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Cameroon Introduction




Cameroon   IntroductionTop of Page
Background: The former French Cameroon and part of British Cameroon merged in 1961 to form the present country. Cameroon has generally enjoyed stability, which has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of an ethnic oligarchy.

HISTORY
The earliest inhabitants of Cameroon were probably the Bakas (Pygmies). They still inhabit the forests of the south and east provinces. Bantu speakers originating in the Cameroonian highlands were among the first groups to move out before other invaders. During the late 1770s and early 1800s, the Fulani, a pastoral Islamic people of the western Sahel, conquered most of what is now northern Cameroon, subjugating or displacing its largely non-Muslim inhabitants.

Although the Portuguese arrived on Cameroon's coast in the 1500s, malaria prevented significant European settlement and conquest of the interior until the late 1870s, when large supplies of the malaria suppressant, quinine, became available. The early European presence in Cameroon was primarily devoted to coastal trade and the acquisition of slaves. The northern part of Cameroon was an important part of the Muslim slave trade network. The slave trade was largely suppressed by the mid-l9th century. Christian missions established a presence in the late 19th century and continue to play a role in Cameroonian life.

Beginning in 1884, all of present-day Cameroon and parts of several of its neighbors became the German colony of Kamerun, with a capital first at Buea and later at Yaounde. After World War I, this colony was partitioned between Britain and France under a June 28, 1919 League of Nations mandate. France gained the larger geographical share, transferred outlying regions to neighboring French colonies, and ruled the rest from Yaounde. Britain's territory--a strip bordering Nigeria from the sea to Lake Chad, with an equal population--was ruled from Lagos.

In 1955, the outlawed Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (UPC), based largely among the Bamileke and Bassa ethnic groups, began an armed struggle for independence in French Cameroon. This rebellion continued, with diminishing intensity, even after independence. Estimates of death from this conflict vary from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.

French Cameroon achieved independence in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon. The following year the largely Muslim northern two-thirds of British Cameroon voted to join Nigeria; the largely Christian southern third voted to join with the Republic of Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The formerly French and British regions each maintained substantial autonomy. Ahmadou Ahidjo, a French-educated Fulani, was chosen president of the federation in 1961. Ahidjo, relying on a pervasive internal security apparatus, outlawed all political parties but his own in 1966. He successfully suppressed the UPC rebellion, capturing the last important rebel leader in 1970. In 1972, a new constitution replaced the federation with a unitary state.

Ahidjo resigned as president in 1982 and was constitutionally succeeded by his Prime Minister, Paul Biya, a career official from the Bulu-Beti ethnic group. Ahidjo later regretted his choice of successors, but his supporters failed to overthrow Biya in a 1984 coup. Biya won single-candidate elections in 1984 and 1983 and flawed multiparty elections in 1992 and 1997. His CPDM party holds a sizeable majority in the legislature--116 deputies out of a total of 180.

1UpTravel's Guide to Cameroon

Geography of Cameroon - Highlights the location, map references, area, land boundaries, climate, natural resources, land use, natural hazards, environment, and geography of Cameroon

People of Cameroon - Learn about the population, age structure, birth and death rate, sex ratio, nationality, ethnic groups, religions, languages, and literacy in Cameroon

Government and Politics in Cameroon - Profiles the country name, government type, administrative divisions, independence, national holiday, constitution, legal system, suffrage, executive, legislative, and judicial branches, political parties and leaders, and a flag description of Cameroon.

Economy of Cameroon - Study the GDP, growth rate, per capita, inflation, labor, budget, industries, exports, imports, currency, exchange rates, and economy of Cameroon

Communications in Cameroon - Browse statistics on telephones, mobile and cellular lines in use, radio broadcast stations, televisions, internet country code, ISP's, internet users, and facts on communications in Cameroon

Transportation in Cameroon - Offers statistical details on the railways, highways, waterways, ports & harbors, airports, and other facts on transportation in Cameroon

Military of Cameroon - Provides statistics on military branches, army, air force, navy, manpower, military service, expenditure, and facts on military in Cameroon

Transnational Issues of Cameroon - Explore international disputes and transnational issues of Cameroon

Maps of Cameroon - Discover a detailed map of Cameroon

Map Database of Cameroon - Browse a large collection of city, country, historical, political, thematic, and shaded relief maps of Cameroon

Flags of Cameroon - Uncover the flag images and description of the flag of Cameroon. Includes historical flags, symbols, and related information

Weather for cities of Cameroon - Browse weather forecast, hourly conditions, temperature, sunrise, sunset, and other weather related reports for the cities of Cameroon

1Up Info - Cameroon Political Geography - Encyclopedia resource provides information on the country along with its cities.


 





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