Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Blood River

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Blood River

The Terrifying Journey Through the World's Most Dangerous Country

By Tim Butcher

Blood River
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  • Hardcover: Oct 2008,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2009,
    384 pages.

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For much of it's length, the Congo River forms the border between The Republic of Congo and The Democratic Republic of Congo (map of Africa).  Both countries and the river are named for the early settlers to the area known as the Kongo people, and for the Kingdom of Kongo which controlled much of the area between about 1400 and 1914:


The Republic of Congo
Also known as Congo-Brazzerville or the Congo, The Republic of Congo was a former French colony which gained independence in 1960 and currently has a population of a little over four million.  From 1970 to 1992 it was run as a Marxist-Leninist single-party state, having signed a twenty-year friendship pact with the Soviet Union. A democratically elected government took control in 1992, but civil war in 1997 returned longtime President Denis Sassou-Nguesso to power leading to a period of ethnic and political unrest. A peace agreement was reached in 2003 but the calm is tenuous and about half the ...

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