February 5, 2013

"The territory of modern Central African Republic is known to have been settled from at least the 7th century on by overlapping empires..."

"... including the Kanem-Bornu, Ouaddai, Baguirmi, and Dafour groups based on the Lake Chad region and along the Upper Nile. Later, various sultanates claimed present-day CAR, using the entire Oubangui region as a source of slave, from which slaves were traded north across the Sahara Desert."

Today's "History of" country is the Central African Republic.

17 comments:

gutless said...

A wretched country with a wretched history. Poor people.

gutless said...

A wretched country with a wretched history. Poor people.

chickelit said...

A wretched country with a wretched history. Poor people.

It's hanging on by a Chad.

edutcher said...

French Equatorial Africa, now I know where it is - at least in terms of the globe I got for Christmas when I was 8.

You'd think they could have come up with a name with a little more zip.

Or is the country so poor they couldn't afford a cool name?

Chip S. said...

But it did so well under Babar.

Kyle Holmes said...

That's racist.

Chip S. said...

Don't be silly.

Babar's mother was killed by a white man.

virgil xenophon said...

FYI One of my Father's vagabond ex-tennis players at Eastern Illinois fineagled his way into Bokassas' favor while teaching tennis as a USAID-sponsored "advisor" and eventually became the Emperor's "Minister of Sport" for several years! LOL! (true story) He managed to escape with his life by having the good sense to smell the coup coming and left the CAR to return to the US whereupon he left for Fiji to continue his travels, lol.

ironrailsironweights said...

Needless to say, there's never been any snow.

Peter

F said...

You've all missed the low point in CAR's history: a french non-com by the name of Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who had taken over the presidency in a little-remarked coup d'etat in 1966, declared himself Emperor Bokassa I in 1976. The coronation ceremony consumed nearly an entire year's annual budget and his reign was ended only 3 years later (with the help of French paras), after which he was allowed to self-exile to France. He returned in 1986, while I was there, but the popular reception he expected did not happen and he was taken into custody by Presidential Security Chief (Col Mantion) and re-tried (he had been tried in absentia during his exile) for treason, murder and cannibalism. Found guilty and sentenced to death, he later had that sentence commuted and reduced to life in prison.

My favorite story of the era was his comment upon seeing that Col Mantion was going to take him from the airport to prison in a Land Rover: "hiens, pas de Mercedes pour l'empereur?" That story was recounted to me by the IMF Resident Representative, who was in the airport VIP lounge when Bokassa arrived.

Balfegor said...

Or is the country so poor they couldn't afford a cool name?

They had one under the French, actually -- the bit that became the CAR was Oubangi-Shari. Wikipedia tells me French Equatorial Africa was a kind of supercolony including Chad, French Cameroon, and French Congo.

traditionalguy said...

This was darkest Africa to the European explorers. I believe it was called French Equatorial Africa. It was where Dr Livingston got lost until Stanley found him.

Illuninati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Illuninati said...

Traditionalguy said:

"I believe it was called French Equatorial Africa. It was where Dr Livingston got lost until Stanley found him."

Interesting comment. Livingston knew exactly where he was, but the European press had lost track of him.

I'm surprised no one commented on the slavery issue. The Muslim slave trade in Africa was huge, and brutal. It began long before the European slave trade and lasted long after the Europeans stopped buying slaves. Livingston was there to try to stop the Muslims from capturing Africans for slavery. He urged Britain to take colonies in central Africa because he thought that was the only way to stop the Muslim slavers.

Mitch H. said...

Livingston knew exactly where he was, but the European press had lost track of him.

Was Livingston that far north? For some reason I thought Stanley was "searching" somewhere in the Lakes region. And my understanding is that the search was effectively a rather violent military expedition with a massive body count. (Wiki tells me I'm conflating Stanley's various rampages together in my memory, but that he indeed found Livingstone near Lake Tanganyika, which is what, about 600 miles from the CAR? Essentially, the Livingstone-Stanley drama was mostly about the territories east of the Congo River, and the CAR is northwest. But Christ! The details:

James Jameson, heir to an Irish whiskey manufacturer, bought an 11-year-old girl and offered her to cannibals to document and sketch how she was cooked and eaten.[26] Stanley only found out when Jameson had died of fever.

Anyways, that later expedition still wasn't through the CAR, I don't think.

Pretty much everything I've seen about the "country" has been wars and rumors of wars, and the fantastic tales of Bokassa's alleged cannibalism. The territory of the CAR has always been a back-country side-note to the stories of neighboring protagonist-states. The Arabs of the Zanzibar coast collecting the occasional slave from the extreme interior; tribute to the princes of the Upper Nile, one extremely minor province of the French equitorial imperium north of the Congo and the British colonies of the coast, etc.

Peter said...

'eductcher' said, "French Equatorial Africa, now I know where it is"

French Equitorial Africa lasted what, about sixty years? Some Empire. Some Imperialists. And now the former colonialists are themselves colonized (look forward to France- since 1789 that most secular of countries- to become an Islamic Republic. By 2050 or so).

As for the Central African Republic, shouldn't its motto be, "Unite, Dignite, Famine"?

From "la Mission civilisatrice" to "la famine universalle"- Avant!

Balfegor said...

Re: Peter:

French Equitorial Africa lasted what, about sixty years? Some Empire. Some Imperialists.

Well, that's only if you view France's former colonies as former colonies. And they were only kind-of independent for decades after formal independence. French policy vis-a-vis the ex-colonies was run out of the Presidents office rather than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (I think it still is, more or less). The French repeatedly engaged in military interventions in their former colonies, allegedly pursuant to "secret clauses" contained in the defense agreements signed at formal independence. Even the currency used in many of the African colonies (the CFA franc) is still backed by the French government. I don't think there is another Western power today half as active in staging military operations and deposing heads of state and interfering in ways big and small in her former colonies.

Intervention in Mali and Libya is old hat for the French -- they do this kind of thing all the time.