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Kisangani, formerly Stanleyville, (population 500,000) is a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. It is the provincial capital of Orientale.

Kisangani is located where the Lualaba River becomes the Congo River north of the Boyoma Falls. It is the farthest navigable point upstream from Kinshasa.


Henry Morton Stanley founded Stanley Falls Station in December 1883, on an island in the Congo River near the present town of Kisangani. He left Mr Binnie, an engineer and a Scotchman, in charge to trade with the natives and to represent the Congo Free State. Soon afterwards, East African slavers from Zanzibar, often erroneously called "Arabs" by European writers of the time, reached Stanley Falls. Relations between Free State Officials and Arab slavers were strained and after a fight the Station was abandoned in 1887. In 1888, some form of Free State power was re-established by appointing Tippu Tip, one of the greatest Zanzibari slavers, as governor of Stanley Falls district.

In late 1964 Simba rebels seized the city of Stanleyville, during the Congo Crisis, and took over 1600 European hostages. After 111 days of fruitless negotiating, Operation Dragon Rouge was launched by American, Belgium, and a Mercenary force called "5 Commando" under the command of "Mad" Mike Hoare to liberate the hostages.

In 1999, Kisangani was the site of the first open fighting between Ugandan and Rwandan forces following the fracturing of the anti-government rebel Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) into camps based in Kisangani and Goma. The fighting was also over the diamond mines close to the town. As of the end of 2004, the town was under the control of the Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma.

Last updated: 09-03-2005 18:37:12