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Central Africa is a
subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth an ...
of the
African African(s) may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent of Africa: ** People who are native to Africa, descendants of natives of Africa, or individuals who trace their ancestry to indigenous inhabitants of Africa *** Ethnic groups ...

African
continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

continent
comprising various countries according to different definitions.
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante "Angola Avante" (, ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often r ...

Angola
,
Burundi Burundi (, ), officially the Republic of Burundi ( rn, Repubulika y’u Burundi, ; Swahili: Jamuhuri ya Burundi; french: link=no, République du Burundi, or ), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is ...

Burundi
,
Cameroon Cameroon (, french: Cameroun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (french: République du Cameroun, links=no), is a country in west 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal direc ...

Cameroon
, the
Central African Republic The Central African Republic (CAR; sg, Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka; french: République centrafricaine, RCA; , or , ) is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...
,
Chad Chad (; ar, تشاد , ; french: Tchad, ), officially known as the Republic of Chad ( ar, جمهورية تْشَاد, link=no '; ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an oce ...

Chad
, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (, ), officially the Republic of Zaire (frenc ...

Democratic Republic of the Congo
, the
Republic of the Congo The Republic of the Congo ( french: République du Congo, mkw, Repubilika ya Kôngo), also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic or simply either Congo or the Congo, is a country located in the western coast of Central Africa ...
,
Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea ( es, Guinea Ecuatorial; french: Guinée équatoriale; pt, Guiné Equatorial), officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea ( es, link=no, República de Guinea Ecuatorial, french: link=no, République de Guinée équatoriale, ...

Equatorial Guinea
,
Gabon Gabon (; ), officially the Gabonese Republic (french: République gabonaise), is a country on the west coast of Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the Africa, African continent comprising various countries according to dif ...

Gabon
,
Rwanda Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's b ...

Rwanda
, and
São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe (; ; English: Saint Thomas and Prince), officially the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe ( pt, República Democrática de São Tomé e Príncipe), is an island country An island country or an island n ...

São Tomé and Príncipe
are members of the
Economic Community of Central African States The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS; french: Communauté Économique des États de l'Afrique Centrale, CEEAC; es, Comunidad Económica de los Estados de África Central, CEEAC; pt, Comunidade Económica dos Estados da Áfri ...
(ECCAS). Six of those states (Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon) are also members of the
Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS; french: Communauté Économique des États de l'Afrique Centrale, CEEAC; es, Comunidad Económica de los Estados de África Central, CEEAC; pt, Comunidade Económica dos Estados da Áfr ...
(CEMAC) and share a common currency, the
Central African CFA franc The Central African CFA franc ( French: ''franc CFA'' or simply ''franc'', ISO 4217 code: ''XAF'') is the currency of six independent states in Central Africa: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad Chad (; ar, تشاد , ; french: Tc ...
. The
African Development Bank The African Development Bank Group (AfDB or ADB) or (BAD) is a multilateral development finance institution. The AfDB was founded in 1964 and comprises three entities: The African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Tr ...
defines Central Africa as Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Middle Africa is an analogous term used by the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
in its
geoscheme for Africa
geoscheme for Africa
. It includes the same countries as the African Development Bank's definition, along with Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe.


List of Central African countries


Background

The
Central African Federation Central is an adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign languag ...
(1953–1963), also called the
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, also known as the Central African Federation or CAF, was a colonial federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity ...

Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
, was made up of what are now the nations of
Malawi Malawi (; or aláwi, officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of ...

Malawi
,
Zambia Zambia (), officially the Republic of Zambia ( Bemba:'' Icalo ca Zambia''; Tonga Tonga (, ), officially named the Kingdom of Tonga ( to, Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga), is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" ...

Zambia
, and
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individ ...

Zimbabwe
. Similarly, the Anglican
Church of the Province of Central Africa The Church of the Province of Central Africa is part of the Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Su ...
covers dioceses in
Botswana Botswana (, also ), officially the Republic of Botswana ( tn, Lefatshe la Botswana, label=Setswana; Kalanga language, Kalanga: ''Hango yeBotswana''), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 ...

Botswana
, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, while the
Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) is a Presbyterianism, Presbyterian denomination. It consists of five synods: one in Zambia (Zambia Synod), one in Zimbabwe (Harare Synod) and three in Malawi – Church of Central Africa Presbyterian ...
has synods in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. These states are now typically considered part of
East East or Orient is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions , , , and , commonly denoted by their initials N, E, S, and W. East and west are (at s) to north and south, with east ...
or
Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pr ...
.


Geography

The basin of Lake Chad has historically been ecologically significant to the populations of Central Africa, especially with the Lake Chad Basin Commission serving as an important supra-regional organization in Central Africa.


History


Prehistory

Archeological finds in Central Africa have been discovered dating back, over 100,000 years. According to Zagato and Holl, there is evidence of iron-smelting in the Central African Republic and Cameroon that may date back to 3000 to 2500 BCE. Extensive walled settlements have recently been found in Northeast Nigeria, approximately southwest of Lake Chad dating to the first millennium BCE. Trade and improved agricultural techniques supported more sophisticated societies, leading to the early civilizations of Sao, Kanem, Bornu, Shilluk, Baguirmi, and Wadai. Around 2500 BCE,
Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured hair#Styling, Bantu knots, a type of African hairstyle *Blac ...
migrants had reached the Great Lakes Region in Central Africa. Halfway through the first millennium BCE, the Bantu had also settled as far south as what is now
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante "Angola Avante" (, ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often r ...

Angola
.


Ancient history


Sao civilization

The
Sao civilization The Sao civilization (also called So) flourished in Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather t ...
flourished from ca. the 6th century BCE to as late as the 16th century CE in northern Central Africa. The Sao lived by the Chari River south of Lake Chad in territory that later became part of Cameroon and Chad. They are the earliest people to have left clear traces of their presence in the territory of modern Cameroon. Today, several ethnic groups of northern Cameroon and southern Chad but particularly the
Sara people The Sara people are a Central Sudanic languages, Central Sudanic ethnic group native to southern Chad, the northwestern areas of the Central African Republic, and the southern border of North Sudan. They speak the Sara languages which are a part of ...
claim descent from the civilization of the Sao. Sao artifacts show that they were skilled workers in
bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...

bronze
,
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
, and
iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

iron
.Fanso 19. Finds include bronze sculptures and terra cotta statues of human and animal figures, coins, funerary urns, household utensils, jewelry, highly decorated pottery, and spears. The largest Sao archaeological finds have been made south of Lake Chad.


Kanem Empire

The
Kanem–Bornu Empire The Kanem–Bornu Empire existed in areas which are now part of Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria. It was known to the Arabian geographers as the Kanem Empire from the 8th century AD onward and lasted as the independent kingdom of Bornu (the B ...
was centered in the
Chad Basin The Chad Basin is the largest endorheic basin An endorheic basin (; also spelled endoreic basin or endorreic basin) is a drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as river A ...
. It was known as the
Kanem Empire Kanem may refer to: * Kanem–Bornu Empire The Kanem–Bornu Empire existed in areas which are now part of Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria. It was known to the Arabian geographers as the Kanem Empire from the 8th century AD onward and lasted ...
from the 9th century CE onward and lasted as the independent kingdom of Bornu until 1900. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of
Chad Chad (; ar, تشاد , ; french: Tchad, ), officially known as the Republic of Chad ( ar, جمهورية تْشَاد, link=no '; ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an oce ...

Chad
, but also parts of modern southern
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
, eastern
Niger ) , official_languages = French , languages_type = National language A national language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed languag ...

Niger
, northeastern
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
, northern
Cameroon Cameroon (, french: Cameroun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (french: République du Cameroun, links=no), is a country in west 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal direc ...

Cameroon
, parts of
South Sudan South Sudan (), officially known as the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country in East Africa, east/central Africa. It is bordered to the east by Ethiopia, to the north by Sudan, to the west by the Central African Republic, to th ...

South Sudan
and the
Central African Republic The Central African Republic (CAR; sg, Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka; french: République centrafricaine, RCA; , or , ) is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...
. The history of the Empire is mainly known from the Royal Chronicle or ''
Girgam The ''Girgam'' (or ''Diwan'') is the royal chronicle of the Kanem–Bornu Empire The Kanem–Bornu Empire existed in areas which are now part of Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria. It was known to the Arabian geographers as the Kanem Empire fr ...
'' discovered in 1851 by the German traveler
Heinrich Barth Johann Heinrich Barth (; ; 16 February 1821 – 25 November 1865) was a German explorer of Africa and scholar. Barth is thought to be one of the greatest of the European explorers of Africa, as his scholarly preparation, ability to speak and writ ...
. Kanem rose in the 8th century in the region to the north and east of Lake Chad. The Kanem empire went into decline, shrank, and in the 14th century was defeated by
Bilala The Bilala are a Muslim people that live around Lake Fitri Lake Fitri is located in the center of Chad about 300 km east of N’Djamena. The normal size of the lake is about . The size of this lake can triple in wetter years. This freshwater la ...
invaders from the
Lake Fitri Lake Fitri is located in the center of Chad Chad (; ar, تشاد , ; french: Tchad, ), officially known as the Republic of Chad ( ar, جمهورية تْشَاد, link=no '; ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country tha ...
region.


Bornu Empire

The
Kanuri people The Kanuri people (Kanouri, Kanowri, also Yerwa, Bare Bari and several subgroup names) are an List of ethnic groups of Africa, African ethnic group living largely in the lands of the former Kanem Empire, Kanem and Bornu Empires in Niger, Nigeri ...
led by the Sayfuwa migrated to the west and south of the lake, where they established the
Bornu Empire Bornu may refer to: * Bornu EmpireBornu may refer to: * Bornu Empire, a historical state of West Africa * Borno State, Nigeria {{disambig