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Cameroon History Timeline

Cameroon's Information

Flag of Cameroon
Land Area 472,710 km2
Water Area 2,730 km2
Total Area 475,440km2 (#53)
Population 24,360,803 (#53)
Population Density 51.53/km2
Government Type Presidential Republic
GDP (PPP) $77.24 Billion
GDP Per Capita $3,300
Currency Franc (XAF)
Largest Cities

200BC- 100BC

  • (200BC - 100BC) Bantu tribes began arriving from Nigeria
  • (200BC - 100BC) Native Pygmies forced into forests by the Bantus
  • (200BC - 100BC) Sao culture developed south of Lake Chad
1400 - 1700
  • (1472) Fernando Po led Portuguese expedition to coast of Cameroon
  • (1520) Portuguese settlers started sugar plantations and slave trade
  • (1600s) Dutch took over slave trade from Portuguese
  • (1700s) British missionaries protested against slave trade
  • (1700s) London Baptist Missionary Society created colony in Victoria (Limbe); first occupants were freed slaves from Jamaica, Ghana, Liberia
  • (1845) Trade continued to develop between Cameroon and Europe
  • (1845) European settlement founded at Douala by navy engineer and missionary, Alfred Saker
  • (1850s) Saker founded settlement in Victoria (Limbe); tried to convince English government to make the area a crown colony
  • (1850s) Slavery trade died, new trade began with natural resources including palm oil, ivory, gold
  • (1863) Slavery abolished in U.S.
  • (1884) Gustav Nachtigal of Germany signed treaty with Chiefs of Doula on behalf of Kaiser Wilhelm; in return for trade advantages, chiefs accepted German protectorate
  • (1885) Baron von Soden became governor of new colony: Kamerun
  • (1888) German settlement founded in mountains by Georg Zenker - later became capital city, Yaounde
  • (1907) Governor Von Puttkamer constructed railway into country; started developing roads, schools and hospitals
  • (1914) Two nationalists, Chief Rudolph Douala Manga Bell and military officer Martin-Paul Samba, were executed for resisting German power
  • (1916) World War I began, Germans forced to stop development
  • (1916) Britain and France forced Germany out of territory
  • (1919) At end of World War I, London Declaration divided Cameroon between Britain and France
  • (1919) British Cameroon stopped use of forced labor
  • (1922) League of Nations conferred mandates on Britain and France for each administrative zone
  • (1922) British Cameroon and Nigeria administered as one colony, most of attention and effort went into development of Nigeria
  • (1922) German settlers returned to British Cameroon, developed private plantations
  • (1922) French Cameroon continued to grow with infrastructure, larger port in Douala, more export
  • (1939 - 1940) German plantations were confiscated during World War II
  • (1945) UN renewed British and French mandates after World War II
  • (1947) Cameroon Development Corporation was formed from confiscated German plantations
  • (1955) Revolt organized by Union des Populations Camerounaises (UPC) began in major towns in French Cameroon
  • (1955) French stopped revolt, several hundred killed, massive destruction in towns
  • (1956) French government banned UPC party
  • (1956) UPC continued as illegal freedom movement
  • (1958) L'Union Camerounaise party founded by Ahmadou Ahidjo, called for independence and reunification of the two colonies
  • (1958) French Cameroon granted self-government; Ahmadou Ahidjo became prime minister
  • (1960) French Cameroon granted independence, became the Republic of Cameroon
  • (1960) Ahmadou Ahidjo inaugurated as president of Republic of Cameroon
  • (1960) President Ahidjo began working to reunite British and French territories
  • (1961) Following referendum, British Southern Cameroons joined the Republic of Cameroon to become the Federal Republic of Cameroon, Northern Cameroons joined Nigeria
  • (1963) Large-scale riots and uproar stopped with help of French forces
  • (1966) Six major parties formed National Cameroonian Union, became sole legal party
  • (1972) Following national referendum, federal structure was dissolved, Cameroon became United Republic of Cameroon, new constitution instigated
  • (1970s) President Ahidjo developed agriculture and industry
  • (1970s) Discovery of oil helped economic and political stability
  • (1970s) President Ahikjo began clinging to his power, became unwilling to make changes and reforms
  • (1982) President Ahidjo resigned abruptly, Prime Minister Paul Biya took over presidency
  • (1983) Colonial city of Victoria changed name to Limbe
  • (1983) Former President Ahidjo went into exile in France after President Biya accused him of masterminding a coup
  • (1983) President Biya fired the prime minister and several other government officials
  • (1983) Former President Ahidjo, still in exile, criticized President Biya of making Cameroon a police state, claimed Biya forced him out of the presidency
  • (1983) Ahidjo sentenced to death while in exile
  • (1984) President Biya pardoned Ahidjo
  • (1984) Military coup attempted, failed after three days of fighting in Yaounde, nearly 1,000 died
  • (1984) CO2 explosion at Lake Monoun killed 37
  • (1984) Biya elected to first full term as president by 99.98 percent of the votes
  • (1984) President Biya changed country's name to Republic of Cameroon
  • (1986) Cameroon became fourth African nation to establish diplomatic relations with Israel
  • (1986) Over 1,800 killed around Lake Nyos when cloud of deadly gasses erupted from the lake, suffocated all lives up to 15 miles (25 km) away
  • (1987) Oil boom ended, part of the cause of an economic crisis
  • (1988) President Biya reelected
  • (1989) Former President Ahmadou Ahidjo died
  • (1990) New oil sources discovered
  • (1990) Social Democratic Front formed without permission of government; around 30,000 people attended founding rally in Bamenda, riots broke out, shots were fired into crowd, six killed and several injured
  • (1990) President Biya laid out draft for multi-party system, more than 20 parties registered
  • (1990) President Biya dismissed multi-party system due to his opponents who formed coalitions and gained strength
  • (1990) Seven provinces placed under military rule, opposition rallies banned
  • (1991) Campaign of civil disobedience called "Operation Ghost Town" was launched, effectively closed ports and stopped all transports on week days; business stopped all over the country except for weekends; several opposition parties were banned, leaders arrested
  • (1991) Operation Ghost Town ended when government agreed to support work of constitutional committee; all political prisoners were freed; opposition was allowed to meet

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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