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Discovery and changing rulers

Cameroon was discovered in the 15th century (1472) by the Portuguese Fernão do Pó. During one of their many voyages, they sailed along the coast of Cameroon and were impressed by the large shrimps found in the rivers. That is why they named the country 'Cameroes', which is the Portuguese name for shrimp.

In 1837, King Bimbia ceded part of the coastal strip to the British. After the Congress of Berlin, however, Cameroon became a German protectorate under the name German Northwest Africa and from 1901 called Kamerun. During the First World War (1914-1918) Kamerun was conquered by the French and the British. After the war, Cameroon was divided into a French and a British part, respectively called Cameroun and Cameroons. Both were not colonies, however, but became League of Nations mandated territories.


In 1922, Cameroun was granted limited self-government. After the dissolution of the League of Nations in 1946, Cameroun and Cameroons became UN mandated areas. In 1954, Cameroons became part of the Federation of Nigeria.

In 1959, Cameroon became an autonomous republic within the French Community under the name République du Cameroun. nationalist leader El Hadj Ahmadou Babatoura Ahidjo of the Union du Camerounais (UC) became prime minister. One year later, the country became independent with Ahidjo as president. During the independence celebrations (1 January 1960), the still present French troops and the Cameroonian National Guard had already had to suppress a communist-tinged revolt.

In 1961, the population of the southern part of British Cameroon voted to join the previously formed Republic of Cameroon, creating the Federal Republic of East and West Cameroon. Ahidjo became president of the federation. The northern part of the British colony chose to join Nigeria.

Republic of Cameroon

In 1972, the population voted in a referendum for a unitary state, the Republic of Cameroon. After the autocratic Ahidjo (the only candidate) was re-elected for five years in 1980, he resigned in 1982 and appointed his Prime Minister, the Southerner Paul Biya, as his successor. Biya has been president uninterrupted since then and was elected for another 7-year term in 2004. In the July 2007 time. He received 7elections, Biya's party held the majority in parliament. In April 2008, the constitution was changed so that Biya could run again in the 2011 presidential elections. The opposition speaks of a constitutional coup.

Pope Benedict visited Cameroon in March 2009. In October 2011, Paul Biya won the elections with 78% of the votes. The opposition did not recognise the victory because of alleged fraud. In November 2012, Biya celebrated 30 years in power. A French priest is kidnapped by Islamists in November 2013, but is released in January 2014. France denies having paid a ransom. In 2015 and 2016, there are attacks and kidnappings by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram.

In 2018, Biya, at the age of 85, became president for the seventh consecutive time. He received 71.3% of the vote. The opposition candidate, Maurice Kamto, received 14.2% of the vote and Cabral Libii 6.3%.Parliamentary elections were held in Cameroon on 9 February 2020, along with municipal elections.[1] The People's Democratic Movement of Cameroon retained its majority in parliament by winning 139 of the 167 seats.


Elmar landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
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