Brazza, Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de (pyĕr pōl fräNswäˈ kämēˈyə sävôrnyäNˈ də bräzäˈ) [key], 1852–1905, Franco-Italian empire builder. He was born Pietro Paolo Savorgnan di Brazza but adopted the French form of his name in 1874, when he became a French citizen. After visiting (1874) Gabon he returned (1875) on the orders of the French government to explore West Africa. In 1879, in an attempt to forestall the efforts of Henry M. Stanley to annex the Congo basin for Belgium, Brazza explored the upper Congo. He founded (1880) Franceville (now in Gabon) and Brazzaville (now capital of the Republic of the Congo) and established a protectorate over the kingdom of Makoko. Although he failed to deter Stanley, he added c.193,000 sq mi (499,900 sq km) to the French empire in central Africa. He served as a French colonial official from 1883 and was commissioner general of the French Congo (1886–98).
See R. West, Brazza of the Congo (1972).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.