Late Quaternary fluctuations in the intensity of Congo River freshwater load were reconstructed using three different proxies (marine and freshwater diatoms, and the delta18O record of Globigerinoides ruber) preserved in the sediments of Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1077, located at the northern rim of the Congo River fan (5?10'S, 10?26'E). An abrupt change in the diatom assemblage is evident at Termination II: a two- to four-fold increase in (a) the relative abundance of a marine planktonic diatom tolerant of low salinity conditions (Cyclotella litoralis), and (b) in the concentration of freshwater diatoms. The microfossil data suggest a change in the environmental conditions surrounding Site 1077 from predominantly marine to mixed marine/brackish/fresh. The delta18O record of the planktic foraminifera G. ruber (pink) revealed negative deviations from the global oxygen isotope signal since Termination II which occurred during warm stage 1 and substages 3.2, 5.1, 5.3, and 5.5. Comparison of the isotopic signal of ODP Site 1077 with the record from a pelagic location (core GeoB1041 at 3?48'S, 7?05'W) confirms these results. The construction of an artificial delta18O curve using alkenone-derived sea surface temperature (SST) data from a nearby core (GeoB1008 at 6?S, 10?E) allowed us to estimate salinity and temperature effects on the ODP Site 1077 isotopic signal. Although increased SSTs may account for lighter delta18O values during warmer periods, they do not explain the extremely light values documented in the sediments of Site 1077. We used the oxygen isotope difference (Delta delta18O) between our site and GeoB1041 as a proxy for freshwater input. A general trend in the Delta delta18O was observed, with more negative values since Termination II. In addition, conspicuous Delta delta18O negative pulses coincided with periods of northern hemisphere summer insolation maxima over the African continent, suggesting an increase in the freshwater discharge from the Congo River due to enhanced precipitation on the hinterland. Here we propose that the abrupt change in environmental conditions at Site 1077 since Termination II is a consequence of a major reorganization in the depositional environment of the Congo River delta. This reorganization involved sustained equatorward displacement of the Angola-Benguela Front causing a northward deflection of the Congo River plume thus moving plume waters further north than normal and over Site 1077.