République du Cameroun
Republic of Cameroon
Flag of Cameroon Emblem of Cameroon
Flag Emblem
Motto: Peace - Work - Fatherland
(French: Paix - Travail - Patrie)
Anthem: O Cameroon, Cradle of our Forefathers
(French: Ô Cameroun, Berceau de nos Ancêtres[1]
Location of Cameroon
Capital Yaoundé
Largest city Douala
Official language French, English
Government Republic
 - President Paul Biya
 - Prime Minister Ephraïm Inoni
Independence from France and the UK 
 - Date 1 January 1960 
 - Total 475,442 km² (53rd)
183,568 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 1.3
 - July 2005 estimate 16,322,000 (58th)
 - 2003 census 15,746,179
 - Density 34/km² (167th)
88/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2005 estimate
 - Total $43.196 billion (84th)
 - Per capita $2,421 (130th)
HDI  (2006) 0.506 (medium) (144th)
Currency CFA franc (XAF)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1)
Internet TLD .cm
Calling code +237

The Republic of Cameroon is a unitary republic of central and western Africa. It borders Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. The country is often called "Africa in miniature" for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas. The highest point is Mount Cameroon in the southwest, and the largest cities are Douala, Yaoundé, and Garoua. Cameroon is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. The country is well-known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team. English and French are the official languages.

Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation around Lake Chad and the Baka hunter-gatherers in the southeastern rainforest. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões (River of Prawns), the name from which Cameroon derives. Fulani soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate in the north in the 19th century, and various ethnic groups of the west and northwest established powerful chiefdoms and fondoms. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884. After World War I, the territory was split between France and Great Britain as League of Nations mandates. The Union des Populations du Cameroun political party advocated independence but was outlawed in the 1950s. It waged war on French and Cameroonian forces until 1971. In 1960, French Cameroun became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The southern part of British Cameroons merged with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. It was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.

Compared to other African countries, Cameroon enjoys relative political and social stability. This has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, railways, and large petroleum and timber industries. Nevertheless, large numbers of Cameroonians live in poverty as subsistence farmers. Power lies firmly in the hands of the president, Paul Biya, and his Cameroon People's Democratic Movement party. The Anglophone community has grown increasingly alienated from the government, and Anglophone politicians have called for greater decentralisation or even secession of the former British-governed territories.





Pre-colonial period

Joseph Merrick, a Jamaican Baptist missionary, at an Isubu funeral in 1845
Joseph Merrick, a Jamaican Baptist missionary, at an Isubu funeral in 1845

Archaeological finds show that humankind has inhabited Cameroonian territory since the Neolithic. The longest continuous inhabitants are probably the Pygmy groups such as the Baka. The Sao culture arose around Lake Chad c. AD 500[2] and gave way to the Kanem-Bornu Empire. Kingdoms, fondoms, and chiefdoms arose in the west, including those of the Bamileke, Bamum, and Tikar.[3]

Portuguese sailors reached the coast in 1472. They noted an abundance of prawns and crayfish in the Wouri River and named it Rio dos Camarões, Portuguese for River of Prawns, and the phrase from which Cameroon is derived.[4] Over the next few centuries, European interests regularised trade with the coastal peoples. Meanwhile, Christian missionaries established operations and gradually moved inland.

In the early 19th century, Modibo Adama led Fulani soldiers on a jihad in the north against the non-Muslim peoples (Kirdi) and those Muslims who still practiced aspects of paganism. Adama established the Adamawa Emirate, a vassal to the Sokoto Caliphate of Usman dan Fodio.[5] Ethnic groups who fled the Fulani warriors displaced others, resulting in a major redistribution of population.[6]


Colonial period

A German outpost. Karl Atangana, German-appointed paramount chief of the Ewondo and Bane peoples, is pictured center right.
A German outpost. Karl Atangana, German-appointed paramount chief of the Ewondo and Bane peoples, is pictured center right.

The German Empire claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun in 1884.[7] They moved inland, breaking trade monopolies held by coastal peoples such as the Duala and steadily expanded their control. The Germans established plantations in the forested south, especially along the coast.[8] They made substantial investments in the colony's infrastructure, including the building of railways, roads, and hospitals. However, the indigenous peoples were reluctant to work on these projects, so the government instigated a harsh system of forced labour.[9] With the defeat of Germany in World War I, Kamerun became a League of Nations mandate territory and was split into French Cameroun and British Cameroons in 1919.[8] Neukamerun, territories acquired by Germany in 1911, became part of French Equatorial Africa.[10]

France improved the infrastructure of its territory with capital investments, a supply of skilled workers, and continued forced labour.[9] French Cameroun eventually surpassed its British counterpart in gross national product, education, and health care services. Nevertheless, these developments were largely relegated to Douala, Foumban, Yaoundé, and Kribi, and the territory between them. The economy was carefully tied with that of France; raw materials sent to Europe were then sold back to the colony as finished goods.[11]

Great Britain administered its territory from neighbouring Nigeria. Natives complained that this made them a neglected "colony of a colony". Nigerian migrant workers flocked to Southern Cameroons, removing the need for forced labour but angering indigenous peoples. The plantations were returned to German administration until after World War II, when they were consolidated into the Cameroon Development Corporation. British administrators paid little attention to Northern Cameroons.[8]

The League of Nations mandates were converted into United Nations Trusteeships in 1946. The question of independence became a pressing issue in French Cameroun, where political parties held different ideas on the timetable and goals of self-rule.[11] The Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) was the most radical of these and advocated immediate independence and the adoption of a socialist economy.[12] France outlawed the party on 13 July 1955, prompting a long guerrilla war and the assassination of its leader, Ruben Um Nyobé. France eventually granted increasing degrees of autonomy to the territory's governing bodies.[13] In British Cameroons, the question was whether to reunify with French Cameroun or join with Nigeria.[11]



Ahmadou Ahidjo arrives at Washington, D.C., in July 1982.
Ahmadou Ahidjo arrives at Washington, D.C., in July 1982.

On 1 January 1960, French Cameroon gained independence under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. On 1 October 1961, British Southern Cameroons reunified with them as the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Northern British Cameroons opted to join Nigeria instead. The continuing war with the UPC allowed Ahidjo to concentrate power in the presidency. The resistance was finally suppressed in 1971, but the declared state of emergency persisted.[13] Ahidjo emphasized the importance of nationalism over tribalism, using fears of ethnic violence to further consolidate power. Ahidjo's Cameroon National Union (CNU) became the sole political party on 1 September 1966. In 1972, the federal system of government was abolished in favour of a United Republic of Cameroon headed from Yaoundé.[14]

Economically, Ahidjo pursued a policy of planned liberalism.[13] Cash crops were an early priority, but the discovery of petroleum in the 1970s shifted focus to that sector. Oil money was used to create a national cash reserve, pay farmers, and finance major development projects. Communications, education, transportation, and hydroelectric infrastructure were all expanded. Nevertheless, Ahidjo used posts at these new industries as rewards for his allies, many of whom had no development or business background; many failed.[15]

Ahidjo stepped down on 4 November 1982, leaving power to his constitutional successor, Paul Biya. However, Ahidjo remained in control of the CNU, and a power struggle developed between the former and current president. When Ahidjo tried to assert the party's right to choose the president, Biya and his allies pressured him into resigning. Biya at first allowed open elections for party offices and for the National Assembly. However, after a failed coup attempt and the Cameroonian Palace Guard Revolt on 6 April 1984, he moved more toward the leadership style of his predecessor.[16] Cameroon came to national attention on 21 August 1986 when Lake Nyos belched toxic fumes and killed between 1,700 and 2,000 people.[17]

Biya's first major challenge was the economic crisis of the mid-1980s to late 1990s, the result of international economic conditions, drought, falling petroleum prices, and years of corruption, mismanagement, and cronyism. Cameroon turned to foreign aid; cut funds for education, government, and healthcare; and privatised industries.[18] The growing dissatisfaction of Cameroon's Anglophones has since given Biya another challenge. Leaders from the formerly British portion of the country have called for greater autonomy, with some advocating complete secession as the Republic of Ambazonia.[19]



President Paul Biya of Cameroon with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil in 2005
President Paul Biya of Cameroon with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil in 2005

The President of Cameroon has broad powers to create policy, administer government agencies, command the armed forces, negotiate and ratify treaties, and declare a state of emergency without consulting the legislature.[20] The president appoints officials at all levels of government, from the prime minister (considered the official head of government),[21] to the provincial governors, divisional officers,[22] and urban councils in large cities such as Bafoussam, Douala, and Yaoundé.[23] The president is selected by popular vote every seven years.[24] Suffrage begins at age 20.[25] In smaller municipalities, the public elects mayors and councilors by popular vote.[23]

Statue of a chief in Bana, West Province. The Cameroonian government recognises the power of traditional authorities provided their rulings do not contradict national law.
Statue of a chief in Bana, West Province. The Cameroonian government recognises the power of traditional authorities provided their rulings do not contradict national law.

Cameroon's legal system is largely based on French civil law with common law influences.[25] The constitution establishes the judiciary as an independent branch of government, but in reality it falls under the authority of the executive's Ministry of Justice.[26] The president appoints judges at all levels. The judiciary is officially divided into tribunals, the court of appeal, and the supreme court,[27] which may review the constitutionality of a law only at the president's request.[26] The National Assembly elects the members of a nine-member High Court of Justice.[25]

Legislative power is exercised by the National Assembly. The body consists of 180 members who are elected for five-year terms and meet three times per year.[28] The main responsibility of the Assembly is to pass laws, and rarely has it changed or blocked legislation proposed by the president. Laws are passed on a majority vote.[26] The 1996 constitution establishes a second house of parliament, the 100-seat Senate, but this has never been put into practice.[25] The government recognises the authority of traditional chiefs, fons, and lamibe to govern at the local level and to resolve disputes as long as such rulings do not conflict with national law.[29]

President Paul Biya's Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) was the only legal political party until December 1990. Numerous ethnic and regional political groups have since formed, such as the National Union for Democracy and Progress under Maigari Bello Bouba and the National Union for Democracy and Progress under Adamou Ndam Njoya. The primary opposition is the Social Democratic Front (SDF), based primarily in the Anglophone region of the country and headed by John Fru Ndi.[30] Biya and his party have maintained control of the presidency and the National Assembly in national elections, but rivals contend that these have been unfair.[19] The last elections were held on October 11, 2004.

Cameroon's foreign policy calls for African unity, noninterference, and equal treatment of all nations. In reality, the country is still closely reliant on and influenced by France.[31] Biya has clashed with neighbouring Nigeria over possession of the Bakassi peninsula and with Gabon's president, El Hadj Omar Bongo, over personal rivalries.[30] Cameroon is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie.


Administrative divisions

Provinces of Cameroon.
Provinces of Cameroon.

According to the 1996 constitution, Cameroon is divided into 10 regions, each with a high degree of autonomous control over cultural programs, the economy, healthcare, sport, and social services. A Regional Council governs each region. The people indirectly elect delegates for the council, and traditional rulers choose their own representatives. Each council appoints one of its members to act as the regional president. Nevertheless, the president of Cameroon maintains great control over these bodies; he appoints a representative administrator to each, and he retains the power to dissolve or suspend the councils or their members. The number, borders, and names of the regions may be changed by presidential decree.[32]

In practice, Cameroon still follows the system that was in place prior to the adoption of the 1996 constitution. The country is divided into 10 provinces, each headed by a presidentially appointed governor. These leaders are charged with implementing the will of the president, reporting on the general mood and conditions of the provinces, administering the civil service, keeping the peace, and overseeing the heads of the smaller administrative units. Governors have broad powers: they may order propaganda in their area or call in the army, gendarmes, or police. The provinces are subdivided into 58 divisions (départements in French). These are headed by presidentially appointed divisional officers (prefets), who perform the governors' duties on a smaller scale. The divisions are further sub-divided into subdivisions (arrondissements), headed by assistant divisional officers (sous-prefets).[33] The districts, administered by district heads (chefs de district), are the smallest administrative units. These are found in large sub-divisions or in regions that are isolated or difficult to reach.[34]

The three northernmost provinces are the Far North (Extême Nord), North (Nord), and Adamawa (Adamaoua). Directly south of them are the Centre and East (Est). The South Province (Sud) borders the Gulf and Guinea and lies on the southern border. Cameroon's western region is split into four smaller provinces: The Littoral and Southwest provinces (Sud-Ouest) are on the coast, and the Northwest (Nord-Ouest) and West provinces (Ouest) are in the Cameroon grassfields. The Northwest and South were once part of British Cameroons; the other provinces were in French Cameroun.[35]



Volcanic plug near Rhumsiki, Far North Province
Volcanic plug near Rhumsiki, Far North Province

At 475,442 km² (183,568 mi²), Cameroon is the world's 53rd-largest country.[36] It is comparable in size to Papua New Guinea and somewhat larger than the U.S. state of California.[37][38] Cameroon's landmass is 469,440 km² (181,252 mi²), which includes 6,000 km² (2,317 mi²) of water.[25] The country is located in Central and West Africa on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Touristic literature describes Cameroon as "Africa in miniature" because it exhibits all major climates and vegetation of the continent: coast, desert, mountains, rainforest, and savanna.[39] The country neighbours Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south.

Cameroon is divided into five major geographic zones distinguished by dominant physical, climatic, and vegetative features. The coastal plain extends 15–150 km (10–90 mi) inland from the Gulf of Guinea[40] and has an average elevation of 90 m (295 ft).[41] Exceedingly hot and humid, this belt is densely forested and includes some of the wettest places on earth.[42] The South Cameroon Plateau rises from the coastal plain to an average elevation of 650 m (2,130 ft).[43] Tropical rainforest dominates this region, although it is less humid than the coast.[44]

An irregular chain of mountains, hills, and plateaus known as the Cameroon range extends from Mount Cameroon on the coast—Cameroon's highest point at 4,095 m (13,435 ft)[45]—almost to Lake Chad at Cameroon's northern tip.[46] This region enjoys a pleasant climate, particularly in the Western grassfields.[47] Its soils are among Cameroon's most fertile, especially around volcanic Mount Cameroon.[48] The southern plateau rises northward to the grassy, rugged Adamawa Plateau. This feature stretches from the western mountain area and forms a barrier between the country's north and south. Its average elevation is 1,100 m (3,600 ft),[43] and its climate is reasonably pleasant.[47] The northern lowland region extends from the edge of the Adamaoua to Lake Chad with an average elevation of 300–350 m (980–1,150 ft).[48] Its characteristic vegetation is savanna scrub and grass. This is a region of sparse rainfall and high median temperatures.[47]

Cameroon has four patterns of drainage. In the south, the principal rivers are the Ntem, Nyong, Sanaga, and Wouri. These flow southwestward or westward directly into the Gulf of Guinea. The Dja and Kadéï drain southeastward into the Congo River. In northern Cameroon, the Benue River runs north and west and empties into the Niger. The Logone flows northward into Lake Chad, which Cameroon shares with three neighbouring countries.[49]



Cameroon's per-capita GDP was estimated as US$2,421 in 2005,[50] high for an African country.[51] Major export markets include France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and the United States.[25] Cameroon is part of the Banque des Etats de l'Afrique Centrale and the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC).[52] Its currency is the CFA franc.

Red tape, high taxes, and endemic corruption have kept the private sector underdeveloped.[53] Unemployment was estimated at 30% in 2001, and about 48% of the population was living below the poverty threshold in 2000.[25] The minimum age of employment is 14 years, although children often help with farming or work as domestics and street vendors before that age. The minimum wage is 23,514 francs CFA per month, and the official work week is 54 hours long. Involuntary labour is illegal, although prisoners may be forced to work for private individuals or the government.[54] Since 1997, Cameroon has been following programmes advocated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce poverty, privatise industries, and increase economic growth.[55] Tourism is a growing sector, particularly in the coastal area, around Mount Cameroon, and in the north.[56]


Non-industrial production

Tea, such as this bag produced by the Cameroon Development Corporation, is one of Cameroon's major cash crops.
Tea, such as this bag produced by the Cameroon Development Corporation, is one of Cameroon's major cash crops.

Cameroon's natural resources are better suited to agriculture and forestry than to industry. An estimated 70% of the population farms, and agriculture comprised an estimated 44.8% of GDP in 2005.[25] Most agriculture is done at the subsistence scale by local farmers using simple tools. Farmers sell surplus and may maintain separate fields for commercial exploitation.[57] Urban centres are particularly reliant on peasant agriculture for their foodstuffs.[58] Soils and climate on the coast encourage extensive commercial cultivation of bananas, cocoa, oil palms, rubber, and tea. Inland on the South Cameroon Plateau, cash crops include coffee, sugar, and tobacco. Coffee is a major cash crop in the western highlands, and in the north, natural conditions favour crops such as cotton, groundnuts, and rice.[59] Over-reliance on agricultural exports makes Cameroon vulnerable to shifts in their prices.[25]

Livestock are raised throughout the country, and cattle herding is a way of life for Fulani herders.[60] Fishing employs some 5,000 people and provides 20,000 tons of seafood each year.[61] Bushmeat, long a staple food for rural Cameroonians, is today a delicacy in the urban centres. Hunters can earn more than 550,000 francs CFA per year in meat sales, and unlike the price of cocoa and coffee, the price of bushmeat remains stable. The commercial bushmeat trade has now surpassed deforestation as the main threat to species of wildlife in Cameroon.[62]

The southern rainforest has vast timber reserves, estimated to cover 37% of Cameroon's total land area.[63] However, large areas of the forest are difficult to reach. Logging is largely handled by foreign-owned firms. Logging provides the government US$60 million a year, and laws mandate sustainable and safe exploitation of timber. Nevertheless, in practice, the industry is one of the least regulated in Cameroon.[64][65]


Industry and infrastructure

In contrast, factory-based industry accounted for only an estimated 17% of GDP in 2005.[25] More than 75% of Cameroon's industrial strength is located in Douala and Bonabéri.[66] Cameroon possesses substantial mineral resources, but these are not extensively exploited aside from some American firms that mine for cobalt and nickel.[67] Foreign companies have drilled for crude oil off the coast since 1978. Production has fallen since 1985, but this is still a big enough sector of the economy that dips in prices have a strong effect on Cameroon's economy.[68][25] The southern rivers are obstructed by rapids and waterfalls, but these sites offer opportunities for hydroelectric development and supply most of Cameroon's energy.[51] The Sanaga River powers the largest hydroelectric station, located at Edéa.[69] The rest of Cameroon's energy comes from oil-powered thermal engines. Much of the country remains without reliable power supplies.[70]

Transport in Cameroon is often difficult. Roads are poorly maintained[71] and subject to inclement weather, since fewer than 7% of the roadways are tarred.[25] Rail service runs from Kumba in the west to Bélabo in the east and north to Ngaoundéré. International airports are located in Douala and Garoua with a smaller facility at Yaoundé.[72] The Wouri River estuary provides a harbour for Douala, the country's principal seaport. In the north, the Benoué River is seasonally navigable from Garoua into Nigeria.[73] The major radio and television stations are owned and run by the government.[74]



Tikar family in the Northwest Province
Tikar family in the Northwest Province

2005 estimates place Cameroon's population at 16,322,000,[75] substantial growth since the first national census in 1976 found 7,663,246 inhabitants.[76] This population is young: an estimated 41.2% are under 15, and 96.7% are under 65. The birth rate is estimated at 33.89 births per 1,000 people, the death rate at 13.47.[25] The 1976 census found that deaths were more than twice as common in the north and nearly that much higher in rural areas.[77] The life expectancy is 51.16 years (50.98 years for males and 51.34 years for females).[25]

Cameroon's population is almost evenly divided between urban and rural dwellers.[78] Population density is highest in the large urban centers, the western highlands, and the northeastern plain.[79] Douala, Yaoundé, and Garoua are the largest cities.[80] In contrast, the Adamawa Pleateau, southeastern Benue depression, and most of the South Cameroon Plateau are sparsely populated.[81] People from the overpopulated western highlands and the underdeveloped north are moving to the coastal plantation zone and urban centres for employment.[82] Smaller movements are occurring as workers seek employment in lumber mills and plantations in the south and east.[83] Although the sex ratio is relatively even, these out-migrants are primarily males, which leads to unbalanced ratios in many regions.[84] 55.8% of men and 66.8% of women were married in 1976, 76.4% in monogamous marriages and 23.6% in polygamous ones.[85]

The homes of the Musgum, in the Far North Province, are made of earth and grass.
The homes of the Musgum, in the Far North Province, are made of earth and grass.

Estimates identify anywhere from 230 to 282 different ethnic and linguistic groups in Cameroon.[86][87] The Adamawa Plateau broadly bisects these into northern and southern divisions.[88] The northern peoples are the Sudanese ethnic groups, who live in the central highlands and the northern lowlands, and the Fulani, who are spread throughout northern Cameroon. These peoples are predominantly Muslim, although ethnic groups such as the Kapsiki and Tupuri retain their native animist beliefs and are called Kirdi (pagan) by the Fulani.[89] A small number of Shuwa Arabs live near Lake Chad.[90]

Southern Cameroon is inhabited by the predominantly Christian and animist speakers of Bantu and Semi-Bantu languages. Speakers of Semi-Bantu languages, such as the Bamileke, Bamum, and Tikar, live in the Western grassfields.[91] Coastal Bantu-speaking groups include the Bakweri, Bassa, and Duala. The equatorial area is inhabited by Bantu-speakers such as the Beti-Pahuin and the Maka.[92] Some 5,000 Pygmies roam the southeastern and coastal rainforests or live in small, roadside settlements.[93] Nigerians, especially Igbo, make up the largest group of foreign nationals.[94] The European languages introduced during colonialism have created a linguistic divide between the English-speaking fifth of the population who live in the Northwest and Southwest provinces and the French-speaking remainder of the country.[95] Both English and French are official languages. Cameroonian Pidgin English is the most common lingua franca, especially in the formerly British-administered territories.[96]



Baka dancers in the East Province
Baka dancers in the East Province
Date English Name
1 January New Year's Day
11 February National Youth Day
1 May Labour Day
20 May National Day
15 August Assumption
25 December Christmas[97]

Each of Cameroon's ethnic groups has its own unique cultural forms. Typical celebrations include births, deaths, planting, harvesting, and religious events. Larger festivals include the Ngondo of the coastal Sawa peoples, the Ngouon of the Bamum, and the Nyem-Nyem in Ngaoundéré.[98] Cameroon is home to over 200 styles of dance, usually performed as part of a ceremony or to accompany a traditional storyteller. For example, the Bamileke perform war dances, and the Tupuri perform the gourna, which involves dancing in a circle with long sticks.[99] Several national holidays are observed throughout the year, and movable holidays include the Christian holy days of Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday, and the Muslim holidays of 'Id al-Fitr and 'Id al-Adha.[100]

Native styles of music vary from Baka polyphony accompanied by drums and rattles to the drum- and xylophone-based styles of the Bakweri, Bamileke, Bamum, and Beti-Pahuin.[101] Popular music styles include tsamassi of the Bamileke, mangambou of the Bangangte, assiko of the Bassa, and ambas-i-bay of the coast.[102] However, the two most popular styles are makossa and bikutsi.[103] Makossa developed in Douala and mixes folk music, highlife, soul, and Congo music. Manu Dibango, Francis Bebey, Moni Bilé, and Petit-Pays popularised the style worldwide in the 1970s and 1980s. Sam Fan Thomas developed a softer form of makossa called makassi in the mid-1980s. Bikutsi originated as war music among the Ewondo. It was developed into a popular dance music during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s and popularised by bands such as Les Têtes Brulées.[104]

Cuisine varies by region, but a large, one-course, evening meal is common across the country. A typical dish is based on cocoyams, maize, manioc, millet, plantains, potatoes, rice, or yams, often pounded into dough-like fufu (cous-cous). This is served with a sauce, soup, or stew made from greens, groundnuts, palm oil, or other ingredients.[105] Meat and fish are popular but expensive additions.[106] Dishes are often quite hot, spiced with salt, red pepper, and Maggi.[107] Water, palm wine, or millet beer are the traditional mealtime drinks, although beer, soda, and wine have gained popularity in modern times.[108] Silverware is common, but food is traditionally manipulated with the right hand. Breakfast consists of leftovers or bread and fruit with coffee or tea. Snacks are popular, especially in larger towns where they may be bought from street vendors.[106]

Traditional arts and crafts are practices throughout the country for commercial, decorative, and religious purposes.[109] Woodcarvings and sculptures are especially common, and the Bamileke, Bamum, and Tikar are renowned for such pieces.[98] The western highlands' have high-quality clay suitable for pottery and ceramics,[110] and the Bamum are known for their beadworking.[99] Other crafts include basket weaving, brass and bronze working, calabash carving and painting, embroidery, and leather working.[111]

Cameroonian literature and film have concentrated on both European and African themes.[112] Early writers such as Joseph Ekolo and Louis Pouka Mbague described Europe as seen from an African perspective.[113] In the late colonial period, writers Mongo Beti, Ferdinand Oyono, and others analysed and criticised colonialism,[114] and shortly after independence, filmmakers such as Jean-Paul Ngassa and Therèse Sita-Bella explored similar themes.[115] In the 1960s, Mongo Beti and others explored post-colonialism and problems of African development. Meanwhile, in the mid-1970s, filmmakers such as Dikonge Pipa and Daniel Kamwa dealt with the conflicts between traditional and post-colonial society. Literature and films during the next two decades concentrated more on wholly Cameroonian themes. For example, Jean Marie Teno's film Afrique, je te plumerai (1991) depicts the country's struggles with democratic development.[116]

National policy strongly advocates sport in all forms. Traditional sports include canoe racing and wrestling,[117] and nearly 400 runners each year participate in the 40 km Mount Cameroon Race of Hope.[118] Cameroon is also one of the few tropical countries to have competed in the Winter Olympics. However, sport in Cameroon is dominated by football (soccer). Amateur football clubs abound, organised along ethnic lines or under corporate sponsors.[119] The Cameroon national football team has been one of the most successful in the world since its strong showing in the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Cameroon has won four African Cup of Nations titles. Team forward Roger Milla gained worldwide fame for his skill and personality, and the death of midfielder Marc-Vivien Foé in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup made world news.[120]


Miscellaneous topics



  1. These are the titles as given in the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, Article X. The French version of the song is sometimes called "Chant de Ralliement", as in National Anthems of the World, and the English version "O Cameroon, Cradle of Our Forefathers", as in DeLancey and DeLancey X.
  2. DeLancey and DeLancey 2.
  3. DeLancey and DeLancey 3.
  4. Fanso 90.
  5. DeLancey and DeLancey 13.
  6. Fanso 84.
  7. DeLancey and DeLancey 3–4.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 DeLancey and DeLancey 4.
  9. 9.0 9.1 DeLancey and DeLancey 125.
  10. DeLancey and DeLancey 200.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 DeLancey and DeLancey 5.
  12. DeLancey and DeLancey 5–6.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 DeLancey and DeLancey 6.
  14. DeLancey and DeLancey 19.
  15. DeLancey and DeLancey 7.
  16. DeLancey and DeLancey 8.
  17. DeLancey and DeLancey 161 report 1,700 killed; Hudgens and Trillo 1054 say "at least 2,000"; West 10 says "more than 2,000".
  18. DeLancey and DeLancey 9–10.
  19. 19.0 19.1 DeLancey and DeLancey 9.
  20. "Background Notes: Cameroon; Neba 250.
  21. Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, Article 10.
  22. Neba 250.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Neba 252.
  24. Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, Article 6.
  25. 25.00 25.01 25.02 25.03 25.04 25.05 25.06 25.07 25.08 25.09 25.10 25.11 25.12 25.13 "Cameroon", The World Factbook.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 "Background Note: Cameroon".
  27. Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, Article 37.
  28. Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, Articles 15 and 16
  29. "Background Note: Cameroon"; Neba 252.
  30. 30.0 30.1 West 11.
  31. DeLancey and DeLancey 126; Ngoh 328.
  32. DeLancey and DeLancey 228–9.
  33. Neba 250.
  34. Gwanfogbe et al 46.
  35. West 4.
  36. Demographic Yearbook 1.
  37. "Rank Order - Area".
  38. "Cameroon", The World Factbook.
  39. DeLancey and DeLancey 16.
  40. Fomesky et al 6.
  41. Neba 14.
  42. "Highest Average Annual Precipitation Extremes".
  43. 43.0 43.1 Neba 16.
  44. Neba 31.
  45. Neba 17.
  46. Gwanfogbe et al 7.
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Neba 29.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Neba 17.
  49. Neba 40–3.
  50. "World Economic and Financial Surveys".
  51. 51.0 51.1 West 12.
  52. Neba 211–2.
  53. Neba 132.
  54. West 13.
  55. 'Background Notes: Cameroon"
  56. Neba 173–6.
  57. Neba 133, 135.
  58. Neba 208.
  59. Neba 147-8.
  60. Neba 154.
  61. Neba 185.
  62. West 24.
  63. Neba 189.
  64. Neba 195.
  65. West 23.
  66. Neba 170.
  67. "Background Notes: Cameroon".
  68. Neba 158.
  69. Neba 160.
  70. Neba 161.
  71. Neba 199.
  72. Neba 203.
  73. Neba 204–5.
  74. Neba 207.
  75. World Population Prospects.
  76. Neba 100, 108.
  77. Neba 101.
  78. West 3.
  79. Neba 109–11.
  80. West 3.
  81. Neba 111.
  82. Neba 105–6.
  83. Neba 106.
  84. Neba 103–4.
  85. Neba 104–5.
  86. Neba 65, 67.
  87. West 13.
  88. Neba 48.
  89. Neba 60–61.
  90. Neba 64.
  91. Neba 55.
  92. Neba 49.
  93. Neba 48.
  94. Neba 108.
  95. DeLancey and DeLancey 28.
  96. Neba 94.
  97. West 86.
  98. 98.0 98.1 West 17.
  99. 99.0 99.1 West 18.
  100. West 87.
  101. West 18–9.
  102. DeLancey and DeLancey 184.
  103. Hudgens and Trillo 1049.
  104. DeLancey and DeLancey 51.
  105. West 84–5.
  106. 106.0 106.1 Mbaku 121–2.
  107. Hudgens and Trillo 1047; Mbaku 122; West 84.
  108. Mbaku 121; Hudgens and Trillo 1048.
  109. DeLancey and DeLancey 31.
  110. Fitzpatrick 221; West 18.
  111. West 17–8.
  112. DeLancey and DeLancey 119; Volet.
  113. Volet.
  114. Fitzpatrick 38; Volet.
  115. DeLancey and DeLancey 119–20; West 20.
  116. DeLancey and DeLancey 120.
  117. DeLancey and DeLancey 250.
  118. West 127.
  119. DeLancey and DeLancey 251.
  120. West 92–3, 127.



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