The Republic of the Congo is located in on the west coast of sub-Saharan Africa. The nation has a very small coast line along the Atlantic. The Republic of the Congo is bordered by Gabon to the northwest, Cameroon and the Central African Republic to the north, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the East, and Gabon to the South. Upon gaining its independence from France in 1960, Congo followed a Communist form of government until 1990; a Democratic government was established in 1992. In 1997 a civil war broke out, returning the Marxist president Denis Sassou-Nguesso to power; however the country still operates as a republic. Congo is the 64th largest country in the world, and is comparatively slightly smaller than the state of Montana.