In 1881 Henry M. Stanley, the Anglo-American explorer, renamed Kinshasa Leopoldville after his patron, Leopold II, king of the Belgians. In 1898 the rail link with Matadi was completed, and in 1926 the city succeeded Boma as the capital of the Belgian Congo. Its main growth occurred after 1945. A major anti-Belgian rebellion that took place there in Jan., 1959, started the country on the road to independence (June, 1960). In 1966 the city's name was changed from Leopoldville to Kinshasa, the name of one of the African villages that occupied the site in 1881.
Modern Kinshasa is an educational and cultural center and is the seat of Lovanium Univ. of Kinshasa (1954), which has an archaeological museum, the National School of Law and Administration, a telecommunications school, a research center for tropical medicine, and a museum of Africana. Historical buildings in the city include the chapel of the American Baptist Missionary Society (1891) and a Roman Catholic cathedral (1914). There is a large stadium (seating capacity about 70,000). Kinshasa is famous as a center for modern African music.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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