The Central African Republic Portal
The Central African Republic (CAR) (French: République centrafricaine, pronounced [ʀepyblik sɑ̃tʀafʀikɛn], or Centrafrique [sɑ̃tʀafʀik]; Sango Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka), is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of almost 623,000 km², and has an estimated population of about 4.4 million as per 2008. Bangui is the capital city.
Most of the CAR consists of Sudano-Guinean savannas but it also includes a Sahelo-Sudanian zone in the north and an equatorial forest zone in the south. Two thirds of the country lies in the basins of the Ubangi River, which flows south into the Congo River, while the remaining third lies in the basin of the Chari River, which flows north into Lake Chad.
Since most of the territory locates in the Ubangi and Shari river basins, France called the colony it carved out in this region Ubangi-Chari
, or Oubangui-Chari
in French. It became a semi-autonomous territory of the French Community
in 1958 and then an independent nation on 13 August 1960. For over three decades after independence, the CAR was ruled by presidents who were not chosen in multi-party democratic elections or took power by force. Local discontent with this system was eventually reinforced by international pressure, following the end of the Cold War
The Saint-Sylvestre coup d'état was a coup d'état staged by Jean-Bédel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Republic (CAR) army, and his military officers against the government of President David Dacko on 31 December 1965 and 1 January 1966. Dacko, Bokassa's cousin, took over the country in 1960, and Bokassa, a military officer in the French army, joined the CAR army in 1962. By 1965, the country was in turmoil—plagued by corruption and slow economic growth, while its borders were breached by rebels from neighboring countries. Dacko obtained financial aid from the communist People's Republic of China, but the country's problems persisted. Bokassa made plans to take over the government; Dacko was made aware of this, and attempted to counter by forming the gendarmerie headed by Jean Izamo, who became Dacko's closest adviser.
With the aid of Captain Alexandre Banza, Bokassa started the coup New Year's Eve night in 1965. First, Bokassa and his men captured Jean Izamo, locking him in a cellar at Camp de Roux. Bokassa's men then occupied the capital, Bangui, and overpowered the gendarmerie and other resistance. After midnight, Dacko headed back to the capital, where he was arrested, forced to resign from office and imprisoned at Camp Kassaï.
A boy playing with a burnt lamp in the city of Birao, Central African Republic. The town was almost completely burnt down in March 2007 during fighting between rebels and government troops.
Did you know ...
In the news
François Bozizé Yangouvonda (born October 14, 1946) was the President of the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2013. He came to power in March 2003 after leading a rebellion against President Ange-Félix Patassé and ushered in a transitional period of government. He won the country's 2005 presidential election; he received the most votes in the first round in March 2005, but less than a majority, requiring a runoff election, which he won in May 2005.
Bozizé was born in Gabon, a member of the Gbaya people, and attended a military officers' training college in the Central African province of Bouar. He became a second lieutenant in 1969 and a captain in 1975. He was appointed Brigadier General by Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa in 1978, after he beat a French noncommissioned officer who had disrespected the president. With General Josyhat Mayomokala, Bozizé ordered military personnel to attack young demonstrators who were asking for their parents' arrears. After Bokassa was ousted by David Dacko in 1979, Bozizé was appointed Minister of Defense. (Read more...)
Topics in Central African Republic