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The city was founded as a trading post by Henry Morton Stanley in 1881. It was named Léopoldville in honour of King Leopold II of Belgium, who controlled the vast territory that is now the Democratic Republic of Congo at that time. The post flourished as the first navigable port on the Congo River above Livingstone Falls, a series of rapids over 300 kilometres below Leopoldville. At first, all arriving ships had to be dismantled and carried by porters between Léopoldville and Matadi (the current capital), an arduous three-month journey depending on weather conditions.The completion of the Matadi-Kinshasa portage railway, in 1898, provided an alternative route around this obstacle which could be used by steamers carrying 250 tons or more; smaller boats continued to use Livingstone Falls until 1914 when they were made unnavigable by Belgian engineers.