The Cameroon Portal
The Republic of Cameroon (French: République du Cameroun) is a unitary republic of central and western Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. The country is called "Africa in miniature" for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas. The highest point is Mount Cameroon in the southwest, and the largest cities are Douala, Yaoundé, and Garoua. Cameroon is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team. English and French are the official languages.
Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation around Lake Chad and the Baka hunter-gatherers in the southeastern rainforest. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões ("River of Prawns"), the name from which Cameroon derives. Fulani soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate in the north in the 19th century, and various ethnic groups of the west and northwest established powerful chiefdoms and fondoms. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884.
After World War I, the territory was divided between France and Britain as League of Nations mandates. The Union des Populations du Cameroun political party advocated independence but was outlawed in the 1950s. It waged war on French and Cameroonian forces until 1971. In 1960, French Cameroun became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The southern part of British Cameroons merged with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The country was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.
Compared to other African countries, Cameroon enjoys relatively high political and social stability. This has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, railways, and large petroleum and timber industries. Nevertheless, large numbers of Cameroonians live in poverty as subsistence farmers. Power lies firmly in the hands of the president, Paul Biya
, and his Cameroon People's Democratic Movement
party, and corruption
is widespread. The Anglophone
community has grown increasingly alienated from the government, and Anglophone politicians have called for greater decentralization and even the secession
of the former British-governed territories.
Nki National Park is a national park in southeastern Cameroon, located in its East Province. The closest towns to Nki are Yokadouma, Moloundou and Lomie, beyond which are rural lands. Due to its remoteness, Nki has been described as "the last true wilderness." It has a large and varied ecosystem, and it is home to over 265 species of birds, and the forests of Cameroon contain some of the highest population density of forest elephants of any nation with an elephant density of roughly 2.5 per square kilometer for Nki and neighboring Boumba Bek National Park combined. These animals are victims of poaching, which has been a major problem since an economic depression in the 1980s. The indigenous people follow in the footsteps of the poachers, attracted by the financial opportunities. The removal of logging industries from the park, on the other hand, has been a success; it is no longer considered a major threat to Nki's wilderness. (Read more...)
Did you know ...
- ...that in the Sso rite of the Beti of Cameroon, one initiate was designated the ritual butt of the other candidates' jokes?
In the news
Charles Atangana (c. 1880 – 1 September 1943), also known by his birth name, Ntsama, and his German name, Karl, was the paramount chief of the Ewondo and Bane ethnic groups during much of the colonial period in Cameroon. Although from an unremarkable background, Atangana's loyalty and friendship with colonial priests and administrators secured him successively more prominent posts in the colonial government. He proved himself an intelligent and diplomatic administrator and an eager collaborator, and he was eventually named paramount chief of two Beti-Pahuin subgroups, the Ewondo and Bane peoples. His loyalty and acquiescence to the German Empire was unquestioning, and he even accompanied the Germans on their escape from Africa in World War I.
After a brief stay in Europe, Atangana returned to his homeland in Cameroon, which by then was a League of Nations mandate territory under the administration of the French Third Republic. The French doubted his loyalties at first, but Atangana served them with the same ardour he had shown the Germans and regained his post as paramount chief. During the remainder of his life, he oversaw the Westernisation of his subjects and the improvement of his domains despite the erosion of his powers due to French policies and unrest among his people. He never advocated resistance to the European powers, preferring to embrace European civilisation and technology as a means of personal enrichment and in the service of African interests. After his death in 1943, Atangana was largely forgotten. However, since Cameroon's independence in 1960, Cameroonian scholars have rediscovered his story. (Read more...)
Topics in Cameroon