Republique du Cameroun (fr)
Republic of Cameroon (eng)
short form: Cameroun/Cameroon
formerly: French Cameroon, British Cameroon, Federal Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Cameroon
ISO Country Code: cm
Local Time = UTC +1h
Country Calling Code: +237
Capital City: Yaounde (pop. 1.1 million)
Other Cities: Douala, major seaport and commercial capital (1.3 million), Garoua (424,312), Maroua (409,546), Bafoussam (319,457), Bamenda (321,490), Nkongsamba (166,262), and Ngaoundere (216,300).
Republic; with a strong central government dominated by president.
Independence: 1 January 1960 (for areas formerly ruled by France) and
1 October 1961 (for territory formerly ruled by Britain).
Constitution: 2 June 1972, last amended in January 1996.
Location: Central West Africa bordering the Bight of Biafra (part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean)
Area: 475,000 km² (184,000) sq. mi.).
Terrain: Northern plains, central and western highlands, southern and coastal tropical forests. Highest peak: Mt. Cameroon (13,353 ft.).
Climate: Northern plains, the Sahel region–semiarid and hot (7-month dry season);
Central and western highlands where Yaounde is located–cooler, shorter dry season; southern tropical forest–warm, 4-month dry season; Coastal tropical forest, where Douala is located–warm, humid year-round.
Nationality: Cameroonian(s); French noun and adjective–Camerounais(e).
Population (2010): 19.4 million
Ethnic groups: About 250.
Religions: Christian 53%, Muslim 22%, indigenous African 25%.
Languages: French and English (both official) and about 270 African languages and dialects, including pidgin, Fulfulde, and Ewondo.
Natural resources: Oil, timber, hydroelectric power, natural gas, cobalt, nickel.
Agriculture products: timber, coffee, tea, bananas, cocoa, rubber, palm oil, pineapples, cotton.
Industries: Petroleum production and refining, aluminum production, food processing, light consumer goods, textiles, lumber, ship repair
Exports partners: Spain 17.2%, Italy 13.7%,France 9.4%, South Korea 8.1%, UK 8%,Netherlands 7.8%, Belgium 4.8%, USA 4.3% (2005)
Imports partners: France 25%, Nigeria 12.5%,Belgium 6.6%, China 5.8%, USA 5.3%, Thailand4.7%, Germany 4.4% (2005)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF)
The name Cameroon is derived from the Portuguese word, Camaroes, meaning shrimps. A Portuguese sailor Ferdanando Poo in 1472 arrived at the River Wouri in Douala and discovered so many shrimps in the river that he decided to call it Rio Dos Camaroes (River of shrimps, in Portuguese)… It was from this word that the territory derived is name which is now spelt in various forms: Spanish spelt it Cameroes; Germans, Kamerun; English, Cameroon; and French, Cameroun.
The territory was colonized by the Germans in1884 and after the end of the 1914-1918 war, Cameroon was mandated by the Ligue of Nations to the French and British governments. France took the greater sector, formally known as East Cameroon, while Britain took responsibility over former West Cameroon known then as “Cameroon under British Administration”.
On january 01st 1960 the French Sector became independent under the new name of Cameroon Republic. Following agitation for independence by the Southern Cameroons – before the name was changed to West Cameroon – a plebiscite was held in that sector of Cameroon on February 11th 1961 under the United Nations supervision. The result of the plebiscite which was overwhelming for reunification (233,571 against 97,741) gave Southern Cameroons automatic independence and unification, which was achieved on October 01st 1961. Thus after the reunification of both sectors, the Federal Republic of Cameroon was born.
After a May 20,1972 referendum, Cameroon became a United Republic and by a Presidential Decree of 1984 it became the Republic of Cameroon.
(Source: Cameroon Embassy in the Netherlands)
border countries: Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) , Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria
related countries: France, Germany, United Kingdom