Central Africa – a country on the move
It was a while ago, but it did lasting damage to the image of African politics and is not only difficult to forget for this reason: the reign of Jean-Bedel Bokassa (1921-1996) in Central Africa. He came to power in a coup in 1965/66 and made himself president for life in 1972. The grotesque climax of his power was a ceremony costing the equivalent of 25 million euros, in which he was crowned emperor of the new Central African Empire in 1977 – with a purple cloak and a gold laurel wreath. Its golden bathtub is also legendary.
At the same time, Welthungerhilfe collected donations to combat an impending famine in the country. After serious human rights violations were committed under his rule and Bokassa embezzled a third of the state budget, he was overthrown in 1979.
The Central African Republic is still one of the poorest countries on earth. The people are plagued by hunger, illiteracy, government corruption and infrastructural chaos and terrorized by criminal gangs and self-appointed freedom fighters.
Due to its location – just north of the equator – the climate in the Central African Republic is tropical with year-round warm temperatures and the characteristic alternation of rainy and dry seasons.
In the south-west there is tropical rainforest, which turns into wet savannah in the middle of the country. In the northeast, the dry savannah dominates.
The country’s approximately 5 million population consists mainly of Ubangi groups.
The official language of French, preserved from the colonial era, is rarely used in everyday life, while the second official language, Sangho, is understood by all sections of the population.
|Name of the country||(République Centrafricaine)|
|Name in German||Central African Republic|
|Form of government||Presidential Republic|
|Geographical location||Equatorial Africa|
|National anthem||La Renaissance|
|Population||by 4.8 million (Credit: Countryaah: Central African Republic Population)|
|Ethnicities||predominantly ubangi groups|
|Religions||about 79% Christians, 10% Muslims and 10% followers of various natural religions|
|Languages||Sangho et al. French (official languages), Ubangi, Fulani|
|Capital||Bangui with approx. 795,000 residents|
|Highest mountain||Monte Ngaoui with a height of 1,420 m|
|Longest river||Ubangi with a length of 2,280 km|
|Largest lake||The country has no major lakes.|
|International license plate||RCA|
|Currency||1 CFA franc = 100 centimes|
|Difference to CET||0 h|
|International phone code||00236|
|Mains voltage, frequency||220/380 volts and 50 hertz|
|Internet TDL (Top Level Domain)||.cf|
Central African Republic: history
Central Africa until the 19th century
From approx. 6000 BC. The area of today’s Central African Republic was settled by small groups of hunters and gatherers of the Khoi Khoi and San, a pygmy people (Bushmen).
According to Abbreviationfinder website, around 100 AD the immigration of Bantu peoples began from the north, who practiced wandering agriculture and cattle breeding.
Around 1500 the people of the Sanda lived in the east of what is now the Central African Republic, while tribes of the Bongo and Banda lived in the west.
From 1600, Portuguese and later Dutch slave traders advanced from the west coast to Oubangi (the area was named after the river of the same name) and depopulated entire regions by the middle of the 19th century. Around 1800 the Arabs began to establish trading bases in northeastern Oubangi.
20th century until today
At the end of the 19th century the French occupied the Ubangi-Chari area. In 1910 the colony became part of French Equatorial Africa.
In 1947, under the leadership of Barthélemy Boganda (1910-1959), the MESAN (Mouvement d’Évolution Sociale de l’Afrique Noire) was established, which won all seats in the elections to the state parliament in 1957.
In 1958 the country gained internal autonomy and Boganda became head of government.
The declaration of independence took place in 1960, David Dacko became the first president.
Army chief Jean Bedel Bokassa (1921-1996) dissolved parliament in December 1965 after a military coup. Terror, torture and the elimination of the opposition marked the ensuing dictatorship, supported by French troops. Bokassa was appointed president for life in 1972 and crowned emperor in 1976, thereby introducing the hereditary monarchy in Central Africa. Nationwide unrest among schoolchildren and students in 1979 he had bloodily suppressed with the help of what was then Zaire. In the same year, David Dacko, with the support of French troops, managed to overthrow Bokassa.
The ensuing parliamentary elections in 1982 were won by David Dacko. He was overthrown by André Kolingba in the same year. In 1985 a civil government was re-established, and in 1991 the opposition parties were re-admitted under pressure from abroad.
In 1993, Ange Félix Patassé emerged victorious from the presidential election.
In 1996 there were military revolts. After several coup attempts, UN peacekeeping forces were deployed for about two years in 1998. In 1999, despite serious clashes between opposition members and government supporters, President Patassé again won the presidential election.
In 2001 and 2002 there were renewed coup attempts, the fighting in the northern part of the country continued until 2003. In 2003, a coup d’état succeeded under Bokassa’s general appointed François Bozizé (born 1946), whose presidency was, so to speak, legalized by an election in 2005.