1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Zaire

ZAIRE, a name by which the river Congo was formerly known. Zaire is a Portuguese variant of a Bantu word (nzari) meaning river. In the 16th and 17th centuries the powerful native kingdom of Congo possessed both banks of the lower river, and the name of the country was in time given to the river also. Until, however, the last quarter of the 19th century “Zaire” was frequently used to designate the stream. It is so called by Camoens in the Lusiads. Since H. M. Stanley’s discoveries “Congo” has become the general name for the river from its mouth to Stanley Falls, despite an effort on the part of Stanley to have the stream re-named Livingstone. (See Congo, river.)