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Central African Republic History Timeline

1400 - 1700
  • (1400s) Agrarian cultures founded settlements in Central African Republic (CAR)
  • (1600s) Arabic slave traders operated from the area, sent slaves north to Mediterranean coast and Arabia and west to trans-Atlantic slave factories
  • (1700s) Bandia-Nzakara people established Bangassou Kingdom along Ubangi River
1800s
  • (1800s) Baya people fleeing Fulani arrived from Cameroon
  • (1800s) Banda people escaped from slave traders in Sudan to CAR
  • (1800s) Azande people came to CAR from Congo Basin and Sudan to avoid Arab slave traders
  • (1800s) Mandjia people founded settlements in northern CAR
  • (1800s) Bobangi people living along Ubangi River began slave trading
  • (1887) French explorers entered region, made treaty settlements with local chiefs; named region Oubangui-Chari
  • (1888) French trading post established at Liranga
  • (1889) French established base at Bangui
  • (1894) Oubangui-Chari region annexed by French, became part of French Congo
  • (1894) Oubangui-Chari run by lieutenant-general as governor within French Congo
  • (1898) Adventurers from Europe granted concession rights by France to mine, hunt, develop plantations and other resources using local residents for forced labor; resulted in food shortages and spreading of disease
1900s
  • (1902) Administration introduced poll tax (capitation) on population
  • (1903) Rebellions against poll tax by Mandjia quashed by French
  • (1905) Chad annexed to Oubangui-Chari, renamed Oubangui-Chari-Chad
  • (1905) Revolts by forced laborers on plantations stopped by the French
  • (1908) Oubangui-Chari-Chad became part of Afrique Equatoriale Francaise
  • (1910) France reduced concessions operations in hope of lessening exploitation and abuse of forced labor
  • (1916) Chad removed from Oubangui-Chari administration
  • (1921) Over 20,000 forced laborers from Chad and CAR lost lives during construction of Congo-Ocean Railway
  • (1928 - 1931) In Kongo-Wara rebellion, workers revolted against repressive and exploitative practices of concessionaires; revolt leaders arrested, population relocated to new villages; French government announced concessions would not be renewed
  • (1946) Forced labor ended in French colonies
  • (1946) Territory given own assembly and representation in French Parliament
  • (1946) Barthelemy Boganda became first indigenous CAR citizen to be elected to French Parliament
  • (1950) Barthelemy Boganda founded the Mouvement pour l'Evolution Sociale de l'Afrique Noire (MESAN, Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa)
  • (1958) Territory gained internal self-government, Boganda became prime minister
  • (1959) CAR adopted a constitution
  • (1959) Prime Minister Boganda killed in airplane crash, David Dacko (Boganda's nephew) took over as leader of MESAN; Abel Nguende Goumba became acting prime minister
  • (1960) CAR became independent from France; David Dacko named first president
  • (1962) Under Dacko's governance, CAR became one-party state with MESAN as sole party
  • (1964) Dacko reelected as president - ran unopposed
  • (1965) President Dacko ousted in military coup led of Colonel Jean-Bedel Bokassa
  • (1965) Bokassa led military government as president and prime minister; constitution was repealed, parliament dissolved
  • (1972) Jean-Bedel Bokassa appointed himself president for life of CAR
  • (1976) Council for the Central African Revolution replaced Council of Ministers; former President David Dacko was appointed personal advisor to President Jean-Bedel Bokassa
  • (1976) Bakassa appointed himself as emperor, renamed CAR the Central African Empire
  • (1977) Jean-Bedel Bokassa held ceremony to crown himself emperor, duplicated coronation of Napoleon, estimated to have cost over 25% of the country's annual foreign investments
  • (1977) U.S. withdrew Ambassador following arrests of two of its journalists for espionage
  • (1979) Bernard-Christian Ayandho appointed prime minister of MESAN
  • (1979) President Bokassa announced a reorganization of government due to public unrest; opposition parties now allowed
  • (1979) Opposition groups formed coalition
  • (1979) Over 100 school children were killed following protest over expensive school uniforms
  • (1979) While on state visit to Libya, President Bokassa was toppled in French-backed coup
  • (1980) David Dacko founded Démocratique Centrafricain (UDC, Central African Democratic Union)
1900s continued
  • (1980) UDC was declared only legal party, CAR became a one-party country again
  • (1980) Jean-Pierre Lebouder became prime minister of UDC
  • (1980) Former President Jean-Bedel Bokassa sentenced to death in absentia for murdering political rivals
  • (1981) President Dacko reelected president
  • (1981) Army Chief Andre Kolingba ousted President Dacko
  • (1981) Kolingba assumed role of prime minister, banned opposition parties and detained the leaders
  • (1983) Following political pressure from France, detained opposition party leaders were released
  • (1984) Amnesty declared for all political party leaders
  • (1986) Women won right to vote
  • (1986) Former President Bokassa returned from exile, arrested for multiple charges, including treason and cannibalism
  • (1986) Referendum to allow Kolingba to remain in power for another six years passed with 92% yes vote
  • (1986) New constitution gave Kolingba greater power, legislature served in advisory role only, Rassemblement Démocratique Centrafricain (RDC, Central African Democratic Party) became only legal political party in CAR
  • (1987) Jean-Bedel Bokassa found guilty of four charges against him, sentenced to death
  • (1988) Jean-Bedel Bokassa's death sentence commuted to life imprisonment
  • (1988) President Kolingba appointed members of opposition to government minister posts in attempt to reconcile
  • (1991) Ban on political parties was lifted, multi-party system formed
  • (1992) Kolingba came in last in multi-party presidential election, but due to widespread irregularities, Supreme Court annulled results
  • (1993) President Kolingba released thousands of political prisoners, including Jean-Bedel Bokassa
  • (1993) In general presidential election, Ange-Felix Patasse, leader of Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC) elected president, ended 12 years of military rule
  • (1996) Soldiers staged mutiny in Bangui over unpaid wages
  • (1996) French troops helped quell army uprising
  • (1996) Jean-Bedel Bokassa died
  • (1996 - 1997) Successive rebellions crippled CAR politically, economically, socially
  • (1999) President Patasse reelected
2000s
  • (2000) Strike over back pay was held by civil servants
  • (2000) Opposition groups accused President Patisse of mismanagement and corruption, organized rally which turned into riots
  • (2001) CAR and Cameroon began border dispute
  • (2001) Civil service unions organized additional strikes
  • (2001) 59 killed in failed coup attempt against President Patasse by former President Kolingba; attempt suppressed with help of troops from Libya and Chad and Congolese rebels
  • (2001) Fighting continued in Bangui, over 50,000 fled to the forests
  • (2001) United Nations sent special envoy to CAR to attempt mediation between rebels and government
  • (2001) President Patasse ordered Jean-Jacques Demafouth, defense minister, arrested for conspiracy
  • (2001) Attempt to arrest fired army chief of staff, General Francoise Bozize, resulted in clashes between troops and Bozize's forces
  • (2002) Former Defense Minister, Jean-Jacques Demafouth, appeared in court to answer charges relating to 2001 coup attempt
  • (2002) Attempt by General Bozize's forces to overthrow President Patasse subdued to government troops and Libyan forces
  • (2003) General Bozize seized power while President Patasse was out of the country
  • (2003) Abel Nguende Goumba appointed prime minister for Front Patriotique pour le Progrès (FPP, Patriotic Front for Progress); set up transitional government
  • (2003) Troops from Chad arrived to assist peacekeeping force, cracked down on looting

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.