The Central African Republic, sometimes Central Africa, is a
landlocked state in Central Africa. It borders Sudan in the
northeast, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo in the south, the Republic of the Congo in the southwest,
Cameroon in the west, and Chad in the north. One of the most
sparsely populated countries in Africa, one of the poorest countries
in the world.
The country is actively fighting Islamic terrorism, which since 2012 has turned into an open war between Christians and Muslims.
During the colonial period from 1903 to 1960. possession of France was called Ubangi-Shari (fr. Oubangui-Chari) from the hydronyms of the rivers Ubangi, which flows into the Congo River, and Shari, which flows into Lake Chad. After declaring independence in 1960, the country received the name "Central African Republic" due to its geographical location.
Physical and geographical characteristics
The surface of the country is an undulating plateau with a height of 600 to 900 meters, separating the basins of the Congo River and Lake Chad. Within its limits, the eastern and western parts are distinguished. The eastern part has a general slope towards the south, towards the Mbomu (Bomou) and Ubangi rivers. In the north is the Fertit massif, consisting of groups of isolated mountains and ranges (over 900 meters high) Aburasein, Dar Shalla and Mongo (over 1370 m). Rocky remnants rise in places in the south (the local name is “kagas”). The main rivers in the east of the country, the Shinko and the Mbari, are navigable in their lower reaches; above the passage of ships prevent rapids. In the west of the plateau there are the Yade massif, which continues in Cameroon, separate remnants-kagas and sublatitudinally oriented horsts, limited by faults. A gently undulating plateau composed of white sandstones stretches between Berbérati, Bouar and Boda.
The climate and vegetation change from north to south. Only in the southwest are dense tropical rainforests preserved; towards the northeast, the forests along the river valleys give way to savanna woodlands and grasslands. In the north, the average annual rainfall is 1250 mm per year, they fall mainly from July to September, and also in December-January. The average annual temperature is +27°C, and in the south - +25°C. The average annual rainfall exceeds 1900 mm; the wet season lasts from July to October; December and January are dry months.
The ancient history of the peoples of the Central African Republic is little studied. Due to its remoteness from the oceans and the presence of hard-to-reach areas, this country remained a white spot on European maps until the 19th century. Stone age tools found during diamond mining in the Ubangi River basin give reason to believe that many of the Central African plains were inhabited in antiquity. Found in the early 1960s by anthropologist Pierre Vidal in the southwest of the country, near Lobaye, the 3 m high stones date back to the Neolithic era. Among the Gbaya people they are known under the name "tajunu", that is, "standing stones".
Since ancient times, numerous migration routes of African peoples passed through the country, and this largely influenced its settlement. The first inhabitants of this territory, apparently, were pygmies. The existence of lands to the west of the sources of the Nile, inhabited by dark-skinned peoples, was known to the ancient Egyptians. Deciphered inscriptions on Egyptian monuments tell about the country of Uam (in the area of the Mobai and Kembe rivers), inhabited by "black dwarfs - pygmies". On ancient Egyptian maps, the Ubangi and Uele rivers were called the Black Nile and were connected to the White Nile into one river.
The region of the modern territory of the Central African Republic was between the strong feudal state of Kanem-Borno in the north (formed in the 15th century on the western shore of Lake Chad) and the Christian kingdom of the Congo in the south (formed in the 14th century in the lower reaches of the Congo River), which had close trade ties.
On the territory of the Central African Republic was the state of Gaoga. It was formed by rebellious slaves. The main occupation of the population was cattle breeding. Gaogi's cavalry army had weapons bartered from Egyptian merchants. The found remains of household utensils have Christian symbols that tell us that Christians lived in Gaoge.
The territory of the Central African Republic was inhabited by local Ubangi tribes: Gbanziri, Buraka, Sango, Yakoma and Nzakara. At the same time, new feudal states were formed near the northeastern borders of the country: Bagirmi, Wadai and Darfur. The population of these states was dependent on the Arabs and was subjected to violent Islamization. The Sudanese peoples, who resisted the imposition of Islam, were forced to leave for the hinterland. So the tribes of Sarah, Gbaya (Baya), Banda appeared in the Central African savannah. The Gbaya headed west and settled in northeastern Cameroon, the DRC, and in the west of the CAR. The gang settled throughout the territory from the Kotto River in the east to the Sanga River in the west. Sarah stopped in the basin of the Lagone and Shari rivers in the north of the Central African Republic. With the arrival of the Sudanese peoples, the local tribes were forced to make room and concentrated on the banks of the Ubangi. Azande tribes came to the upper reaches of this river from the region of Lake Chad. The extraction of slaves in the territory of the Central African Republic was the main source of wealth for the states of Darfur and Wadai. An ancient caravan route passed through the territory of the Central African Republic through Darfur to Egypt, along which ivory and slaves were transported to the Middle East. By the middle of the 18th century, slave hunters had practically devastated these places.
Vast areas in the region of the tributaries of the Shari - Auk and Azum were occupied by the Gula tribes, who were engaged in fishing and trade. The Gula language was widely spoken in the upper Shari basin. A little later, at the beginning of the 19th century, agricultural tribes came to the Ubangi plateau from the east. The Sabang tribes occupied the area of a huge quadrangle between Shari and Ubangi, as well as in the middle reaches of the Kotto. The Kreish tribes inhabited the upper Kotto and the Shinko basin. Numerous Yulu, Kara, Binga, Shalla, Bongo, and other tribes lived in the areas from the Kotto River to Darfur, but have almost completely disappeared. At the same time, part of the Gbaya people, who had previously settled in Zaire and called themselves "Manja", that is, farmers, settled in the center of the Ubangi-Shari basin.
XIX-XX centuries (before independence)
Europeans (French and Belgians) began to appear here in 1884-1885. In 1889, the expedition of Colonel M. Dolizi reached the rapids of the Ubangi River and founded Fort Bangui. In 1893, the first Catholic mission settled near the fort.
In 1894 and 1897, the French authorities concluded agreements with Germany and Great Britain, respectively, on the delineation of boundaries between colonial possessions. As a result, the modern eastern and western borders of the current CAR were formalized. The conquest of the territory was completed after bloody battles at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1903, the formation of the colonial territory of Ubangi-Shari was formalized. In 1907, 1919-1921, 1924-1927, 1928-1931, uprisings of the indigenous population were noted on the territory of the modern Central African Republic, which were extremely brutally suppressed, in a number of areas the population decreased by 60-80%.
Since the early 1920s, the French colonialists introduced new crops in the country - cotton and coffee. Deposits of gold and diamonds were discovered. A bourgeoisie emerged from local Africans.
In the post-war period, the first party was created and the first deputy from Oubangi-Shari was elected to the French parliament. They became Barthelemy Boganda, who is considered the founding father of the Central African Republic. He was also the author of the modern flag of the Central African Republic and the words of the Anthem of the Central African Republic. just 8 days before the last elections of the colonial era and before independence, Boganda died in a plane crash.
period of independence
On August 13, 1960, the Central African Republic was proclaimed an independent state. David Dacko became the first president. In the Central African Republic, a one-party system was established: the MESAN party (Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa) was declared the only political party in the country.
Bokassa and his Empire (1965-1979)
On January 1, 1966, a military coup took place. Colonel Jean-Bedel Bokassa, Chief of Staff of the Army of the Central African Republic, became President of the country, Head of Government and Chairman of MESAN. The Parliament of the Central African Republic was dissolved and the Constitution repealed.
The period of Bokassa's rule was marked by catastrophic corruption and various extravagant enterprises - for example, in December 1976, Bokassa crowned himself as emperor, renamed the country the Central African Empire (CAI). The coronation ceremony cost $25 million.
In the late 1970s, the economic situation in the Central African Republic deteriorated sharply. In April 1979, anti-government demonstrations began, and there were clashes with the police.
In September 1979, during Operation Barracuda, Bokassa was overthrown by French paratroopers, after which the country was again headed by David Dako, at whose invitation the action was formally held. The republic was restored.
Dako, in turn, was removed during a bloodless coup on September 1, 1981 by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Central African Republic, General Andre Kolingba, who, under pressure from the West, ceded power in the early 1990s to the "democratically" elected authorities. This did not bring stability to the country; since November 1984, there have been reports of armed clashes with the opposition in the north of the country. A series of coups and counter-coups followed, taking place against the backdrop of social instability and deteriorating economic conditions.
Government of Patasse (1993-2003)
Until March 2013, the leader of the faction that won the Civil War of 2001-2003, François Bozize, was in power. The greatest danger to the stability of the country is the banditry of various groups claiming political registration in the north of the country.
In 2012-2013, the rebel Seleka coalition operated on the territory of the country. The group carried out military operations against the official authorities and the army of the Central African Republic. Support for the CAR troops is provided by international forces (FOMUK). On the evening of March 24, 2013, the rebels entered the capital of the Central African Republic, and their leader Michel Djotodia proclaimed himself president of the country, promising to organize elections soon, and on April 1 announced the formation of an interim government. In January 2014, he resigned.
On December 5, 2013, the UN Security Council, taking into account the situation in the country, at its 7072nd meeting, adopted resolution 2127 (2013) and imposed UN sanctions against the CAR, including a travel ban on persons designated by the Security Council committee established by resolution 2127 (2013) , arms embargo, mandatory disposal of seized items subject to sanctions, freezing of all funds, other financial assets and economic resources that are available on their territory and are directly or indirectly owned or controlled by individuals or legal entities included by the Committee in the sanctions scroll.
In February 2016, the rector of the capital's university, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, won the presidential election. Since the beginning of 2018, special forces from Russia have been guarding the president. At the same time, the rearmament of the army with Russian weapons and uniforms began.
In mid-March 2021, according to local deputy Rosny Dekalve Chengaba, militants from Sudan arrive on the territory of the Central African Republic. Armed men from Sudanese Darfur have occupied the town of Thiringula in the northern region of Wakaga.
The Wagner Group and relations with Russia
In March 2018, five Russian military and 170 Russian civilian instructors were sent to the CAR to train local military personnel. Russia has also started implementing prospecting mining concessions in the Central African Republic. In addition to the official military, mercenaries from Russia participate in the CAR, the so-called Wagner group, controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin.
On August 21, 2018, within the framework of the Army-2018 International Military-Technical Forum, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and CAR Minister of National Defense and Army Reconstruction Marie-Noel Koyara signed an Agreement on military cooperation between Russia and the CAR. The Minister of Defense of the Central African Republic, Ms. Marie-Noel Koyara, emphasized Russia's "special role" in the political settlement of the conflict in the country and did not rule out the possibility of deploying a Russian military base in the Central African Republic.
At the end of December 2020, in connection with the activation of illegal armed groups on the eve of the presidential and parliamentary elections, at the request of the government of the Central African Republic, 300 Russian instructors arrived in the country to train the military personnel of the national army. The corresponding notification was submitted by the Russian side to the UN Security Council Committee 2127 on sanctions against the Central African Republic.
By the end of March 2021, the CAR army, with the support of Russian instructors and allies from Rwanda, was able to liberate more than 30 cities. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry on April 19, 2021, there were more than 500 Russian instructors in the CAR. In mid-April of the same year, Russia announced its plans to invest about $11 billion in the CAR economy.
At the end of 2021, the UN Security Council extended and changed the terms of the sanctions against the CAR, lifting the arms embargo on the armed forces of the CAR, but leaving in place the ban on the supply of weapons to other parties to the conflict, changing the conditions for mandatory disposal, an asset freeze and a travel ban for certain persons.