The New Student's Reference Work/French Congo
French Congo, a possession of France in west-central Africa, situated between German Kamerun, Congo Free State and Lake Chad, Kanem and Wadai. The French were among the earliest explorers of the Congo region, and M. di Brazza, the Italian explorer, obtained large tracts of land from the native chiefs for France. French Congo lies on the northern bank of the Congo River, between the river and the Atlantic, including the region around Ubanghi River. Area about 680,000 square miles. Population estimated at 5,000,000. The capital, Libreville, has a population of 3,000; other towns are Loango, Franceville, Brazzaville and Fort de Possel. French Congo is divided into three colonies, under lieutenant-governors, with a general budget for the whole. The colonies are Gabun (capital Libreville); Middle Congo (capital Brazzaville); and Ubangi-Shari-Chad (capital Fort de Possel). The mineral resources embrace gold, copper and iron; while its exports (amounting in 1904 to about 14,000,000 francs) consist of rubber, ivory, various woods, palm-oil and kernels, coffee, cocoa, kola-nuts etc. There is considerable shipping-trade at Loango, but inland trade is hindered by lack of railways, though a line is projected to connect Libreville and the Congo. Brazzaville is connected with Loango by telegraph (715 miles), and another is being put up to connect with Leopoldville in Belgian Congo.