According to Countryaah, the Central African Republic (CAR) is a state in the very center of the continent, without access to the sea. The country is located on a predominantly flat flat plateau, separate hills – rocky remnants (kagasy) are located in the northeast and southwest. Large rivers flow here, and their full flow, combined with the flatness of the territory, leads to frequent floods.
The climate of the country is dry and hot. An important role in its formation is played by the hot, dry and dusty harmattan wind – the West African trade wind blowing from the Sahara desert towards the Gulf of Guinea from late November to early March.
There is no exact data on the peoples of the CAR who lived here before European colonization. It is believed that the first inhabitants of these territories were pygmies, later other Negroid tribes settled here. The oldest archaeological finds in the Central African Republic are “tajunu”, or “standing stones”, 3 m high, dating back to the Neolithic era. In the XV century. feudal states appeared here: Kanem-Borno in the north, the kingdom of Kongo in the south, Gaoga – the state of runaway slaves. The main occupation of the local population was pasture cattle breeding, so wars for pastures in the territory of the future Central African Republic were not uncommon.
B XIX century. Arabs from Eastern Sudan repeatedly invaded the territory of modern CAR, turning local residents into slavery. Due to the penetration of a more developed culture, the system of the primitive communal system began to disintegrate, Muslim sultanates appeared in the region (Dar-Runga, Dar-el-Kuti).
Europeans – mostly French and Belgians – arrived here only in 1884-1885: earlier they did not see the point in developing places so far from the coast where epidemics of tropical diseases raged. But the rumors about the local wealth played a role, and the colonial division of Africa was nearing an end.
In 1889, a French detachment reached the rapids of the Ubangi River and founded Fort Bangui. A few years later, France concluded treaties with Germany and England on drawing boundaries between colonial possessions. At the same time, the modern borders of the Central African Republic appeared. Then it was a colony of France and under the name Ubangi-Shari was part of French Equatorial Africa. The population resisted the colonialists, the uprisings were drowned in blood.
In some areas of the future Central African Republic, the population decreased by 60-80%.
After World War II, the rise of the national liberation movement was noted in Ubangi-Shari, and the first political organizations began to appear here. The independence of the Central African Republic was proclaimed in 1960, and in 1966 a military coup took place and Colonel Jean-Bedel Bokassa (1921-1996) came to power. He dissolved parliament, abolished the constitution, and proclaimed himself emperor, in 1976 renaming the Central African Republic CAI, the Central African Empire.
The policy of Bokassa, whose reputation was ruined by rumors of cannibalism and the harsh suppression of opposition speeches, led to a sharp drop in living standards in the country. In September 1979, French special forces carried out Operation Barracuda and overthrew Bokassa. The republic was restored, but the situation in the country only worsened, and subsequently several more coups took place.
The current internal political situation in the Central African Republic is characterized by extreme instability, complicated by the fighting of armed groups in the north of the country.
The Central African Republic was named after the geographical position of the country, which is located almost in the center of the mainland. Most of the territory is occupied by the Azande plateau with domed mountains and flat swampy plains. The main rivers of the CAR are navigable in the lower reaches, but rapids prevent ships upstream.
The Central African Republic has the most valuable natural resources, but remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
The bowels of the Central African Republic are rich even by African standards: there are large deposits of diamonds, uranium, gold, oil, forests are full of valuable species of wood, and rivers are a potentially limitless source of hydroelectric power. Nevertheless, almost the entire population of the country lives in poverty. Rural settlements are located along the banks of rivers; adobe or frame huts, round or quadrangular in plan, with noticeably pointed roofs predominate in the villages.
The basis of the state economy is subsistence agriculture and forestry (together they provide more than half of the country’s GDP), as well as mining. The development of mineral resources is complicated by the fact that the Central African Republic has no access to the sea and a practically undeveloped transport network. So, there are no railways here. That is why – and also for security reasons – gold production is declining, and the uranium deposit near Bakuma is not being developed at all.
Rivers remain the main transport routes, mainly Ubangi, which has direct access to the Congo-Ocean Railway in Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo). The safer but less convenient route through Cameroon is often used.
The economic development of the state stalled due to the tense political situation: the authorities focused on fighting the opposition. The situation is aggravated by constant conflicts among the rural population over sources of drinking water and pastures along the border with South Sudan.
The country receives large subsidies from the former metropolis – France and international organizations, but the distribution of the funds received is unequal.
The problems of the Central African Republic are typical for African countries: an acute shortage of drinking water, massive deforestation for firewood and for sale, which causes progressive desertification. The real scourge of these places remains the tsetse fly.
International environmental organizations are making efforts to preserve the unique nature of the Central African Republic. The vegetation here is very rich, represented mainly by tall grass savannahs, deciduous and evergreen trees grow here: cheese tree, shea butter, tamarind, barass palm. There is a lot of food in the savannah, and therefore the elephant, buffalo, antelope, giraffe, white and black rhinoceros, ostrich, cheetah, civet and lion live here. Due to the abundance of water bodies, there are many birds here, including flamingos and herons, of large tetrapods – hippos and crocodiles.
Reserves and national parks have been established in the Central African Republic, occupying almost a third of the country’s territory. Large reserves (Bamingi-Bangoran, Andre-Felix) and the Manovo-Gounda-Saint-Floris National Park are located near the city of Birao in the northeast, in the north – the “hunting zone” of Ndele, in the southeast – Upper Mbomu. However, the presence of nature reserves does not reduce the level of poaching, which threatens the fauna of the CAR and seriously undermined the country’s reputation as one of the largest natural wildlife reserves.