Map of Cameroon

Flag description: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), red, and yellow with a yellow five-pointed star centred in the red band; uses the popular pan-African colours of Ethiopia

Location: Western Africa, bordering the Bay of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria

Geographic coordinates: 6 00 N, 12 00 E

Climate: varies with terrain, from tropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north

Independence: January 1, 1960

Nationality: Cameroonian

Capital City: Yaounde

Population: 13,521,000

Head of State: Paul Biya

Area: 475,400

Type of Government: Republic

Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Major peoples: Kirdi, Fulani, Ewondo, Duala, Bamileke, Bassa, Beti, Fang, Gbaya, Banso, Tikar (tribes of the Cameroon grasslands)

Religion: African religion 51%, Christian 33%, Muslim 16%

Official Language: French, English

Principal Languages: Fulfulde, Ewondo, Bamileke, Bassa, Pidgin English

Major Exports: Timber, Oil, Rubber, Coffee, Cocoa

1472 First visited by the Portuguese, who named it the Rio dos Camaroes (`River of Prawns´) after the giant shrimps they found in the Wouri River estuary, and later introduced slave trading.
Early 17th century The Douala people migrated to the coastal region from the East and came to serve as
intermediaries between Portuguese, Dutch, and English traders and interior tribes.
1809-48 Northern savannas conquered by the Fulani, Muslim pastoral nomads from S Sahara, forcing forest and upland peoples southwards.
1856 Douala chiefs signed a commercial treaty with Britain and invited British protection.
1884 Treaty signed establishing German rule as the protectorate of Kamerun; cocoa, coffee, and banana plantations developed.
1916 Captured by Allied forces in World War I.
1919 Divided under League of Nations' mandates between Britain, which administered the South West and North, adjoining Nigeria, and France, which administered the East and South (comprising four-fifths of the area), and developed palm oil and cocoa plantations.
1946 French Cameroon and British Cameroons made UN trust territories.
1955 French crushed a revolt by the Union of the Cameroon Peoples (UPC), southern-based radical
1960 French Cameroon became the independent Republic of Cameroon, with Ahmadou Ahidjo, a Muslim
from the North, elected president; UPC rebellion in South West crushed, and a state of emergency declared.
1961 Following a UN plebiscite, northern part of British Cameroons merged with Nigeria and southern
part joined the Republic of Cameroon to become the Federal Republic of Cameroon, with French and English as official languages.
1966 Autocratic one-party regime introduced; government and opposition parties merged to form Cameroon National Union (UNC).
1970s Petroleum exports made possible successful investment in education and agriculture.
1972 New constitution made Cameroon a unitary state.
1982 President Ahidjo resigned; succeeded by his prime minister Paul Biya, a Christian from the South.
1983 Biya began to remove the northern Muslim political `barons´ close to Ahidjo, who went into exile
in France.
1984 Biya defeated a plot by Muslim officers from the North to overthrow him.
1985 UNC adopted the name RDPC.
1990 Widespread public disorder as living standards declined; Biya granted amnesty to political
1992 Ruling RDPC won first multiparty elections in 28 years. Biya presidential victory challenged
by opposition, who claimed ballot-rigging.
1995 Cameroon admitted to Commonwealth.
1997 RDPC assembly election victory; President Biya re-elected.