Orientale Province

Orientale Province (French: Province orientale, "Eastern province") is one of the former provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its predecessors the Congo Free State and the Belgian Congo. It went through a series of boundary changes between 1898 and 2015, when it was divided into smaller units.

Orientale Province
Province Orientale
Belgian Congo provinces in 1920
Belgian Congo provinces in 1920
Orientale from 1933
Orientale from 1933
Country Democratic Republic of the Congo
 • Total503,239 km2 (194,302 sq mi)
 (2010 est.)
 • Total8,197,975
 • Density16/km2 (42/sq mi)
Official languageFrench
National languageSwahili, Lingala, Pa-Zande (Zande language)
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML

The District of Orientale Province was created from Stanley Falls District on 15 July 1898. The district was expanded to become Orientale Province in 1913. It was divided in 1933 into Costermansville (later Kivu) and Stanleyville Province. Stanleyville Province was renamed Orientale Province from 1947 to 1963, when it was broken up into Kibali-Ituri, Uélé and Haut-Congo provinces. Orientale Province was reconstituted in 1966. Between 1971 and 1997 it was called Haut-Zaïre, then it returned to the name of Orientale. The province contained the Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele, Ituri and Tshopo districts. These were elevated to provinces in 2015 under the 2006 constitution.

The province lay in the northeast of the country. Originally it bordered Équateur to the west, Congo-Kasaï to the southwest and Katanga to the south. After being reduced in size, it bordered Équateur to the west, Kasaï-Oriental province to the southwest, Maniema to the south, and North Kivu to the southeast. It also bordered the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north, and Uganda to the east. The provincial capital was Stanleyville, later renamed Kisangani.


On 15 July 1898 the Stanley Falls District became the District of Orientale Province (District de la province Orientale), with Stanleyville as its headquarters.[1] The Lualaba District in the south was split off at this time. The district was also called Stanleyville District. In 1910 the new vice-government general of Katanga was formed the south, with parts of Lualaba District and parts of Stanleyville.[2]

Orientale/Oost Province was formed in 1913 in the Belgian Congo from the District of Orientale Province, expanded to include Haut-Uélé, Bas-Uélé and Aruwimi. The new province contained the districts of Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele, Ituri, Stanleyville, Aruwimi, Maniema, Lowa and Kivu. It was divided in 1933 into Costermansville (later Kivu) and Stanleyville Province. Stanleyville Province was renamed Orientale/Oost Province from 1947 to 1963, when it was broken up into Kibali-Ituri, Uélé and Haut-Congo provinces. Orientale Province was reconstituted in 1966 from the amalgamation of the Uele, Kibali-Ituri and Haut-Congo provinces. In 2015 it was dissolved into the provinces of Bas-Uélé, Haut-Uélé, Ituri and Tshopo.

In 1998 the Orientale villages of Durba and Watsa were the center of an outbreak of Marburg virus disease among gold mine workers.

The Ituri district of Orientale was the scene of the Ituri conflict.

As of 2014, militia groups continue to fight in the province and have reportedly committed many atrocities against the local population, such as forcing women into sex slavery and forcing men to work in mines.[3]

Approximate correspondence between historical divisions and current provincesEdit

Approximate correspondence between historical and current province
Belgian Congo Republic of the Congo Zaire Democratic Republic of the Congo
8 districts
1 province
1 province
1 province
3 provinces
1 province
1 province
1 province
1 province
4 provinces
Bas-Uele Orientale Stanleyville Orientale Uélé Orientale Haut-Zaïre Orientale Bas-Uélé
Haut-Uele Haut-Uélé
Ituri Kibali-Ituri Ituri
Stanleyville Haut-Congo Tshopo
Maniema (Costermansville, Kivu and successors)


The province was divided into the city of Kisangani and the districts of Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele, Ituri and Tshopo. Cities and towns, with their 2010 populations, are:

Name District Territory Pop. 2010[4] Coordinates[4]
Aketi Bas-Uele District Aketi Territory 40,507 2°44′N 23°47′E / 2.74°N 23.78°E / 2.74; 23.78 (Aketi)
Ango Bas-Uele District Ango Territory 8,381 4°02′N 25°52′E / 4.03°N 25.87°E / 4.03; 25.87 (Ango)
Aru Ituri District Aru Territory 29,801 2°52′N 30°51′E / 2.87°N 30.85°E / 2.87; 30.85 (Aru)
Bafwasende Tshopo District Bafwasende Territory 14,504 1°05′N 27°16′E / 1.08°N 27.27°E / 1.08; 27.27 (Bafwasende)
Bambesa Bas-Uele District Bambesa Territory 14,959 3°28′N 25°43′E / 3.47°N 25.72°E / 3.47; 25.72 (Bambesa)
Basoko Tshopo District Basoko Territory 50,352 1°14′N 23°35′E / 1.24°N 23.59°E / 1.24; 23.59 (Basoko)
Bondo Bas-Uele District Bondo Territory 18,118 3°49′N 23°40′E / 3.81°N 23.67°E / 3.81; 23.67 (Bondo)
Bunia Ituri District Irumu Territory 327,837 1°34′N 30°14′E / 1.56°N 30.24°E / 1.56; 30.24 (Bunia)
Buta Bas-Uele District Buta Territory 53,401 2°49′N 24°44′E / 2.82°N 24.74°E / 2.82; 24.74 (Buta)
Djugu Ituri District Djugu Territory 27,112 1°55′N 30°30′E / 1.92°N 30.50°E / 1.92; 30.50 (Djugu)
Dungu Haut-Uele District Dungu Territory 26,894 3°37′N 28°34′E / 3.62°N 28.57°E / 3.62; 28.57 (Dungu)
Irumu Ituri District Irumu Territory 10,387 1°27′N 29°52′E / 1.45°N 29.87°E / 1.45; 29.87 (Irumu)
Isiro Haut-Uele District Rungu Territory 174,551 2°46′N 27°37′E / 2.76°N 27.62°E / 2.76; 27.62 (Isiro)
Kisangani (city) (city) 868,672 0°32′N 25°11′E / 0.53°N 25.19°E / 0.53; 25.19 (Kisangani)
Kituku Ituri District Irumu Territory 43,460 1°06′N 29°58′E / 1.10°N 29.97°E / 1.10; 29.97 (Kituku)
Mahagi Ituri District Mahagi Territory 18,743 2°18′N 30°59′E / 2.30°N 30.98°E / 2.30; 30.98 (Mahagi)
Mongbwalu Ituri District Djugu Territory 29,672 1°57′N 30°02′E / 1.95°N 30.03°E / 1.95; 30.03 (Mongbwalu)
Niangara Haut-Uele District Niangara Territory 13,504 3°42′N 27°52′E / 3.70°N 27.87°E / 3.70; 27.87 (Niangara)
Opala Tshopo District Opala Territory 15,569 1°17′N 27°16′E / 1.28°N 27.27°E / 1.28; 27.27 (Opala)
Poko Bas-Uele District Poko Territory 10,873 3°09′N 26°53′E / 3.15°N 26.88°E / 3.15; 26.88 (Poko)
Ubundu Tshopo District Ubundu Territory 13,332 0°21′S 25°29′E / 0.35°S 25.48°E / -0.35; 25.48 (Ubundu)
Wamba Haut-Uele District Wamba Territory 17,651 2°08′N 27°59′E / 2.14°N 27.99°E / 2.14; 27.99 (Wamba)
Watsa Haut-Uele District Watsa Territory 31,978 3°02′N 29°32′E / 3.04°N 29.53°E / 3.04; 29.53 (Watsa)
Yahuma Tshopo District Yahuma Territory 4,857 1°05′N 23°13′E / 1.08°N 23.22°E / 1.08; 23.22 (Yahuma)
Yangambi Tshopo District Isangi Territory 40,932 0°46′N 24°26′E / 0.77°N 24.43°E / 0.77; 24.43 (Yangambi)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Auzias & Labourdette 2006, p. 180.
  2. ^ Lemarchand 1964, pp. 62–63.
  3. ^ Sexual slavery rife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  4. ^ a b "Haut-Congo: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population". World Gazetteer. Archived from the original on 2013-02-10.


External linksEdit