When the first Europeans arrived in the Congo, they found two well organized empires of the Loango and the Bakongo. Portuguese imperialism in the 18th century destroyed these empires and The Berlin conference of 1884 acknowledged Belgium to rule the Congo Free State, which it did until 1960, but by 1879, the Congo had been placed under French protectorate. By the 1950's, Congo had become a member of the French colonial community. After independence in 1960, Congo adopted French as the official Language. Because of the Belgian influence, the official language of the DRC today is French, though the principle languages spoken are Lingala, Kikongo, Monokutuba, Azande, Chokwe, and Luba.
Kikongo will be updated soon
Update on Lingala coming soon
Luba update, upcoming
The word Kiswahili is a general term for many varieties of the language spoken along the East African coast. It comes from the Arabic word sahel, meaning ‘coast.’ Ki- is a prefix referring to language.