The Central African Republic can be found in the Western part of Africa. The country ruled under a French colony in the 19th century gained independence in 1960.
Boarded by Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Cameroon, the country, as of 2016, has an estimated population of 4.6 million.
The Central African Republic has gone through a number of autocratic leaders which has caused instability in that part of West Africa. Its first multi democratic elections in 1993 saw the introduction of Ange-Felix Patasse as president, however, he was removed later by General Francois Bozize in a 2003 coup. The bush war began in 2004 and despite every attempt by a peace treaty in 2007 and another in 2011, the civil war resumed in 2012.
Despite the fight for supremacy and power, the Central African Republic has a significant mineral deposit, including uranium reserves, crude oil, cobalt, lumber, hydro-power, and large arable land.
According to statistics, the Central African Republic has a dominant traditional beliefs system – Christianity and Islam follow closely. It is known to have the second-largest rainforest in the world which is located in the South-Western part of the country. With the Dzanga-Sangha National Park, renowned for its rainforests and multitude of species of animals and birds, the Central African Republic is definitely a place to be.
Below are some facts you probably didn’t know about the Central African Republic:
Home to the second-largest rainforest in the world
The Dzanga-Sangha National Park is the second-largest rainforest in the world. Located in the southwestern part of the Central African Republic, it has a wide range of mammals and birds of different species. It is particularly known for the Western lowland gorillas, forest buffaloes, and elephants.
Its most popular sport is football
Football is the most popular sport amongst the youth in the Central African Republic. Reports suggest that makeshift football fields are made in small villages for the sake of entertainment. Due to the popularity of football, schools and churches sponsor teams for either girls or boys. Other known sports disciplines are basketball, rugby, boxing, and athletics.
Home to some of the world’s valuable natural resources
The Central African Republic is home to some of the world’s most sought after natural resources. It has a large reserve of uranium, crude oil, cobalt, timber, diamonds and lumber. Despite all these resources, the Central African Republic (CAR) is among the poorest nations in the world.
It is four times bigger than Georgia
With a size of 622,984 sq km, the Central African Republic is slightly smaller than Texas and about four times the size of Georgia.
Home to endangered animal species
Its rich wildlife Manovo-Gouda St. Floris National Park is a world heritage site as declared by UNESCO. It is home to a variety of endangered animal species, including black rhinoceroses, elephants, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs, red-fronted gazelles and buffalo. The national park is situated around three rivers – Manovo, Koumbala and Gouda. Along with being a shelter to a wide variety of mammals, it also houses over 320 different bird species in its dense forests.
It is a French Colony
The Central African Republic is one of the few nations colonized by France. With the European invasion and the scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, France seized and colonized the Ubangi-Shari territory in 1894. Despite it ceding nearly 300, 000 km² portion of the Sangha and Lobaye basins to the German Empire, France annexed the territory again after the first World War.