The West African country of Cameroon gained independence from France on Jan 1, 1960, and today is probably best known for its football team. Here are 12 pivotal moments for Cameroon, pre-and-post independence.
Europeans first arrived in Cameroon in 1520, and began a reign of tyranny. First the Portuguese set up sugar plantations and a slave trade, which they maintained until the 1600s. Then they turned the country over to the Dutch.
Germany joined the colonial shuffle in 1884, when Cameroon became the German colony of Kamerun.
After World War II the Germans didn’t want to give up control of Cameroon, but France and Britain forced them too. By 1919 the country was split into two — 80 percent French and 20 percent British.
Because the country was split by colonization, Cameroon gained independence in pieces. French independence came on Jan 1, 1960 with Ahmadou Ahidjo as president of the Republic of Cameroon.
In 1961 the British section of Cameroon gained independence, but part of that country decided to join Nigeria, while the rest joined the Republic of Cameroon.
President Ahidjo resigned after 22 years and was succeeded by Prime Minister Paul Biya.
Transparency International named Cameroon the world’s most corrupt country in 1998. The organization monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development.
Following years of unrest in the region along the Nigerian border, Nigeria finally withdrew troops from the Bakassi peninsula ending a long border dispute after a U.N. mandated summit.
Here’s a tabloid moment: Cameroonian Minister Marafa Hamidou Yaya was charged with stealing $29 million meant to be used as a down payment for a presidential plane. He was captured and jailed.
Cameroon’s president Paul Biya celebrated his 30th year in power. Protesters hit the streets.
Boko Haram made its first appearance in Cameroon in February 2013 when a French family of seven was kidnapped near the Nigerian border and held for two months by the Islamic militant group. They were eventually freed. France denied paying a ransom.
Chad pledged military support to help Cameroon fight Boko Haram. This came after the terrorist organization kidnapped more people in 2014, including the wife of the deputy prime minister and 27 other hostages in October 2014 alone.
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