Cameroon is a state in the western part of Central Africa, in the
southwest washed by the waters of the Gulf of Bonny (part of the
Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean). The capital of Cameroon is
Member of the UN (1960), African Union (1963), IMF (1963), IBRD (1963), WTO (1995), Commonwealth of Nations (1995).
The name of the country comes from the hydronym "Rio dos Camarões" (port. Rio dos Camarões - "shrimp river"). This hydronym arose after the discovery by Portuguese navigators in the 1480s of the mouth of the Vouri River, where a large number of shrimp were found. Subsequently, the hydronym was transformed into the form "Cameroon".
in the northeast - with Chad, in the east - with the Central African Republic, in the south - with Gabon, the Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea. The highest point in the country is Mount Faco - 4040 m.
The relief of Cameroon is characterized by the alternation of mountains (Cameroonian mountains), plateaus and plains. Most of the Atlantic coast is occupied by an accumulative lowland (boggy in places) with wide estuaries. Standing apart on the coast is the active trachybasaltic stratovolcano Cameroon (4100 m). South of the Lobe River, the coast becomes high and rocky. In the central part of the country, the blocky Adamawa Mountains rise up to 2460 m high (Chabal-Mbabo), complicated by young lava covers and cones of extinct volcanoes. To the south of these mountains are the socle denudation plateaus, which occupy most of the territory of Cameroon. To the north of the Adamawa Mountains lies an elevated stratal plain bordered to the west by the low-altitude Mandara Mountains. The extreme north of the country is occupied by the lacustrine-accumulative plain of the basin of Lake Chad, which is flooded during the rainy season. The extreme southeast of Cameroon lies on the outskirts of the Congo Basin.
Of the minerals, Cameroon has offshore oil and gas deposits, bauxites, gold, ores of nickel, manganese, cobalt, iron, tin, titanium, and uranium.
The climatic conditions of Cameroon differ in different parts of the country. In the south, the climate is equatorial, constantly humid, in the center and north - subequatorial, with rainy summers and dry winters (the duration of the dry season from south to north increases from 4 to 7 months). The western and southwestern slopes of the Cameroon volcano are the wettest place in Africa (up to 9655 mm of precipitation per year) and one of the wettest places in the world.
The dense and high-water river network of Cameroon belongs to the Atlantic Ocean basin, with the exception of the extreme north and northeast, the rivers of which flow into Lake Chad. The largest river, the basin of which is entirely in Cameroon, is the Sanaga. Rivers originating on the northern slopes of the Adamawa Mountains flow into the Benue, which is the main tributary of the Niger. Rivers flowing southeast flow into the Sanga, which belongs to the Congo basin. For hydropower needs, large reservoirs have been created: Mbakau, Lagdo, Bamenjing.
Forests and light forests occupy about half of the country's
territory. Almost all tropical tree species grow in the Cameroonian
forests. The most typical are ficuses, breadfruit, eucalyptus, palm
trees. There are many valuable species that are in demand on the world
market: various types of mahogany, such as akazhu, sipo, sapele; ebony,
yellow wood and others, which provide valuable ornamental and
construction wood. There are many species of trees with exceptionally
hard (heavy) wood, among them one of the types of the famous iron tree -
azobe; its wood is used in port facilities and for the manufacture of
sleepers. Vegetation density increases from north to south: as one moves
away from Lake Chad, desert savannahs give way to typical ones, which
are replaced in the central part of the country by light forests and
deciduous-evergreen forests, which are replaced in the south by moist
evergreen equatorial forests with one of the highest levels of
biodiversity in Africa. On the slopes of the Cameroon volcano, mountain
evergreen forests above 3000 m are replaced by mountain meadows.
Mangroves grow along the coast.
The Cameroonian flora includes more than 9,000 species of higher plants, the fauna is represented by 1,000 species of birds, over 300 species of mammals, and 200 species of reptiles. A variety of primates live in the forests (monkeys, galagos, pottos, colobuses, drills, chimpanzees, gorillas), elephants, hippos, markhorned antelopes (bongos, sitatunga). Giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, black rhinoceros, ostriches, marabou, bustards are numerous in the savannas, lions and leopards are found. The aquatic fauna is also rich. More than 130 species of fish are found in coastal waters, among which there are many valuable commercial species, as well as crabs, shrimps, and lobsters. The goliath frog, the largest living frog, lives in the forests of the coastal strip. The rivers of the Wuri, Sanaga, and Nyong basins are rich in freshwater fish.
The most ancient population of Cameroon were pygmies. Then the
Benue-Congolese tribes and Bantu peoples colonize the south. In the 15th
century, the Masa tribes came, belonging to the Chadic family. In 1472,
the first contacts with Europeans were made. At the beginning of the
17th century, the early feudal state of Mandara was formed in the north
of what is now Cameroon. In 1715, the ruler of Mandara allowed Muslim
preachers into his country, and Mandara became a sultanate.
In the 16th century, the Fulani, belonging to the Atlantic family, began to penetrate into the north of Cameroon. In the 19th century, thanks to the Fulani jihad, almost the entire northern Cameroon became part of the Muslim state, the center of which was located on the territory of northern Nigeria.
Until 1884, the entire region of Cameroon was dominated by independent elders, of which the dual kings were the most powerful. Then three German firms acquired supreme power over the area of the city of Douala and transferred it to the German government. Cameroon was a German colony from 1884-1916. During the First World War in 1916 it was occupied by Anglo-French troops. The League of Nations in July 1922 granted them management mandates, and Cameroon was divided between Britain and France.
The local population raised uprisings against the colonialists (in 1922, 1928-1929, 1931). After World War II, the national liberation movement intensified. Cameroon gained independence on January 1, 1960, Ahmadu Ahidjo became the first president, the leader of the Cameroonian Union (CU), the leader of the Cameroonian National Democratic Party (KNDP), John Ngu Foncha, served as vice president until 1970. In the 1960s, the southern part of British Cameroon was reunited with the main Cameroon. As a result of a referendum on May 20, 1972, Cameroon was transformed from a federal republic into a unitary one. Under pressure from the French government, Ahidjo resigned in November 1982, handing over his powers to Paul Biya.