again contracts, and at 
Monkero it is less than 3 miles from bank to bank. Beyond 
that point it broadens out and attains its maximum breadth of 
9 miles (14 kilometres) near the confluence with the Mongala. 
It narrows again near the hills of Bopoto, where some reefs of 
feldspar appear, and at Malela, above the mouth of the Itimbiri, 
but it remains a broad stream until the Aruwimi is passed. 
Between that river and the Lomami, however, it seldom 
exceeds 1,800 yards (1,650 metres), while beyond the Lomami 
it narrows to 1,300 yards (1,200 metres). From Bertha Island 
(20 miles below Stanleyville) to Coquilhatville the rate of the 
current is generally from 2 to 3 knots, and the bed of the river 
is much encumbered by sandbanks, which are constantly 
changing their position. As a result the navigable channels 
are sometimes not more than 6| feet (2 metres) in depth. 


Near Bertha Island the river is still shallower, and there are 
rocky ledges in its bed. As a result, ships drawing more than 
3^ feet (1 metre) have often difficulty in passing at times of 
low water. This period lasts for only a week or two, and for 
the remainder of the year the channel is open to vessels 
drawing from 4 to 4^ feet (1-20 to 1-40 metre). Steamers 
intended for the run between Leopoldville and Stanleyville 
are therefore built so as to draw not more than 5|- feet (1-60 
metre) when loaded, and they never take a complete load 
over the last stretch of the river between Eomee and 

Beyond Stanleyville a series of rapids interrupts navigation 
between that town and Ponthierville, a distance of about 80 
miles (12^ kilometres). It is believed, however, that the diificul- 
ties which these rapids present to steamers are not insuperable, 
and that they might be overcome either by a system of lateral 
canals or by a haulage arrangement somewhat similar to that 
which has been introduced on several European rivers. Even 
at present canoes are able to negotiate the greater part of this 

Above Ponthierville the river is navigable as far as Kindu, 
a distance of about 200 miles (320 kilometres). It varies 
in breadth from 650 to 2,200 yards (600 to 2,000 metres), 
and is suitable for vessels drawing not more than 6| feet 
(2 metres). It is said that this stretch might be prolonged 
for another 112 miles (180 kilometres) by the construction of 
canals with locks at Sendwe and Kibombo. A little higher 
up, between Kasongo and Kongolo, there is a series of falls 
about which little as yet appears to be known. 

Above Kongolo steam navigation is resumed, and is con- 
tinued to Bukama on the Lualaba, a distance of 400 miles 
(640 kilometres). As far as the neighbourhood of Lake Kisale 
the river flows at a rate of 4 knots, and can be navigated by 
ships drawing less than 6A feet (2 metres) of water. It then 
becomes covered with papyrus, and navigation is obstructed to 
some extent ; a fairway can, however, be maintained without 
great difficulty. In Lake Kisale, also, there is much floating 
vegetation, but the ComiU special has constructed a kind of 
palisade on either side of the navigable channel which prevents 
it from being blocked. Papyrus ceases some distance above 
Lake Kisale, and the river broadens out, frequently to 220 


yards (200 metres). The depth of the river, which in the 
papyrus region does not exceed 5 feet (1-5 metre), in the dty 
season falls still further, and at times oT low water is often 
between 2 and 2i feet (60 and 70 cm.). This amount is sufficient 
for vessels carrying from 50 to 60 tons. Bukama, which is the 
head of steam navigation on the Congo-Lualaba system, is now 
connected by rail with Beira and Cape Town. 

The ITbangi. — The course of the Ubangi is not so well known 
as that of the Congo, though considerable attention has been 
given to it within recent years. In its lower reaches the bed 
is much encumbered by islands and sandbanks, which render 
navigation difficult. Nevertheless large river steamers are 
able to make their way upstream as far as the French post of 
Imfondo at all seasons of the year. Between Imfondo and 
Betu the river is also navigable throughout the year by all 
vessels drawing not more than 6^ feet (2 metres). Above the 
latter point difficulties commence, as there are occasionally 
rocks in the bed of the river which are dangerous at times of 
low water. The sill at Zinga is the most important of these 
obstructions, and at present prevents vessels going beyond 
Liben'ge for part of the year. But it is said that improvements 
might, with comparatively little expenditure, be carried out 
at this point which would enable steamers drawing not more 
than 3i feet (1 metre) to proceed to Zongo^ about 375 miles 
(600 kilometres) from the confluence of the Ubangi and the 
Congo, at any time of the year. 

Above Zongo there are many obstacles to continuous navi- 
gation. About a mile beyond the post there are rapids past 
which all goods have to be carried overland. They are 
then re-embarked on small steel steamboats, and taken to the 
foot of the rapids at Dunga, where land transport is again 
necessary. At the head of these rapids they are placed in 
steel boats or canoes, and carried to the foot of the Elephant 
rapids. Beyond that point light boats are used as far as the 
rapids at Buta, above which small steamers can ply for at 
least part of the year. These steamers go as far as Banzyville, 
which is about 620 miles (990 kilometres) from the mouth of 
the river. Here there are again rapids, and transhipment is 
necessary. During the dry season this stretch of the river is 
available only for steel boats or canoes. Between Banzyville 


and Yakoma, at the confluence of the Bomu and the Welle, 
there are frequent rapids, and steam navigation is .impossible. 

The Bomu is the northern headstream of the tJbangi, and 
forms the frontier of the Belgian Congo from Yakoma to the 
point at which it rises near the Congo- Nile divide. Rapids are 
numerous, and increase in number as the river is ascended. 
Many of them can be navigated by canoes during the flood 
season, but every year a large number of men, boats, and loads 
are lost in the river. The Bomu is on the whole therefore of 
little value as a waterway. 

The Welle, which is the southern headstream of the Ubangi, 
is probably more important than the Bomu, though its value 
is not great. It consists of stretches of good navigable water, 
broken here and there by rapids which are either unnavigable 
or can be navigated only with difficulty. The stretch between 
Yakoma and Jabbir is particularly bad, as it contains, among 
many others, the Voro rapids, the most powerful and formid- 
able on the river. From Jabbir to Angu matters are not 
much better, but there are a few navigable ■ stretches, 4 to 
6 miles in length, where the current is not more than 2 miles 
an hour at times of low water. Between Angu and Niangara, 
with the exception of the section from the Angba Hills to 
Niangara, where the bed for the first time becomes sandy, the 
entire course of the river is cut up by rocky stretches with 
occasional intervals of navigable water varying from 3 to 
8 miles in length, and in two or three places from 30 to 
40 miles. Notwithstanding the difficulties of navigation on 
this part of the river, it is used for transport purposes by the 
Belgians between Niangara and Angu, from which place con- 
nexion with the Congo is made by a four days' trek to the 
Likati river. Above Niangara the Welle is seldom used by 
the Belgians, and communication is kept up by a good road 
which runs along the left bank. On the Kibali there' is also 
good water in places, which is used by canoes as far as the old 
post of Vankerchovenville. 

The Giri. — The Giri, a tributary of the TJbangi, rises in the 
swampy country between that river and the Congo. Boats 
appear to be able to ascend it as far as Bomana, 135 miles 
(300 kilometres) from its confluence. 

Above the confluence of the TJbangi the chief right-bank 


tributaries of the Congo are the Mongala, the Itimbiri, the 
Aruwimi, the Lukuga, and the Luvua. 

The Mongala. — Small steamers can ascend the Mongala as 
far as the Likimi-Businga rapids and falls, about 50 miles 
(80 kilometres) from the mouth of the river. Farther up 
vessels of shallow draught can go at least as far as Bokula. 
On the Dua, one of the head streams of the Mongala, canoes 
can sail upstream for about 120 miles (192 kilometres). 

The Itimbiri. — This river, which is also known as the Eubi, 
is of considerable importance as an outlet for the trade of the 
•"Welle region, with which it is connected by two important 
routes. One of these runs from Buta on the Itimbiri to 
Bambili on the "Welle, while the other leaves the Likati, 
a tributary of the Itimbiri, at no great distance from its source, 
and runs to Angu. The Itimbiri, which in its lower course is 
from 150 to 300 yards (137 to 274 metres) wide, oaii be ascended 
by steamers, at least during part of the year, for about 100 miles 
(160 kilometres). Above Ibembo various rapids render navi- 
gation difficult as far as Jamba, but from there light steamers, 
or canoes in the low-water season, can go up the main stream 
as far as Buta, and up the Likati to the post of the same 

The Aruwimi. The Aruwimi between its confluence with 
the Congo at Basoko and Avakubi, about 350 miles (560 kilo- 
metres) distant, is an important means of communication for 
the region through which it flows. During the period of high 
water it is navigable as far as Yambuya for steamers up to 
30 tons burden which draw not more than 3 feet when loaded. 
At low water navigation is impeded by sandbanks and other 
obstacles in the bed of the river. At Yambuya there are 
rapids which necessitate a porterage of about a mile, and 
beyond it all goods have to be transferred to dug-out canoes 
for their long journey to Avakubi. On this part of the river 
there are many rapids ; some may be safely ascended at times 
of high water, while at others goods have to be unloaded, and 
the canoes taken through empty. At Panga the river dashes 
down with terrific force, but even there «anoes can be poled 
up by special crews of villagers, whose homes are situated on 
the high bank overlooking the cataract. 

The Lukuga. The Lukuga, which flows from Lake Tangan- 



yika, falls 770 feet (235 metres) in its journey of 188 miles 
(300 kilometres) to the Congo. Owing to its slight depth and 
numerous rapids it is of little use for navigation. 

The Luvua. — The Luvua, "which flows from Lake Mweru, is 
navigable for part of the year by light steamers from its 
confluence with the Congo at Ankoro to Kiambi, a distance of 
about 90 miles (145 kilometres). "While the tin mines at Muika 
were in operation it was of some value as offering a means by 
which the product might be exported. 

"Within the great bend the principal tributaries of the Congo 
are the Lulonga, the Ruki, and the Lomami. Their courses 
are all confined to the. Central Basin, and they flow for the 
most part through comparatively level country. 

The Lulonga. — The Lulonga is formed by the confluence of 
the Lopori and Maringa. From the point at which it enters 
the Congo to the confluence of these two rivers at Basankusu 
it has a length of about 125 miles (200 kilometres), and is 
navigable throughout by small river steamers. The Lopori can 
be ascended by small steamers as far as Ekuchi, and at certain 
times as far as Bosow, 280 miles (450 kilometres) from the 
confluence. The Maringa is open for an even greater distance, 
and small vessels go as far as Befori, which is 6ver 300 miles 
(480 kilometres) from Basankusu. The importance of this 
river, as that of the Busira-Chuapa, farther to the south, is 
due to the fact that it is navigable to within 100 miles 
(160 kilometres) of the Lomami, and thus serves an important 
stretch of country in which other means of communication are 
almost impossible. 

The RuM. — As far as its value for navigation is concerned 
the Ruki system is only imperfectly known, but there are 
probably from 1,000 to 1,250 miles (1,500 to 2,000 kilometres) 
or more of water suitable for the smaller types of steamers 
throughout the year. The Ruki itself has a length of about 
56 miles (90 kilometres) from its confluence with the Congo at 
Eala to Ingende, where it is formed by the junction of the 
Busira and the Momboyo. The Busira and its headstream, 
the Chuapa, may be ascended as far as Ikela, while two 
tributaries of the Busira, the Lomela and the Salonga, are 
reported to be navigable, the one to Itoko and the other to 
Donkankwa. The Momboyo, known above Waka as the Lui- 
laka, can be used as far as Monkote, and probably to the 


neighbourhood of Bombomba. Its tributary, the Lokolo, is 
navigable for some distance from its mouth. 

Between the Lulonga and the Ruki the Ikelemba can be 
ascended to Bombimba, 88 miles (140 kilometres) from its 
mouth, while to the south of the Ruki there is a good waterway 
from Irebu on the Congo to Bikoro on Lake Tumba. 

The Lomami. — The attention given to the development of 
communications on the upper Congo has led to the relative 
neglect of the Lomami. The river, however, flows through 
a considerable stretch of forest country, for which it is the 
sole means of transport. Small steamers run on it to Obenge 
Benge, situated about 225 miles (360 kilometres) from its 
confluence with the Congo at Isangi, but it is said to be navi- 
gable as far as Goma Vula, some distance higher up. Above 
that point it appears to be suitable only for canoes. 

The Kasai-Sankuru. — This river system is the most impor- 
tant in the southern part of the Congo basin, but it is only 
within the last few years that any systematic investigation 
has been made of its suitability for navigation. Above its 
confluence with the Congo at Kwamouth it passes through 
a narrow gorge, and there are rocks in its bed, but as far as 
Mushie it is navigable by vessels drawing not mote than 6^ feet 
(2 metres) at the least. Above Mushie the river widens out 
into Wissmann Pool. Here there are no rocks, but sandbanks 
are numerous, and the channels between them often contain 
little water in the dry season. , A fairway, however, always 
exists, though it is sometimes difficult to find as it changes its 
course from year to year. From Wissmann Pool to Swinburne 
rapids navigation is relatively easy, but the rocky bottom in 
the rapids themselves is encumbered with loose blocks which 
sometimes present difficulties. Between Swinburne rapids 
and Mondana there is generally sufficient water, and this part 
of the river can be ascended without much trouble. Sandbanks 
are numerous between Mondana and Eolo, and between Isaka 
and Bena Bendi, and sometimes impede navigation. Above 
the confluence of the Kasai and Sankuru the former river is 
navigable as far as Joko Punda below Wissmann Falls. 

On the Sankuru between the confluence and Lusambo there 
are few rocks, but the course is rendered sinuous by the large 
number of sandbanks which exist. One in particular, formed 
by the waters of the Lubi, sometimes prevents all traffic. 



Between Lusambo and Pania Mutombo the river is narrower, 
and the rocks which it contains render navigation difficult in 
July and August. Less is known of the section between Pania 
Mutombo and the "Wolfi" Falls, but it appears to be similar to 
the preceding one. 

The length of the navigable waterway on the Kasai-Sankuru 
has been estimated at 841 miles (1,354 kilometres), made up 
as follows : Kwamouth to Lusambo 764 miles (1,230 kilo- 
metres), Lusambo to Pania Mutombo 56 miles (90 kilometres), 
Pania Mutombo to Wolff Falls 21 miles (34 kilometres). The 
distance from the confluence of the Kasai and Sankuru to 
Joko Punda is about 116 miles (186 kilometre's). 

In a report made a few years ago it was stated that the 
Kasai-Sankuru might be navigated throughout the year by 
vessels 130 to 148 feet (40 to 45 metres) long. During high 
water the draught must not exceed 5 feet (1-5 metre), and 
d'uring low water 3^ feet (1-10 metre). Above Lusambo the 
river appears to be navigable for only about six months in the 
year. In order, however, to maintain, a good channel along 
the whole course of the river it would be necessary to dredge 
and buoy it at various points. 

Yarious tributaries of the Kasai-Sankuru are also navigable 
to a greater or less extent. The Fini, which drains Lake 
Leopold, and Lake Leopold itself are regularly used, and small 
steamers can ascend the Lukenie as far as Loja. The latter 
river, however, seems to present many difficulties, and the 
estimates made of the length of the waterways on the Fini 
system varies from 435 to 652 miles (700 to 1,150 kilometres). 
On the left bank of the Kasai the Kwango is the most impor- 
tant tributary ; it is navigable from itg confluence to Kingunshi, 
a distance of about 160 miles (260 kilometres), and by small 
steamers from above the falls at Kingunshi to the Frangois 
Joseph Falls, another 170 miles (272 kilometres). Still higher 
up short reaches of the river are traversed by very small 
steamers. An affluent of the Kwango, the Wamba, may be 
ascended as far as Kapanga. The Kwilu, which also flows 
into the Kwango, provides over 200 miles (320 kilometres) 
of waterway, and some of its tributaries are used by small 
steamers. Farther east the Kancha is navigable to Nadisma, 
about 87 miles (140 kilometres), the Loange to Chitombe, 
124 miles (200 kilometres), and the Lubudi for about 50 miles 


(8J kilometres). The Lubue is said to be available as far as 
Dumba, about 100 miles (160 kilometres) from its confluence, 
and the Lubefu to a post of the same name 124 miles (200 
kilometres) upstream. 

On Lake Tanganyika there are at least 373 miles (600 kilo- 
metres) of good waterway, and on Lake Albert 93 miles 
(150 kilometres). 

From the above survey of the rivers of the Belgian Congo it 
appears that the colony has over 8,000 miles of waterway, the 
greater part of which is navigable by steamers. In order, 
however, to develop and extend the system a more complete 
hydrographic survey than has yet been made is necessary. 
Until this has been done navigation will continue to be carried 
on under difficulties. Probably the most pressing need is for 
the improvement of those channels which are obstructed by 
sandbanks. At present only a few dredgers are at work in 
the country, and most of the rivers are unbuoyed throughout 
almost their whole extent. Owing to the shifting character 
of the sandbanks moreover the maintenance of a fairway is 
hkely to involve considerable trouble and expense, as much 
of the work will have to be done over again each year. Other 
improvements, more costly perhaps, but of a more permanent 
nature, will consist in the removal of rocks which at present 
render navigation dangerous in place's, and the regularization 
of the less important rapids so that the transhipment of goods 
may be avoided. Later on it may be possible to construct 
canals so as to connect the navigable reaches of rivers which 
are separated from one another by rapids or falls too great to 
be overcome in any other way. It has even been suggested 
that Leopoldville might thus be linked up with Matadi, but it 
is questionable whether a canal about 125 miles long, and with 
a difference of level little short of 1,000 feet between its upper 
and its lower end can ever give an adequate return for the 
vast outlay which its construction would entail. Probably 
the best solution in this case would be to improve the railways 
connectiug the upper and lower reaches of the river, and to 
arrange proper facilities for the easy transhipment of goods. 
At the present time the Matadi-Leopoldville line is unable to 
provide for the prompt transport of goods coming from the 
interior, and the terminal facilities are of a somewhat primitive 


But if the river system of the Belgian Congo is capable of 
considerable development the same is true to an even greater 
extent of the shipping upon it. At the present time this 
appears to be inadequate and badly adapted for the work 
which it has to perform. According to a recent report, which, 
although it does not pretend to be accurate in all details, is 
obviously well informed, there are on the Congo and Kasai 
seventeen steamers and sixteen large barges capable of carrying 
goods for considerable distances. In addition to these there 
are a number of small steamers, barges, steel boats, and canoes 
which are of considerable value upon the smaller tributaries, but . 
which, if they are to be economically used, ought not to convey 
their cargoes beyond suitable points of transhipment on the 
main streams. Of the large steamers referred to, five can carry 
500 tons, three from 250 to 300 tons, and nine from 150 to 
200 tons. The barges include four with a capacity ranging 
from 250 to 300 tons, and twelve with one of 100 to 200 tons. 
Some of these boats belong to the State, while others are the 
property of trading concerns such as the Compagnie Citas, the 
SocUU de huileries du Congo beige, and the Compagnie des 
Grands Lacs. 

An estimate made by the writer already referred to of the 
relative cost of transport by ships of diflferent types works out 
somewhat as follows. A steamer able to carry 500 tons can 
convey goods at a rate of about one farthing per ton-mile 
(1-7 centime per tonne-kilometre), while on one carrying pnly 
20 tons the lowest remunerative rate is about three-farthings 
per ton-mile (5 centimes per tonne-kilometre). A tug with 
a train of five barges in tow on the other hand could do the 
same work for one-twentieth of a penny per ton-mile (one-third 
of a centime per tonne-kilometre). These figures are probably 
only approximate, and do not represent existing freight charges, 
but they indicate the direction in which development might 
most profitably take place. As much of the export trade of the 
Congo consists of commodities for which rapid transport is not 
essential, there seems no reason why the use of barges should 
not be greatly extended. Whatever type of boat is used, how- 
ever, it would appear to be most economical to have it of such 
a draught that it can be navigated on the river for which it is 
designed throughout the whole year, and not during the season 


of high water only. At present some steamers are laid up 
for several months at a time. 

On the whole river transport appears destined to play a 
great part in the economic development of the Belgian Congo. 
As already mentioned, the colony has over 8,000 miles of 
waterway, and when the courses of various rivers have been 
investigated and regularized the total length of inland navi- 
gation will probably not fall far short of 10,000 miles. To 
construct anything like a corresponding network of railways 
would involve a vast outlay, for which, notwithstanding the 
higher rates that would be charged, it is almost inconceivable 
that there would be anything like an adequate return. More- 
over the rivers are on the whole well distributed, and pass 
through districts which are either now, or are in the future 
likely to prove, among the most productive in the country. 
Certain regions, it ia true, are less well-endowed than others. 
Southern Katanga, for example, raust always depend more or 
less upon its railway system, while the Welle region, one of 
the most promising in the Congo, can never be adequately 
served by its rivers. But for the Central Basin, and for the 
districts more closely connected with it, the waterways ought 
to be regarded as the main lines of communication. Transport 
upon them, if slow, is relatively cheap, and they can easily be 
connected with their hinterlands by light railways and roads 
upon which motor traffic would be possible. 


Most places in the Belgian Congo are connected by native 
tracks on which it is only possible to go in single file. In the 
dense equatorial forest and wherever the population is scanty 
progress on the march becomes very difficult on account of 
the tangled vegetation. Near the villages some attempt is 
usually made to broaden the path and to keep it clear. The 
streams are sometimes forded and sometimes crossed by means 
of a bridge more or less skilfully constracted by felling a tree. 
Occasionally the more energetic villagers construct wooden 

A certain number of roads have been constructed by the 
Belgians. As a rule they have been somewhat hastily and 
cheaply made. To attempt to construct them on the European 
plan is practically impossible, as the cost would be excessive 


in a country where stone is usually difficult to obtain. Two 
routes of sucli a kind were indeed attempted, one from 
Kitobola in tlie Lower Congo, and the other from Kapende 
in the Katanga. They cost about £1,500 per mile, and even 
now are of little value. To meet the demands of local traffic 
in regions which are being developed under European control, 
all that is generally necessary is a fairly level track which 
follows the watersheds between the rivers and avoids the 
damp and marshy lowlands. Such roads would only require 
an expenditure of about £30 per mile for their construction, 
and would be of considerable value to the country, as motor' 
traffic would be possible on them, and they would act as 
feeders to the railways. 

One of the most important roads in the country is that 
which runs from Buta, situated on the Eubi, a tributary of the 
Itimbiri, by way of Bambili, Niangara, a^jad Dungu to Eejaf 
on the Nile. It forms part, of a great through route from 
the Congo to the Nile, and some sections of it play an impor- 
tant part in the collection and export of the produce of the 
Welle region. !From Buta the road runs in a north-easterly 
direction, crosses the Itimbiri-Welle watershed and descends 
to the Welle at Bambili. It is about 16 feet in breadth, and 
is not macadamized except in places where there is much 
clay. In consequence motors cannot be used during the rainy 
season except in places. From Bambili to Dungu the road 
appears to be a mere track, and the river is generally used 
for the transport of goods, although porterage around the 
rapids is often necessary. Beyond Dungu the road runs 
along the Welle for some distance, and then branches off in 
a north-easterly direction by way of Faraje, Abo, and Yei 
to the Congo-Nile divide. In this region it again becomes 
suitable for wheeled traffic, but is not macadamized, and is 
not suitable for heavy motor traffic. Wagons drawn by oxen, 
donkeys, or mules are used, and horses can be employed on 
the section between Faraje and Eejaf which lies beyond the 
tsetse belt. 

From Stanleyville there is a route to Lake Albert and the 
gold-mining region round Kilo. It runs by way of Bafwaboli, 
Bafwasendi, Avakubi, and Irumu to Mahagi. Much of it is 
through forests, and the track, though it is a main highway, 
is bad, and quite unsuitable for wheeled traffic. From Stanley- 

JiOADS 249 

ville to the Ituri at Avakubi alone takes twenty-five days' liard 
marching. At Irumu roads suitable for wheeled traffic run 
north to the' gold mines at Kilo and south to Boga. The 
latter is continued across the frontier to Fort Portal in Uganda. 
From Kilo a good road now runs north-west to Moto and south- 
east to Kasenie, which is situated on Lake Albert. It is along 
this road that much of the gold from Moto and Kilo is sent 
to Mombasa. 

Another route which connects the Congo-Lualaba with 
more remote districts is that which runs from Ankoro to 
Pweto on Lake Mweru. It follows the right bank of the 
Luvua, and is over 200 miles in length. The prevalence of 
the tsetse fly makes the road unsuitable for animal traction, 
but it is said that it could be made fit for motor traffic without 
any groat alteration. On -the other hand it is proposed to 
build a railway line along what is practically the same route. 
A good road from Ankoro runs to Pania Mutombo on the 
Sankuru, and provides communication between that river and 
the Lualaba. It goes by way of Kisengwa and Chofa. This 
road is well constructed and is suitable for motor traffic in 
the dry season. 

In the Katanga rivers are usually of little value as means 
of communication, and various roads have been built. Some 
of these are suitable for motor traffic. One from Elisabethville 
to Kasenga on the Luapula, north of Fort Rosebery in 
Northern Rhodesia, has a length of about 130 miles. As far 
as Shifiimanzi it has a breadth of about 22 feet, but beyond 
that post it is only 10 feet wide. The surface is rounded, and 
in dry weather is excellent for motoring ; in the rains heavy 
motors would find difficulty in using the road, but light motors 
could run on it at all seasons. Kasenga, where the road termi- 
nates, is in communication with Lake Mweru by. the Luapula. 
Another important road is that wliich links Elisabethville 
with Bukama. It runs parallel to the railway from Elisabeth- 
vilie, passes a little to the north of Kambove, traverses the 
entire length of the Kapiri valley, climbs the high Biano 
plateau, and then descends to Bukama. South of Elisabeth- 
ville a motor-road runs as far as Chinsenda on the Sakania- 
Elisabethville section of the railway. Beyond Chinsenda 
it is continued by an old road which was at one time used for 
the conveyance of machinery to the copper mines. 


Among other roads in this part of the country may be 
mentioned the branch of the Elisabethville-Kasenga route 
which runs towards the Kundelungu plateau, a road begun 
in 1913 to connect Bukama with Pande, and .a proposed 
route which would run from Pweto to Baudouinville in order 
to connect the healthy and fertile Marungu plateau with 
Lakes Tanganyika and Mweru. Around Elisabethville itself 
there is a network of roads connecting the various farms with 
one another and with the town. Between Kambove and 
Ruwe over 300 miles of tracks, suitable for cycling from one 
mine to another, have been constructed by the Tanganyika 


By a decree issued in 1910 the construction of a pipe-line 
between Matadi and Leopoldville was entrusted to the Societe 
anonyme des petroles au Congo. The line was completed iii 
1913 and placed in operation at the beginning of the following 
year. It begins at Ango-Ango, a few miles below Matadi, 
and follows the railway for the greater part of the way to 
Leopoldville, a distance of about 248 miles. At Ango-Ango 
eight large reservoirs have been constructed, each capable 
of holding 1,000 tons of oil. In order to facilitate pumping 
the line has been divided into eight sections, alid pumping- 
stations established for each section. 

As the port of Matadi is diificult of approach by large 
vessels, arrangements have been made for lightening oil- 
ships lower down the river. The procedure adopted in the 
case of the British 3u7i, which was the first oil-ship to arrive 
in 1914, was as follows. At Kisanga a small 'tanker' came 
alongside and took off 700 tons of oil.. The steamer then 
proceeded upstream as far as Fetish Rock Pass, where another 
1,400 tons was pumped into a large stationary barge. The 
British Sun, after this second reduction, took the remainder 
of its total load of 7,200 tons to Matadi, where it was pumppd 
into the reservoirs. 

Telegeaphs and Telephones 
With one or two exceptions the telegraph and telephone 
system of the Belgian Congo follows the more important routes 
of the country. In 1894 a telegraph line was begun which it 


was intended to carry from Boma to Tanganyika ; it reached 
Coquilhatville in 1899, and beyond that place it has not yet 
been continued. From Bpma to Matadi it follows the river, 
which it crosses just above the Devil's Caldron, and then runs 
alongside of the railway line to Leopoldville. Above Leopold- 
ville the wire again follows the Congo, and has consequently to 
cross many tributaries of that river, the most important being 
the Kasai, which at that point has a breadth of 3,280 feet. A 
rocky bank in mid-stream, however, renders the task of crossing 
it easier than would otherwise be the case. Beyond Yumbi the 
line is carried across country which is inundated during the 
rainy season, and beyond Lukolela it enters forest country 
where a strip of land 150 feet wide had to be cleared of trees 
in order to prevent damage to the wire. Notwithstanding 
these precautions interruptions are frfequent. 

The line from Boma to Coqiiilhatville has a total length of 
about 732^ miles. The chief offices for the receipt and dispatch 
of messages are Boma, Matadi, Thysville, Madimba, Leopold- 
ville, Kinshasa, Kwamouth, Bolobo, Lukolela, Irebu, and 
Coquilhatville. The wire is also used for telephone purposes, 
and telephone messages can be sent from the above-mentioned 

Two other lines run from Boma, and are used both for tele- 
graphing and telephoning. One follows the Mayumbe railway 
to the north, but has not advanced beyond Lukula, about 
50 miles distant from Boma. The chief stations on this lihe 
are at Boma, Luki, and Lukula. The other runs downstream 
to Banana, and was completed in 1912. There do not appear 
to be any intermediate offices between the terminal points of 
this line: 

The telegraphic system radiating from Boma is connected 
with European cables at various points. The Societe anonyme 
beige de cables telegraphiques has a cable from Matadi which 
links up with the West African Telegraph Company's cable 
between Loando and Bonny. From Leopoldville there is also 
a connexion with the French system. In 1905 two sub-fluvial 
cables wei'e laid between that town and Brazzaville on the 
opposite side of the Congo. Owing to the strong current, how- 
ever, they were worn by the rocks in the bed of the river 
and did not last for more than a few years. Since then 
communication between the two places appears to have been 


maintained by heliograph, though in 1911 a scheme was pro- 
posed for the construction of an overhead cable at a point 
about eight miles below Leopoldville. In order to provide 
quicker communication with Europe than was afforded by 
these means, the Belgian Government in 1914 made an agree-' 
ment with the Eastern Telegraph Company by which the 
latter undertook to lay a cable between Boma and Loando. 
This is an improvement on the method arranged in 1912, by 
which Matadi was to be connected with Noki and in this way 
linked up with Loando by the Portuguese line in Angola. 

Elisabethville may be regarded as the second important 
telegraphic centre in the Belgian Congo. One line which 
runs by way of Baya, Chinsenda, and Sakania connects it 
with the South African system, and so with Europe by the 
Eastern Telegraph Company's cables. Another follows the 
railway line in the opposite direction, and has been carried at 
least as far as Chilongo. A third connects Elisabethville with 
the Star of the Congo mine. 

Of the remaining lines in the country used for telegraphic 
and telephonic purposes one, laid in 1917, runs from Kongolo 
by way of Kabalo to Albertville. Private telegraph lines run 
alongside the railway from Stanleyville to Ponthiervilie, and 
from Kindu to Kongolo. A telephone line runs from Kasongo 
by Kabambare, Niembo, Kalembelembe, and Baraka to TJvira 
at the. head of Lake Tanganyika. 

There are at least fourteen wireless stations in the Belgian 
Congo. Of these the greater number are strung along the line 
of the Congo-Lualaba, and link up the Lower Congo with the 
Katanga. They are situated at Banana, Boma, Kinshasa, 
Coquilhatville, Basankusu (south of the Congo at the confluence 
of the Lopori and Maringa), Umangi, Basoko, Stanleyville, 
Kindu, Kongolo, Kabalo, and Kikonja. Of the other two ono 
is at Elisabethville in the Katanga and the other at Lusambo 
on the Sankuru. The station at Banana has a range of from 400 
to 1,000 nautical miles, the others one of 300, with the excep- 
tion of that of Kabalo, the range of which is limited to 100 miles. 
Stanleyville and Umangi can communicate with Brazzaville, 
Kindu with Mwabza on Lake Victoria, and Banana with 
Swakopmund in the former German possessions in South-West 

It is said, however, that atmospheric conditions in the 


Congo are unfavourable for wireless telegraphy, the air often 
being highly charged with electricity, while the strong sun- 
light affects the passage of the 'ether waves. Stations with 
wave lengths under 1,300 yards fail after 6 a.m., and succeed 
only at night. As the number of messages which have to 
be received or dispatched in the course of the twenty-four 
hours is not very large, this disadvantage is not so great as 
might at first sight appear. For a country like the Belgian 
Congo a combination of wireless with the older method will 
probably prove most effective. The great advantage of the 
ordinary telegraph is that communication can be established 
with any number of intermediate points, but its construction 
in the Congo is slow and costly, the cost of upkeep is very 
great, and there are numerous interruptions caused by fires, 
falling trees, floods, and wild animals. Wireless stations on 
the other hand provide a system of communication which can 
be more rapidly constructed and is less costly both in respect 
to initial outlay and upkeep. But it is handicapped by the 
fact that the number of stations must necessarily be few, and 
that it does not provide for communication to intermediate 
points. For a country circumstanced as the Congo the best 
plan is probably to establish wireless stations at important 
centres and to connect them with the surrounding districts by 
telegraphs and telephones. 


The ports of the Belgian Congo fall into three groups — sea 
ports, river ports, and lake ports. The sea ports and lake ports 
are almost entirely engaged in the foreign trade of the colony, 
while the river ports, though engaged to some extent in purely 
internal trade, are mainly used in connexion with the export 
of the products of the country and the import of the commo- 
dities which it requires from abroad. 

Sea Ports 
In proportion to its area the coast-line of the Belgian Congo 
is extremely short. Its frontage to the Atlantic lies between 
the Portuguese territory of Kabinda and the estuary of the 
Congo, and is, little over 20 miles in length. For shipping 
purposes its value is small. The coast is generally low and 
sandy, and the shoal by which it is fringed makes it unsafe 


for vessels to approach too close. This shoal, which begins a 
few miles south of Red Point (5° 44' S.), carries the 3-fathom 
line three and a half and the 5-fathom line six and a half miles 
from the shore. In addition the Atlantic rollers have been 
known to break in seven fathoms of water. 

For its direct communication with the sea therefore the 
colony has to depend upon the lower Congo and its estuary. 
This waterway can as a rule be navigated without much 
difficulty, though the conditions are not ideal. The current is 
both strong and irregular. Below Boma its average rate is 
2-5 knots, but during the period of high water it is about 
4 knots. Above Boma it is somewhat greater, and when the 
river is high is probably about 5 knots. In the part known as 
the Devil's Caldron above Noki a rate of 10 knots has been 
reported, and vessels steaming not more than 10 knots have at 
times been unable to make the port of Matadi. 

Banana, which is situated on Banana creek at the mouth of 
the estuary, is a pilot station and port of call where ships may 
be lightened, if necessary, before proceeding upstream. G-ood 
anchorage can be obtained in the creek by vessels drawing up 
to 19 feet of water, but it is doubtful whether the port can be 
developed. Fresh water cannot be obtained, and ships in need of 
a supply must proceed upstream and take it in from the river. 

About 20 miles upstream and opposite the Portuguese port 
of Kisanga on the left bank the river divides into two 
channels. The old passage along the north bank known as 
the Mateva Pass route has not b^en used for a number of years 
on account of the insufficiency of water. That along the 
southern bank, formerly called the Congo- Yella route but now 
known as the Fetish Kock or Portuguese route, is taken b_y 
practically all vessels going to Boma. The depths on this 
route vary from 10 to 4 fathoms, except in the parts south-east 
of Bird Island and south of Fetish Rock, where a depth of 
20 feet is maintained by dredging. The two channels unite at 
Fetish Rock, which is 28| miles from Kisanga by the Mateva 
Pass route and 31^ miles by the Congo- Yella route. 

Boma, 7^ miles from Fetish Rock and 60 miles from Banana, 
is the capital of the Belgian Congo. The port facilities are not 
on an extensive scale. There are two iron piers, a small one 
with a depth of 23 feet of water at its extremity and a larger 
one, alongside which the larger vessels lie with a depth of 

PORTS ;>55 

17 feet at low water. The latter, however, is difficult of 
access, being close to a bank formed by deposits from the 
Crocodile river. 

Above Boma there appears to be a considerable depth of 
water all the way to Matadi, a distance of 30 miles, though 
navigation, as already mentioned, is sometimes hindered by the 
strength of the current in the Devil's Caldron. But provided 
the vessel has good speed, neither the current nor the rocks 
which lie in the river prove serious obstacles. Ango-Ango, 
3 miles below Matadi, is the terminus of the pipe-line which 
conveys oil to Leopoldville. It has large oil-tanks and a 
pumping- station, and is connected by rail with Matadi. 
Matadi, 90 miles above Banana, is the principal port in the 
Belgian Congo. It is situated on the left bank of the river 
and is at the head of navigation for ocean-going vessels, as the 
rapids commence at Vivi almost immediately above it. As a 
port Matadi is still in the early stages of development. There 
are two large iron piers opposite the railway station, alongside 
which steamers lie to load or unload. The piers have T heads, 
which lie parallel with the river-bank and the stream, each 
head being 110 yards long. The depth alongside the upper 
pier is from 30 to 33 feet, and alongside the lower pier from 17 
to :20 feet. In 1913 the two T heads were connected by a 
wharf, so that three large vessels can now lie alongside at once. 
The Compagnie du chemin de fer du Congo is carrying the 
wharf downstream so as to give it a total length of about 
1,000 yards. In addition to increased wharfage, however, the 
port, if it is to handle efficiently the increasing quantity of 
goods from the interior, will require to be almost entirely 
remodelled, warehouses will have to be extended, and proper 
facilities for loading and unloading vessels provided. 

The main difficulties presented to navigation on the lower 
Congo and its estuary are insufficient depth of water at 
certain seasons of the year, the sinuous course which has 
to be followed between Kisanga and Boma, and the strength 
of the currents, more especially in the Devil's Caldron. For 
relatively small steamers with high engine-power the ascent 
is, possible at all seasons of the year, though great care has to 
be exercised. But the general tendency is towards larger 
vessels being employed in maritime commerce, and in any 
case the growing trade of the Congo renders the use of the 


smaller ones unprofitable. The Compagnie beige maritime du 
Congo has some boats of 7,500 tons, drawing from 23 i to 
24 feet of water, and these have at low water to be lightened 
before they can proceed upstream. Very few oil-tanks draw 
less than 20 feet, and those which have a carrying capacity of 
between 5,000 and 6,000 tons— that is, the greater number- 
draw between 33 and 24 feet. They have accordingly to be 
lightened before they are able to ascend the river. 

The difficulty of navigating parts of the river presents a con- 
siderable obstacle to the use of the port of Matadi, and if this 
cannot be overcome will undoubtedly retard the commercial 
development of the country. Various suggestions have been 
made to remedy the existing state of affairs. In 1912 it was 
suggested that the present route should be abandoned and that 
a return should be made to the one which was in use about 
fifteen years ago. As already indicated, the lower Congo may be 
divided into three sections. In those between Banana and 
Kisanga and between Boma and Matadi the depth of the 
water is considerable, and the contour of the bed shows little 
change from year to year. Between these two sections, how- 
ever, there is a third in which the bed of the river has a 
considerable expansion, is generally shallow, and undergoes con- 
siderable change from year to year. The Mateva Pass route, 
which kept to the north of Bulikoko and Hippopotamus Islands, 
had to be abandoned because of silting, but it was said that 
with proper dredging it might be kept open for vessels drawing 
23 to 24 feet of water. Since the time at which this suggestion 
was made, however, further silting has undoubtedly taken place, 
and it is thought that dredging a channel would now prove 
an almost impossible task. On the other hand the constant 
dredging which has been carried on in the Fetish Pass route 
during the last few years has deepened the river there, and 
even at low water a depth of 22| feet (6-80 metres) can now 
be obtained. Unfortunately the current is attacking the 
banks of the river, with the result that the amount of material 
which has to be removed from its bed is unduly increased, 
while the channel itself is rendered more tortuous and 
difficult to navigate. To prevent this continuing until the 
danger point is reached, it may become necessary to strengthen 
artificially the banks of the river — a work which would be 
both long and costly. 

PORTS 257 

Quite recently a further suggestion has been made. It is 
said that the river shows a marked tendency to deepen the 
channel to the west of the existing route. At present the 
main current bifurcates near Fetish Eock, and the principal 
branch follows the Fetish Pass route, while another branch 
flows between Penfold Island and Bird Island. It is the 
latter branch which is believed to be deepening its bed at 
the present time, and if the process continues for a few years 
at the same rate as it is thought to have done so during the 
last twenty years it will form the main channel of the river. 
The route by it would be much more suitable for large vessels 
than that which is now followed. 

The only alternative would appear to be an 'extension of the 
present system of lightening ships before they ascend above 
Kisanga, a process which involves both delay and expense 
It is this which gives significance to the French proposal to 
construct a port at Pointe Noire. Costly harbour works would 
no doubt be necessary there, but if completed they would 
enable large ships to load and. unload alongside. Such a port 
connected with Stanley Pool by a much better railway than 
that which runs from Matadi to Leopoldville would not only 
take the French trade away from the Congo ports, but might 
possibly take part of that of the Belgian Congo as well. 

The following table shows the number of vessels and the 
aggregate tonnage entered and cleared at the ports of Banana, 
Boma, and Matadi during the year 1913. 


Ocean Vessels 





Port of Banana 



Belgian . 





British . 





German . 










Dutch . 




Belgian . 





British . 





German . 





French . 














Ocean Vessels 





Port of Bona 



Belgian . 





British . 





French . 





German . 














Belgian . 





British . 










German . 











Entered i 



Belgian . 





British . 



French . 




German . 








Belgian . 





British . 



, . 

French . 



German . 






Sailing Ships 

Port of Banana 









Dutch . 





Dutch . 








Dutch . 




PoH OfMatadi 




Dutch . 





Dutch . 





PORTS ^59 

"Prior to the war the ports on the lower Congo were served 
by four steamship lines, the Compagnie beige maritime du 
Congo (flying the Belgian ilag), the Chargeurs riunis (a 
French company), the Woermann Line (a German company), 
and the Elder Dempster line (a British company). For some 
time the Belgian line and the French line gave three-weekly 
and monthly services respectively, but about 1912 they arranged 
a schedule, whereby a mail steamer was to arrive at Boma 
every ten days. These two companies carried practically all 
the passengers to the Belgian Congo, as the Woermann and 
Elder Dempster lines ran only cargo boats. Portuguese ships 
occasionally called, and a certain amount of trade was also 
done by Dutch coasting vessels. 

During the war the trade of the Congo (apart from the 
Katanga) was practically carried on by four ships which sailed 
from Hull and called at Bordeaux on the return voyage. 

Lake Ports 

The lakes which lie in the Great Rift Valley are all 
accessible from the Belgian Congo. Lake Albert, the most 
northerly, provides the chief outlet for the gold mines at Kilo, 
and for part of the rubber and ivory from the north-eastern 
districts of the Congo. A good road leads from Kilo to 
Kasenie, situated on the lake, and from there exports are 
shipped to Butiabwa on the British side of the lake. There 
is, however, no organized navigation on the lake, and all goods 
are carried by canoe. Mahagi, towards the north, is the only 
other Belgian anchorage on the lake. Lakes Edward and Kivu 
are of less importance, but a certain amount of trade is carried 
on by means of canoes. On Lake Kivu the Belgian stations 
are Nya Lukemba in the south, Bobandana in the north-west, 
and Goma in the north-east. A few years ago the Belgians 
had an iron boat on the lake. 

Lake Tanganyika is much more important from the point of 
view of trade. The chief Belgian port on the lake is now the 
modern Albertville, at the terminus of the Kabalo-Tanganyika 
line. A breakwater has recently been constructed there. It is 
possible that a considerable transhipment trade may eventually 
develop between Albertville and Kigoma, the former German 
port on the other side of the lake and the western terminus of 

K 2 


the railway to Dar-es-Salam. Much, however, will depend 
^pon the political settlement which is eventually reached 
regarding the territories to the east of the lake, and the 
extent to which the Belgians develop their railway system to 
the west of it. The only other ports of any note are Uvira, 
at the northern end of the lake and the terminus of a route 
which leads north by way of the Eusisi valley, and Toa, to the 
north of the mouth of the Lukuga and an important centre 
for native navigation by means of canoes. 

On Lake Mweru the principal Belgian stations are Kilwa, 
Pweto, and Lukonzolwa. Kilwa is the terminus of an impor- 
tant porterage route to the Katanga, and from Pweto a road 
suitable for wheeled traffic leads to Kiambi, whence there is 
communication by river with the Lualaba. 

River Ports 

The river ports in the Congo fall into two classes : those at 
which goods are transhipped from river to rail or from rail to 
river, and those which are merely used for loading or unloading 
goods conveyed by the river steamers. To the first class belong 
places like Leopoldville, Kinshasa, Stanleyville, and Ponthier- 
ville. Leopoldville, as already mentioned, is not well situated 
to be a good port, but it has useful repair and construction 
works, which render it of some importance for this part of 
the river. A new floating dock was constructed about 1912. 
At Kinshasa the Citas (an important shipping company on 
the upper river) owns large houses with railway connexion 
along the water's edge and an iron pier 200 feet in length. 
It also possesses slipways on which most of the French and 
Belgian Congo steamers have been assembled. Other firms 
at Kinshasa have their arrangements for loading and un- 
loading steamers, but there is as yet nothing in the way of 
a port in the proper sense of the word. At Stanleyville 
there is a wharf and an inclined plane running down to the 
river. Kongolo has no wharf, and loading and unloading is 
done either by means of barges or at the jetty. Similar 
arrangements seem to prevail at most other river ports. In 
some cases the concessionary companies have constructed small 
wharves for their own use. 


The real development of foreign trade in the Belgian 
Congo did not begin till 1885, but previous to that there had 
been some tentative efforts. In 1858 a French house, Regis 
et Cie, had established a branch upon Banana Point, which 
■was consequently long known as French Point. Two years 
later a Dutch company, the AfriJcaansche Handelsverleniging 
of Rotterdam, installed themselves at Boma, where they were 
joined a few years later by the agents of an English firm, 
Hatton and Cookson, and by some Portuguese traders. 'When 
Stanley arrived at Boma in 1877, after his great journey across 
Africa, he found sixteen Europeans there, the representatives 
of six Stories, French, English, Portuguese, and Dutch. In 
1882 the British Congo Company made its appearance; it 
was followed in 1884 by a Portuguese concern, the CompanJiia 
portugueza de Zaire. Such was the general state of affairs 
when the Independent State was founded in 1885. The trade 
which was carried on was limited in extent, and was confined 
in the main to the districts round the lower Congo. 

After 1885 a marked change took place, and before the 
end of 1886 three Belgian companies had been formed for 
the development of trade in the Congo. Of these the most 
important was the Gompagnie du Congo pour le commerce 
et I'industrie, which for a number of years was to play an 
important part in discovering and exploiting the economic 
resources of the country. As its activities extended, affiliated 
companies were founded, and by 1891 it had a capital of 
35,000,000 francs, ran 25 establishments, employed 250 white 
men, and owned 11 steamers. At the same time elaborate 
measures had been taken to provide an effective service of 
porters until such times as the Matadi-Leopoldville railway 
was completed. The future history of this and other com- 
panies is dealt with elsewhere. It suffices for the moment 


to indicate the conditions under which foreign trade between 
Europe and the Congo was first established. 

The following table shows the rate at which the special 
trade of the country has since developed. (Statistics of 
imports were not collected until May 9, 1892, the date at 
which duties were first levied.) 

Year Value of Exports 

Value of Imports 

(in thousands of francs) ( 

in thousands of francs) 

1886 (six months) 886 

1887 1,980 

1888 2,609 

1889 4,297 

1890 8,242 

1891 5,353 

1892 5,487 

4,984 (from May 9) 

1893 6,206 


1894 8,761 


1895 10,943 


1896 12,389 


1897 15,146 


1898 22,163 


1899 36,067 


1900 47,377 


1901 50,488 


1902 50,069 


1903 54,597 


1904 51,890 


1905 53,032 


1906 58,277 


1907 58,894 


1908 43,371 


1909 56,167 


1910 66,602 


1911 54,052 


1912 59,926 


1913 55,187* 


1914 52,874 


1915 71,994 

■ 23,453 

1916 129,208 


The figures for 1917 and 1918 have not yet 1 

been published, but they are 

believed to show a large increase in exports. 

* The figures for 1913 are 'only approximate. 

War broke out before the 

official returns for that year were published and Brussels was cut off from 

the Congo. 

The chief articles of export in the special trade of the 
Belgian Congo are rubber, copal, palm-nuts and palm-oil, 
copper, ivory, and gold. The relative importance of these 
has, however, varied very considerably during the period 
under consideration. 




The following table shows the annual export of rubber 
from the Belgian Congo during the years 1887-1916, the 
value of the exports, and the relation between rubber and 
all other commodities exported : 



Value in thousands 

Percentage of 

Metric tons 

of francs 

total value of 



























































































The rise and decline in the importance of rubber as an 
export are very remarkable, and can be explained only by 
taking into consideration a number of facts widely different 
from one another. In the early days of the Independent 
State, before railway communication had been established 
with the interior, the cost and difficulty of transport were 
too great to encourage any considerable expansion of trade 
in this direction. The products of the oil-palm, which could 
be obtained in the Lower Congo, and ivory, which bulk for 


bulk was much more valuable than rubber, aud could there- 
fore stand the cost of transport better, constituted at this time 
the chief exports of the colony. With the completion of the 
railway from Matadi to Leopoldville the situation entirely 
changed. The growing demand for rubber in Europe pro- 
vided a market' for a commodity which could be cheaply 
collected by means of forced labour, and required neither 
a heavy initial outlay nor a long period of waiting for a 
return on that outlay. The output accordingly went up by 
leaps and bounds, and reached its maximum in the years 
1900-6, though the most profitable period did not occur 
till the great boom of 1910. By that time, however, the 
exports had begun to decline. The old methods of gathering 
rubber by means of forced labour were being abolished, the 
most accessible districts had probably suffered from reckless 
exploitation, and, above all, the plantations of Ceylon and 
Malaya had reached the productive stage. The fall in the 
price of rubber after 1910 only accelerated a movement which 
had already begun, and which would have proceeded more 
rapidly than it did had measures not been taken to check it. 
Of these measures the most important were, first, a very con- 
siderable reduction in the railway rate from Leopoldville to 
Matadi, and, second, the suspension of the tax on rubber while 
its price in Europe remained below a certain figure. The 
future of rubber production in the Congo and the prospects 
of the plantations there have already been discussed (see 
Chapter XI). 

The decline in the relative importance of rubber among 
the exports is due of course not only to the decreased amount 
produced, and to the fall in price, but to the increased output 
of other commodities, such as copper, palm-oil products, and 
copal. Both from the commercial and from the fiscal stand- 
point this is an advantage, as it tends to give greater stability 
to the trade and finance of the colony. 

Palm-Nuts and Palm- Oil 
The following two tables show the general character of the 
exports of the kernels of Maeis guineensis and of palm-oil 
during the years 1887-1916. 








Metric tons 

Value in thousands 
of francs 

Percentage of 
total value of 




















































































TliT t ' i 

Value in thousands 

Percentage of 

Metric tons 

of francs 

total value of 






































■ 2 





Vahie in thousands 

Percentage of 


Metric tons 

of francs 

total value of 
















































" 3 









The most remarkable feature in the above tables relating to 
the export of palm-kernels and palm-oil is the great increase 
in the output which has taken place within recent years. 
This is due in the main to the development of the concessions 
granted to the SocieU anonyme des huileries du Congo beige 
(Messrs. Lever). Up to the present time the export of palm- 
kernels has increased more rapidly than that of palm-oil, but, 
as the machinery necessary for the extraction of oil is now 
being installed in the country, there will probably be a large 
increase in its output during the next few years. The policy 
of crushing the kernels locally has several advantages : more 
oil is obtained from the nuts, the cost of carriage, particularly 
heavy if the kernels have to be brought by way of the Leopold- 
ville-Matadi railway, is reduced, and the question of making 
full use of the waste products becomes of less importance. 

As a result of the war, more attention has been paid in the 
United Kingdom to the products of the oil-palm than was 
formerly the ease, and it is not unlikely that the demand for 
them will be permanently increased. The oil obtained from 
the kernels is by various processes converted into a liquid 
portion (olein) and into a hard white fat (stearin). From 
various admixtures of these margarine, vegetable butter, and 
cooking fats can be produced on the one hand, and soap and 
candles on the other. In this country, to which palm-oil 
alone was hitherto sent in large quantities, it was used either 
for soap and candles or in the tin-plate industry. But it 
is not improbable that the consumption of margarine, which, 
if it has not exactly come into favour in this country during 


the war, has at least lost much of its old disrepute, may be 
permanently increased. The residual matter, after the oil has 
been extracted, has been for a long time used on the Continent 
as a food for young pigs, milch-cows, and other stock, and it is 
said that recent efforts to induce British farmers to experiment 
with it have met with some degree of success. On the whole 
then it would appear that the demand for both palm-kernels 
and palm-oil will increase in this country, while on the Conti- 
nent, where they have hitherto been used to a much greater 
extent, the demand is not likely to decrease. 


The exports of ivory since 1887 are shown in the following 
table : 

Value in thousands 

Percentage of 


Metric tons 

of francs 

total value of 































































3,840 , 


















































Although fears have frequently been expressed that the 
exports of ivory from the Congo would decline owing to the 


reckless slaughter of elephants, the above table affords little 
indication that that stage has yet been reached. The fluctua- 
tions in the output which may be observed are due, at least in 
part, to the restrictions imposed by the Government at various 
times. Regulations which came into force in the early part 
of 1913 made the registration of ivory a much more simple 
matter than it had formerly been, and allowed the native to pay 
a tax on his ivory instead of surrendering one-half of it. At 
the same time the minimum weight of a tusk allowed to be 
exported was reduced from 10 kilogrammes to 6. Though at 
first sight this latter provision might seem to encourage the 
slaughter of immature animals, it will probably have little 
real effect. For years a considerable contraband trade had 
been carried on across the Portuguese frontier both in large 
and small tusks. This trade has been checked to a very great 
extent by the new ragulations, and the increased output of 
ivory since they came into effect is probably due in the main 
to the fact that much less is now smuggled into Angola than 
was formerly the case. 


The figures for the export of gold since 1904, the first year 
in which it appeared in the official statistics, are as follows : 

Value in thousands 

Percentage of 




total value of 




less than 1 




























1911 - 























The export of gold will probably continue to increase for 
some time. The auriferous regions in the north-east of the 
colony have not yet been fully developed, while deposits 
believed to exist in the Katanga and elsewhere are still 
un worked. 


The export of copal on an extensive scale did not begin till 

about 1896. 

Since then the annual output has been 

as follows : 

Value in ihotisands 

Percentage of 


Metric tons 

of francs 

total value of 




less than 1 













































































While rubber was plentiful and obtained a good price com- 
paratively little attention was paid to the collection of copal. 
But the increased demand for it in Europe, where it is used as 
a varnish, came at a time when rubber was less easy to find 
than before, and when to this was added the great fall in price 
of the latter commodity many traders turned to copal as a 
substitute. As will be seen from the above table, it had ad- 
vanced by 1914 to an important place among the exports of the 
country. The market appears, however, to have been upset by 
the war, and, although the total amount exported is practically 
the same as before (allowance being made for shipping diffi- 
culties), the price has fallen very considerably. It is not im- 
probable that when normal conditions are restored copal may 
become a more important article of export than rubber. 


Copper first appeared among the exports of the Belgian 
Congo in 1905. Since 1909 the exports have been as follows : 


Valve in thousands 

Percentage of 


Metric tons 

of francs 

total value of 




less than 1 





























During the last few years copper has advanced with almost 
phenomenal rapidity to the first place among the exports of 
the Congo. This is entirely due to the development of the 
copper mines of the Katanga by the Union miniere. After a 
long period of preparation these mines were just getting into 
full working order when war broke out, and, though their pro- 
gress was at first rather checked by that event, the subsequent 
demand for copper gave a further impetus to their development. 

From the fiscal point of view the greatly increased output 
of copper is of considerable advantage to the colony. Its 
influence on the commercial development of the country is 
much less direct. Apart from the coal and machinery used in 
the mines and smelters, the material required in the construc- 
tion of the railways and the rolling-stock employed on them, 
and the foodstuffs imported for the benefit of those engaged in 
the mining industry, the export of copper leads to no great 
return trade, and gives employment to only a relatively small 
number of people (about 10,000). On the other hand it has led 
to the extension of railways, and may eventually lead to a 
certain amount of European settlement. 


The changes which have taken place in the character of the 
export trade of the Belgian Congo since the foundation of the 
Independent State to the present time may be summarized in 
the following table, which shows the total value (in francs) of 
the exports in certain years and the percentage contributed to 
that total by each of the principal commodities already 
considered : 





i 5 



:, "5 



Total vabie 














16-0 6-0 







8-5 26-3 







1.7 84.3 







2.1 82.5 









2-7 76.6 










2-7 20-1 










2.9 15-4 






A most remarkable feature in the trade of the Congo up to 
the present time is the way in which one or two articles have 
almost always provided a high percentage of the total value 
of the exports. Ivory and the products of the oil-palm gave 
place to rubber, and just when rubber was declining both 
relatively and absolutely the output of copper began to increase 
rapidly. At the same time it must be noted that the export 
trade of the colony is now on a much more stable foundation 
than formerly, and is much less likely to be seriously disturbed 
by fluctuations in the output of any one commodity. 

Another feature of the export trade shown by the above table 
is the growing importance of articles other than those which 
have been specifically mentioned. In 1915 they accounted 
for about 6 per cent, of the total value of the goods exported. 
Among them are cocoa, rice, cotton, raw hides, and timber. Of 
these cocoa and rice are at the present time the most important, 
but the output of cotton is on the increase. 

As stocks of certain commodities such as palm-kernels have 
to some extent been held up as a result of the war, the figures 
for 1915 are the last which can be regarded as at all satis- 
factory for purposes of comparison. 


The figures for the special import trade since 1892 are given 
on page 262. The considerable fluctuations between one year 
and another are to be explained in the main by the irregular 
importation of railway material and machinery. The following 
figures, based on the returns for the four years 1909-12, show 
approximately the percentage to the total value of exports of 
each of the more important classes of articles imported : 


Cotton and textile goods 20 per cent. 
Provisions 16 „ ;, 

Machinery 10 „ „ 

Metals 10 „ „ 

Clothing 6 „ „ 

Steamers, &c. 4 „ „ 

Cotton and textile goods are imported very largely for sale to 
the native population, who also buy considerable quantities of 
old clothing and ready-made goods. Provisions consist of 
European foodstuffs for the use of the European population 
and agricultural produce required by the natives, engaged in 
the exploitation of the mines in the Katanga. Metals include 
much of the material imported by the railway companies for 
the construction of the permanent way, while machinery con- 
sists of locomotives and the plant required by the mining 
companies, the palm-oil industry, &c. The steamers are in 
the main for use on the middle and upper Congo and its 

Among other articles coal, coke, and oil are increasing in 
importance. Coal and coke come from the Wankie coal-field 
for the smelters in the Katanga, and oil is now used on some of 
the river steamers. . The importation of rum for the native 
population is prohibited, but a considerable quantity of alco- 
holic liquor is imported for consumption by Europeans. Tobacco, 
hardware, and a variety of articles, sometimes designated by 
the expressive term 'trumpery', are imported for sale to 
the natives. 

The bulk of the imports came before the war from Belgium, 
the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Rhodesia, and the 
Union of South Africa. The percentage of the total supplied 
by each of these countries in 1911 and 1912 was approximately 
as follows : 


Bhodesia and 






South Africa 













Cotton and textile goods were very largely supplied by Belgium 
(68 per cent, in 1911) and by the United Kingdom, which 
countries also provided the greater part of the ready-made 
clothing, shirts, &c., sold in the colony. Provisions came from 
various quarters. Preserved meats were largely of Belgian 


and French origin. Denmark sent butter, and Switzerland 
milk. Flour was imported from Britain and various European 
countries, and Rhodesia was developing a considerable trade 
with the Katanga in beans, oatmeal, lentils, and barley. 
Norway and Angola supplied fish. 

Metals were almost entirely imported from Belgium before 
the war, although a large amount of corrugated iron was taken 
from the United Kingdom. Locomotives were partly of British 
and partly of Belgian make, but wagons and carriages were 
practically all of Belgian manufacture. 

About 1912 Germany was making a big effort to obtain a 
larger share in the import trade of the Congo. Commercial 
travellers were visiting the country, displaying their samples, 
and offering long credit on easy terms to would-be purchasers. 
In that year their share of the imports advanced from 5 to 
8 per cent. 

As a result of the war, of course, Belgian trade with the 
colony was entirely suspended, and the greater part of the 
imports was obtained from the United Kingdom and her 
colonies. In 1915, for example, the special imports amounted 
in value to 23,453,000 francs, and of that sum the share of 
the United Kingdom was 11,319,000 francs, of Ehodesia and 
South Africa 6,388,000 francs, of France 1,288,000 francs, and 
of Angola 1,075,000 francs. 

Teansit Trade 

In the early days of the Independent State its transit trade 
was relatively of great importance. During the five years 
1888-92, for example, about 45 per cent, of the total value of 
tlie exports from the country was credited to goods which 
came from beyond its frontiers. In the five years 1909-13 
which preceded the outbreak of war this figure had fallen to 
28 per cent. The following tables give in millions of francs 
the details for the years 1911, 1912, and 1913, and for the years 
1914, 1915, and 1916 : 

Table I 






































Table II 
































These tables show the relation of the transit trade to the 
general and special trade. The decline of the transit trade 
both actually and relatively during the latter period is due to 
several factors. The greater part of it comes from the French 
and former German possessions which border the Congo, and 
the exploitation of the latter districts at least must have been 
seriously disturbed by the war. On the other hand the greatly 
increased exports of copper and palm-nuts from the Belgian 
Congo have given it a much larger proportion of the general 

The principal commodities which enter into the transit 
export trade of the Congo are rubber and ivory. The following 
tables show, in millions of francs, the general, special, and transit 
trade in each of these articles during the years 1911-13 and 

Table I 
















Table II 



General Special 



14-6 10-6 



18-8 11-1 



29-3 17-5 



9-8 7-1 



6-3 4-6 



9-6 7-7 


Comparing these tables with those already given, it is seen that 
during the first period, 1911-13, rubber and ivory accounted for 
85 per cent, of the total transit export trade and during the 
second period for about 81 per cent, of it. 




As a result of the international situation created by the 
charges of misgovernment against the Congo Free State, the 
Belgian Congo was annexed by Belgium in 1908, the annexa- 
tion becoming effective from November 15 of that year. The 
government of the country is now carried on according to the 
Constitution finally approved by King Leopold on October 18, 
1908, modified to some extent by subsequent Acts of the 
Belgian Parliament, of which the more important are those of 
March 29, 1911, March 5, 1912, and December 9, 1912. The 
effect of these various enactments may be briefly summarized 
as follows. 

Central Government 

The Belgian Congo is placed under the legislative control of 
the king, but he must act on the advice of the Colonial Minister, 
who is responsible to Parliament. His legislative power he 
exercises by decree, and his executive power by regulations, 
subject, however, to any laws passed by the Belgian Parliament. 
In the government of the country the king is aided by a Colonial 
Council consisting of the Colonial Minister, who presides, and 
fourteen members, eight of whom are nominated by the king, 
three by the Senate, and three by the Chamber. One of the 
councillors nominated by the king and alternately one of those 
nominated by the Senate or by the Chamber retire each year, 
but may be reappointed. Members of the Senate or of the 
Chamber are not themselves eligible for election. The powers 
of this Council are advisory, and except in cases of urgendy 
it must be consulted before any decree is issued. Parlia- 
ment retains in its own hands the control of the Colonial 
Budget. In dealing with the foreign relations of the colony 
the king acts on the advice of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. 
In practice therefore it works out that the Congo is under 


the control of the Belgian Parliament, and so under the 
control of the Belgian people. 

In addition to the Colonial Council, there are two other 
bodies of a consultative character at Brussels. One is the 
Conseil superieur du Congo, which was created in 1899, and 
now acts as a court of appeal. The other is the Commission 
des terres, which was created in 1910, and consists of five 
members, all Government officials. Its duty is to examine all 
questions relative to the concession or sale of land. 

Local Goveenment 
The Governor-General and Chief Officials 

Previous to the royal decree of July 38, 1914, which reorga- 
nized the administration of the Belgian Congo, the Governor- 
General was the head of the executive in the colony, where 
he was the representative of the king. As a rule he had 
no legislative power, and his duty was to administer the 
colony in the way decided for him by the central govern- 
ment. He appointed and dismissed all the less important 
officials, controlled the general administration of the country, 
and was responsible for the maintenance of public order. But 
his powers were much limited by the authorities at home. 
In the preparation of the budget he had only a consultative 
voice; the prerogative of mercy could not be exercised by 
him; even for the establishment of a new post-office a 
ministerial decree was necessary. 

The Governor-General was assisted in his work by several 
vice-governors and inspectors, the secretary-general, and the 
directors of the public services. One of the vice-governors was 
in charge of the Katanga; the others were attached to the 
central administration at Boma, or were sent as inspectors into 
the various districts of the colony as circumstances might direct. 
The inspectors had no definitely specified duties, and were used 
in the public service as the needs of the administration might 
require. The directors of the public services were at the head 
respectively of the departments of Justice and Public In- 
struction, the Interior, Finance, Industry and Commerce, 
Agriculture, Marine and Public "Works, and Army and Police. 
These and various others formed a consultative council which 


the Governor-General might ask to advise him if he judged 
necessary. As a matter of fact he made little use of it. 

The difficulties of administering so large an area as the 
Belgian Congo from Boma soon made themselves apparent, 
and the royal decree of July 28, 1914, prepared the way for 
the division of the colony into four provinces, Congo-Kasai, 
Equateur, Orientale, and Katanga. Their capitals are respec- 
tively Kinshasa, Coquilhatville, Stanleyville, and Elisabeth- 
ville. Each of these provinces is adiAinistered by a vice- 
Governor-General, to whom is entrusted the care of its internal 
affairs. He is assisted by the directors of the various public 
services established in the province, and by a ComiU consultatif 
consisting of these directors, together with the commissioners 
of the various districts in the province, and some of the more 
prominent European inhabitants. The ComiU considers all 
matters relating to public works, and the collection and 
expenditure of the revenue. 

The Governor-General has full executive authority in the 
colony except in so far as he is restrained by laws and royal 
decrees. He cannot, for example, interfere with the vice- 
Governors-General in their discharge of the powers assigned 
to them, and he deals mainly with matters which affect the 
interests of the colony as a whole. The preparation of the 
annual budget is entrusted to him, but in this work he receives 
help from the provincial authorities. He is assisted in his 
various duties by the heads of the public services, and by the 
Conseil du Gouvernement, in which they sit along with the 
vice-Governors-General and various European notables. 

Districts and Territories 

By a royal decree of 1912 the territorial divisions of the 
colony were reorganized. The districts were increased in 
number from twelve to twenty-two, and the old subdivisions 
of the district, the zones, the sectors, and the posts, were re- 
placed by a new subdivision, the territory, the extent of which 
varies according to circumstances. The twenty-two are as 
follows : Bas Congo, Moyen Congo, Lac Leopold II, Equateur, 
Lulonga, Bangala, Ubangi, Haut Uele, Bas Uele, Aruwimi, 
Stanleyville, Lowa, Ituri, Maniema, Kivu, Sankuru, Kasai, 
Kwango, Lomami, Tanganika-Moero, Haut Luapula, Lulua, 


The last four of these form the province of the Katanga. Bas 
Congo, Moyen Congo, Kasai, and Sankuru belong to that of 
Congo-Kasai. Equateur consists of Lac Leopold II, Equateur, 
Lulonga, Bangala, and Ubangi. The remainder are included 
in the Province Orientale. 

Each district is administered by a commissioner, who repre- 
sents the government within it. He is in charge of the mili- 
tary and police, and if force is necessary decides when and how 
it is to be employed. It is he also who ' recognizes ' the native 
chiefs (accordiag to the decree of 1910, see p. 282), or with- 
draws for just cause a recognition already accorded. In other 
respects his powers have recently been increased. Formerly 
he had little control over his subordinate officials, but now the 
central government does not intervene directly in the or- 
ganization of the district, while the Grovernor-General confines 
himself to placing at the disposition, of the commissioner the 
personnel of which he has need. 

The administrators of the territories have less authority 
than the officials whom they have displaced. ^ In particular 
they are forbidden to order military operations or to transform 
a police operation into a military one, to order the displace- 
ment of native villages, and to forbid or subject to conditions 
the recruitment of labourers. 

Government of the Katanga 

By its more temperate climate and rich mineral resources, 
no less than by its great distance from Boma, the Katanga is 
cut off to some extent from the remainder of the Belgian 
Congo, and this fact finds an acknowledgemenj; both in the 
history of the region and in the special arrangements which 
have been made for its government. In order to understand 
these arrangements a brief account of the history of the 
region is necessary. Livingstone, Cameron, and Gambier had 
called attention to its mineral wealth, but it was not till 1883 
that Bohm and Eeichard, agents of the German section of the 
International Association, visited the native copper mines, and 
entered into relations with Msiri, the chief of the country. 
In 1885 two Portuguese officers entered the region, and in 1890 
they were followed by some British travellers, including 
Thompson, Grant, and Sharp. The latter, who were connected 


with the British South Africa Company, sought to obtain 
territorial concessions from the native chiefs. Considerable 
alarm was caused in the Independent State by this action, 
and steps were immediately taken to render effective the 
claims to the region which had already been made in the 
Declaration of Neutrality. The Compagnie du Congo, which 
some time before had sent a commercial expedition to the 
Katanga, came to the aid of the Independent. State in this 
emergency. On April 15, 1890, a new company was created, 
the Compagnie du Katanga, which took over the expedition 
sent out by the Compagnie du Congo and organized two 
others. The three expeditions traversed the country, asserted 
the authority of the State among the native chiefs, and collected 
a considerable amount of information regarding the economic 
resources of the region. 

The Independent State in the Convention of March 13, 
1891, recognized the services which the Compagnie du 
Katanga had rendered it by granting it in full ownership 
one-third of the domain lands in the basin of the Lualaba 
above Eiba-Riba, and in the basin of the upper Lomami. (In 
1896 the Compagnie surrendered the lands which it held to 
the north of the 5th parallel, and received in exchange full 
ownership of an equivalent area in the lower Lomami.) It 
ceded to it also for ninety years the right of exploiting the 
mineral wealth of these lands, and accorded to it for twenty 
years preferential rights over all mineral deposits which it 
discovered in the territories belonging to the State. The 
distances from the more settled parts of the State, however, 
the Arab troubles, an(J the difficulties of delimiting the ceded 
lands were all obstacles to progress, and nothing of importance 
was done till 1900. In that year an agreement was reached 
between the State and the Compagnie du Katanga by which 
a new organization was established, the Comite spScial du 
Katanga. This body, which ponsists of six members, four, 
including the president, nominated by the State, and two 
by the Compagnie du Katanga, was entrusted with the 
exploitation of the mineral resources of the country. All 
income and expenditure were to be divided in the proportion 
of one-third to the Compagnie and two-thirds to the State. 
At the end of the ninety-nine years for which the agreement 
was made its property is to be divided in the same proportion, 


and the non-alienated lands according to the terms of the 
Convention of 189L 

The State, having such a preponderance on the Gomite 
npicial, also entrusted it with political powers, and by another 
decree, issued in 1900, granted it the administration of the 
Katanga, with the exception of justice, export and import 
duties, and postal arrangements. In annexing the Congo, in 
1908, Belgium undertook to respect the engagements which 
had been made by the Independent State. The Gomite 
sp&cial, therefore remained in the position iii which it had 
been placed as far as the economic development of the 
Katanga was concerned. On the other hand the State 
remained free to withdraw the political powers which had 
been granted. By the Constitution it was arranged that this 
should take place before January 1, 1912 ; it was actually done 
on March 22, 1910. The Gomite is now the administrator and 
manager of the common patrimony of the State and of the 
Compagnie du Katanga. Since the annexation it does not 
possess the same liberty as before. Tt has to respect the 
terms of the Constitution regarding the sale or concession 
of domain lands, and certain contracts which it formerly made 
on its own authority must now be submitted for sanction to 
the Belgian Parliament. Nevertheless its position remains 
very important. No part of the common patrimony of the 
State and the Compagnie du Katanga can be disposed of 
without its intervention, and, as the majority of its members 
are nominated by the Grovernment, it is in reality a great 
public administration. 

When the territorial reorganization of the colony took 
place, in 1912, the four districts of Lomami, Tanganika-Moero, 
Haut Luapula, and Lulua were, as already mentioned, formed 
into one vice-government. It includes not only the Katanga 
in the strict geographical sense, but parts of the old districts, 
of Kasai, Aruwimi, and Stanleyville. 

By a decree of 1910 the vice-Grovernor-General of the 
Katanga represents the Government there and exercises all 
the executive powers delegated to the Governor-General. 
He has the right of corresponding direct with Brussels, and 
has no obligation towards the Governor-General other than 
that of sending him a report once in three months. The 
powers of the latter official are indeed practically non-existent, 


and if the Katanga had a budget of its own it. would be for all 
intents and purposes a separate colony. The vice-Governor- 
General is assisted by officials in the same way as the Governor- 
General with the exception that vice-governors are replaced 
by inspectors or commissioners-general. 

Native Chiefdoms 

In 1910 the State undertook the task of associating the 
native chiefs in the administration of the country. Ac- 
cording to the plan adopted every native is to be attached 
to a chiefdom, the limits of which are to be determined by 
the Commissioner comformably to custom. "Where custom 
also demands it sub-chiefdoms are to be recognized as well. 
The chief is as a rule the customary head of a tribe, and in 
such cases the Commissioner confines himself to giving that 
individual legal recognition. Where there are no customary 
rules, the Commissioner invites the members of the chiefdom 
to suggest a candidate for the vacant office, and, if they fail to 
do so, he makes the appointment himself. If the chief shows 
himself, unfit, he may be removed and another appointed in 
his place. Every chiefdom is attached to one or other of the 
territories in a district, and every chief owes a certain 
obedience to the official in charge of the territory to which 
he is attached. But he is not to be regarded as a subordinate 
of that official, and his chiefdom is not an administrative sub- 
division of the territory. His position in fact is rather that of 
a former ruler who has been placed in tutelage. 

The authority which the chiefs are allowed to exercise is 
considerable, and embraces the political, judicial, and adminis- 
trative affairs of the districts over which they rule. In all 
that they do they must conform to customary native law, 
jexoept in so far as that is contrary to public order as it exists 
in modern civilized States, or conflicts with laws and regulations 
made expressly with the intention of overriding customary 
law. In addition, however, to the powers prescribed by 
custom, certain other duties have been given to the chiefs 
by the Belgian authorities. They must, for example, assist 
in the collection of the revenue, in the construction of works 
of public utility, and in the administration of certain regula- 
tions for the maintenance of public health. For works of 


a public character the chief is entitled to demand two days' 
or six hours' work per month from his subjects, and more if 
it is absolutely necessary. 

How this system will work out in practice it is yet too early 
to say. But it has been suggested that the final result will be 
to transform the chiefs into mere officials of the Government. 
In as far as they exercise powers which have been conferred 
upon them by the State and do not belong to them by cus- 
.tomary law, they will be compelled to depend upon the State 
for their authority ; and to that extent at least they will be 
little more than its subordinates. With regard to^ their 
customary powers, the policy of the State is avowedly to 
.interfere with them as little as possible. But many of the 
chiefs are but ill-fitted to govern, and it is probable that, as 
time goes on, the State will be driven to interfere more and 
more with their activities. Even at the present time it is not 
clear that some of them do not abuse their position. 


The administration of justice in the Belgian Congo is carried 
out partly by European courts and partly by native chiefs. 
The European courts are of varying degree of importance. 
There are seven tribunals of first instance with unlimited 
civil and criminal jurisdiction, and they alone are competent 
to hear capital criminal cases against Europeans. These courts 
are situated at the fpUowing places: Boma for the district 
of the . Bas Congo ; Leopoldville for the districts of Moyen 
Congo, Lac Leopold, and Kwango ; CoquilhatvUle for the 
districts of Equateur, Lulonga, Ubangi, and Bangali; Nian- 
gara for Haut and Bas Uele ; Stanleyrille for the districts 
of Stanleyville, Aruwimi, Ituri, Lowa, Mamiema, and Kivu ; 
Lusambo for the districts of Kasai and Sankuru ; and Elisabeth- 
ville for the four districts which now form the Katanga. 
These courts may also sit at other places when necessary. 

The territorial tribunals have power to hear any criminal 
case against natives, and against non-natives when the punish- 
ment cannot exceed five years' penal servitude or is a fine. 
They are created by ordinance of the procurator-general, who 
determines the places where they shall sit. 

As these courts are, however, insufficient for the require- 


ments of justice in so large a country as the Belgian Congo, 
the State has given judicial powers to various officials in the 
public service. "Where no other tribunal is available any 
official who holds the degree of Doctor of Laws may hear 
charges against either natives or non-natives when the maxir 
mum punishment does not exceed seven days' imprisonment 
or a fine of 200 francs, certain specified classes of other offences 
by natives, and civil cases where the matter in dispute does 
not exceed 100 francs in value. There are appeal courts at 
Boma and Elisabethville. In civil matters they deal with 
cases 'where the subject in dispute is over 300 francs in value 
or a question of competence arises ; in criminal matters they 
heftr appeals in all cases except where the accused person is a 
native and the maximum penalty does not exceed seven days' 
imprisonment or a fine of 200 francs. They also act as criminal 
courts of first instance when criminal charges are brought 
against the inferior judges. 

The Conseil superieur du 'Congo, which sits at Brussels, acts 
as a court of cassation and as a court of appeal. In civil 
matters it hears appeals from Boma and Elisabethville when 
the subject in dispute exceeds 25,000 francs in value; in 
criminal affairs it acts as a court of appeal in cases affecting 
judges of the courts of first instance and as a criminal court in 
cases affecting the judges of the courts of appeal. 

The native courts are presided over by the local chiefs. In 
civil matters where both parties are natives the case is decided 
according to customary law. Either party may, however, 
demand that the case should be carried before a European 
tribunal. The extent to which this is done of course varies in 
different parts of the country, but as a rule the native court is 
usually resorted to by natives who are not matriculated. In 
criminal matters the chiefs and under-chiefs decide according 
to customary law, but in two respects their powers are limited. 
Flogging is the only corporal punishment which they may 
inflict, and that must not exceed twelve strokes. Old men, 
invalids, women, and children are not to be punished in this 
way. Further the chiefs must report to the European authori- 
ties all cases of serious crime, more especially cases of ordeal 
by poison, human sacrifice, cannibalism, slave-dealing, and the 
cultivation and sale of hemp. According to native law these 
are seldom considered to be crimes, and those who engage in 


them would escape punishment if the European authorities 
were not informed. . Further, if an official in the public service 
judges fit, he may withdraw any case from the native courts 
and send it to a European court for trial. 

Sentences pronounced by the native courts are not subject 
to appeal except in so far as native custom permits. This 
perhaps does not matter very much, as in civil matters the 
native may always demand that his trial should take place in 
a European court. In criminal matters on. the other hand*>the 
European courts can always initiate a new trial before them- 
selves, and they do this if a native can show just cause. It must 
always be remembered, ho Waver, that the powers of the chiefs 
are still very considerable, and that the native will necessarily 
hesitate before he incurs their disapprobation by removing his 
case from their purview. As a native cannot migrate from 
one part of the colony to another without first receiving the 
permission of his chief, the latter has an additional hold 
upon him. 

Lanb I 

From the administrative point of view lands are classed 
under the following heads : (1) registered lands which form 
the private property of the non-native population, (2) lands 
oecupied by the native population, (3) the State lands, which 
include unoccupied lands and those occupied or exploited by 
the State. The registered lands alone can be held in private 
property. They include lands which were acquired by non- 
natives before July 1, 1885, and lands which have been ceded 
to private individuals by the natives or by the State, according 
to prescribed forms, since that date. The lands occupied by 
the natives are held to include not only those which they 
inhabit or cultivate, but all those which they exploit in any 
manner whatever. In order to allow for native methods of 
agriculture it is understood that each village should have an 
area at least three times as great as that actually inhabited or 
cultivated. The exact nature of the rights of the natives over 
these lands does not appear to have been precisely determined, 
but they are not able to dispose of them to a third party with- 
out the consent of the Governor-G-eneral. This provision is 
considered necessary in the interests of the natives themselves. 

The domain of the State includes, in addition to lands 


acquired for specific purposes, all the vacant lands of the, 
colony which have not been registered and are not occupied 
by natives. Part of it is known as le domaine public and 
consists of all navigable and floatable rivers and streams and 
the banks thereof to a depth inland of 10 metres from high- 
water level. The remainder of the State lands constitute 
le domaine pnve, which may be exploited in the ordinary 
way and even alienated by the State. 

Tke annexation of the Congo by Belgium led to a new era in 
the methods by which the domain lands were worked. In- 
stead of all exploitation being for the benefit of the State 
alone, as had hitherto been the case, it was now recognized 
that the collection of the natural products of these lands should 
be in private hands, and that the State should content itself 
with certain levies. Further the establishment of agricultural, 
commercial, and industrial concerns was to be encouraged 
by selling or leasing State lands at a moderate rate. 

In order to carry out these principles a decree of March 22, 
1910, put an end to the State monopoly of vegetable products 
on the domaili lands. The transition from State to private 
exploitation was carried out in three stages, and was complete 
by July 1, 1912. Five forest reserves of an extent of 600,000 
hectares (2,500 square miles) were alone exempted from the pro- 
visions of this decree. As a result forest produce can now be 
collected by any person who obtains a permit from the Grovem- 
ment, which is given free of charge except in the case of^ 
rubber or copal, when a payment of 250 francs annually has to 
be made for each factory. A native of the Congo can collect 
without a permit, provided that he does not export directly. 
Traders without a fixed establishment in the country pay 
500 francs for a patente dea trafiquants in addition to the 
250 francs already mentioned. The Grovernor-General may 
suspend the right thus granted on account of the exhaustion 
of the products, or for any other reason. 

In order to make these provisions effective, agreements were 
made with the AUr and the Societe anversoise, by which they 
surrendered the privileges of an exclusive character accorded 
to them in 1906, and in return received definite limited areas 
(see p. 305), together with the cancelling of the share in their 
capital held by the Government. At the same time the Govern- 
ment withdrew from its partnership in the Kasai Company. 

LAND 287 

In 1910 and 1911 regulations were also made for the sale of 
land. Any person who wants from 1 to 10 hectares applies 
to the Governor-General; those who desire more have their 
applications submitted to Brussels. The price varies according 
to the situation of the land and the use to which it is to be 
put. For trading establishments it is 1,000 francs per hectare, 
and in towns 1 franc per square metre. For agricultural 
purposes the Governor-General has fixed the price at from 10 
to 25 francs per hectare, according to the distance from towns, 
railways, rivers, &c. Further those who demand plots exceeding 
10 hectares in extent are granted only a provisional occupation 
for the first five years, during which time they pay a rent 
equivalent to 5 per cent, on the price of the land. At the end 
of this period they must show that they have improved the 
land either by building upon it, cultivating it, or placing 
stock upon it. For large concessions such as that granted a 
few years ago to Lever Brothers special arrangements have of 
course to be made. All such concessions have to be approved 
by the Belgian Parliament. 

In the Katanga the conditions afiecting the sale of land are 
somewhat diflFerent. The cessions are made by the ComiU 
special, and have to be approved by Parliament, but, whereas 
that body has the power to alter the terms of any agreement 
made for other parts of the Congo, it can only accept or reject 
the proposals of the ComitS special. In other respects land is 
sold on much the same terms, but the Comite reserves the 
right to enter any land to prospect, delimit and exploit mines, 
and even to retake it if they indemnify the proprietor of it. 


The mining legislation of the Congo is based upon the 
general principle that the minerals belong to the State and 
not to the owner of the land. Accordingly no one can work 
a mine without a concession from the State. Except in the 
Katanga, the concessions of mining rights are regulated by 
a decree of March 20, 1893. The Government determines the 
regions where prospecting is to be permitted, and grants 
licences to those desirous of undertaking it. If the prospector 
succeeds in locating a mine he has for ten years a preferential 
right of obtaining a concession to work it. The concession. 


when granted, is confined to an area of not more than 10,000 
hectares, and is valid for a period of 99 years only. A royalty 
of 5 per cent, has to be paid on the net profit received, 
together with a tax of 2,500 francs for the concession, and one 
of 10 francs per hectare on mines of precious metals and 
stones, or of 5 francs on other mines. 

In the Katanga the Government was obliged to respect to 
some extent the clauses of the Convention of 1900,. between 
the Independent State and the Compagnie du Katanga, which 
,gave to the Comite spicial the right to exploit for 90 years 
the mines discovered on one-third of the State lands. Hence 
the decree of December 16, 1910, which opened up the 
Katanga to the prospector, is limited in its application. It 
does not apply when the right of prospecting or exploit- 
ing is granted by particular conventions concluded with 
the Comite spicial, and accordingly the Comite may still 
withdraw certain areas from the application of the decree- 
Parliament also has the right to forbid prospecting in certain 
parts of the Katanga, even if these districts haVe not been 
made the subject of special conventions on the part of the 
ComitS. Whatever the date at which they have been grantpd, 
all concessions expire on March 11, 1990, when the period of 
90 years, during which the Compagnie du Katanga has the 
exclusive right to exploit all the mines over one-third of the 
domain lands of the Katanga, comes to an end. Thereafter 
the Belgian Congo comes into full possession of the mines 
and the material used in their exploitation. 

Two further stipulations in the decree already referred to 
increase the control" of the Comite over mining concerns con- 
ducted by companies, that is, over all important works, since 
few individuals possess sufficient resources to undertake large 
enterprises in Africa. The first requires that the Comite 
■ shall receive 33 per cent, of all shares issued by the company 
which holds the concession, while the second reserves to the 
Comite the right of subscribing 20 per cent, of the capital. 
The Comite thus has considerable control over the policy 
of the companies. 

In order to prospect and exploit mines permits from the 
Comit4 are required. The permis general de recherches is 
issued on payment of 100 francs, and gives the holder the 
right to prospect in all parts of the Katanga open to ex- 


ploitation provided the rights of third parties are respected, 
and especially those of the natives. If the holder of a permis 
general discovers a mine he is entitled to apply for a permw 
special et exclusif de recherches, which secures to him for 
two years the exclusive right of prospecting within a circle 
the radius of which in the case of precious ipetals, diamonds, 
and precious stones is 500 metres, and in the case of other 
minerals 2,500 metres. The permis special costs 200 francs, 
and may be renewed for a second term of two years. It gives 
the owner not only the sole right of prospecting within the 
area prescribed, but the right to demand later on a permis 
d' exploitation on condition that he has sufficient capital to 
work the mine properly. The latter permit applies not to the 
circle within which prospecting was allowed, but to a square 
within that circle. Within the area thus prescribed the 
holder has the right to mine until March 11, 1990, and he 
has also the right to construct means of communication 
outside of his concession in order to connect it with smelting 
works, roads, rivers, or railways. In return he has to put the 
mine in working order within two years' time, and from the 
end of the first year pay a royalty of 5 per cent, on the raw 
material extracted from it, with a minimum of 50 francs per 
hectare, if precious metals, diamonds, or precious stones are 
extracted, and 1 per cent., with a minimum of 50 centimes per 
hectare, if other minerals are being worked. In addition 
when a single individual holds the permit he pays 33 per cent, 
of his profits to the Comiti ; companies are exempted from this 
latter, as the. Comite has received 33 per cent, of their shares 
without payment. 

■ By the constitution of the Belgian Congo the finances of the 
■colony are separated from those of the mother country. The 
former has its'own resources, from which it is expected to 
meet its own expenses, and only in exceptional circumstances 
would the latter be called upon to give it financial aid. The 
separation, however, is not quite complete. The salary of the 
Colonial Minister and the expenses of the central administra- 
tion are paid for by Belgium, and figure in the budget of 
the colonies. All other charges appear in the budget of the 


Belgian Congo, which has to be submitted to and approved 
by the Belgian Parliament. 

The income of the Congo is derived from various sources. 
As proprietor of the greater part of the land of the colony, 
and of all its mineral wealth, the State draws considerable 
sums from them. The Independent State did not distinguish 
between what it received as sovereign from that which it 
received as monopolist, and in 1908, the last year in which 
it presented a budget, the ' products of the domain, tributes, 
and imposts paid in kind by the natives ' provided 16,000,000 
francs out of a total revenue of 35,000,000 francs. The aban- 
donment of its monopolies by the State has led to the dis- 
appearance of a great part of this revenue since 1910. 

The domain is, however, still a source of considerable profit 
to the State. The products of sales and leases, the licences for 
the collection of rubber, the tax on ivory, which is roughly 
about one-half its value, the dues on cutting timber in the> 
forests, which are not exacted from natives or people cutting 
for domestic purposes, and the taxes of 40 centimes per kilo on 
tree or vine rubber, and 20 centimes on grass rubber, are in 
the aggregate an important source of revenue. 

From certain monopolies still in its hands the State also 
derives an income. These include the administration of posts, 
telegraphs, and telephones, which is, however, far from being 
a paying concern, the exploitation of the gold mines at Moto 
and Kilo, the State plantations (rubber, coffee, and cocoa) and 
pastoral farms, and various other public services. A small 
amount is also obtained from certain fees and other charges 
levied by the State. They include fines, legal charges, port 
dues, and pilotage charges, survey and land registration fees, 
and gun-licences. A new tax, first levied in 1913, was assigned 
to meet the expenses of collecting commercial statistics. It 
amounts to 15 centimes per package, metric ton, cubic metre, 
or head, according as it deals with merchandise in bale or in 
bulk, or with living animals. The tax is levied upon imports 
and exports. * 

Direct taxation is levied on both Europeans and natives. 
In the case of the former it is levied upon the size of their 
houses, the number of employees engaged by them, and the 
number of boats used in their business. The total amount 
which it produces is not great. 


A much more important tax is that which is levied on the 
natives. All male adults are taxed at a rate varying from 
5 francs to 12 francs per annum. Each year the Governor- 
General fixes the amount payable by the inhabitants of the 
different parts of the country, after taking into account the 
resources of the region and the extent to which they have been 
developed. In 1913, for example, the male adult of Mayumbe, 
the Middle Congo, and the southern Katanga, and of one or 
two smaller districts, such as that round Stanleyville, paid 
12 francs. In the greater part of the southern regions of the 
interior the rate was from 8 to 10 francs, while in the northern 
districts it was generally between 5 and 6 francs. In addition 
there is a supplementary tax of 2 francs on each wife beyond 
the first. The Governor-General may, however, if he sees fit, 
lower or even dispense with these taxes, if it appears that the 
natives are too poor to pay them. The native tax must be paid 
in money ; under the old regime it varied from 6 to 34 francs, 
and was levied in produce, upon which was placed a value 
so arbitrary and so low that the native was often compelled 
to work for at least, and often much more than, fifteen days 
per month. The chief or sub-chief may be authorized to 
collect the tax, but in that case precautions must be taken 
to prevent injustice. If the tax is not paid the chief enforces 
it under native law ; if the native has no chief and declines to 
pay he may be imprisoned for two months. The yield of the 
tax will probably increase considerably as the tribes are 
brought under control and as the economic resources of the 
country are developed. It appears destined to become one of 
the principal resources of the budget. 

All traders who do not pay the personal tax have to take out 
a licence, which costs them 200 francs, and 500 francs if they 
deal in rubber, copal, and ivory. The natives pay this tax 
only when they trade with or for'the account of foreigners who 
are not subject to the personal tax and have not taken out 
a licence. The tax was introduced not so much for fiscal 
purposes as for the discouragement of nomad traders, who 
were believed to be frequently engaged in undesirable enter- 
prises such as slave-dealing. 

The old taxes of the Independent State on rubber were 
i*eplaced in 1910 by a single tax of 75 centimes per kilo- 
gramme on rubber obtained from trees or lianas, and 50 cen- 

T 2 


times on grass rubber. In order to encourage the establish- 
ment of plantations their produce is at present exempt: The 
tax is levied at the time that the rubber is exported, and thus 
it is in appearance, though not in reality, an export duty. 

All limited liability companies established in the Congo 
have to pay to the State a tax of 2 per cent, on their profits. 
All foreign companies with a branch or office in th« Congo 
pay 1 per cent, on the profits derived from their business in 
the colony. 

The export and import dues now form a considerable source 
of revenue. Import duties are fixed at,3 per cent, ad valorem 
on ships, boats, machinery, agricultural implements, and 
material for railways in working order, and at 10 per cent. 
ad valorem on all other merchandize. Material for railways 
in course of construction, scientific instruments, live-stock, and 
seeds are exempt. In 1913 the Government of the Congo 
was authorized to convert these ad valorem, dues into fixed 
taxes. The export duties are also arranged upon an ad valorem 
basis, but for convenience of collection they have also been 
converted into fixed charges, and are levied upon the quintal 
of 100 kilogrammes. For rubber and ivory they work out at 
a rate of 10 per cent, ad valorem. For other products, such as 
ground-nuts, palm-oil, and palm-nuts, the duty is equivalent to' 
5 per cent. Special taxes levied upon alcohol appear to have suc- 
ceeded in reducing the consumption of that article even before 
1913, when its sale to the natives was finally prohibited. 

An' excess profits tax passed by the Belgian Parliament at 
at the beginning of 1919 affects to some extent the finances of 
the Congo. The tax is to be levied on all excess profits 
realized beyond a sum of 2,000 francs. For the first 10,000 
francs on which the tax is chargeable the assessment is to be 
at the rate of 10 per cent., and it is to increase by 1 per cent, 
for each additional 1,000 francs or part thereof, but is not 
to be more than 80 per cent, on that part of the excess profits 
which exceed 600,000 francs. This tax is, however, reduced to 
one-fourth on profits derived from the Belgian Congo or firom 
foreign countries, and seven-eights of the amount derived from 
profits made in the former region are to be handed over to the 
colonial treasury. 

For the year 1914 the revenue of the colony was estimated 
at 30,439,276 francs made up as follows : 



Heads of Revenue 

Land taxes . 

Sale and letting of Crown lands and property 
Licences to collect vegetable produce 
Tax on ivory levied in money or kind 
Licences to hunt elephants and carry arms 
Wood-cutting in State forests 


Direct and personal taxes .... 
Postal, telegraph, and telephone receipts . 
Shipping dues . . ... 

Judicial fees 

Stamp duties 

Freights and proceeds of special arrangements 

companies and individuals . 
Recruiting and engaging workmen 
Sale of agricultural produce 

Interest on shares 

Interest on funds held by the colonial treasury 

Interest on loans , 

Proceeds on the sale of goods warehoused in Congo 
Proceeds on the sale of the stock of ivory warehoused 

at Antwerp on January 1, 1914 . 

Exploitation of mines 

Tax for statistics ...... 



Grand Total 

Total Receipts 

























The expenditure of the State is grouped under two heads, 
ordinary and extraordinary. In 1914 these were estimated at 
51,936,000 francs, and 11,139,582 francs respectively. 

The ordinary expenditure was arrived at as follows : 

Heads of Expenditure 
Administrative service . ' . 

Working of posts, telegraphs, and telephones 
Government hospitals . 
Exploitation of mines . 
Collection of native taxes 
Restrictions on hunting 
Coinage, &c. 
Religious purposes 
Public instruction 
Charitable purposes 
Museum of Terveuren . 
Colonial School . 
School of tropical medicine 
Sundry expenses . 
Public debt . 
Repayments, &c. . 
Unforeseen expenses . 
Insurances . 

Grand Total 

Total expenditure 

per item 





















For 1914, the extraordinary expenditure was distributed in 
the following way : 

Total expenditure 

Heads of Expenditure per item 

Museum of the Belgian Congo 250,000 

Sundry annuities 276,897 

Sixth annuity to be paid on the special fund of 
50,000,000 francs created under § 3 of Article 4 

of the Act'supplementary to the Treaty of Cession 3,300,000 

Equipment of agricultural and pastoral stations . 640,100 

Agricultural colonization 607,525 

Botanical and zoological research .... 42,500 

Marine and hydrographical work .... 1,323,350 

Telegraphs and telephones 20,000 

Health — Precautions against sleeping sickness . . 804,200 

Miscellaneous public works . . . . ■ 2,500,000 
Advances to the Comite spdcial du Katanga in accoi-d- 

ance with Art. 1 of the Convention of June 25, 1903 900,000 

Delimitation of the Katanga-Rhodesia frontier . . 400,000 

Labour bureau in the Katanga 50,000 

Immigration 25,000 

Grand Total .... 11,139,582 

Since the annexation of the Congo by Belgium the annual 
budgets have been as follows (the extraordinary expenditure, 
which was much increased by the war, is omitted after 1914) : 

Ordinary Extraordinary 

Expenditure Expenditure 

36,094,036 8,423,000 

40,370,814 33,516,775 

4(T,847,814 33,356,775 

51,065,310, 16,818,660 

50,983,064 15,024,020 

51,936,000 11,139,572 

ne great fall in the revenue in 1913 and subsequent years 
was due to several causes. The State had abandoned its mono- 
polies, and the rubber crisis necessitated a reduction of the 
taxes on that commodity. The trade of the colony was also 
adversely affected by the war. In 1917 matters began to im- 
prove ; the increased revenue since then, though no doubt due 
in part to the general rise in the level of prices, is also 
accounted for in part by the development in the resources of 
the colony. The increase has been particularly marked in the 
yield obtained from customs and mines, the estimates for 
























1918 being 11,000,000 francs and 14,500,000 francs respectively. 
The rise in expenditure during the last few years may be 
attributed to various causes, of which the general rise in prices, 
the increase of salaries to meet the higher cost of living, the 
larger personnel involved in the development of the colony, 
and the heavier charges caused by the growth of the public 
debt are among the most important. 

At a first glance the figures given above incline one to take 
a serious view of the financial position of the Congo, and no 
doubt they are far from satisfactory. On the other hand 
account must be taken of all the difficulties involved in the 
transition from the old regime to the new. Former sources of 
revenue had to be abandoned before existing ones had become 
productive, and hence the series of deficits which form so 
marked a feature of the Congo budgets. The fact that the 
estimated deficit of 1918 had fallen to 7,000,000 francs, and 
that a slight surplus is expected in 1919, may perhaps be 
taken to indicate that the worst days are over. If nothing 
intervenes to check progress an increasing revenue may be 
anticipated from the taxes on land, mining royalties and 
the gold mines at Kilo, native taxation, and customs-port 
duties. As the position of the native improves he may 
legitimately be asked to pay a higher personal tax, and he 
will certainly demand more European goods. 

In 1913 the public debt of the Belgian Congo amounted to 
278,747,200 francs. It consists in the first place of loans which 
were issued by the Independent State, and which were taken 
over by the colony when it was ceded to Belgium. These 
amounted in 1908 to over 105,000,000 francs. Secondly the 
Act additional to the Treaty of Cession created a special debt 
of 50,000,000 francs, which was to be debited to the colony. 
This sum was to be given to the king en temoignage de 
gratitude and was to be paid in fifteen annuities, the first 
of 3,800,000 francs and the remainder of 3,300,000 francs 
each. These sums are indirectly returned to the Congo, as 
they are expended on matters affecting its welfare. Lastly 
since the annexation the colony has each year borrowed money 
to meet the extraordinary expenditure estimated for in the 
budget and the deficit between revenue and ordinary ex- 



Freedom of worship' has theoretically at least always existed 
in the Belgian Congo, but it appears to be admitted that, under 
the old regime, at least Belgian missionaries were favoured at 
the expense of those from other countries. This was probably in 
part due to the fact that the former, in addition to religious 
teaching, gave their converts an occupational training, while 
the latter confined themselves in the main to religious and 
educational work. Within the last few years some of the 
difficulties formerly experienced by the Protestant missions 
seem to have been removed. 

A decree of December 28, 1888, permits all private associa- 
tions whose object is of a religious, scientific, or philanthropic 
nature to acquire a civil personality and to obtain grants for 
land which shall not exceed 50 hectares in extent in any one 
locality, at least without a special decree. In the case of the 
Roman Catholics, however, a convention concluded with the 
Holy See in 1906 enables missions established with the con- 
sent of the State to receive 100 or even 200 hectares of agri- 
cultural lahd free of charge. In return the missionaries bind 
themselves to engage in educational work of a prescribed form. 

Among other privileges enjoyed by religious bodies are 
exemption from the personal tax on employees, a modified tax 
on buildings, and reduced rates for the transport of goods 
on the boats of the State. They may also receive grants from 
the State for their participation in work of interest to the 

The Roman Catholic organization of the colony is divided 
into three Apostolic Vicarages (Haut Congo beige, 'Congo beige, 
and Stanley Falls), eight Apostolic Prefectures (Kwango, 
Matadi, Haut Kasai, Ubangi, Eastern "Welle, Western Welle,, 
Katanga, and Northern Katanga), and several independent 


So far comparatively little has been done for native educa- 
tion. The first schools founded by the State were charity 
schools in which orphans, children abandoned by their parents,, , 
and the children freed by the dispersal of slave convoys were 
cared for. These schools were situated at Boma and Nouvelle 
Anvers, and their mantigement was entrusted to Roman 


Catholic priests. The course of training which was given had 
as its object the preparation of the pupils for service as 
subordinate officers in the military or civil service of the 
colony. For other natives there are professional' schools 
attached to the workshops which the State possesses at 
Boma, Leopoldville, and Stanleyville. These are open to youths 
from 13 to 20 years of age, who have the consent of their 
parents and have been recommended by their chiefs to the 
Commissioner of their district. In addition there are primary 
schools, where the education is given by members of religious 
orders, and a school for the sons of chiefs, which was opened 
at Stanleyville in 1913. 

The missions, both Protestant and Catholic, have also started 
a number of schools. Some of these are completely free and 
have no obligation to the State, while others are under a certain 
amount of control. In the latter category are : (1) those which 
have been organized like the State schools, already mentioned, 
for the care of abandoned children ; they are under the general 
control of the Grovernor-General ; (2) the schools instituted by 
the Catholic missions which have obtained additional grants of 
land. Each of these has to follow the programme arranged 
for it by the head of the mission in consultation with the 
Grovemor-General. In them the teaching of the national 
language of Belgium and various handicrafts is obligatory. - 

Several scientific establishments are probably destined to 
play an important part in the study of questions connected 
with the Congo. The colonial museum at Terveuren in 
Belgium was reorganized in 1910, and has been charged with 
the duty of studying and publishing the results of observations 
made in the Congo. To the section which deals with natural 
science another relating to moral and political science has 
more recently been added. Much of the published work of 
the museum is of considerable value. 

In the Congo itself the only scientific establishments of im- 
portance are the medical laboratory at Leopoldville and the 
botanic 'gardens at Eala. The Agricultural Service has recently 
taken over the work of collecting and co-ordinating the 
meteorological observations made in the colony. In addition 
various public bodies are engaged to a greater or less extent in 
work of a scientific nature. 


Peotection of the Natives 

The measures Wliich have been taken since the annexation 
of the Congo by Belgium for the protection of the natives 
assume various forms. Compulsory work for Government 
purposes still remains legal, but the period of service has been 
reduced from five years to three. The policy of relying upon 
paid labour for such work appears to be gradually coming into 
force. The Decree of August 17, 1910, lays down the conditions 
to be observed in the recruiting of native labour and in the 
contracts made with the natives. The term of service may 
not exceed three years, whereas formerly the limit was seven 
years ; wages must be paid in money, and the labourer has the 
right to be repatriated to the district where the contract was 
made. Every contract for a term exceeding three months 
. must be vis6d, and the magistrate must see that the labourer 
clearly understands the terms of the agreement. 

It is obvious that with regard to both of those measures 
much will depend upon the spirit in which they are worked 
and the e?:tent to which supervision is possible. As th^ same 
applies to many other regulations affecting the native, a 
permanent commission has been appointed to watch over all 
matters affecting his interests and the improvement of the 
material and moral conditions of his existence. This com- 
mission is presided over by the Procurator-General of the 
Court of Appeal at Boma, and the other members are appointed 
by the king from among the people residing in the colony 
'who by reason of their duties or occupations appear most 
qualified to undertake this protective work '. In 1912 it >was 
decreed that the commission should consist often members, in 
addition to the president, that it should meet at least once a 
year, and that it should draw up an annual report. As the 
members are not only drawn from various parts of the colony, 
but are representative of all classes of the European population 
within it, the commission may almost be regarded as an ad- 
visory council competent to confer with the Government on 
all matters affecting the welfare of the natives. 



In any attempt to estimate tKe future value of the Belgian 
Congo as a colonial possession account must be taken of 
various factors which at present appear likely to check rapid 
progress being made in the development of the resources of 
the country. Of these, the most important are the difficulties 
connected with obtaining a sufficient supply of suitable labour, 
the large areas still without means of communication, the 
want of capital, and the necessity for relying upon countries 
other than Belgium to obtain at least part of the European 
personnel necessary for administrative and economic. develop- 
ment. An examination of these matters will show that the 
problems which they present, though by no means insoluble, 
are nevertheless of a serious nature and are likely to take 
many years for their solution. 

Population and Labour 
A number of estimates of the population of the Belgian 
Congo have been made since the foundation of the Independent 
State, but most of them are of little or no value. Prior to 
1910 one of the most careful was that made by Sir H. H. 
Johnston, who placed' the total number of inhabitants at 
15,500,000. More recent investigations, based on the number 
of adults in each district liable to the personal tax, and, later, 
on the number of people in each chiefdom, seem to indicate 
that this figure was considerably in excess of the actual popu- 
lation. In 1910, for example, a census of the taxable inhabi- 
tants provided the figures from which the table given below 
was compiled. At the best, however, it offers but a rough 
estimate, as it was reckoned that a proportion of the natives 
escaped the observation of the offipials who took the census, 
jvhile some districts were then far from being completely 


occupied. Hence it was considered necessary to add 20 per 
cent, to the number of taxable natives over the whole country, 
and 50 per cent, in the Kasai and Kwango districts and in the 
Dungu (Upper Welle) zone. Moreover the proportion of 
taxable to non-taxable natives had also to be calculated, so 
that the final result may be far from accurate. 

(As the table was drawn up while the old territorial divisions 
were still in existence, the present districts which more or 
less roughly correspond to them have been placed within , 

Population in 
District thousands 

Lower Congo 411 

Middle Congo 168 

Kwango 150 

Kasai (Kasai; Sankuru) 912 

Lac Leopold 221 

Ubangi 165 

Equateur (Equateur, Lulonga) . ' . . . . 1,017 

Bangala 997 

Aruwimi 413 

Province Orientals (Ituri, Stanleyville, Lowa, Kivu, 

Maniema) 1,336 

Katanga (Lomami, Tanganika-Moero, Lulua, Haut 

Luapula) 269 

Uele (Haut Uele, Bas Uele) 1,189 

Total in thousands 7,248 

Estimated total population of the Congo, 7,248,000. 

Since this estimate was made, fiirther light has been thrown 
upon the population of the country by the enumeration of the 
inhabitants in each of the native chiefdoms recognized by 
the Grovernnaent. In 1917 the following table was prepared. 


338,206 ' 

Number of 






Bas Congo 
Moyen Congo 





, 162 




Kwango . 






. 161 




Sankuru . 

. 375 




Lac Leopold . 

. 201 




Ubangi . 










Lulonga . 





Bangala . 










Bas Uele 





Haut Uele . 





Stanleyville . 






Number of 





































Lomami . 






Haut Luapula 












Totals . . 6,095 1,954,058 2,038,826 1,982,577 5,975,461 

Comparing the above table with the previous one (though 
bearing in mind the fact that the limits of the districts are not 
the same in all cases), certain conclusions may be drawn. In 
1916 the work of reorganizing the chiefdoms and enumerating 
the inhabitants had been practically completed in the districts 
of Bas and Moyen Congo, Bangala, Lac Leopold, Lulonga, 
Sankuru, and Bas Uele. In the first five of these districts 
the population is less than the estimate of 1910 (the figures 
for the last two cannot yet be taken into account, as they re- 
present only part of the regions to which the 1910 estimate 
applies). On the other hand in the old Eastern Province the 
population enumerated up to the present time considerably 
exceeds the estimate, and it may also be exceeded in Kasai 
and Sankuru and perhaps in Haut and Bas Uele. Of the 
other districts where the enumeration is not yet complete it 
is impossible with the information available to say anything ; 
in practically all of them the figures yet reached are below 
those of 1910. No indication is furnished in the official reports 
of the amount of work still to be done, but taking into account 
the facts that the population of seven districts is now known, 
that in the four districts of the Katanga which are scantily 
populated no great increase over the figures for 1910 appears 
to be possible, and that in the five districts into which the 
old Eastern Province is now divided a great number of the 
chiefdoms have already been recognized, it is difficult to see 
how the total population of the Congo can much exceed the 
official estimate of 7,000,000. Indeed, if an estimate that half 
a million people have died as a result of the recent influenza 
epidemic be even approximately correct, it may at the present 
time fall below that figure. 

An average population of less than eight to the square mile is 


mucli below what one might have expected in a country which 
contains as much productive land as the Congo, and there is 
little doubt that a much larger population might be sup- 
ported even under the existing system of cultivation. "Within 
the last fifty years it has suffered greatly from a variety of 
causes. The disastrous raids of Tippoo-Tib and the Arabs 
resulted in the practical annihilation of the indigenous popu- 
lation along the river-bank of the Congo between Stanley Falls 
and the mouth of the Aruwimi, and they also caused much loss 
of life among the natives up and down the Lomami river. 
According to G-renfell the inhabitants of the upper Aruwimi 
and Ituri were almost exterminated in a similar fashion. The 
Central Basin, again, was much depopulated by the foolish or 
criminal policy of the concessionaire companies and the admini- 
stration of the Crown Domain during the period of absolute 
rule in the Congo. The spread of sleeping sickness within 
recent years moreover has decimated the population of certain 
regions, while much loss of life has at all times been caused by 
the cruelties of native rulers, the ceremonial sacrifices and 
trials by ordeal conducted by the priests, and perhaps by 
cannibalism. With the exceptic^ of sleeping sickness, which 
will be more fully discussed later, these causes of depopulation 
have either been removed or are in the process of being re- 
moved, and the probability is that unless disease spreads there 
will be a gradual increase in the population. The progress of 
civilization in the Congo will in all likelihood operate in 
a similar way, but much more slowly. As the people become 
acquainted with the elementary principles of sanitation, 
hygiene, and the general care of the health, there will probably 
be a considerable decrease in the death-rate, especially among 
children, with whom it is at present very high. Perhaps also 
a decrease in polygamy, especially in those regions where the 
chiefs have large numbers of wives, might result in an in- 
creased birth-rate. 

One of the great drawbacks of the relatively small population 
of the Congo is that those seeking to develop the country find 
it very difficult to obtain a supply of native labour, and in any 
case the economic polity of the people does not provide any 
surplus from "which such a supply might be freely drawn. It 
is true no doubt that the native as a. rule leaves the cultivation 
of the land to his wives, but he himself has to take some share 


in providing for his family by clearing the land, hunting, or 
fishing, and with these pursuits regular employment would 
seriously interfere. Moreover the general conditions of life 
are such that he has no incentive to depart from the practices 
to which he is accustomed. Indeed his instincts all lead him 
in the opposite direction. The arduous labour which he was 
compelled to perform for little or no recompense under the old 
r^ime has in many cases left him with a profound dislike 
for work under European control, while the relief from 
oppressive tasks under the new regime has to some extent 
bred a spirit of contempt for the wishes of the white popu- 
lation. Any improvement in these respects will naturally be 
slow. The introduction of money payments for work done 
and the requirement that the native tax shall likewise be 
paid in money indicate the lines on which progress may most 
profitably be made. If the native is guaranteed by law 
a fixed and just remuneration for his labour, and if when he 
has paid his tax he is enabled to expend his surplus on goods, 
the price of which is not unduly enhanced, he will gradually 
acquire some idea of relative values and will work for what he 
wants. Hence it is necessary to encourage him to become 
anxious to attain a higher standard of comfort and to advance 
in the scale of civilization. The advantage of providing for 
his needs rather than of pandering to his desires has already 
been recognized by the suppression of the trade in liquor, 
and the best market, and therefore the best supply of labour, 
will eventually be established by creating a demand for useful 
articles rather than for the trinkets so often sold to native 

In those regions where native labour is not directly required 
for European enterprises the development of the resources of 
the country must depend upon persuading the inhabitants to 
increase their output beyond what is necessary for their sub- 
sistence. To this end both the Grovernment and private 
companies can contribute much help. The natives must not 
only have some assurance of a fair and regular market for their 
surplus produce, but they must in many cases have assistance 
in setting up machinery to deal with that produce and to 
prepare it for export. The development of communications is 
also an essential part of such a programme. 

Under the conditions which have been indicated there will 


probably be a gradual increase in the amount of labour avail- 
able in the Congo, but such increase will naturally be slow, and 
for many years to come the supply will not be equal to the 
demands made upon it. The situation will be relieved only 
by an increase in the population together with an increase in 
the work actually done by the individual members of it. 

In the south of the Katanga the problem is no less difficult, 
but is somewhat different in character. Owing to the high 
altitude of the region its climate is less congenial to the negro 
than the lowlands, and the native population is small. As 
a result there is not a sufficient surplus for working the mines, 
and the Union rhiniere has been compelled to obtain its labour 
from other regions (see p. 306). In the north of the Katanga 
on the other hand conditions appear to be more favourable. 
In the valleys of the various rivers by which it is cut up 
there is often a fairly dense population. So far the demands 
made upon it have not been very great, but it seems probable 
that the development of the mines of the region can be 
provided for without the needs of native agriculture being 
seriously affected. In the tin mines of Kiambi, which were 
worked till after the outbreak of war, difficulties arising from 
the desertion of the native do not appear to have arisen. In 
1914 there were 750 names on the books of the mines, but the 
average daily attendance of workmen was 450. Wages aver- 
aged 7 francs for 30 daj^s' labour, plus half a franc per day for 
rations. In addition a bonus was given for more than a certain 
amount of work. 

The development, actual and prospective, of mines, railways, 
and other industrial enterprises in the Katanga has naturally 
given prominence to the labour question within recent years, 
and various suggestions have been made with a view to finding 
a reserve of labour. A proposal much agitated before the out- 
break of war was the introduction of Chinese, but no definite 
conclusion was arrived at. 

Capital: Commeecial Companies 

For the further economic development of the Congo a large 
amount of capital will be required, and at the present time 
it is not clear where that capital will be obtained. It is 
questionable whether Belgium will be able to make any con- 


siderable advances for a long time to come, and tlie same 
doubtless holds true for the Belgian investor. On the other 
hand the risks of large enterprises in the Congo are so consider- 
able that few private firms are in a position to take them. 
Foreign capital will no doubt be available to a greater or less 
extent, but the Belgian Government may well feel that it 
would be inadvisable to allow economic penetration by the 
capitalists of other countries to take place if it were at all likely 
to lead to loss of full political control. Indeed a ^period of slow 
development may ultimately prove beneficial to the Congo. If 
the best results are to be obtained, much will depend upon the 
European personnel engaged in the administration of the 
colony. And no sudden increase in that is possible without 
some sacrifice of efficiency. But even if a policy of slow 
development be decided upon, much money will be required 
for the extension of railways, the improvement of rivers, 
scientific research on the economic resources of the country, 
and various other objects of a similar nature : and, if money is 
not forthcoming for these, the progress of the colony will be 
unduly retarded. 

At the present time the bulk of the capital invested in the 
Congo belongs to companies which have been founded at 
various times and under varying conditions. Reference has 
already been made (see p. 261) to the Compagnie du Congo pour 
le commerce et rindustrie, which was founded in 1886 with the 
object of constructing railways, improving waterways, and 
developing trade. One of the concerns affiliated with it was 
the Societe anonyme beige pour le commerce du Haut-Congo, 
founded in 1888 to carry on trade in the Upper Congo. Later 
on arose the great concessionary companies which played an 
important, if not always a creditable, part in the history of the 
Independent State. Several of these were concerned with 
the exploitation of parts of the Central Basin. The Alir, 
which was founded in 1898 to take over the affairs of the old 
Anglo-Belgian India-Rubber Company, was given the right of 
■ exploiting the basins of the Maringa and Lopori. To the 
Societe anversoise du commerce au Congo was conceded tiie 
basin of the Mongalla. The Societe des chemins de fer des 
Grands Lacs received a block of land, over 15,000 square miles 
in extent, to the south of the projected line from Stanleyville 
to Mahagi. In 1898 the Compagnie du Katanga ceded to the 



Gompagnie du Lomami the lands which it held in full owner- 
ship in the basin of the Lomami, between Bena Kamba and 
the confluence of the Lomami and the Congo. The American 
Congo Company, founded in 1905, was given the right to 
collect rubber and other vegetable produce over an area of 
nearly 4,000 square miles, situated on the left bank of the 
Congo from the confluence of the Alima in the north to 
Kimpoko on Stanley Pool in the south. The last and one of 
the most important of the concessionary companies in the 
Central Basin was the Societeinternationaleforestiere etminiere, 
which was founded in 1906. Its object was to search for 
minerals and more generally to develop the resources of 
a wide stretch of country in the domains de la couronne, and 
in part of the unoccupied lands of the Comite special du 
Katanga, and for this purpose it was given large grants of land 
within the areas mentioned. 

In the Kasai region several important companies have been 
established. The Gompagnie du Kasai, founded in 1902, 
received the right to operate over a vast extent of territory, 
the limits of which were approximately the divide between the 
basins of the Lukenie and the Kasai-Sankuru in the north, 
the Inzia in the west, and the western limits of the Katanga 
in the east. The Comptoir commercial congolais, founded in 
1898 and reconstructed in 1904, operates in the basin of the 
Wamba, a tributary of the Kwango. Reference has already 
been made (see p. 184) to the concessions granted to the Societe 
anonyme des huileries du Congo ielge (Messrs. Lever) in 1911. 

In the various companies established before the annexation 
of the Congo by Belgium the Independent State was usually 
interested to a greater or less extent, and derived no incon- 
siderable part of its revenue from its connexion with them. 
This system came to an end in the years which followed the 
assumption by Belgium of the responsibility for the good 
government of the Congo. In 1911 arrangements were 
approved for opening the lands held by the Abir and the 
Soci6U anversoise du commerce au Congo to free exploitation ; 
and in 1912 an agreement was concluded with theASocie^e inter- 
nationale forestiere et miniere by which it received nearly 600 
square miles of land in forty separate blocks in exchange for 
the rights which had been granted it in 1906 over 4,000 square 
miles of land in the Crown Domain and elsewhere. In 1911, 


also, the State cancelled its agreement with the Compagnie du 
Kasai and resumed its liberty of action in all the vast region 
which had been conceded to that concern. The arrangement 
by which it was bound to exploit the lands granted to the 
Compagnie du chemin de fer des Grands Lacs was also cancelled. 
The various companies which have been mentioned above 
were primarily concerned with the exploitation of the natural 
resources of the country. Most of them have in addition 
established plantations of one kind or another in the regions 
where their activities principally lay. With one or two 
exceptions, however, the companies which are mainly engaged 
in the cultivation of the soil have their sphere of operations in 
Mayumbe. The exceptions include the Plantations Lacourt, 
whose property is situated at the confluence of the Sankuru 
and the Kondue, not far from Lusambo ; the Belgika, which 
has plantations on Bertha Island, near Stanleyville ; and the 
Societe equatoriale congolaise Lulonga-Ikelemha, whose property 
is situated at Boso Libwa. In Mayumbe the plantations are 
mainly devoted to the cultivation of cocoa and rubber. Among 
the more important are the Plantations (La LuM), the 
Compagnie sucriere europeenne et coloniale, the Societe anonyme 
Urselia, the Societe Urselia secunda, the Societe agricole du 
Mayumbe, the Plantations du Bas-Congo, and the Societe 
anonyme d' agriculture et plantations au Congo. 

The principal mining companies in the Congo are engaged 
in developing the mineral resources of the Katanga. The 
circumstances which led to the formation of the Compagnie du 
Katanga and the Comite special du Katanga have already been 
described (see p. 280). One of the first acts of the latter body 
was to cede to a British company, the Tanganyika Concessions, 
whose agents had already visited the country, the sole right of 
prospecting for minerals in the High Katanga. For the 
' 1^*;^,- development of the mines which were discovered each body 
was to contribute 50 per cent, of the necessary funds, while of 
the profits the Comite special was to receive 60 per cent, and 
the company 40 per cent. The administrative posts were to 
be divided between the two bodies, and at least one-half of the 
subsidiary companies formed to work the mines were to have 
their seat in London. It was as a result of this agreement, 
which was modified in some respects by a convention in 1905, 
that the exploitation of the Katanga was vigorously undertaken 

u 2 


by the Tanganyika Concessions and a number of mines 

In 1906, in consequence of a desire to regulate mining 
enterprise throughout the Congo, the Society generaU de Bel- 
gique was formed, and in the same year the Union miniere du 
Haut-Katanga was constituted. It received the right to work 
all the mines in an area of about 55,000 square miles until 
March 11, 1990. The Comite special, which granted the con- 
cession, surrendered its right of subscribing one-half of the 
capital to the Societe ge'nerale, the other half being found by 
the Tanganyika Concessions. The Union miniere has, since 
that date, played the chief part in the economic development 
of the High Katanga, but several other companies may be 

When the Union miniere was formed, all mines which 
had up to that time been discovered by the Tanganyika 
Concessions were ceded by it to the new company. But 
between then and December 9, 1909, the date at which the 
rights granted to the Tanganyika Concessions in 1900 and 
1905 expired, several significant discoveries had been made. 
These included some small diamonds in the alluvial soils of 
the Lualaba and some formations similar to the diamond- 
bearing pipes of Kimberley in the Kundelungu region. To 
investigate these and to work them, if it were eventually found 
profitable to do so, the Comite d' exploitation des Kundelungu- 
Lualaba was formed, three members being designated by the 
Comite special and two by the Tanganyika Concessions. 

In 1910 and 1911 certain conventions were approved with 
the object of further developing the Katanga. The first was 
made between the Comite spdciul and a group of financial 
establishments represented by Colonel Thys and M. I. Jadot. 
The latter received the right to prospect for minerals in the 
region delimited by the parallel of latitude of 10° S., the left 
bank of the Lualaba, the west, north, and east banks of Lake 
Kisale, the right bank of the Lufira, and the parallel of lati- 
tude 9° 30' S. Within this region it was to be permitted to 
select seven blocks with a tptal area of not more than 3,500 
square miles, where for two years it would have the sole right 
of prospecting for minerals. All mines which were discovered 
were to be exploited by the concessionaires or by companies 
established by them till the year 1990. As a result of this 


convention the Societe de recherches minieres du Bas-Katanga 
was founded and began operations. 

The Societe geologique et miniere des ingemeurs et industriels 
beiges took over the concessions granted to M. Adolphe Grenier 
and others. Its field of action was to extend over the same 
area as that of the Sociele de recherches minieres du Bas- 
Katanga, where it was to have the right of selecting seven 
blocks of land with a total area of about 3,500 square miles. 
In these blocks it was given the sole right of prospecting for 
minerals till 1914, and of working any mines which might be 
discovered until 1990. 

Another convention between the Comite special and MM. 
Nagelmaekers etfils led in a similar way to the formation of 
the Societe miniere congolaise, whose prospecting rights ex- 
tended over the lands situated to the south of a continuous 
line formed by the parallel of 10° S., the right bank of the 
Lualaba, the south bank of Lake Kisale, the left bafik of the 
Lufira, and the parallel of Lofoi. Within this area the com- 
pany received the sole right, subject to the rights of other 
parties already acquired, of delimiting within two years an 
area of nearly 800 square miles, in not more than five blocks, 
in which they might exercise the exclusive right of prospecting 
for minerals until 1914. 

A similar concession over the same area, which was granted 
to M. Jules Mabiilon, led to the formation of the Societe miniere 
et industrielle du Katanga. 

The Societe Belgo-Katanga was established to work the 
concessions granted to MM. Thiery, Briart, and others. Its 
sphere of action lay to the south of the tenth parallel, and 
there it had, subject to rights already acquired by others, 
power to delimit an area of nearly 800. square miles, in not 
more than five blocks, in which till December 1914 it was to 
have the sole right of prospecting. 

A concession granted to another financial group (Van Gile, 
Daenen, and others) was taken over by the Societe de recherches 
minieres Lufira-Katanga, which has the right to seek for mines 
in a region bounded approximately by the southern and eastern 
frontiers of the Katanga, the Lufira, the Lualaba, and the 

Lastly there was the Societe anversoise pour la recherche 
des mines au Katanga, which took over the concessions granted 


to the Bary group of financiers. It was given the right to 
prospect in all parts of the Katanga where third parties had 
not already delimited their claims. 

In 1912 two new concessions were granted. One was to the 
Brussels branch of the Deutsche Bank and the other was to 
Benard and Jarislowsky's Bank in Paris and other financial 
houses. Since then various others have been sanctioned, but 
owing to the war little further progress has been made. 

The advantages accruing to large companies when operating 
in so extensive an area and under the dijBficult conditions 
prevailing in the country soon began to make themselves 
evident, and in 1913 amalgamations were arranged between 
the Societe industrielle et miniere du Katanga (the Simkat), the 
Societe Belgo-Katanga, and the Societe des recherches minieres du 
Bas-Katanga (the BaTcat). 

In order to work the gold discovered in the basin of the 
Tele, a tributary of the Itimbiri. the Societe forestiere et miniere 
founded in 1913 the Societe miniere de la Tele. The concession 
granted to it embraces the country bounded by the right bank 
of the Tele between the Dinda and the Zambe, the right bank 
of the latter river to its source, the parallel of its source to the 
watershed between the Tele and the Aruwimi, the watershed 
until it meets the parallel of the source of the Dinda; this 
parallel as far as the source of the Dinda, and the Dinda from 
its source to its confluence with the Tele. 

The various companies concerned with transport have 
already been mentioned in connexion with the communica- 
tions of the colony. The railways are owned by the Societe de 
chemins de fer vicinaux du Mayumbe, the Compagnie du 
chemin de fer du Congo, the Societe de chemins de fer du Congo 
superieur aux Grands Lacs africains, the Compagnie du chemin 
defer du Bas-Congo au Katanga, and the Compagnie du chemin 
de fer du Katanga. The railway from Lobito Bay to the 
Katanga is owned by the Companhia do Caminho de Ferro de 
Benguella (see pp. 228-9). The Societe anonyme Citas runs 
a number of the river-boats above Leopoldville. Oil for con- 
sumption by suitable craft is provided by the Societe anonyme 
des petroles au Congo. Communication with Belgium is main- 
tained by the Compagnie beige maritime du Congo. The 
financial establishments in the Congo include the Banque 
commerciale du Congo and the lUinqur <Iu Congo beige, both of 


which have offices at Boma, Matadi, Kinshasa, Stanleyville, 
and Elisabethville. 

The following table shows the capital of the more important 
concerns operating in the Belgian Congo (capital 2,000,000 
francs and upwards) : 

Share Debenture 

Name Capital. " Stock. 

' Transport Frs. Frs. 

Cie. du chemin de fer du Congo . . . 30,000,000 67,000,000 
Cie. des chemins de fer du Congo superieur 

aux Grands Lacs africains . . . 75,000,000 

Cie. du chemin de fer du Katanga . 80,000,000 
Cie. du chemin de fer du Bas-Congo au 

Katanga 2,000,000 

Societe des chemins de fer vicinaux du 

Mayumbe ... . . 4,500,000 

Societe anonyme Citas 3,000,(J00 

Cie. beige maritime du Congo . . 12,000,000 2,187,160 


Union miniere du Haut-Katanga . . . 12,500,000 20,000,000 
Societe anversoise pour la recherche des 

mines au Katanga 3,000,000 

Societe des recherches minieres du Bas- 

Katanga 2,000,000 

Societe de recherches minieres Lufira^Katanga 3,000,000 
Societe beige industrielle et miniere du 

Katanga 6,000,000 

Societe internationale forestiere et miniere. 8,000,000 

Societe miniere de la Tele ..•,.• • 4,500,000 
Cie. geologique miniere des ingenieurs et 

industriels beiges 3,510,000 

Plantations and Agriculture 

Societe agricole du Mayumbe . ■ ■ 3,500,000 

Cie. sucrieie europeenne et coloniale . . 3,500,000 328,751 

Societe de plantations coloniales (La Luki) . 2,000,000 

Societe de cultures au Congo . . ■ 3,000,000 

LaLuinha .... • 3,400,000 
Plantations Lacourt . . . ■ 


Banque du Congo beige .... ^'°°n'255 

Societe commerciale et miniere du Congo . 3>992'9x? „ ««/^ aaa 

Cie.duKasai 2,000,000 7,000,000 

Societe anonyme beige pour le commerce . 

duHaut-Congo n'^oS'SS? 

Cie. du Congo pour le commerce etl'industne . 2.092,^95 

Societe anony me des huileries du Congo beige 30,000,000 
Societe forestiere et commerciale du Congo 

belffe . . • • d.OOO.OUU 

Cie.d:roma«i .... ■ f 00 000 

Societe des petroles au Congo . .'nn^'nnA 

Societe Belgo-Katanga . ■ ■ • 5,000,000 

Societe Belgika 3,000,000 


In addition to these there are a number of companies with 
capital varying from 200,000 to 2,000,000 francs. There are 
also numerous small concerns conducted by people of various 
nationalities engaged in the purchase of raw materials of 
various kinds and in the sale of European goods to the natives. 
It is calculated that at the end of 1917 there were in all 1,750 
commercial establishments of one kind or another in the 
Belgian Congo. The greater number of these were of course 
either branches of large concerns or small 'one-man' busi- 
nesses engaged in retail trade. 

Health Conditions 

The climatic conditions of the Belgian Congo are in many 
waj's unfavourable to its development. Various diseases have 
in the past levied a heavy toll on the native populations, and, 
although their devastations appear to have been temporarily 
stayed, it is by no means certain that they have been finally 
overcome. Of these sleeping sickness and malaria are the 
most serious, but influenza has recently made its appearance, 
and according to a recent report has committed great havoc 
among the natives. 

Sleeping sickness had for long been endemic in the Lower 
Congo, but during the latter part of the nineteenth century it 
began to spread rapidly through all parts of the Congo basin 
with a virulence much greater than it had hitherto shown. 
The disease is caused by the presence in the blood of minute 
animal parasites called trypanosomes, which once established 
in the system may end the patient's life in six months, thr^e 
years, or even later. The trypanosomes are conveyed by the 
tsetse or biting-fly, Glossina palpalis (sometimes also by Glos- 
sina morsitans), which sucks them in from the blood of infected 
persons, and perhaps from that of infected animals. After 
a short time these parasites multiply to such an extent that 
some of them are injected into every man or animal thereafter 
bitten by the fly. The illness begins with attacks of fever, 
alternating with periods of good health. Later on the patient 
may have enlargement of the glands of the neck, and, in the 
last stage, the drowsiness from which the disease is named. 
If the malady be detected in time, however, he can be treated • 
and has some chance of recovery. 


Glossina palpalis is found only where there are both water 
and shade, and its favourite breeding-places are in the vicinity 
of lakes and rivers. From such localities it seldom departs 
more than half a mile, and the European therefore may do 
much to avoid the risk of infection. All camps or settlements 
should be situated outside the danger zone, and where that is 
impossible the vegetation should be cut down in order to 
deprive the tsetse of the shade which it requires. For the 
native, however, this is rather a counsel of perfection (though 
the banks of various rivers are being cleared), and the segrega- 
tion and medical treatment of those who are affected by the 
disease appear to be the chief means by which the disease can 
be kept under control at the present timB. 

Sleeping sickness has probably caused a great reduction 
in the population of the Belgian Congo. A few years ago it 
was reported to be very prevalent in the vicinity of Lakes 
Leopold II, Albert, and Edward, in the Bangala country, in 
the district of Aruwimi, between the mouths of the Itimbiri 
and Aruwimi, and in parts of the Kasai region, more 
particularly in the basin of the Kwango. Since then it has 
abated in some of these districts, but there have been violent 
outbreaks in others. In 1917 the areas where the disease 
was most prevalent were the following: Mayumbe, the dis- 
tricts of JKwilu and Kikwit in the basin of the Kwango, 
parts of the Kasai region, the district of Lumbale on the 
lower Welle, the basin of the Itimbiri, and Banzyville and 
various other places in the district of Ubangi. In Mayumbe 
and Ubangi there was a decrease in the number of cases, 
but a recrudescence of the disease was reported in the 
Katanga, in the Lomami (Kabinda and Pania Antombo), in 
Tanganika-Moero (Kiambi and Pweto), and in the environs 
of Sampwe. In 1916, 7,376 natives were treated for sleeping 
sickness, of whom 813 died, while in 1917 the number of 
those treated had fallen to 4438. (These figures of course 
relate only to cases which occurred within the radius of the 
medical stations. It is questionable whether the decrease in 
the disease is as great as they indicate, owing to the fact that 
the" medical staff was reduced by the war.) 
' Malaria is transmitted by several species of the Anopheles 
mosquito, which breeds in slow-moving streams, pools, and 
marshes, and as a rule does not wander far from these places. 


If this mosquito bites a person with malarial parasites in his 
blood, it becomes infected, and soon begins to transmit the 
disease to every person on whom it feeds. In the Belgian 
Congo malaria takes many forms, but it is usually accom- 
panied by a chilly feeling, with lassitude and pain in the 
limbs. It is, however, difficult to distinguish malaria from 
fevers due to other causes. 

Both natives and Europeans are liable to malaria in the 
Congo. In thei case of the native, children are most subject 
to attack, and those who survive appear to become more or 
less immune in later life, so long at least as they remain 
within the area or climatic conditions to which their tribe 
has become habituated. If, however, they move to parts of 
the country to which they are not physically accustomed, they 
are more liable to be attacked. Even in Europeans malaria 
does not appear to lead to many fatalities, if proper precautions 
are taken. Out of a white population of about 6,000 the 
number of deaths recorded as due to it was 14 in 1916 and 
6 in .1917. For the same two years the deaths among the 
natives treated for the disease numbered 36 and 35 re- 

To stamp out malaria it would be necessary to destroy the 
breeding-places of the mosquito, from the nature of things 
an almost impossible task in the Belgian Congo. As, even 
under the most favourable conditions, it is almost impossible 
to avoid a few mosquito bites, Europeans ought to take 
occasional doses of quinine, which either kills or prevents 
the development of the parasite in the blood. 

Blackwater fever is generally recognized to be a sequel of 
neglected malaria, and is seldom seen in tropical Africa 
except in persons who have suffered from that disease. 
Neglect of the general precautions against malaria and want 
of care during the progress of that illness when once con- 
tracted, and during convalescence, are the chief causes of 
blackwater fever. The disease is rarely met with among 
negroes residing in their native land, but they are liable to 
suffer from it if they are moved rapidly from one part of 
the country to another. The attacks, however, do not appear , 
to be as severe as in the case of Europeans. 

Small-pox, which appears to have entered the Congo from 
Angola, caused much havoc in the country during the nine- 


teenth century, and was probably, a potent factor in keeping 
down the population throughout that period. It is still 
endemic in the Congo, but according to recent reports is 
much less virulent and deadly than was formerly the case. 
The native takes readily to vaccination, and this is probably 
one important reason why the disease has decreased in 

Pulmonary diseases, and especially pneumonia, cause many 
deaths among the natives, who are unaccustomed to wear 
clothing, and take few precautions against the low tempera- 
tures of the night and early morning. Pleurisy has been 
recorded among the natives in the south-west of the country. 

Tick fever is caused by Ornithodorus monhaia, one of the 
many varieties of tick found in the Belgian Congo. It causes 
a relapsing fever, which, if not taken in time, may eventually 
lead to paralysis of the face or inflammation of the eyes. With 
proper medical advice the course of the disease may be cut 

The embryos of a filarial worm are sometimes introduced 
into the blood by the bite of several species of mosquito. 
Some kinds of mosquito are harmless, but others are the 
cause of elephantiasis. Europeans .are rarely infected. 

Jigger lesions are caused by minute- sand-fleas, which are 
found in great numbers on the unpaved floors of places fre- 
quented by natives. The jigger, or chigoe, bores its way under 
the skin, where it lays its eggs. If it is not picked out it 
comes away by ulceration, leaving small wounds which 
frequently become septic and inflamed. The danger from 
jiggers may be avoided to a great extent by not walking about 
with bare feet. 

Beri-beri, which is medically described as ' a specific form 
of multiple peripheral neuritis', is said to have been intro- 
duced into the Lower Congo about 1892. Between that year 
and 1896 it developed into a serious plague in the region of 
the Cataracts. Since then it appears to have crossed the 
country, and at the present time is most severe along the 
routes of the CTieMns defer du Congo superieur aux Grands 
Lacs africains. 

Amoebic dysentery is common in all parts of the Congo except 
in the Katanga, where it appears to be rare. The proportion 
of deaths is decreasing, a result attributed to the use of emetics 


in treating the disease. In the Katanga other forms of 
dysentery; are rather common. 

Among other diseases which are found to a greater or less 
extent in the Congo are leprosy, which exists in all parts of 
the country but is not very common, typhoid fever, which 
sometimes becomes an epidemic as at Kamboye and Likasi in 
1917, and various illnesses which are common' to all mankind. 
Venereal troubles appear to be widespread. 

The recent outbreak of influenza (1919) did not spare the 
colony, and a great many deaths were caused by it, one report 
placing the number as high as half a million. This is probably 
an exaggeration, but it indicates that the epidemic was of the 
most serious description. 

Native methods of treatment have already been described 
(see p. 135). The personnel of the European medical staff is 
quite insufficient for the needs of the colony; in 1915 there 
were only eighty medical men in the country, and this number 
has since been reduced by the exigencies of war. 

European Population 

For the economic develppment of the Congo, no less than 
for its political administration, a considerable European popu- 
lation is necessary. But to obtain such a population is a task 
by no means without difficulty. The conditions of life in the 
country are far from attractive, and Belgium itself is not able 
to provide the white personnel necessary for the work to be 
done. At the present time about 40 per cent, of the white 
population are not of Belgian nationality, and, although the 
majority of these are engaged in commerce and not employed 
in the administrative service, the position is one which 
naturally does not appeal to the Government. The fears to 
which it led in regard to the Katanga have already been men- 
tioned, and the development of the Kilo and Moto gold mines 
also seems to have been retarded by the want of Belgians 
capable of undertaking their management. Now that the 
causes of distrust between Belgium and certain other Powers 
have been removed, it seems probable that a more liberal 
attitude will be adopted by the State. 

The last figures available, those for 1917, show that in that 
year the white population was 6,295. The number in each 


province and the nationality to -which they belonged are 
shown in the following table. 














Belgian . 

. 1,270 





British . 


















Italian . 


















Dutch . 


















Spanish , 






Swedish . 






Russian . 












French . 





Others . 






Total . 2,272 563 998 2,467 6,295 

The Belgians are engaged in practically every kind of 
administrative and commercial activity in the Congo. British 
interests are confined in the main to the mineral industry of 
the Katanga. The Swiss have few trading establishments 
of any kind, in the country and appear to be mainly emploj'ed 
as clerks in Government or business offices. The Portuguese 
and Greeks carry on much local trade among the natives, and 
Portuguese and Italians are also engaged in the mining industry 
of the Katanga. Americans work some of the diamond mines 
in the Kasai region, and a certain number are employed in the 
Katanga and elsewhere. The Luxemburgers are probably 
Germans who were engaged in business houses before the war. 
A number of Indians have penetrated inland from the coast of 
East Africa and have settled in the eastern part of the colony, 
where they carry on retail trade among the natives. A few 
Chinese are similarly employed. 

The financial difficulties in which the Congo has been in- 
volved have made it difficult for it to remunerate its officials 
on a sufficiently liberal scale, account being taken of the cond i- 
tions which prevail in the Congo, the necessity for frequent 
leave, and the risk to life and health. The salaries of all 
members of the administrative staff were fixed by a decree in 


1912 (though a bonus has since been added to meet the higher 
prices caused by the war), and an indication of their general 
level may be obtained from the following illustration. The 
Governor- General receives an initial salary of 50,000 francs, 
and the Vice -Governors one of 40,000 francs each, the State 
Inspectors 35,000, District Commissioners 16,000-17,000, 
and Territorial Administrators 10,000 to 12,000. Judicial 
salaries vary from 11,000 to 25,000 francs according to grade 
and length of service. A chief medical officer begins at 
20,000 francs, and a doctor just entering the service, 12,000. 
The captain of a first-class steamer receives 14,000 francs, 
others considerably less. Artisans, typists, and clerks begin at 
6,000 or 6,500 francs. After two years' service in his grade an 
official is entitled to an increase of 10 per cent., and subsequent 
increases may raise his initial salary by 20 per cent, in all. 

Government officials receive only 85 per cent, of their 
nominal salary, the remainder being placed in a reserve fund 
from which pensions are ultimately drawn. At the end of ten 
years' service (not including leave) the official may draw his 
pension whether he has retired or still remains in the service. 
In the latter case a second pension begins to accumulate. The 
amount payable at the end of each period depends upon the 
salary received by the official at the time his pension becomes 
due. When it is between 6,000 francs and 10,000vthe pension 
is 900 francs per year, between 10,000 and 15,000 francs it is 
1,100 francs, between 15,000 and 20,000 francs 1,500, between 
20,000 and 25,000 francs 1,800, between 25,000 and 35,000 
francs 2,300, between 35,000 and 40,000 francs 2,600, between 
40,000 and 50,000 francs 2,800, and over 50,000 francs 3,000. 
These payments are certainly not excessive. An official whose 
final salafy was 24,000 francs, and comparatively few receive 
more, would at the end of twenty-five years' service, including 
leave, receive a pension of not more than 3,600 francs (iJl44) 
per year. 

After each period of two years' active service in the colony 
every official is entitled to six months' leave, during which he 
draws one-third of his salary if it is below 20,000 francs and 
one-fourth if it is above that amount. 

Few regulations have so far been made regarding the selec- 
tion of members of the public service in the Congo. The 
Governor-General and the vice-Governors-General must be of 


Belgian nationality, and no member of either Chamber may 
be appointed to any post until at least a year has elapsed since 
his resignation of his seat. (The latter regulation does not 
apply to the Governor- General or to the vice-Governors- 
General.) Otherwise few restrictions are imposed on candi- 
dates, and the of&cial policy of the Government is that each 
application should be decided on its merits. In April 1919 
a special appeal was made to young officers demobilized after 
the war to consider service in the Congo, and it is probable 
that for some years to come these will form the chief source 
from which the official class will be drawn. That the supply 
of efficient candidates is not too plentiful, however, is rather 
indicated by the fact that the upper age limit has been fixed 
at thirty -five years. Apart from the professional qualifications 
of those who intend to be doctors, engineers, surveyors, &c., no 
examination test is applied, but all selected candidates have to 
attend courses at the Colonial School for three months before 
proceeding to the Congo. 

Whatever be the cause, there is no doubt that the ad- 
ministrative staff in the Congo is still much too small for the 
demands which. are made upon it. In almost all branches 
of Government activity this is undeniably the case. A con- 
siderable part of the colony is but imperfectly known, and the 
tribes which occupy it have not yet been brought under 
control ; the economic resources of the country have only been 
partially investigated ; for the improvement and full utiliza- 
tion of the waterways the Hydrographical Service must be 
largely increased. The Medical Service is inadequate for the 
heavy demands made upon it, little is being done fdr education, 
and the scientific staff requires to be strengthened in order to 
deal with various important problems affecting the colony 
which stiU await solution. 


Ababua tribes. 95, 96, 102, 
107-114, 132, 134, 137, 
139, 140 ; political or- 
ganization, 124; vil- 
lages, 117 

Abali tribe, 103 

Abanja tribe, lOS 

Abarambo tribe, 104 

Abir company, 286^ 305, 

Abo, 248 

Abu R., 211 

Abumombazi, 74 

Acacia, 80, 81, 85 

Adio tribe, 103 

Administration, 276-298 ; 
salaries, 317-318 

African rubber-tree, 75 

Afrikaansche Haudels- 
verleiiiging, 261 

Agave, 193 

Agricultural implements, 

Agriculture, .9, 10, 137, 
156-172, 194-201, 285, 
294, 807 

Agriculture, Department 
of, 60 

Agu hill, 21 

Aioda R., 21 

Aja Mts., 49 

Aka tribe, 92 

Akalunga, Cap^e, 23 

Akor hill, 22 

Akela tribe, 98, 102 

Alala R., 21 

Albert, L., 8, 17-21, 27, 
82, 35, 49, 50, 75, 80, 
222, 234, 245, 248, 249, 
259, 81,3 

Albertville, 201,224,283, 
252, 259 ; railway, 217, 
224, 225, 233, 259; 
rainfall, 68 

Alcoholic liquor, 162,163, 
165, 166, 272, 303 ; tax 
on, 292 

Alima R., 306 

Amadis, 48, 79 

Ambwaga tribe, 103 

American Congo Com- 
pany, 306 • 

American cotton, 196, 
197 ; population, 317 

Aminzi hill, 21 

Ammodar K., 22 

Amulets, 148 

Anatase, 216 

Angba, Mt., 48, 240 

Anglo- Belgian India- 
Rubber Company, 305 

Ango-Ango, 250, 255 

Angola, 9, 24, 206, 211, 
228, 252, 314; trade, 

Angolan plateau, 27, 28, 
84, 42, 228, 232 

Angu, 240, 241 

Ankdro, 31, 86, 233, 234, 
242, 249 

Anomalures, flying, 89 

Anona, 157, 165 

Antelopes, 87, 88 

Ants, 90, 91 ; ant-hills, 

Apes, 89 

Arabs, 302 

Archduchess Stephanie 
Falls, 58 

Area, 7-9 

Aru R., 211 

Aruwimi district, 118, 
178, 278, 281, 283, 302, 
313 ; population, 300 

Aruwimi K., 32, 35, 86, 
41, 42, 44, 65, 75, 77, 
92, 95, 96, 103, 116, 
235, 237, 310, 313; 
navigation, 241 

Aruwimi Bomokandi 
watershed, 32 

Asbestos, 216 

Ass, wild, 87 

Association international 
du Congo : see Inter- 
national Association 

Aviikubi, 41, 65, 241, 248, 

Avurn-ezo tribe, 103 

Avurn-Gura, 103 

Azande (of Niam-Niam) 
tribe, 103-105 

Babalitribe, 96 

Babeyru, 211 
Babingi : see Bayanzi 
Baboons, 89 
Babuma tribe, 94 
Babunda tribe, 100 
Babwende tribe, 93 
Badinga tribe, 101 
Badjok tribe, 99 
Badouinville, 163 
Bafete tribe, 92 
Bafoto tribe, 92 
Bafwaboli. 248 
Bafwasendi, 248 
Biigunda tribe, 96 
Bagwa-ndala tribe, 101 
Bahemba tribes, 97 
Bahira, 23 
Bahira hill, 23 
Baholoholo tribe, 106, 

107, 108, 109, 111,112, 

142 ; villages, 121 
Bahr-el-Ghazal basin, 16 
Bahuana tribe, 100, 101 
Bakango tribe, 102 
Bakasauga tribe, 97 
Bakatcompany: seeSoci^t^ 

des recherches mini^res 

du Bas-Katanga 
Bakele tribe, 99 
Bakete tribe, 97. 99 
Bakiliba tribe, 97 
Bakinsunkulu tribe, 97 
Bakitentu tribe, 97 
Bakonde tribe, 101 
Bakongo tribe, 98, 96, 99, 

100 ; villages, 120 
Bakteke tribe, 98 
Bnkuba : see Bushongo 
Biikumu tribe, 96, 108, 

Bakwa-Mosinga tribe, 

Bakwa-Samba tribe, 101 
Bakwese tribes, 101, 

Bakyombo tribe, 97 
Bali R., 95 
Balolo : see Mongo 
Balua tribe, 101 
Baluba tribes, 96-98, 108, 

111, 113, 182, 136, 140, 
141 ; political organi- 



zation, 127-128; vil- 
lages, 119, 122 
; Baluba-liemba tribes, 97 

Balunda tribe, 96 

Bamanga I., 207, 216 

Bamangu tiibe, 103, 105 

Bambaia R., 99 

Bambala tribes, 98-101 

Bambali tribe, 99 

Bambarra ground-nut : 
see Voandseia 

Bambili, 102, 108, 241, 

Bambingi tribe, 99 

Bamboli tribe, 96 

Bamboo, 72, 81, 85, 117, 

Bamboy tribe, 99 

Bambuno tribe, 94 

Bamu I., 16,236 

Bamulenda tribe, 97 

Bamwenge tribe, 97 

Bamwika tribe, 97 

Banalia, 77 

Banana, 37, 60, 72, 251, 
252, 254-256 ; climate, 
64, 67 ; port, 254, 257, 

Banana Creek, 254 

Banana Point, 261 

Bananas, 139, 140, 157, 
158, 164-165, 190 ; 
plantations, 115, 116 

Banda dialect, 1 03 

Banda tribes, 104 ' 

Bandunjeke tribe, 99 

Bangala district, 94, 175, 
178, 186, 278, 279, 283, 
313 ; population, 300, 

Bangala tribe, 94, 95, 
107, 108, 111, 113, 114, 
132, 134, 139, 142 ; vil- 
lages, 116 

Bangba tribe, 104 

Bangendi tribe, 99 

Banghelima tribe, 116 

Bangi, 74 

Bangongo tribe, 99 ; vil- 
lages, 121 

Bangoy tribe, 97 

Bangu'massif, 40, 73, 218 

Bangweulu, L., 15, 23, 24, 
31, 97 

Bankutu tribe, 101, 102 

Banque oommerciale du 
Congo, 310 

Banque du Congo beige, 
310, 311 

Bantu languages, 96, 103, 

Bantu negroes, 93-103, 


143 ; cultural condi- 
tions, 131-142 

Banza tribe, 104, 105 

Banziri tribe, 104, 105 
villages, 118, 120 

Banzyville, 105, 239, 313 

Baobabs, 72, 73 

Bapenda tribe, 100 

Bapindi tribe, 100, 101 

Bapopoie tribe, 116; vil- 
lages, 118 

Bapoto R., 94 

Eapoto tribe, 94 

BaraUa, 52, 252 

Barges ,246. See also Boats 

Barite, 216 

Barumbu, 190, 191, 193 

Bas : see under specific name 

Basanga tribe, 98 

Basango tribe, 96 

Basankusu, 94, 187, 242, 

Bashilange tribe, 97-99 

Bashilele tribe, 99 

Bashoba tribe, 99 

Bashui tribe, 99 

Basket-work, 139, 140, 

Basoko, 32, 44, 116, 241, 

Bisoko tribe, 96 

Basonge tribes, 97, 98, 
106, 107, 111, 112, 126, 
127, 133, 135, 139-141 ; 
villages, 119, 121 

Basongo, 34, 46, 185 

Basongo tribe, 100 

Basundi tribe, 93 

Batabwa tribe, 97 

Bateke tribe, 93 

Batele tribes, 98 

Batembo tribe, 92 

Bats, 89 

Batvra race, 92, 143-145; 
family, 144; moral 
ideas, 144-145 ; pro- 
perty, 145 ; religion, 
144 ; social organiza- 
tion, 143 ; villages, 

Baudouinville, 201, 207, 

Baya, 252 

Bayaka tribe, 101 

Bayanzi (or Babingi) 
tribe, 94, 95, 100, 101 

Beans, 157, 273 

Beer, native, 162, 163, 
165. See also Alcoholic 

Bees, 91, 172 

Befori, 242 

Beira, 11 ; railvsray, 229- 
231, 239 

Belgian control, 12-26, 
276-277, 281, 284, 288, 
290, 292, 306, 316, 817, 
319; investments, 304- 
311 ; population, 316, 
317 ; bhipping, 257- 
259; trade, 186, 261, 
272, 273, 310 

Bellefoniaine, 199 

Belmonte, 229 

Bembezi E., 73 

Bona Bendi, 243 

Bena Dibele, 78, 99 

Bena Kalebue tribe, 98 

Bena Knmba, 44, 306 

Bena Makima, 34, 58 

Beneki tribe, 98 

Bengnella, 228; railway, 
228, 231 

Beni, 50, 80 

Beri-bei'i, 315 

Berlin Conference (1884- 
5), 12, 13 

Bertha I., 237, 238, 807 

Betu, 239 

Bia Mts.,29, 55, 56 

Biano plateau, 29, 30, 
54-56, 59. 201, 227, 249 

Biaro R., 223 

Eienge tribe, 99 

Biet hill, 21 

Bikoro, 192, 243 

Bikubi E., 223 

Bili R., 33, 48, 74 

Bima R., 33, 74, 95 

Bird I., 254,257 

Birds, 89-90 

Bituminous shales, 215- 

Blackwater fever, 314 

Boats, 136, 237-240, 244, 
246, 259, 310 ; fax on, 

Bobandana, 259 

Boga, 50, 249 

Boganga tribe, 95 

Bohindu tribe, 99 

Bohm, 279 

Bokala, 78, 182 

Bokula, 241 

Bola E., 37, 72 

Bolobo, 42, 237, 251 

Bolombo, 34 

Boma, 38, 189, 193, 209, 
251, 252, 254-256, 261, 
277, 278, 288, 284, 296- 
298, 311; port, 257- 
259 ; railway, 221 


Bombimba, 192, 243 



Bnmbomba, 243 
Bombwandza tribe, 116 
Bomokandi R., 33, 48, 74, 

92, 104j 118 
Bomokandi-Makonga B., 

Bomu R., 8, 16, 19, 32, 
33, 85, 47, 48, 64, 74, 
79, 102, 103, 136, 235, 
Bongo, 88 
Bongo tribe, 105 
Bonny, 251 
Bopoto hills, 237 
Borassus palm, 80, 82, 

Bosanga tribe, 116 
Boso Libwa, 307 
Bosow, 242 
Botanical research, 294, 

Boyolo, 74 
Brass, 141 
Brazzaville, 11, 220, 235. 

2il, 252 
Bridges, 136, 219, 223, 

224, 247 
British population, 317 ; 
shipping, 257-259 ; 
trade, 208, 226, 261, 
266, 272, 273, 317. See 
also under Frontiers and 
British Congo Company, 

British South Africa 

Company, 280 
British Sun, oil-ship, 250 
Broken Hill, 205, 226 
Brushwood, 72-74, 79, 81 
Brussels, 277, 281, 284, 
287, 310 ; Conference 
(1876), 12 ; Declaration 
(1894), 26 ; Treaty 
(1913), 26 
Buffalo, 87, 88 
Buhamba, 22, 23 
Buja tribe, 94 
Bukama, 31, 86, 204, 212, 
214, 228, 231-233, 238, 
239, 249, 250 ; railway, 
217, 225-231, 234, 249 
Bulawayo, 230 
Bulikoko, 256 
Buluku tribe, 99 
Bulu-Vulu plateau, 229 
Bumba 32, 43, 77, 185, 

Burton Gulf, 76 
Burumbu, 185 
Busanga, 208, 209 
Bush, 78-81 

Bushbueks, 88 
Bushongo {or Bakuba) 

tribes 98, 99, 106, 108, 

110, 111, 135, 137, 142 ; 

politic.ll organization, 

125-126; villages, 119, 

Bushongo Mono tribe, 98, 

BusiraR., 33, 77,78,145, 

236, 242 
Busira-Chuapa R., 242 
Busira Manene, 186 
Bussoro, 22 
Busweuda, 20 
Buta, 41, 234, 239, 241, 

Butala, 78 
Butiabwa, 259 
Butter, 171, 273 
Bwado, 74 
Bwaka dialect, 103 ;tribe, 

104, 105 
Bwela tribe, 94 

Cables, 251-253 

Cajanus indicus, 169 

Caladium 161 

Cameron, V. Lovett, 279 

Cameron Bay, 23 

Cameroons, 8, 11, 27, 66 

Canoes, 136, 141, 238- 
241, 243, 216, 259, 260 

Cape Town, 227, 239 

Capital, investment of, 

Capsicum, 169 

Cargo boats, 259 

Carpodinus, 82, 84, 174- 

Cassava : see Manioc 

Castor-oil plants, 168 

Cataracts, the, 8, 315 

Catengue R., 229 

Cats, 87 

Cattle, 157, 172-173, 199, 
201 ; markets, 171 

Ceara rubber, 182 

Central Basin, 27, 28, 32, 
33, 46, 48, 93, 184, 214, 
216, 235, 236, 242, 247, 
302, 305, 306 ; climate, 
65-69 ; physical fea- 
tures, 41-47; vegeta- 
tion, 71, 73-78 

Central government, 276- 

Cereals, 167, 161-164 

Cervalini cat, 87 

Cha Calumbo, 26 

Chad, L., 27 

Chambezi R., ■')! 

Ohargeurs r^unis, 259 
Cheese, 171 

Oliela, 38, 139, 190, 222 
Chioutucoto R., 229 
ChikapaR., 26, 211 
Cliikwangue, 159 
Chiloango R., 8, 13, 14, 

34, 35, 38, 72, 221 
Chilongo, 217, 227-229, 

Chimpanzees, 87, 89 
Chinese labour, 304, 317 
Ohinguar, 229 
Chinsenda, 249, 252 
Chipanga, 216 
Chitombe, 244 
Chiumbe R., 211 
Chofa, 249 
Cho hill, 21 
Chopo R., 32, 103 
Chuapa R., 33, 242 
Churabiri, 237 
Civet-cat, 87 
Climate, 9, 10, 60-70 
CUtandra, 75, 83, 165, 174- 

I Coal, 204-206, 209, 213- 

214, 228, 233, 272 
Coastal regions, 27, 28, 

35, 93 ; physical fea- 
tures, 37 ; vegetation, 

Coasting vessels, 259 

Cobras, 90 

Cocoa, 189-192, 271, 290, 

307 ; plantations, 131 
Coco-nut palm, 183 
Coco-nuts, 136 
Coefee, 79, 192, 290 
Coke, 204, 205, 272 
Colonial School, 293, 319 
Colonization, 199, 200 
Comity consultatif, 278 
Comite d'dtudes du Haut- 

Congo, 12 
Comite d'exploLtationdes 
Kundelungu - Lualaba, 
213, 308 
Comite special du Katan- 
ga, 199, 238, 280, 281, 
287-289, 294, 306-309 
Commerce : see Trade 
Commission des terres, 

Commissioners, 279, 282, 

Communications, 8, 11 ; 
inland waterways, 
235-247 ; pipe-line, 
250; ports, 253-260; 
railways, 217-235 ; 
roads, 247-2^0 ; saiUng 



ships, 258 ; steamers, 

257-258 ; telegraphs 

and telephones, 251- 

Compagnie beige mari- 
time du Congo, 256, 
259, 310, 311 

des chemins de fer du 
Congo superieur aux 
Grands Lacs afri- 
cains, 222-225, 246, 
305, 807, 310, 811, 

du ehemin de fer du 
Bas-Congo au Katan- 
ga, 310, 311 

du ohemin de fer du 
Congo, 217, 226, 255, 
310, 311 

du ehemin de fer du 
.Katanga, 226, 810, 

du Congo pour le com- 
• merce et I'industrie, 
217, 261, 280, 805, 

du Kasai, 286, 306, 307, 

du Katanga, 280, 281, 
288, 305, 307 • 

du Lomami, 306 

fonciere agricole et pas- 
torale (La Pastorale), 

199, 201 

sucri^re europf?enne et 
coloniale, 189, 307, 
Companhia do Caminho 

de Ferro de Benguella, 

228, 810 
Companhia portugueza 

de Zaiie, 261 
Companies, commercial, 

804-312; taxation of, 

292. See also under 

Compagnie and Sooiete 
Comptoir commercial 

oongolais, 806 
Congo Basin, area, 8, 9 
Congo R., 8, 11-19, 21- 

24, 26-45, et passim ; 

navigation, 236-289 ; 

regime, 35-37 
Congo, Bas, district, 172, 

195-197, 207, 211, 231, 

234, 263, 278, 279, 283 ; 

climate, 62, 64, 67 ; 

population, 300, 301 ; 

railway, 216, 2 17 
Congo beige, and Haut- 

Congo beige, Apostolic 

Vicarages of, 296 

Congo da Lemba, 39, 73, 

Congo Free (or Inde- 
pendent) State, 8, 19, 
217, 261, 263, 273. 280, 
281,290, 29J,305, 306; 
origin of the, 12, 18 ; 
Declarations of Neu- 
trality (1885) 15, 19, 
23, 24, 280, (1894) 19, 
28 ; Treaties and Con- 
ventions, 12-26, 280, 
288, annexed by Bel- 
gium, 276 

Congo-Kasai province, 
278, 279 ; European 
population, 817 

Congo, lower, R., 198, 
220, 261 ; navigation, 
254, 256, 259. See also 
Congo, Bas. 

Congo-Lnalaba R., 89, 
239, 249, 252 

Congo, Moyen, district, 
182, 186, 278, 279, 288 ; 
population, 300, 301 

Congo-Nile divide, 88, 
47, 48, 62, 240, 248; 
plateau, 35 

Congo-Ubangi, 26 

Congo-Yella route, 254 

Congo-Zambezi divide, 
15, 24-26, 31, 53, 229 

Conseil superieur du Con- 
go, 277, 284 

Constitution : see Govern- 

Copaifera, 186 

Copal, 10, 75, 173, 186, 
1 7, 286, 291 ; exports, 
262, 269, 271 

Copper, 80, 57, 141, 202- 
210, 216. 226; exports, 
262, 268-269, 271, 274; 
mines, 53, 226, 228, 
229, 231, 249, 270 

Coquilhatville, 180, 192, 
287, 251, 252, 278, 283 

Coroteva R., 229 

Cotton, 139, 170, 194, 
196-198, 271, 272 

Cranes. 90 

Crime, 129-130 

Crocodile R.,255 

Crocodiles, 90 

Cryptosepalum, 85 

Crystal Mts., 27, 28, 34, 
35, 38, 93, 217, 236; 
climate, 61, 62, 65; 
physical features, 39- 
41 ; vegetation, 71-73 

Cuckoos, 00 

X 2 

Danish butter, 273 
Dar-es-Salam, 11 ; rail- 

viray,213, 217, 224, 233, 

Daso, 157, 161 
Death-rate, 802 
'Dembos'. 54 
Deutsche Bank, 310 
Devil's Caldron, 261, 254, 

Dhanis, 24 
Diamonds, 211-213, 308, 

Dibele tribe, 99 
Dikulwe R., 55 
Dilolo, L., 25, 26 
Dima, 46 
Dinda R., 310 
Diphtheria, 109 
Diseases, 312-816 
Districts, territorial, 278- 

Djari R., 100 
Dobo, 77 
Dole, 217, 220 
Dolo R., 94 
Domain, Crown, 285-286, 

290, 306 
Domestic animals, 170- 

Domingos de Souza, 26 
Donkankwa, 242 
Donkeys, 248 
Drainage, 31-37, 43, 45, 

137, 200 
DuaR, 32, 41, 48, 77,94, 

102, 241 
Dua-Mongala R., 43 
Duiker, 88 
Dumba, 245 
Dundu Sana, 67 
Dungu, 104, 221. 248 
Dungu R., 33, 300 
Duru R., 33, 103 
Dutch population, 317 ; 

shipping, 257-259 ; 

trade, 261 
Dyes, 142 
Dysentery, 815 

Eagle-owls, 90 

Eala, 60, 193, 194, 242, 
297 ; climate, 62, 63, 

Eastern Highlands, 11, 
27, 28, 35, 36. 75, 162, 
170-172 ; climate, 68, 
69 ; physical features, 
49-53 ; vegetation, 71, 
79 82 

Eastern Telegraph Com- 
pany, 252 



Ebola R., 32, 34, 43, 102, 

Economic development, 
8, 11,304-812 

Education, 293, 298-297, 

Edward, L., 19, 20, 27, 
35, 49-51, 75, 234, 259, 

Egrets, 90 

Egypt. 18 

Ekuclii, 242 

Elands, 88 

Eldei- Dempster Line, 

Elephant-grass, 80 

Elephantiasis, 315 

Elephants, 89 

Eleusine, 157, 158, 163 

Elila R., 32, 52, 75, 97, 

Elisaliethville, 60, 199, 
203, 204, 226, 227, 229, 
230, 249, 250, 252, 278, 
283, 284. 311 ; climate, 
63, 64, 69 

Eluala E., 40 

Embili tribe, 103 

Embroidery, 137 

Eolo. 243 

Epuiu R., 32, 33 

Eqoateur district, 78, 166, 
184, 186, 187, 278, 279, 
283 ; population, 300 

Equateur province, 278, 
279 ; European popu- 
lation, 317 

European agriculture, 
198-201 ; courts of jus- 
tice, 129, 283-285; 
health conditions, 313- 
316 ; population, 316- 

Excess profits tax, 292 

Expenditure. 292-295 

Exports, 262-271, 273- 
275 ; duties on, 292 

Factories, 184-186 

Falls, 217, 238, 243-245 

Faraje, 248 

Fashoda, 17 

Fauna, 7, 87-91 

Fern, 80, 85 

Fetish Rook and Pass, 

250, 254, 256, 257 
Fetishism, 137, 146-150 
Finance, 289-295 
Fini R., 33, 35, 42, 45, 

77, 244 
Fini-Lukenie R., 102 

Fishing, 9, 116, 118, 137, 

144, 303 
Flamingoes, 90 
Florn, 7, 71-86 
Foreign trade, 261-275 
Foresf, 9, 1.0, 50, 71-86, 
157 ; produce, 155-201, 
286 ; reserves, 286 ; 
villages, 114-118, 123- 
Fowl, 158, 172 
Fort Portal, 249 
Fort Eosebery, 249 
Fran9ois Joseph Falls, 

244 ' 
French railways, 11, 220, 
221, 235 ; shipt)ing, 
257-259 ; telegraphic 
system, 251 ; trade, 
257,261,272,273, See 
also Frontiers 
French Congo, 18 
French EquatorialAfrica, 

8, 27 
French Gabun, 38 
French Point, 261 
Frogp, 90 
Frontiers, 12-26 

Anglo-Belginn, (north- 
eastern) 17-22. (Rho- 
desia) 23-24, 226 
Belgo- German, (Lake 
Tanganyika) 22-23, 
51, (German Congo) 
Belgo-Portuguese, (ICa- 
binda) 13-14, (An- 
gola) 21-26 
Franco-Belgian, (Con- 
go-Ubangi) 15-16, 
(Mayumbe) 14. 221 
Katangn-Rhodesia, 294 
Fruits, 156, 157, 164-165 
Fulukari (or Kenke) R., 

Fungurume, 204, 228 
Funtumia. 75, 83, 174- 
175, 178-182 

Gaboon R., 90 

Galena, 216 

Gali Bushongo tribe, 99 

Gambier, 279 

Game, 143 

Ganda-Sundi, 38,60, 190 ; 

climate, 62, 67 
Gazi, 179 

Gelukenie tribe, 99 
Genets, 87 
Geology, 7, 9, 28-81 
Geomine companv, 207. 

209, 210 

German East Africa, 8' 
17, 31, 183, 195 

Germany anS the Congo, 
17, 19, 22 ; railwavs, 
224 ; shippinsr, 257- 
259 ; trade, 206, 233, 
272, 273. See also Fron- 

Giraffes, 87, 89 

GiriR., 33, 42,43, 45,77, 
94, 102 ; navigation, 

Goats, 158, 172, 201 

Gobu tribe, 104 

Gold, 30, 209-211, 216, 
231, 310 ; export of, 
262, 268, 271 ; mines, 
201, 234. 248, 249, 259, 
295, 316 

Goma, 22, 259 

Goma Vula, 243 

Gombe, 237 

Gombe tribes, 94, 95 

Gombo I., 22 

Gongo E., 218 

Gorillas, 87, 89 

Government : central, 
276-277; local, 277- 
283 ; officials, 277, 318 

Governor-General, 277- 
278, 318, 319 

Grands Lacs railways, 
213, 222-225, 310-312 

Grant, 279 

Grasses, 76, 79-81, 83,85, 

' Grass rubber ', 88 

Great Rift Valley, 11, 82, 
35, 49, 97, 216, 259 

Greek population and 
trade, 317 

Grenfell, George, 25, 46, 

Grenier, M. Adolphe, 309 

Ground-nuts, 157, 158, 

Ground-pigs, 89 

Ground-thrushes, 90 

Guinea-fowl, 90 

Guinea sorrel, 169 
Gule R.. 212 
Gurba R., 103 
Gwembi tribe, 98 

Habansson plateau, 29, 

Ham hill, 22 
Hamites, 93 
Hares, 89 

Hartebeest, 88 ' 

Haut : see under specific 




Health conditions, 312- 

Hedgehogs, 89 
Hehu, Mt., 22, 23 
Hemp, 170 
Hevea, 178-183 
Hides, 271 
Hippopotamus, 89 
Hippopotamus Is., 256 
Hoopoes, 90 
Horses, 248 
Houses, 114-122, 135 ; 

taxation of, 290 
Huambo, 229 
Human sacrifices, 150, 

152, 153 
Hunting, 9, 143-145, 293, 

Huts, 114-122, 144 
Hyenas, 87 
Hyfaxes, 89 

Ibana K., 50 

Ibembo, 241 

Ibenga, 102 

Ibina R., 32 

Idinga tribe, 98 

Ikela, 242 

IkOemba E., 42, 243 

Ikenge, 192 

Imfondo, 239 

Immigration, 294 

Imperata cylindrica, 79, 

Imports, 262, 271-275 ; 
duties on, 292 

Incantation, 149 

Indian population, 317 

Industries, 139-142. See 

Influenza epidemic. 301, 
312, 316 

Ingende, 185, 242 

Inkisi E., 34, 41, 58, 218, 

Insectivorous animals, 89 

Insects, 90-91, 191 

International Associa- 
tion, 12, 13, 14-16, 24, 
279. See also Comite 
d'etudes du Haut- 

Inyenye tribe, 99 

luzia E., 100, 101, 306 

Irebu, 33, 42, 243, 251 

Irebu R., 94 

Iron ore, 30, 47, 48, 140, 
141, 214-215 

Ironwork, 140-141 

Irrigation, 200 

Irumu, 80, 248, 249 

Isaka, 243 

Isangi, 243 

Isangila, 40, 218 

Ishasha E., 20 

Ishela, 189 

Italian population, 317 

Itimbiri E., 32, 33, 35, 
36, 41, 44, 94, 95, 210, 
235, 237, 248, 313; 
navigation, 241 

Itimbiri - Welle water- 
shed, 248 

Itoko, 242 

Itongo Mts., 50 " 

Ituri district, 278, 283, 
302 ; forest, 89 ; popu- 
lation, 300, 301 

Ituri R., 11, 32, 33, 49, 
50, 75, 90, 159, 168, 210 

Ivory, 89, 221, 234, 259, 
263, 294; export of, 
262, 267-268, 271, 274, 
275, 291 ; tax on, 290, 

Ivory-work, 137, 138 

Iwinza I., 22 

Iwuwiro, 22 

Jabbir, 102, 240 
Jadot, M. I., 308 
Jamba, 241 
Jigger (chigoe) lesions, 

Johnston, Sir H. H., 299 
Joko Punda, 232, 243 
Judiciary, 283-285, 318 

Eabalo, 252 ; railway, 
217, 224, 225, 232-234, 

Kabambare, 252 

Kabinda, 13, 34, 253, 313 

Kadi E., 211 

Kafubu E., 29 

Kafue, 230 

Kagudi hill, 21 

Eakongo tribe. 93 

Kakota, 232 

Kalamu, 193, 194 

Kalembelembe, 252 

Kalembo E., 100 

Kalengili peak, 20 

Kalule E., 212 

Kama Bomba E., 25 

Kamalondo E., 31 

Kamana, 228 

Kamanguna E., 25 

Kamatanda, 204. 227 

Kambove, 29, 30, 203, 204, 
227-232, 249, 250, 316 

Kancha E., 101, 244 

Kanda Kanda, 232 

Kangulungu R., 25 

Kanwa, 210, 211 

Kaomba, Mt., 97 

Kapanga, 244 

Kapende, 248 

Kapiri, 199,249 

Kapok, 139, 104 

Karangora hill, 20 

Karissimbi, Mt., 23, 51 

Kasai district, 278, 279, 
281, 283, 296 ,- popula- 
tion, 300 

Kasai region, 28, 56, 59, 
87, 91, 101, 110, 119, 
121, 137, 162-164, 170- 
172, 196, 197, 211, 214, 
306, 313, 317 ; climate, 
62-65,69-70; physical 
features, 57-59 ; vege- 
tation, 71, 82-84 

Kasai E., 9, 15, 24-26, 
29, 33-37, 42, 58, 59, 
62, 65, 69, 73, 77, 78, 
92, 94, 96-102, 185, 211, 
214, 237, 243-245, 247, 

Kasai-Sankuru R., 41, 42, 
46, 75, 78, 98, 232, 233, 
235, 306 ; navigation, 

Kasama, 210 

Kasanga R., 54, 112 

Kasenga, 249, 250 

Kasenie, 249, 259 

Kasongo, 64, 196, 197, 
207, 238, 252 

Kasonzo, 209 

Kasumbalesa, 227 

Katanga Creek, 214 

Katanga province, 59, 
220, 278 ; agriculture, 
155, 161-163, 198-200 ; 
boundaries, 27, 28 ; 
climate, 61-65, 69 ; 
Comit6 special, 199, 
238, 280, 281, 287-289, 
294, 306-309; Com- 
pagnie du Katanga, 
280, 281, 288, 305, 
307; constitution, 281 ; 
drainage, 31, 35, 36; 
geology, 29-31 ; govern- 
ment and administra- 
tion, 277, 279-283 ; 
health conditions, 313, 
315-316; judiciary, 283; 
labour, 294, 304 ; mine- 
rals and the mining 
industry, 155, 202, 204- 
210, 212-217, 225, 226, 
229, 231, 268, 270, 272, 
279, 280, 287-289, 
304, 307-311, 316, 317; 



physical features, 11, 
53-57 ; population, 300, 
301, 317; railways, 217, 
225-234, 247, 310 •; re- 
ligion, 296; roads, 248, 
249 ; sale of land, 287 ; 
taxation, 291 ; terri- 
torial districts, 277, 
278, 281; trade, 141, 
273; vegetation, 71,84- 
86 ; wireless stations, 

Katanga, High, 65, 69, 
198 ; Low, 54, 207 ; 
Southern, 53-54 

Katanga tribes, 97 

Katentania, 199, 201 

Katme R., 212 

Kenge, 58 

Kenke B. : see^Fulukari R. 

Keresi hill, 21 

Kessegnies, 22 

Kiamata, 50 

Kiambi, 97, 208, 209, 216, 
233,' 234, 242, 260,304, 

ibala plateau, 30, 54-56, 

Kibali R., 47, 104, 211, 
240 " 

Kibombo, 238 

Kibumba B., 97 

Kickxia : see Funtumia 

Kigoma, 259; railway, 
213, 217, 224, 233, 260 

Kikaya I., 22 

Kikonja, 209, 234, 252 

Kikwit, 100, 313 

Kilo, 80, 163, 201, 209- 
211, 234, 248,249,259, 
296, 316 


Kilwa, 260 

Kilwa I., 23 

Kimbi E., 297 

Kimpese, 39 

Kimpobo, 237, 306 

Kindu, 41, 224, 233, 238, 
252 ; railway, 223, 225 

Kingunshi, 58, 244 

Kinshasa, 220, 251, 262, 
260, 278, 311 

Kira R., 211 

Kisale, L., 31, 56, 238, 
308, 309 

Kisamba, 100 

Kisanga, 250, 254-267 

Kisengwa, 249 

Kisenyi, 22 

Kisindi, 80 

Kitala, 207, 216 

Kitanga I., 22 

Kitobola, 60, 164, 195, 

Kivu district, 163, 278, 

283 ; population, 300, 

Kivu, L., 8, 19, 20, 22, 

27, 35, 49, 51, 52, 81, 

171, 259 
Kola, 135, 170 
Kolomani, 119 
Kolu, 143-145 
Komba R., 25 
Kondue R., 190, 307 
Kongolo, 224, 233, 238, 

252,260; railway, 223, 

Koni hills, 30, 55 
Korowi Mts., 49 
Kubango R., 229 
Kumenie I., 22 
Kundelungu plateau, 30, 

54,55,85, 250; region, 

29,212,213,308; rocks, 

KunkulaR., 218 
Kwa gorge, 58 
Kwamouth, 34, 42, 45, 

46, 77, 243, 244, 251 

283 ; population, 300 
Kwango, East, district, 

Kwango R., 15, 24-26, 

34, 45, 46, 58, 65. 94, 

96, 101, 229, 232, 244, 

306, 313 
Kwengo R.. 25, 34, 100, 

Kwesi, 68 
Kwidjwi I., 22, 51 
Kwilu district, 313 
Kwilu R., 24, 25, 34, 39, 


218, 232, 244 
Kwilu-Madiata R., 39, 

40, 73 

Labour, 189, 197-199^ 
206, 279, 283, 294, 298, 
302-304 ; wages, 318 

Lado enclave, 18 

Lake ports, 259-260 

Lakunga R., 72 

Lami R., 20 

Landolphia, 75, 83, 84, 
165, 174-176, 178 

Land-ownership, 285- 
287 ; taxes, 293, 295 

Langala R., 99 

Language, 94, 96, 102- 

Lashipuka R., 212 

Laterite, 57 

Leda E., 21 

Lekore R., 102 

Lemba R., 211 

Lemurs, 89 

Lengue Gorge, 229 

Leopards, 87 

Leopold II, 12, 13, 15-18, 
24, 276 

Leopold, L., 33, 42, 45, 
46, 75, 77, 244, 313 

Leopold, Lac, district, 
186, 278, 279, 283; 
population, 300, 301 

Leopoldville, 36, 39; 40, 
73, 217, 218, 238, 250- 
252, 257, 260, 283, 297, 
310 ; climate, 67 ; port, 
220; railway, 40, 217, 
222, 223, 228, 231, 232, 
235, 236, 245, 250, 261, 
264, .266 

Lepi Mts., 229 

Lepi Portella, 229 

Leprosy, 316 

Lesa tribe, 102, 106, 140 ; 
political organization, 
124 ; villages, 116 

LeverBros., 184-186, 287. 
See Soci^t^ anonyme 
dea huileries du Congo 

Leverville, 186, 232 

Lianas, 75, 82, 136, 165, 
175, 177 

Libenge, 41, 74, 104, 239 

Likame R., 32 

Likasi, 228, 316 

Likati R., 95, 96, 240, 

Likinii, 65 

Likimi-Businga rapids, 

Likona-Nkunja R., 14, 15 

Limonite, 49 

Lindi K., 32, 50, 96, 103, 

Lions, 87 

Liranga, 237 

Livingstone, David, 279 

Lizards, 90 

Loando, 251, 252 

Loange E., 34, 58, 59, 99, 

Loangue R., 25. See also 
Loange E. 

Lobaye R., 26 

Lobito Bay, 11, 217 ; rail- 
way, 228-232,310 

Local government, 277- 



Loeka B., 77 

Lofoi R., 54, 309 

Loja, 244 

Lokele tribe, 96 

Lokolela, 74 

Lokolo R., 243 

Lokoio R., 45 

Lola R., 25 

Lomami district, 278, 
281, 283, 306, 313 ; 
population, 300, 301 

Lomami R„ 30, 33-35, 44, 
78. 92. 96, 97. 119, 137, 
172, 236, 237, 242, 302; 
navigation, 243 

LomelaR., 38, 242 

Longachimo R., 211 

Lopori R., 33, 42, 77, 92, 
94, 96, 235. 242, 252, 

Loukala, 197 

Love-birds, 90 

LoToi K., 56 

Lovua R., 25, 211 

Lowa district, 75, 278, 
283 ; population, 300, 

Lowa R., 32, 50, 51, 172 

Lua R., 38, 43, 89, 94, 
102, 104 

Luakanu R., 26 

Lualaba R., 29-33, 35, 41, 
42, 44, 52, 53, 55-57, 
75, 86, 89, 97, 98, 116, 
119, 140, 202, 205, 208, 
210, 212. 214-217, 224, 
227, 232-234, 238, 249, 
260, 308, 309 

Lualaba-Congo R., 28, 

Luama R., 32, 52 

Luana R., 99 

Luano, 205 

Luano R., 100 

Luanza, 212 

Luanza R., 212 

Luapula, Haut, district, 
278, 281, 283 ; popula- 
tion, 300, 301 

Luapula R., 9, 23, 24j 30, 
31, 35, 53-55, 86, 212, 

Luba-Lunda tribes, 96, 

Lubefu R., 34, 41, 58, 98, 
99, 245 

Lubi R., 34, 243 

Lubilash R., 34, 119 
Xubilash rocks, 28-30, 57 

Lubile R., 97 
Lubilia-Chako R., 20 
Lubudi, 228 

Lubudi R., 31, 34, 98, 99, 

Lubudi - Lualaba - Congo 

R., 35 
Lubue R., 100, 245 
Lubule R., 54 
Lubumba R., 214 
Lubumbashi, 204 
Lubuzi R., 38, 72, 100, 

Lucaia R., 25 
Lurhwadi R., 99 
Luebo, 196, 197. 214, 232 
Luela R., 101 
Luembe R., 30, 211 
Lufira R., 30. 31, 35, 53- 
55, 65, 86, 308, 309; 
falls, 205 
Lufonzo R , 210 
Lufu R., 34, 41, 73, 218 
Lufube R., 223 
Lugwaret tribe, 47,171 
Luibi R., 37, 72 
LuilakaE., 242 
Luinha,, La, 311 
Luishia, 202-204 
Luisi R., 97 
Luita R., 25 
Luizi R., 54, 212 
LukaR., 210 
Lukaya valley, 219 
Lukenie R., 33, 34, 46, 96, 

98, 99, 101, 102, 116, 

244, 306 
Lukenie tribe, 102 
Luki, 189, 251 
Lukolela, 36, 42, 237, 251 
Lukonzolwa, 260 
Lukuga railway, 213 
Lukuga R., 29, 31, 32, 35, 

52, 97, 119, 209, 213, 

224, 233, 260 ; naviga- 
tion, 241 
Lukula R., 13, 38, 72, 97, 

140, 221, 222, 251 
Lukula-Congo divide, 38 
Lukumbi R., 97 
LokungaR., 40, 41, 195 
Lukusi, 209 
Lukusu R., 97, 218 
Lukusuwi R., 97 
Lulofe R., 14 
Lulonga district, 187, 278, 

279, 283; population, 

300, 301 
Lulonga R., 33, 35, 42, 43, 

94, 235, 243 ; naviga- 

tiion, 242 
Lulua district, 201, 278, 

281, 283 ; population, 

300, 301 
Lulua B.,34, 214 

Luluabourg, 64, 65, 196, 
197, 201, 232; climate, 
62, 69, 70 

Lumbale, 313 

Lunangwa R., 53 

Lunda, 24 

Lunda tribal group, 101. 
See also Luba-Lunda 

Lunga lagoon, 14 

Lurimbi R., 119 

Lusambo, 34, 47, 65, 190, 
197, 232, 233, 243, 
244, 307 ; climate, 65, 

Luaanga, 185 

Lutoi R., 45 

Luvua R., 80, 31, 55, 65, 
97, 209, 234, 241, 249, 
309 ; navigation, 242 

Luvua- Lualaba R., 97 

Mabali tribe, 94 

Mabillon, M. Jules, 309 

Miibinza tribe, 94 

Machinery, import of, 
271, 272 

Madibi, 58 

Madimba, 251 

Magic, 147, 151, 152 

Magiuza tribe, 94 

Mahagi, 17-19, 21, 80, 
248, 259 ; plain, 49 

Maize, 142, 157,158,161- 
162, 164, 194, 200 

Majema, Mt., 48 

Makere tribe, 104 

Makwa tribe, 101 

Malaria, 109, 200, 313- 

Malaya, 180-182, 193 

Malela, 37, 72, 237 

Malinda R., 223 

Malinga tribe, 116 

Mallango, 14 

Malongo tribe, 99 

Mangabeys, 89^ 

Manganese ore, 216 

Mangbellet tribe, 104 

Mangbetu tribe, 103-107, 
111, 113, 114,133,135- 
142, 148; political or- 
ganization, 128-129 ; 
villages, 118, 120, 121 

Manog, 165 

Mangrove, 72 

Maniema district, 278, 
283 ; population, 300, 
301 ; region, 52, 88, 
197, 215 

Maniema tribe, 96, 97 

Umiihot, 178, 182, 183 

Manika, 53 ; plateau, 85 



Manioc, 133, 135, 142, 
156-159, 200 

Mantere Hills, 45 

Manyaga R., 20 

Manyanga, 8, 39, 40, 218 

Margarine, 266-267 

Margharita Peak, 20 

Maringa K., 33, 42, 77. 
78, 94, 236, 242, 252, 

Marshes, 82-86 

Marungu Mts., 29, 127 ; 
plateau, 81, 201, 250 

Marungu region, 62, 86 ; 
High, 63 ; Low, 53 

Matadi, 39, 73, 216-218, 
250-262, 296, 311 ; port, 
232, 233, 264-258 ; rail- 
way, 40, 217, 222, 223, 
228, 231, 232, 235, 236, 
246, 250, 261, 264, 266 

Mateva I., 38 

Mateva Pass, 254, 266 

Mavutete K., 218 

Mayumbe, 14, 27, 28, 34, 
85, 65, 72, 89, 93, 115, 
129, 180-182, 189-191, 
291, 307, 813 ; physical 
features, 37, 38 ; rail- 
way, 221, 222, 235, 251, 

Mayumbe tribe, 93, 107, 
131, 136, 140 ; political 
organization, 125 

Meat, 171, 172 

Medical service, 297, 316, 
818, 319 

Medje tribe, 104 

Meningitis, 109 

Metal-working, 140 

Meteorological service, 60, 
297; stations, 7, 60, 

Mgahinga, Mt., 51 

Miao, 201 

Mikeno, Mt., 51 

Milia hill, 21 

Military, 279 

Milk, 171, 172, 273 

Millet, 157, 158, 162-163 

Minduli, 11, 220, 236 

Mineral springs, 57, 216 

Minerals and mining, 7, 
8, 10, 30, 47-49, 53, 66, 
57, 154, 200, 202-216, 
225, 226, 231, 279, 280, 
287-290, 295, 304, 316, 
317; mining companies, 

Minerkat company, 209 

Mission Agricole, 199 

Missions and mission 

schools, 10, 168, 228, 

296, 297 
Mitumba Mts., 31, 208 
Mitwanzi gorge, 224 
Mobadi tribe, 104 
Mobati tribe, 96 
Mobaye, 62, 68 
Mobeka, 48, 77 
Mobenge tribe, 96 
Moganjo, 44 
Moganzulu tribe, 95 
Mogbogoma, 43 
Moginita tribe, 96 
Mogongia tribe, 95 
Mokoange, 46, 104 
Moles, 89 
Molissi tribe, 95 
Molua E., 77 
Mombasa, 284, 249 
Momboyo R., 33, 236, 242 
Momvu tribe, 104 
Mona Kialo tribe, 98 
Monazite, 216 
Monda rock, 21 
Mondana, 243 
Mondingima tribe, 96 
Mongala R., 32, 35, 48, 

65, 77, 94, 102, 235, 

237 ; navigation, 241 
Mongo (or Balolo) tribe, 

95, 96 
Mongwandi tribe, 105 
Monjembo tribe, 104 
Monkero, 237 
Monkeys, 87, 89 
Monkote, 242 
Monopolies, 290 
Mosquitoes, 91, 813-315 
Motima R., 43, 77, 94 
Moto, 211, 234, 249, 316 
Motor traffic, 248, 249 
Moyen : see under specific 

Mpozo R., 218 
Msiri, 279 

Mudi Langa tribe, 99 
Muene Kundi, 68, 232 
Muhavura, Mt., 51 
Muika, 208, 209, 242 
Mulengoi R., 224 
Mules, 248 
Mulongo, 209, 216 
Mulumbwe Mts., 85 ; 

plateau, 54-56 
Munama, 199 
Munvu tribe, 104 
Mus^e du Congo beige, 

7, 298, 294, 297 
Mushenge, 98, 196 
Mushie, 243 

Musical instruments, 188 
Mussorongo tribe, 98 

Mutendola Creek, 212 

Mutenga-Miambo Mts., 
56 ; plateau, 30 

Mutombo Mukulu, 232 

Mwanza, 252 

Mweru, L., 9, 16, 23, 24, 
30, 31, 54, 55, 86, 92, 
97, 234, 242, 249, 260, 

Mweru-Luapula rift-val- 
ley, 65 

Nadisma, 244 

Nagelmaekers, MM., 809 

Namlagira, Mt., 61 

Narodo R., 21 

Nashiodo R., 21 

Natives, the : agriculture, 
156-172, 194-198 ; art, 
137-139 ; ceremonial 
sacrifices, 302 ; chief- 
doms, 123-130, 279, 
282-283, 800-301 ; chil- 
dren, 109-110, 131 ; 
conditions of life, 106- 
122; courts of jus- 
tice, 284-285 ; cultural 
conditions, 131-145; 
dances, 138 ; domestic 
slavery, 112-114; edu- 
cation, 110, 297 ; family 
life, 106-111, 144 ; 
health conditions, 312- 
316; houses, 114-122; 
industry, 139-142 ; in- 
tellectual attainments, 
133-135 ; labour, 206, 
298, 302-304 ; marriage, 
106-109 ; medicine, 
135, 152, 316; mental 
characteristics, 181- 
183 ; moral ideas, 110, 
144-146 ; musical in- 
struments, 138 ; navi- 
gation, 260 ; political 
institutions, 123-130; 
practical skill, 135-137 ; 
property, 145 ; protec- 
tion of, 298; racial 
divisions, 92-107; re- 
ligion and ceremonial, 
144, 146-154 ; social 
and political organiza- 
tion, 143 ; taxation, 
290, 291, 295, 299- 
300, 808 ; trial by or- 
deal, 168, 302 ; villages, 
114-122, 279, 286; 
women, position of, 

Navigation, inland, 87, 
40, 41, 48, 136, 217, 



228, 231-247, 254-237, 

259, 2fi0 
Nebula, 211 
Nopoko R., 32, 104 
Neutrality, neolaratinns 

of, 15, 19, 23,24, 280 
Nhowa, 210 
Nialiola R., 2r 
NiadiKwilu basin, 14 
Niagaki R., 21. 22 
' Niakawanda, 22, 23 
Niam-Niam tribe : see 

Niangara, 48, 79, 104, 

234, 240, 248 
NiembaR., 208, 209 
Niembo, 252 
Nieuwdorp, 199 
Nile R, 8, 11, 16-19,21, 

22, 27, 33, 35, 47, 48, 

62, 103, 172, 173, 222, 

234, 248 ■ 
Nime-Chiatna plateau, 14 
Ninagongo, Mt., 23, 51, 81 
Nioka, 49 
NiziR., 80 
Nkabwa, Mt., 20 
N'Kombo R., 25 
Nokl, 15, 24, 26, 252, 254 
Norwegian population, 

317 ; trade, 273 
Nouvelle Anvers, 43, 94, 

192, 296 ; climate, 67 
Ntata tribe, 117 
Ntombo Mataka cataract, 

Numa Mts., 49 
Numeration, native mode 

of, 134 
Nya Lukemba, 259 
Nyamaronga I. 22 
Nyangwe, 41, 42, 75, 88, 

196, 197, 216 
Nyanzi R , 38. 72 
Nyassaland, 206 
■- NJ'emba R., 97 
Nzi R. , 49 

Obenge Benge, 243 

Oil, 157, 250, 255, 272, 

310 ; ship.s, 250 ; tanks, 

250, 255, 256 
Oil palm, 72, 73, 79, 83, 
. 140, 144, 157, 158, 165- 

167, 183-186. 271 
Okapi, 87, 88 
Onions, 158. 169 
Orientals province, 278, 

279 ; population, SOO, 

301, 817 
Oso R., 32 
Oxen, 248 

Paints, 142 

Pnlabala massif, 218. 219 
Palladium. 216 
Palm, 80,82, 85,117, 118 
Palm-nuts. 184, 292 ; ex- 
ports, 265-267, 271, 

Palm-oil, 10, 173, 292; 

exports, 262, 265-267, 

Pandanus, 140 
Pande, 250 
Panga, 77, 116, 241 
Pania Antombo, 313 
Panla Mutombo, 119, 244, 

Panta, 24 
Panthers, 87 
Papaw, 157, 165 
Papyrus, 72, 81, 84, 86, 

137, 238 
Parrots, 90 
Pastoral pursuits, 8, 9, 

47, 157, 170-172, 199, 

201, 290, 294 
Pastorale, La, 199, 201 
Pelicans, 90 
Penfoldl., 257 
PSres B^n^diotins; 22 8 
P6res Elancs, Les, 163, 

Piassava, 173, 188 
Pigs, 158, 172 
Plkoti Mts., 49 
PiUpili, 169 

Pine-apple, 140, 157, 165 
Pioko R., 40 
Pipe-line, 250, 255 
Plant cultivation. 10. 72- 

86, 157-158, 173-194 
Plantations, 155. 156, 164. 

167, 173, 178, 180, 182- 

183, 185, 188-194, 290, 

292, 307 ! 

Luki), 189, 307, 311 
Plantations du Bas- 

Congo, 307 
Plantations Laeourt, 189, 

307, 311 
Platinum, 30, 216 
Pleurisy, 315 
Pogge, Mt., 46 
Pointe Noire, 11, 221, 235, 

Poke, 48, 79 
Police, 279 
Polygamy, 106, 107, 144, 

Pompora and Koni Hills 

region, 55 
Ponthierville, 207, 214, 

215, 222-225, 238, 252, 

260 ; railway, 224-225 
Population, 299-302 ; 

European, 316-319 
Porcupines, 89 
Porte d'Enfer, 222. 224 
Portenige, 134, 136, 234, 

241, 248, 260 
Ports, 253-2B0 
Portugal, 12, 13, 38, 216, 

252. See also Frontiers 

and Treaties 
Portuguese population, 

317 ; shipping, 258 ; 

trade, 261, 273, 317 
Portuguese Kabinda, 38 
Postal service, 290, 293, 

Potatoes, 161, 200 
Pottery, 137 
Protestant missions, 296, 

Public debt, 295 
Public services, directors 

of, 277, 317-318 
Pulmonary diseases, 315 
Purslane, 169 
Pweto, 234, 249, 250, 260, 

Pygmies : see Batwa 
Pythons, 90 

Raffia, 173, 188. See 

Baphia palms 
Rafts, 186-137 
Raids, 302 

Railways, 8, 186, 217- 
235 ; freight rates, 
219,221,228; gauge 
219, 220, 223, 224 
235 ; imported ma 
terial, 271-273, 292 
passenger and poods 
traffic, 221,225, 228 
projected extensions, 
11, 217, 220, 228- 
235, 247, 260, 305 

Beira, 229-231, 239 

Benguella, 228, 231 

Boma to Chela, 189, 

Dar-es Salam to Lake 
Tanganyika, 11, 217, 

Grands Lacs, 213, 222- 

Kabalo to Albertville 
224, 225, 283, 259 

Kambove to Bukama, 

Katanga, 217,225-234, 
247, 310 

Kigoma to Dar-es- 



Salam, 213, 217, 224, 
233, 260 
Kindu to Kongolo, 223, 

Lobi to Bay to Katanga, 

228-232, 810 

Lower Congo, 216, 217 

Matadi to Leopoldville, 


232, 235, 236, 2i5, 

230, 261, 264, 266 

Mayumbe, 221, 222, 

235, 251, 811 
Rhodesia, 225-227 
Sakania to Bukama, 
217, 225-231, 234, 
South Africa, 217, 225- 

Stanleyville to Mahagi 

(projected), 305 
Stanleyville to Ponthiei'- 
ville, 224-225 
Rainfall, 9, 48, 61, 68-66, 

67-70, 198 
Ramie, 193 

Raphia palms, 72, 73, 75, 
118, 139, 140, 157, 158, 
166-167, 173, 187-188 
Rapids, 39, 40, 217, 222, 
234, 238-243, 245, 248, 
Rats, 89 

Red Point, 37, 254 
Reedbuck, 88 
Reed-giass, 80 
Reeds, 81, 137 
Regional survey, 37-59 
Roichard, 279 
Rejaf, 235, 248 
Religion and ceremonial, 
144, 146-154, 293, 296. 
See also Missions 
Reptiles, 90 
Revenue, 292-295 
Rhinoceros, 87, 89 
Rhodesia, 9, 23, 24, 27, 
58-55, 198, 208, 204, 
206, 213, 249; railways, 
226-227 ; trade, 272, 
RibaRiba, 44, 280 
Rice, 157, 158, 163-164, 

194-196, 271 
Rivers, 81-37 ; riverports, 

Rodents, 89 
Roman Catholics, 296, 

Romee, 63, 238 
Root-crops, 157-161, 194 
Rope-making, 140 

Rosettes, 87 

Rubber, 10, 75, 79, 82. 
83, 173-183, 221, 222, 
234, 259, 269, 286, 290, 
2!>1, 306, 307 ; exports, 
262-264, 271, 274, 275, 
292; licences, 290; tax 
on, 290-292 

Rubi R., 41, 95, 234, 241. 

Ruchuru plain, 51 

Rachuru R., 8, 35, 50, 81 

Ruhuru K., 50 

Ruisi R., 22, 51-52, 81, 
171, 260 

Rukeri B., 22 

Ruki R., 33, 85, 42, 94, 
115, 185, 236 ; naviga- 
tion, 242-243 

Ruwe, 30, 209, 210, 212, 
231, 250 

Buwenzori, Mt., 20, 50, 
75, 80 

Sabinio, Mt., 20, 23, 51 

Safo, 157, 165 

Sahoa, Mt., 228, 229 

Sailing ships, 258 

Sakania, 227, 252; rail- 
way, 217, 225-281,234, 

Salisbury, 230 

Salonga R., 33, 242 

Salt, 57,216; springs, 216 

Sampwe, 86, 318 

Sandbanks, 237, 239, S43, 

Sand-fleas, 315 

Sandstone, 30, 57 

Sanga R,, 26, 36, 87 

Sango iMnguage, 105 ; 
tribe, 105 

Sankuru district, 78, 278, 
279, 283; population, 
300, 301 

Sankuru R., 30, 34, 41, 
46, 57-59, 65, 69, 78, 98, 
99, 121, 190. 197, 232, 
243, 244, 249, 307 


Sapa K., 229 

Savanna, 71, 73-85; pro- 
ducts, 156-174; vil- 
lages, 114-125, 138 

Scarlatina, 109 

Scientific research, 297, 

Sculpture, 137 

Seaports, 253-259 

Semliki plains, 49 

SemlikiR., 20,32,35,50, 
75, 80, 88 

.Seftdwe, 44, 222, 223, 238 
Senecio Johnstonii, 81 
Service agrio ile, 7, 8 
Sesimum, 157, 167-163 
Shari R., 32, 38, 49, 80 
Sharp, A., 279 
Sheep, 157, 172, 201 
Shifumanzi, 249 
Shipping, 246, 253, 257- 

260, 293 
Slirews, 89 
Shrubs, 76, 79, 81 
Shute ravine, 219 
Sido basin, 21 
Siku M'Bidi, 207 
Silver, 216 

Simkat company : see 
Sooi6te industrielle et 
miniere du Katanga 
Skins, animal, 142 
Slates, 30 : 

Slavery and slave-deal- 
ing, 12, 112-114, 284, 
290, 291 
Sleeping sickness, 294, 

802, 312, 313 
Small-pox, 314-815 
Smiths, native, HO, 141 
Soap, native, 165, 167, 

Soci^t^ anonyme beige de 
cables telegraphiques, 
anonyme beige pour le 
commerce du Haut- 
Congo, 805,311 
anonyme Citas, 246, 

260, 310, 311 

anonyme d'agriculture 

et plantations au 

Congo, 189, 307 

anonyme des huilerieS 

du Congo beige, 184- 

186, 246, 266, 306,311 

anonyme des pfitroles 

au Congo, 250, 810,311 

anonyme Urselia, 189, 

anversoise du com- 
merce au Congo, 305, 
anversoise pour la re- 
cherche des mines au 
Katanga, 286, 309, 
beige industrielle et 
miniere du Katanga, 
Belgika, 307, 811 
Belgo-Katanga, 309^ 



coloniale de construc- 
tion, 226 

oomraeroiiileet minifere 
du Congo, 226, 311 

des chemins de fer 
vioinaux du Ma- 
yumbe, 221, 310, 311 

des plantations colo- 
niales (La Lulci), 189, 
307, 311 

des colonisation agri- 
cole du Mayumbe, 
189, 807,311 

des cultures au Congo, 

du Bas-Katansa (the 
Bakat), 208,209,309- 

desrecherches miniferes 
LuBra-Katanga, 309, 

^quatoriale congolaise 
Lulonga - Ikelemba, 

forestifere et commer- 
ciale du Congo beige, 

g^nerale de Belgique, 

g^ologique et minifere 
des ing^nieurs et in- 
dustriels beiges, 309, 

internationale forest- 
ifere et mini^re du 
Congo, 211, 213, 306, 
310, 311 

minifere congolaise, 309 

mini^re de la Tele, 213, 
310, 311 

mini&re et industrielle 
du Katanga, 309 

Urselia seeunda, 189, 
Solo E., 229 
Songololo, 39 
Sorcerers, 149-152, 154 
Sorghum, 157, 162 
South African railways, 

217, 225-227; trade, 

226, 272, 273 
Springs, 57, 216 
Squirrels, 89 
Stanley, H. M., 12, 261 
Stanley Falls, 32, 85, 44, 

95, 103, 296, 302 
Stanley Pool, 14-16, 41, 

42, 94, 217, 219. 220, 

222, 235-237, 257, 306 
Stanleyville, 30, 36, 60, 

163, 164, 171, 179, 186, i 

192, 195, 215, 222-225, 
234, 236-238, 248, 252, 
260, 278, 283, 297, 307, 
311; railway, 224-225 

Stanleyville district, 278, 
281, 283, 291 ; popula- 
tion, 300 

Star of tlie Congo mine, 
204, 227, 262 

Starlings, 90 

Steamers, 220, 232, 233, 
238-247, 255-260, 272 

Steppe, 71, 80, 82-85; 
products, 157, 162, 165, 

Sudan, the, 17 

Sudanian languages, 94, 

Sudanian negroes, 102- 
105 ; cultural condi- 
tions, 131-142 

Suez Canal, 230 

Sugarcane, 158 ; false, 80 

Sun-birds, 90 

Swakopmund, 252 

Sweet potatoes, 157, 158, 
160, 200 

Swinburne rapids, 98, 

Swiss milk, 273 ; popula- 
tion, 317 ; trade, 317 

Tabora, 224 

Tampa, 218, 219 

Tam-tam, or drum, 183, 

Tanganika - Moero dis- 
trict, 278, 281, 283, 
318; population, 300, 

Tanganyika Concessions, 
199, 207, 226, 228, 281, 
250, 807, 308 

Tanganyika, L., 8, 11, 15, 
17, 19, 22, 23, 27, 29, 
89, 92, 96, 97, 122, 127, 
144, 145, 207, 213, 216, 
217, 223-225, 233, 234, 
241, 245, 250-252, 259 

Tanganyika railway, 217, 
224, 225, 233, 259 

Tare, 157, 160-161 

Taxation, 107, 290-295, 

Tele R., 210, 310 

Telegraphs and tele- 
phones, 250-253, 290, 
293, 294 

Temperature, 9, 61-63, 

Tbuu, ill., 4t> 

Termites, 90, 91 

Terns, 90 

Territorial administra- 
tors, 279, 318; divisions, 
278-279 ; tribunals, 283 

Terveuren Museum, 7, 
293, 294, 297 

Textile goods, 271, 272; 
plants, 170 

Thermal springs, 57, 216 

Thompson, J., 279 

Thunderstorms, 66 

Thys, Colonel, 220, 308 

Thysville, 40, 216, 218, 
219, 251 

Tick fever, 315 

Timber, 75, 85, 205, 222, 

Tin, 56, 208-209, 216, 
233 ; mines, 228, 234, 
242, 304 

Tippoo-Tib, 302 

Toa, 68, 201, 260 

Toads, 90 

Tobacco, 158, 169-170 

Tomatoes, 169 

Tom be K., 40 

Tonkfusliere tribe, 99 

Topaz, 213 

Topoke tribe, 96 

Tortoises, 90 

Trade and commerce, 11, 
140, 141, 155, 165, 167, 
184, 187, 259, 261-275, 
286, 287, 291, 303-312, 

Tragelaphs, 88 

Transeongolais, 231, 232 

Transit trade, 273-275 

Transport, 136-137, 173, 
186, 194, 195, 198, 200, 
209, 234, 239, 240, 248, 
310,311; freight rates, 
221, 222, 246, 247 

Treaties : Anglo- Belgian, 
(1894) 16, 17, 19, 23, 

24, (1906) 18, (1915) 

Belgo-Germau, (1911) 

Belgo - Portuguese, 

(1885) 13, (1891) 24, 

25, 26, (1913) 26 
Franco-Belgian, (1894) 

16, 19, (1907) 16 
Trial by ordeal, 158-154, 

Tropical Medicine, School 

of, 293 
Tsetse fly, 91, 201, 248, 

249, 312, 313 



Tumba, L., 42, 96, 243 

Tumba tribes, 96 
Tungila E., 25 
Tungsten, 216 
Turtles, 90 
Tururabu tribe, 96 
Typhoid fever, 316 

Ubangi district, 87, 90, 
172, 178, 186, 278, 279, 
283, 296, 313 ; popula- 
tion, 300 

Ubangi R., 8, 15, 16, 26, 
32, 33, 35-37, 41, 42, 
45, 62. 74, 77, 94, 102, 
104, 105, 136.220.235; 
navigation, 239-240 

trbangi-WelleR.,32, 105 

Uele, Bas, district, 278, 
283 ; population, 300, 
301. See Welle 

Uele, Haut, district, 278, 
283 ; population, 300, 
301. See Welle 

Uere, 64 

Uganda, 249 

Uguha, 97 

Uia, Mt., 40 

UUndi R., 32, 51, 52, 75, 

Umangi, 252 

Umbrella-tree, 78 

Union minifere du Haut- 
Katanga. 20^-206, 209, 
210, 228, 270, 304, 308, 

United Kingdom : see 

UOvo Nuovo R., 25 

Upemba, L , 56, 231 

Upemba rift-valley, 55- 
57, 86 

Upland rice, 157 

Upoto, 42, 43 

Urua, 97 

Usengwe R.. 228 

Uvira, 52, 252, 260 

Vankerchovenville, 240 
Vegetables, 158-161, 168- 

169, 200, 286, 806 
Vegetation, 9, 71-86' 
Venereal disease, 316 
Venzo R., 14 
Victoria Falls, 226, 230 
Victoria, L., 252 
Villagps : arcliiteotural 

structure, 114-122,135; 

political organization, 

Vipers. 90 
Virunga Mts., 51 
Vissoke, Mt., 23, 51 
Vivi, 62, 255 
VoandsHa, 157, 168 
Volcanoes, 51 
Voro rapids, 240 
Vultures, 90 

Wages, 304 

Wagons, 248 

Waka, 242 

Wamba R., 25, 34, 58, 
244, 306 

Wanga tribe, 132 

Wangata tribe, 115-117 

Wango Wango R., 15 

Wanguli tribe. 101 

Wankie, 226, 227, 272 

Wankie Company, 204 

Wanyabongo, 171 

Wapai tribe, 103 

War- dance, 138 

Warega tribe, 96, 97, 107- 
109, 111, 135, 136; vil- 
lages, 116, 117 

Wasps, 91 

Waterbuck, 88 

Waterways, inland, 8, 

Wau I., 22 

Weaving. 137, 139 

Welle region, 28, 29, 162, 
163, 170, 171, 197, 215, 
241, 247,248; climate, 

64, 68, 69; physical 
features, 47-49 ; vege- 
tation, 79. See also 
Uele. Bas and Haut 

Welle R.. 11. 16 32, 33, 
35, 48, 64, 74, 75, 79,95, 
96, 102-105. 117, 118, 
136, 234, 235, 241, 248, 
296, 313; navigation, 

Welle-Ituri watershed, 47 

Wemashi rocks, 29, 30 

Were R., 33, 103 

West African Telegraph 
Company, 251 

Wheat, 157, 163 

Winds, 66 

Wireless stations, 252, 

Wis^mann Palls, 243 

Wissmann Pool, 34, 46 

Witchcraft, 138 

Woermann Line, 259 

Woodwork, 137, 141 

Yakoma, 102, 105, 240 
Yakoma tribe, 105 
Yambata, 64 
Yambuya, 44, 241 ' 
Yams, 157-160 
Yei, 248 ,| 

Yei R., 103 | 

Yema, 14 ' 

Yumbi, 251 
Yungu tribe, 99 

Zambe R., 310 

Zambezi R., 9, 15, 23, 24, 

Zebras, 87 
Zpnze R., 13 
Zinka, Forest of, 73 
Zinga, 239 
Zircon, 216 
Zole Pass, 218 
Zona Gongo, 218 
Zongo, 45, 289 • 



M E 

Naual Staff ID. 

Fort Jameson 

I H I I I I I I 1 I I I Existing Railways 

■**- -t* -n- f- -^- *>- ■**- Projected Railways 

*~- — ■ — Telegraphs , 

♦♦ ♦♦ + + •■♦♦♦« International Boundaries 

Rivers navigable by St 

Rivers navigable by St' ' ': "'\'37~ 

,,.-.ulU'»T Rivers navigable by C. 

^^^ Interr-upfed Navigation' 

Scale 1:6,000,000 



120 leo 200 240 

-I 1 1 1_ 

280 MM 

40 30 120 160 200 240 280 320 360 4^0 440 Kilometres 
1 1 1 1 1 1 : 1 I I I T