Pages: 6 (1334 mots) Publié le: 14 mars 2010

Geography of Cameroon

Cameroon is a central western Africa country, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria. It is slightly larger than California: 475 440 km2.

Its capital is Yaoundé but the largest city is Douala with approximately 2 millions inhabitants.
The main rivers are the Benue, Nyong, and Sanaga.

Its climate varies with terrain, fromtropical along coast to semiarid and hot in north.
It is composed of wet and forested coastal plain in southwest, of plateau dominated by rain forests in center, of mountains (including Mount Cameroon, an active volcano) in west and of savana grasslands in north.
That is why Cameroon is often called the "Africa in miniature", its vegetation is pretty various, and its clilmate presents all thevariations existing on the African continent.

Cameroon's ethnic composition is diverse with approximately 250 ethnic groups. The principal ethnic groups consist of:
# the Cameroon Highlanders in the northwest who account for 31% of the population
# the Equatorial Bantu for 19%
# the Kirdi (non-Islamic or recently Islamic peoples) in the northern deserts and central highlands for 11%
# theFulani (Islamic peoples) in the northern semi-arid regions for 10%
# the Northwestern Bantu for 8%
# the Nigritic for 7%
# Ethnic aliens include African tribal groups such as the Hausa, Ibo, Ewe, and Europeans which include French, German, American, British, Canadian, Greeks, Syrians, Cypriots and Lebanese.
Some 5,000 Pygmies still live in the southeastern and coastal rainforests.

Thus,although te official languages are French and English (with French being the dominant), some 80 major African languages are spoken by the diverse ethnic tribal groups.

Just as ethnic groups and languagues, religions are various too. Indeed 40% of the population is christians (with a division between inhabitants of the former British colony who are protestants and those from the former French colonywho are catholics) , 20% is muslism especially in the north of the country, but the rest of the population (40%) keeps having indigenous beliefs.

History of Cameroon

Bantu speakers were among the first groups to settle Cameroon, followed after the 12th century AD by the Muslim Fulani who ruled the grasslands of northern Cameroon, western highlands and coastal areas being dominated bynumerous small chiefdoms. Portuguese travelers established contact with the area in the 15th century and gave its name to the country: Rio de Camaroes (river of prawns), but no permanent settlements were maintained.

The modern history of Cameroon began in 1884, when treaties with tribal chiefs brought the area under German domination. Although British missionaries had been active in the area since1845, the UK recognized the German protectorate. During their occupation from 1884 to 1914, the Germans advanced into the interior, cultivated large plantations, laid roads, and began constructing a railroad and the port of Douala. When World War I broke out, the territory was invaded by French and British forces. After the war, the League of Nations gave the French a mandate over 80% of the area,and the British 20% adjacent to Nigeria.

During the period 1919–39, France made notable contributions to the development of the territory. Agriculture was expanded, industries were introduced, roads were built, medical services were broadened, and more schools were established. However, political liberty was restricted and the system of compulsory labor introduced by the Germans continued.After World War II, when the country came under a UN trusteeship in 1946, self-government was granted, and the Cameroon People's Union emerged as the dominant party by campaigning for reunification of French and British Cameroon and for independence. In British Cameroon, unification was also promoted by the leading party, the Kamerun National Democratic Party, led by John Foncha.

France set up...
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