Class 5 Social Studies Chapter 5 - Notes

The Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo

  • located in the central Africa.
  • lies in the Tropical region (also called Torrid zone) i.e between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • Equator passes through the DRC.
  • Became independence from Belgium in 1960.
  • Known as Belgian Congo till 1971.
  • It was called 'Zaire' from 1971 to 1997.
  • In 1997, its name was changed to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Image Source -

Neighboring countries sharing the borders

  • Central African Republic, South Sudan in the North.
  • Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania in the East.
  • Angola, Zambia in the South.
  • Congo in the West.
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Important cities of the DRC

  • Capital city is Kinshasa.
  • Goma Bukavu, Bumba, Kisangani etc.

Domains (Reliefs) of the DRC

  • High mountains in the eastern edges.
  • Plateaus in the south and south-west parts.
  • Majority of the country is covered by the river basin or the river Congo.
  • The river Congo is the second largest river in Africa and the seventh largest in the world.
  • The rainfall is very high in the DRC as the equator passes through it.
  • The DRC is covered with the highly dense rain forests.


  • Very hot throughout the year because of the equator.
  • Rapid evaporation of the water and the high humidity due to the hotness.
  • Heavy rains due to the clouds formed by the evaporation of water.
  • One of the wettest place on the earth.
  • South part of the DRC is not as hot as other parts. Summers are hot and wet; winters are cool and dry in the south parts.

Satellite View of the DRC. Picture source:


  • Dense rain forests covers the most of the DRC due to heavy rainfall.
  • Forests are covered with the leaves throughout the year. Hence they are called Evergreen forests.
  • The Congo rain forest is the second largest rain forest after Amazon rain forest in South America.
  • Variety of trees and plants are found.
  • Tall tree make the Canopy of leaves.
  • Creepers, Climbers, Shrubs etc might grow under the canopy.
  • Canopies prevents the sunlight to reach the ground.
Picture Credit: MONUSCO Photos Rainforest_-_Ituri

  • South parts of the DRC have the grasslands with scattered trees called Savanna.
Image by ruidgs from


  • Elephants, buffaloes, gorillas, chimpanzees, baboons, hippopotamuses and rhinoceros etc are found in the forests.
  • Lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras, wolves, elephants, chimpanzees etc found in the Savannas.
  • Many crocodiles are found in the rivers.
  • Many types of insects, birds are found in the forests.
  • tsetse fly is the insect that causes the dreaded sleeping sickness.
  • The Congo African Grey Parrots are among the most intelligent birds.
 A Bonobo: Image by tsauquet from

Natural Resources

  • Rich in natural resources. Most of the minerals are exported.
  • Vast deposits of Copper, Cobalt, Gold, Uranium and Diamonds.
  • World's largest deposit of Cobalt.
  • With about 50% coverage with forests, DRC has the one of the best forest resources in the Africa.
  • DRC is assumed to the richest country in terms of the natural resources.
  • DRC has great water resources because of the rivers.
  • Electricity is produced by constructing dams.


  • Large areas of the forests are cleared for farming.
  • Cassava, Maize, Rice, Coffee, Cocoa, Rubber and Cotton are the major crops grown and most of them exported.


  • Rail and roads connect the major cities.
  • Other land transport is not well connected.
  • Water transport is the major means of transport because of the Congo and other rivers.
Image by Tracy Angus-Hammond from

People of DRC

  • DRC is thinly populated.
  • Most of the people live in the villages in highlands of the east parts and along the rivers.
  • About 30% of the people live in the cities with modern facilities.
  • Poor people live in crowded and unhealthy conditions in slums of the cities.
  • Villagers live in groups or tribes in thatched huts.
  • There are about 200 tribes in DRC.
  • Pygmies are the well known inhabitants of DRC.
    • Pygmies have the short heights. They hunt the animals and also gather food from plants.
    • Pygmies live in camps for few weeks and then they move to new places.
    • They make their houses with branches and leaves.
    • They don't wear many clothes but on special occasions they have special clothes for rituals.
    • They enjoy singing, dancing and telling stories.
Pygmies living in the rain forests.
Picture source: