The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République Démocratique du Congo), also referred to as DRC, RDC, DR Congo or formerly as Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo-Léopoldville, Congo-Kinshasa, and formerly Zaire (or Zaïre in French), is a state in Central Africa and the second largest country on the continent. It borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan on the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania on the east, Zambia and Angola on the south, and the Republic of the Congo on the west. The country enjoys access to the sea through a narrow forty kilometre stretch, following the Congo river into the Gulf of Guinea. The name "Congo" (meaning "hunter") is coined after the Kongo ethnic group, living in the lower Congo river area.
As many as 250 ethnic groups have been distinguished and named. The most numerous people are the Kongo, Luba, and Mongo. Although 700 local languages and dialects are spoken, the linguistic variety is bridged both by the use of French and the intermediary languages Kikongo, Tshiluba, Swahili, and Lingala.