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Republic of Zairea
République du Zaïre
Repubuliki ya Zaïre
Jamhuri ya Zaïre

Flag Coat of arms
Paix – Justice – Travail[1]  
"Peace – Justice – Work"
La Zaïroise
"The Song of Zaire"
File:Zaire National Anthem.ogg
Capital Kinshasa
Language(s) French
Lingala · Kongo
Swahili · Tshiluba
Religion Christianity, Baluba religion, Bantu religion
Government Mobutist one-party republicc[2]
under a de facto military dictatorshipd
 - 1971–1997 Mobutu Sese Seko
Historical era Cold War
 - Coup d'état 25 November 1965
 - Country renamed 27 October 1971
 - Mobutu overthrown 16 May 1997
 - Death of Mobutu 7 September 1997
 - 1996 2,345,410 km2 (905,568 sq mi)
 - 1996 est. 46,498,539 
     Density 19.8 /km2  (51.3 /sq mi)
Currency Zaïre
Internet TLD .zr
Calling code +243
Today part of  Democratic Republic of the Congo
a. Renamed from "Democratic Republic of the Congo" (République démocratique du Congo) on 27 October 1971.
b. Changed from "Léopoldville" in 1966.
c. Zaire became a de jure one-party state on December 23, 1970,[3] but had been a de facto one-party state since May 20, 1967, the date on which the MPR (Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution) was established. Zaire formally adopted a multiparty system on April 24, 1990,[4] when Mobutu delivered a speech proclaiming the end of the one-party system. The country adopted multipartyism de jure with the passage of Law No. 90-002 of July 5, 1990, which amended its constitution accordingly.[5]
d. 1990–1997.

Zaire, officially the Republic of Zaire (French: République du Zaïre) was the name of a country that is now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It used this name from 27 November 1971 to 17 May 1997. The name "Zaire" comes from a Portuguese corruption of the Kongo word nzare, meaning "river".


  1. Constitution de la République du Zaïre, article 5: "Sa devise est : Paix — Justice — Travail". Source: Journal Officiel de la République du Zaïre (N. 1 du 1er janvier 1983)
  2. Thomas Turner, "Flying High Above the Toads: Mobutu and Stalemated Democracy", in Political Reform in Francophone Africa (1997), ed. John F. Clark and David E. Gardinier, page 70.
  3. Kaplan, Irving (ed.). Zaire: A Country Study. Third Edition, First Printing. 1979.
  4. Sandra W. Meditz and Tim Merrill (eds.). Zaire: A Country Study. Fourth Edition. 1993.
  5. Complete text of the Zairian constitution after the enactment of Law No. 90-002 of July 5, 1990 concerning the modification of certain provisions of the Constitution