History of Cameroon

The first inhabitants of Cameroon were probably the Baka, also called Pygmies. They still inhabit the forests of the southern and eastern provinces.
* 1st millennium BC. AD: the area covering southwestern present-day Cameroon and southeastern Nigeria is believed to have been the cradle of the Bantu-speaking peoples.
The first historical allusion to the Cameroonian coasts is to be found in the account known as Hannon’s journey, according to a very controversial Greek text. In the 5th century BC. AD, this Carthaginian would have reached Mount Cameroon which he baptized the “Chariot of the Gods”. In fact, according to archaeological evidence, the Carthaginians do not seem to have gone south of Essaouira.

Portuguese settlers

In 1472, the sailors of the Portuguese Fernando Pó entered the Wouri estuary, ecstatic over the abundance of shrimp in the river which they immediately called Río dos Camarões. English sailors adopted this name by anglicizing it, hence the current name of Cameroon.

The other settlers

In 1472, the sailors of the Portuguese Fernando Pó entered the Wouri estuary, ecstatic over the abundance of shrimp in the river which they immediately called Río dos Camarões. English sailors adopted this name by anglicizing it, hence the current name of Cameroon.
After the Portuguese come the Dutch then the Germans. After the contacts with the Europeans trade began, including the slave trade with very often the complicity of the tribal leaders of the coast, the introduction of Christianity and the progressive dismantling of the existing political organization (like the Bamoun Kingdom).
Under the pretext of protecting their commercial interests, the Germans established in 1884 their protectorate. In order to ensure the economic development of the protectorate, the Germans embarked on important works: construction of roads and the first railway line, start of work on the port of Douala, construction of schools and hospitals and creation of large plantations (cocoa, banana, coffee, rubber, oil palm, etc.). The price to be paid, however, is high for the natives, who are subjected to forced labor and corporal punishment. The Germans lose their colony due to their defeat during the Great War in 1918: the League of Nations entrusts the eastern part (the largest) to France, and the western zone (two pockets bordering Nigeria) to the United Kingdom. United. Each of these two countries will imprint its mark on “its” Cameroon, France adopting the policy of assimilation and the United Kingdom that of the indirect rule.

After the Second World War

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the movement of the UPC (Union of the populations of Cameroon), led by Ruben Um Nyobe, claimed independence and reunification before being banned and then heavily repressed by the French colonial power in the country Bassas and in Bamileke country. The independence of the French zone was proclaimed on January 1, 1960, and reunification took place the following year with the southern part of the British zone, the northern part having opted for union with Nigeria. It follows a period of violent repression against the movement of the UPC, and the ALNK, its “Army of national liberation Kamerounaise”, by the new government with the assistance of France, which will last until the end from the 1960s [4]. On May 20, 1972, a referendum led to a unitary state and put an end to federalism.

The march towards independence

October 21, 1946: The African Democratic Rally (RDA), movement for the independence of the Black Continent was born; the UPC becomes the Cameroonian section of this pan-African organization which brings together almost all of the founding fathers of African independence.

April 10, 1948: Birth of the Union of Cameroonian Populations (UPC) in Douala with SG Ruben Um Nyobè; first political party created in Douala which clearly formulates the question of the country’s independence and reunification. His most prestigious fellow fighters, including Félix Roland Moumié, President, Ernest Ouandié and Abel Kingué (both Vice Presidents), Ossendé Afana and many others.

December 12, 1952: First indictment of Um Nyobè at the United Nations entitled “What Cameroon wants” to denounce the slowness of France in the implementation of reforms in Cameroon then ward of the United Nations. After a new tribune at the UN in December 1953, he asked France to organize a referendum on independence and reunification in January 1954.

May 25, 1955: First great popular uprising suppressed by the colonial force. Um Nyobè is under close surveillance, the party is dissolved and the main leaders take the path of the maquis.

July 13, 1955: Dissolution of the UPC by the French administration.

June 23, 1956: Gaston Deferre Minister of Overseas by the framework law commonly called Deferre, gives semi autonomy to indigenous peoples.

May 13, 1957: André Marie Mbida leader of the Cameroon Democratic Block (BDC) is appointed Prime Minister. Deemed rather brutal and almost uncontrollable by the French colonist, he was replaced a few months later.

February 11, 1958: Prime Minister André Marie Mbida loses his functions.

February 18, 1958: Ahmadou Ahidjo was appointed Prime Minister.

September 13, 1958: Um Nyobè fell under the bullets of the French colonial army.

January 1, 1960: France proclaims the independence of Eastern Cameroon.

Independence & Reunification

January 1, 1960: Eastern Cameroon is declared sovereign and independent.

As of New Years Day 1960, Cameroon is the first country to open the long parade of African independence. Cameroon is then a country apart from all points of view. German Protectorate (July 1884);
then, mandate of the League of Nations (in July 1919) to France and England to administer Cameroon in
two separate territories, and finally a country under the supervision of the United Nations (June 26, 1945). Cameroon has never been a “colony”. It was also on its soil that the first war of liberation of French Black Africa took place under the impulse of the UPC, the Union of the Cameroon populations, of Ruben Um Nyobe.

February 21, 1960: Constitutional referendum.

May 5, 1960: Ahmadou Ahidjo is elected President of the Republic and has for Prime Minister Charles Assalè.

November 3, 1960: Death by poisoning in Geneva of Félix Roland Moumié, President of the UPC.

February 11, 1961: At the instigation of Great Britain, British Cameroon had to choose its territory. Great Britain imposes the choice on the latter, during a plebiscite, between independence within the framework of the Nigerian federation or independence within the framework of a union with the independent Republic of Cameroon. The results of the plebiscite split the pear in two, the northern part of British Cameroon is linked to Nigeria while the southern part joins French Cameroon which has become independent.

After this plebiscite, negotiations to find the appropriate constitution for the two Cameroon are started by Cameroonian politicians from both banks of the Moungo.

February 12, 1961: The northern part of British Cameroon is linked to Nigeria.

July 16 to 21, 1961: The Foumban Conference: the protagonists opt for the federation. The choice of this option was based on a misunderstanding, however, because the leaders of the two delegations, Ahmadou Ahidjo and John Ngu Foncha, did not have the same vision of the federation. Foncha accepted the federation while thinking of the confederation where Buéa would truly play the role of capital of a sufficiently autonomous western Cameroon.

Ahmadou Ahidjo, meanwhile, accepted the federation while considering that it was only a step towards a unitary state where Yaoundé would become the only and true capital of Cameroon.

August 14, 1961: The Federal Constitution is adopted: Ahmadou Ahidjo becomes
President of the Republic and John Nguh Foncha, Vice President.

October 1, 1961 The southern part of British Cameroon in turn achieved independence, officially joining the Republic of Cameroon; Thus was born the Federal Republic of Cameroon. However, the misunderstanding mentioned above was not resolved. On the contrary, Ahmadou Ahidjo, who became President of the Federal Republic, adopted a strategy aimed at bringing the political leaders of western Cameroon to enter into his views.

1962: The CFA franc becomes the official currency of Cameroon.

March 15, 1966: OSSENDE Afana, the first economist in black Africa and leader of the UPC, is killed in the bush in eastern Cameroon.

September 1, 1966: Birth of the Cameroon National Union (UNC). Ahmadou AHIDJO obtains his first victory: all the political parties in western Cameroon and some in eastern Cameroon agree to scuttle themselves in order to form, with the Cameroonian Union, the UC, a unified party. It was within the framework of the latter, the Cameroon National Union, the UNC, that all the reflections and steps were taken which, on May 20, 1972, led to the creation of the unitary state.

Beyond this evolution towards the unitary state, the federal state was confronted with the challenge of the legitimacy of the power which Ahidjo held since January 1, 1960. Indeed, a fringe of the Cameroonian population under Union obedience of the Populations of Cameroon, the UPC believed that the independence granted by the French was only a sham and that Ahidjo was only a valet of the colonization that had to be fought.

The leaders of the UPC in exile thus triggered an armed insurrection from the proclamation of independence, an insurrection which was, however, to experience spillovers by some of the leading cadres of the nationalist movement, sometimes turning into acts of robbery, banditry and regulations. account. Ahidjo, helped in this by the French, was going to wage a merciless struggle against those whom he then considered rebels. The victory was on his side because not only did he gag the internal opposition through the ordinance of March 1962 but also, the leaders of the UPC in exile were killed one after the other. The last of them, who returned to Cameroon to organize the armed struggle from the inside, Ernest Ouandié was arrested, tried in a famous trial known as the Ouandié-Ndongmo trial, and sentenced to death.

March 28, 1970: Ahmadou Ahidjo renews his mandate to the supreme magistracy, with as Vice President, Salomon Tandeng Muna who combines this function with that of Prime Minister.

January 15, 1971: Shootout in the public square of Ernest OUANDIE, Vice President and last historical chief of the UPC.

May 20, 1972: Referendum on the reunification of eastern and western Cameroon.
Cameroon becomes United Republic of Cameroon.

May 20, 1972: Cameroon is declared a United Republic.

June 30, 1975: Paul BIYA is appointed Prime Minister of the United Republic of Cameroon.

November 4, 1982: Ahmadou Ahidjo resigns from his duties as Head of State of the United Republic of Cameroon against all odds and asks the Cameroonian people to accept his constitutional successor to the supreme magistracy, in the person of Mr. Paul BIYA, until there Prime Minister.

November 6, 1982: Paul BIYA sworn in and became President of the Republic with Prime Minister Bello Bouba Maigari.

The work-study program

The era is evolving in two phases. The first, from 1982 to 1990, is devoted to mastering and
the management of the transition and the second which begins in 1990 consecrates the renaissance of political freedoms in Cameroon.

The resignation of Ahmadou Ahidjo and the accession of Paul Biya seemed to indicate a harmonious tomorrow in Cameroon because, in his inauguration speech, Paul Biya spoke for continuity in loyalty to an institution and to a man, his illustrious predecessor . Very quickly, however, cracks appeared in this beautiful building because, while pronouncing for continuity, Paul Biya placed his regime under the banner of rigor and moralization, words still unknown in Cameroonian political language. Concerns arose here and there and, Ahmadou Ahidjo, who had not given up the leadership of the UNC party to his successor, thought it useful to go through this channel to take back with one hand what he had given from the other. He announced January 31
1983 that the UNC had pre-eminence over the state, and it endeavored to demonstrate it on the ground by protocol sprains.

The crack became more and more broken and Paul Biya sought to master and manage the power he held. He proceeded to cabinet reshuffles, preferably appointing men to him to the detriment of those chosen by his predecessor. Cameroon then entered into a sort of two-headedness which gave rise to conspiracies, attempted assassinations of trials and convictions. The deepest crisis in this battle for the effective mastery of power in Cameroon took place on April 6, 1984 when certain officers of the Cameroonian army recognized in their actions, as close to the former President of the Republic organized a coup to overthrow President Paul Biya. This coup attempt failed, thereby leading to trials.

The failure of this coup completely freed Paul Biya from the grip of his illustrious predecessor. To materialize this emancipation, President Paul Biya took a series of political options clearly marking the end of bi-cephalism and the mastery of a power of which he was now the sole and legitimate owner. Thus he decided, without transition, to move from the United Republic to the Republic of Cameroon, to organize the fourth congress of the UNC (in Bamenda, North West Province) during which the UNC founded by Ahmadou Ahidjo became the RDPC (Rassemblement Démocratique du Peuple Camerounais) with Paul Biya as its founder. He also called the voters for early presidential elections in order to gain popular legitimacy. By these acts, Paul Biya became the real president of the Republic and was then able to initiate the second phase of his political management of Cameroon, that which is devoted to the revival of political freedoms.

August 22, 1983: Attempted coup by relatives of ex-President Ahmadou Ahidjo.

August 27, 1983: Ahmadou Ahidjo resigns from his post as National President of the UNC.

September 14, 1983: Paul BIYA is elected President of the UNC.

January 14, 1984: Paul BIYA is elected President of the Republic of Cameroon.

January 21, 1984: Passage from the United Republic of Cameroon to the Republic of Cameroon.

April 6, 1984: Attempted coup by a minority of the Republican Guard.

March 24, 1985: The Cameroon National Union becomes the Cameroonian People’s Democratic Rally (CPDM) during an extraordinary Congress in Bamenda, in the North West province.

The democratic opening

December 5, 1990: Introduction of a multiparty system.

December 19, 1990: Promulgation of a series of laws on public liberties,
which open the way to the total liberation of socio-political, economic and cultural life in Cameroon:

April 1991: Creation of the post of Prime Minister, Head of Government by parliamentary majority, in accordance with the law on constitutional revision of April 23, 1991.

June 27, 1991: Elevation to the stage of national hero of the main actors in the struggle for the liberation of Cameroon.

March 1, 1992: First pluralist parliamentary elections.

October 11, 1992: Paul Biya was elected President of the Republic before Ni John Fru Ndi, following a pluralist presidential election.

1994: Growing tension between Cameroon and Nigeria over sovereignty over the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula.

January to May 1996: Clashes between Cameroon and Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula. The two countries end up accepting UN mediation.

January 21, 1996: First pluralist municipal elections.

January 18, 1996: Adoption of a new Constitution.

October 10, 2002: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague grants sovereignty to the Bakassi Peninsula in Cameroon. Nigeria denounces this judgment.

October 11, 2004: Re-election of President Paul BIYA to the Supreme Judiciary (1997/1992/1988).

August 14, 2008: The Cameroon Bakassi Peninsula retrocession agreement is signed in Calabar, capital of the Nigerian state of Cross River, on which Bakassi depended.

May 20, 2010: Commemoration of the independence and reunification of Cameroon begins.


From February 23 to March 5, 1972: Cameroon is organizing the first African Cup of Nations on its territory.

March 8, 1975: First celebration of International Women’s Day.

1982: First participation of the national football team the Indomitable Lions in a final phase of the World Cup in Spain.

1984: First victory of the Indomitable Lions in a final phase of the CAN in Côte d’Ivoire.

August 21, 1986: Eruption of toxic gases at Lake Nyos (1746 dead).

1988: 2nd victory of the Indomitable Lions in a final phase of the CAN in Morocco.

1990: Great first for an African team in the quarterfinals of the Football World Cup, with a breathtaking Roger Milla.

1993: Entry of Cameroon into the Francophonie

1995: Entry of Cameroon into the Commonwealth.

2002: First Olympic medals of the Indomitable lions in Sydney, Australia.