Upon independence in 1960,
the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the
Congo. A quarter century of experimentation with Marxism was abandoned
in 1990 and a democratically elected government took office in 1992. A
brief civil war in 1997 restored former Marxist President Denis
Sassou-Nguesso, and ushered in a period of ethnic and political unrest.
Southern-based rebel groups agreed to a final peace accord in March
Lingala, Monokutuba, and many local languages and dialects are spoken.