500 Before Christ, the explorer Hanno from Carthage in North Africa (Tunisia) is the first foreigner who reports seeing Mount Cameroon. In the following centuries a trade of slaves and goods develops from northern Cameroon across Sahara to North Africa.
200-100 Before Christ, the firsts Bantu-tribes immigrates to Cameroon from North (Nigeria). Bantu speaking tribes are traditionally agricultural requiring lots of space for farmland. The originial inhabitants, the so-called « Pygmies », are gradually being forced deeper into the forests by the newcomers.
In 1472, a Portuguese expedition lead by Fernando Po are the first Europeans to reach the coast of Cameroon. They reached Douala and then sails up the Wouri River. They name it "Rio dos Camarões" – the pawn River - by that giving the name to the country. With the arrival of Europeans the focus of slave trade shifts to the Coastal areas. Local chiefs on the coast increase their power by making agreements with the Portuguese. Deal are also made with the traders from England, Holland, France and Germany. The chiefs serves as meddlemen between Europeans and up-country tribes with something to sell. Mostly slaves and ivory are exported from cameroon. The Europeans brings cloth and metal-products.
In 1600’s, the Dutch takes over the slave trade in Cameroon.
In 1700’s, Brittish missionaries start protesting against the slave trade. The London Baptist Missionary Society creates a Christian colony in Victoria (Today: Limbe). The first inhabitants of Limbe freed slaves from Jamaica, Ghana and Liberia.
In 1845, the trade between Cameroon and Europe gradually changes and develops. The first larger European settlement is founded by the English navy engineer and missionary Alfred Saker. Saker starts building schools and churches in Douala at the mouth of Wouri River.
Kamerun- German colony.
Gustav Nachtigal signs a treaty with the Chiefs of Douala on behalf of the German Kaiser Wilhelm. In return for trade advantages the chiefs accept a German protectorate.
In 1886, the European colonial powers divides Africa between them at a conference in Berlin. They agreed to the new borders for the entire African continent, and borders are drawn without considering differencesin culture and language for the inhabitants.
The second German Governor, Von Puttkamer, constructs in 1907 a railway into the country. With brutality and forced labor. He also starts developing the colony with roads, schools and hospitals. The major town changes name from Kamerunstadt to Douala.
In 1914, Chief Rudolph Douala Manga Bell and military officer Martin-Paul Samba, two early nationalists resisting the German power are executed.
Brittish and French Cameroon
After the World War I in 1916, there was a break out on the development of German colony. As a result of the war and battles in Kamerun, Britain and France finally forces Germany out of the territory. In 1919 following the war, a declaration splits up Cameroon between Britain and France. The border is drawn roughly following the line of mountains. In 1922, Cameroon was officially shard between Britain and France. France now occupies the largest area and Britain keeps the area bordering their colony in Nigeria.
British and French mandates to the colonies in Cameroon are renewed by the UN after the World War II in 1945.
After the WWII, political parties start to emerge in both the French and Brittish sector of Cameroon. While some of them were asking for separation and the rise of two distinctive countries, other were calling for the two parts of the country to be united. Other movements in British Cameroon seek to join the (English-speaking) Nigerian state.
After many tractations and fights between the principal opposition party Union des Populations du Cameroon (UPC) and the party in power formed by Ahmadou Ahidjo, the l’Union Camerounaise, (UNC), the independence of the Republic of Cameroon was proclaimed on January 1, 1960. A unique referendum was carried out in the British Cameroon with support from the United Nations in October 1961 and the Northern part of British Cameroon voted to join Nigeria while the South want to join the French Speaking Cameroon.
United Republic of Cameroon
On May 20, 1972, the federal structure is dissolved and a new constitution is made with the formation of the United Republic of Cameroon. In the year 1970’s with success, Ahidjo developed agriculture and then focused on industry.
In November 1982, without prior notice, Ahidjo leaves his post as president and his 49 year Prime Minister, Paul Biya, took the presidency. Since November 1982, Paul Biya has been the second president of Cameroon until today.
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