An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

21. Cameroons

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

-88-

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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