Cameroon, formally the Republic of Cameroon (French: République du Cameroun), is a nation in West Africa. It is bounded to the west by Nigeria, to the northeast by Chad, to the east by the Central African Republic, and to the south by Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo. Cameroon’s coastline is located on the Bight of Bonny, which is part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Cameroon is home to around 1738 distinct language groups. The official languages are French and English. Because of its geological and cultural variety, the nation is frequently described to as “Africa in miniature.” Beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas are among the natural characteristics. Mount Cameroon in the country’s southwest region has the highest peak at about 4,100 metres (13,500 ft), and the major cities in terms of population are Douala on the Wouri river, its commercial hub and primary seaport, Yaoundé, its political capital, and Garoua.
The newly unified nation joined the Commonwealth of Nations following independence, despite the fact that the great majority of its territory had previously been a German colony and, after World War I, a French mandate. The country is well-known for its indigenous musical genres, notably makossa and bikutsi, as well as its renowned national football team.
The Sao civilization near Lake Chad and the Baka hunter-gatherers in the southeastern jungle were early residents of the region. In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers reached the shore and called the place Rio dos Camares (Shrimp River), which became Cameroon in English. In the nineteenth century, Fulani troops created the Adamawa Emirate in the north, and different ethnic groups in the west and northwest built powerful chiefdoms and fondoms. In 1884, Cameroon became a German colony known as Kamerun.
Following World War I, the region was partitioned between League of Nations mandates for France and the United Kingdom. The political group Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) supported independence but was proscribed by France in the 1950s. It fought against French and UPC militants until 1971. The French-administered section of Cameroon gained independence in 1960 as the Republic of Cameroon, led by President Ahmadou Ahidjo. In 1961, it joined with the southern portion of British Cameroons to establish the Federal Republic of Cameroon. In 1972, the country was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon, and in 1984, it was renamed the Republic of Cameroon.
Cameroon has a relatively high level of political and social stability. Agriculture, roads, trains, and big petroleum and wood businesses have all benefited from this. Nonetheless, many Cameroonians live in poverty as subsistence farmers. Paul Biya, Cameroon’s authoritarian ruler since 1982, and his Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement party wield absolute power. Cameroon’s English-speaking territories have become more estranged from the government, and leaders from those areas have campaigned for further decentralization and even independence (for example, the Southern Cameroons National Council) of the former British-governed territory.