Germany, between 1884 and 1911, obtained control of the coast between Nigeria and Gabon and, naming its colony Kamerun after the volcanic mountain near Buea, extended it northward to Lake Chad and south-east, at its maximum extent, down the Sangha river to its junction with the Congo. France and Britain seized it in the first world war, after which it was divided between them. Parts in the east and south were incorporated into French Equatorial Africa, the rest being entrusted to France and Britain as mandates by the League of Nations; these areas became trust territories under the United Nations in 1945-6. In 1960 the French trust territory (population 31/4 million) became an independent republic. In February 1961 the southern British Cameroons (pop. 900,000) decided in a plebiscite, by 233,500 votes to 98,000, to federate with the Cameroon republic; the northern British Cameroons (780,000) voted 147,000 to 98,000 for union with Nigeria (20). The UN Assembly approved the decisions.
The Cameroons is mostly hilly country, but, as in Nigeria, there are sharp differences between the steamy southern forests and the high grasslands and dry zones farther north. The north is largely under Moslem influence, especially that of the Fulani (C, E, 20), who conquered the Adamawa area early in the 19th century, but most of the people there are not Moslem. The decision in 1959 of the British part of the north to postpone union with Nigeria reflected popular dislike of domination by the Moslem emirs of northern Nigeria, with which the northern British Cameroons had been administratively joined. The 1961 vote to join Nigeria after all was taken after reassurances that the rule of the emirs would not continue.
The southern British Cameroons' choice was also made after long hesitation, with an underlying hope that the territory might become independent on its own. Until 1954 it had been administered as a rather neglected part of Nigeria's Eastern Region; it was then made a separate region, but Nigeria failed to regain its good will. However, in 1961 its political leaders were negotiating terms for federation with the Cameroon republic -- due by October -- very cautiously; it is a less stable partner than Nigeria would have been. The republic, now led by Ahidjo, a Moslem from the north, has been torn by rebellion, centred among the Bamileke people. Originally in revolt against the French, the leaders of the UPC (Union des Populations du Cameroun) rebels denounce the government in Yaounde for being still under
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: An Atlas of African Affairs. Contributors: Andrew Boyd - Author, Patrick Van Rensburg - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1962. Page number: 88.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.