The name is of current times but until the first half of the nineteenth century it was part of the vast area that, with three other colonies, formed French Equatorial Africa.
The explorations, which lasted from 1875 to 1884, were completed by Savorgnan of Brazza who, having arrived inside, founded the colony which was called the French Congo.
According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Central African Republic, French Equatorial Africa was named in 1910 and was led by a governor general, residing in Brazzaville, assisted by a superior government council.
It included four colonies: Gabon, Middle Congo, Ubanghi-Sciari and Chad. It was called the “colonial Cinderella” as it had no means of communication and therefore was not highly valued.
An attempt was made to make progress by making concessions, but the dealers abandoned each project and were satisfied only with the profits deriving from ivory and rubber.
French Equatorial Africa developed very slowly, and trade progressed but without providing real profit margins until January 1, 1935, when the 4 colonies were brought together in one administration, for budgetary reasons. On January 7, 1935 an agreement was signed between Benito Mussolini, head of the Italian government, and Laval, French minister, and with it France ceded to Italy some territories of the Tibesti area. But this agreement was never ratified and in 1938, on the eve of the Second World War, it was canceled.
During the Second World War, French Equatorial Africa was the first to join the liberation movement founded by De Gaulle in August 1940, with the accessions of the governors of Chad and the Middle Congo.
De Gaulle appointed General De Larminat as head of the armed forces, who invaded Cameroon, then a German colony, and achieved a clear victory on November 12, 1940. Then, between 1941 and 1942, the United States recognized the French authorities established in French Equatorial Africa, from where all the allied missions for the conquest of Fezzan and the Oasis of Cufra started.
On September 28, 1958, by approving the new French Constitution, the territory of Ubanghi-Sciari remained part of the new community. And to the proposed choice between the state of “overseas territory” and that of “member state of the Community”, Ubanghi-Sciari opted for the latter resolution and took the name of “Central African Republic”. The head of government of the republic joined the executive council of the community.
The participation in political life was intense, in symbiosis with the other republics, former colonies of French Equatorial Africa. In fact, in June 1959 a Conference of 4 Prime Ministers met in Brazzaville, in which the coordination of the policies of the 4 states was proposed.
On July 12, 1960, an agreement was signed in Paris with which the Central African Republic gained independence, always remaining within the French Community, to be officially proclaimed at midnight between August 12 and 13. On September 20 of the same year the new Republic was admitted to the United Nations.
And if the young state was able to take advantage, from 1946 onwards, of many improvements, first of all the health ones (sleep sickness completely disappeared), it was certainly thanks to France that continued to carry out economic, social and scholastic development work.
In 1959 David Dacko, successor of his cousin Barthelemy Boganda, who had perished in a plane crash, was elected president, and his policy continued for some time without shock. The 1960 Constitution was amended several times in 1961, 1963 and 1964. The only party in government was the “Movement for Social Evolution of Black Africa”.
In 1964 the president was reconfirmed, but already the first dissensions began to arise in the country, especially among the bureaucrats whose wages had been reduced; Corruption came to the surface and these things prompted the already sustained ambition of the Chief of Staff, and Boganda’s cousin, Colonel Jean Bedel Bokassa.
He carried out a military coup, just on New Year’s Eve in 1966. Depose Dacko, repealed the Constitution, dissolved all political organizations, expelled the diplomats of popular China, which already in 1964 were in the country for the intercourse agreements technical cooperation, and placed himself at the head of the government, centralizing all the positions in his hands.
But the authoritarian and repressive power exercised by Bokassa provoked other coups which were severely punished.
In 1973 he was appointed president for life; in 1974 he acquired the title of “Marshal of the Republic”, but in 1975 he restored the position of Prime Minister, entrusting it to a woman, the vice-president of the party, Elisabeth Domicien.
For his strange and changeable character, Bokassa also impressed his government on the mold of instability, signing agreements and then disavowing them, especially with France. Taking increasingly dictatorial ways, at the beginning of 1976 he barely escaped an attack.
With the passage of time Bokassa became increasingly fierce in its manifestations; terror spread in the public administration, which was also always a crime. But sometimes it was thought of a real form of folly, when on December 4, 1977, with a pharaonic staging, he crowned himself emperor and fixed his court in his hometown of Berengo. At this juncture, he was very surprised that a politician as refined as the French President, Giscard d’Estaing, visited the deranged Bokassa and that he also contributed financially to the coronation feast.
On September 20, 1979, taking the cue from the many ignoble actions of Bokassa, such as that of having fired on some children present in a demonstration in the square, France, with a military operation, overthrew him freeing himself of an ally who certainly did not bring luster to the nation.
The presidency returned to the hands of Dacko, who however did not prove to be up to the situation and was forced in 1981 to pass the hand on to the military again.
The government was taken over by General A. Kolingba who immediately made the mistake of removing those who had the courage to fight Bokassa from power. And he too wanted to apply his personal stamp to the government.
In November 1986 with the new Constitution the powers of the President were strengthened; a one-party system was introduced, that of the “Rassemblement Democratique Centrafricain”.
Surprisingly Bokassa returned home in 1986 but was immediately arrested, tried and sentenced to death. Then, with a particular intervention by the president, the death sentence was changed to that of life imprisonment.
Parliamentary elections took place in 1987 and municipal elections the following year. In 1991, despite internal and international pressures for the adoption of multiparty, the one-party system was confirmed. But then constitutional changes were made, allowed by the president, hostile to reforms, but pressed by world opinion and in 1992 multiparty emerged.
The 1993 elections awarded the victory to the “Mouvement pour la Liberation du Peuple Centrafricain”, whose leader AF Patassè, former Prime Minister, became President of the Republic.
But the situation did not improve, on the contrary, with the launch of the new Constitution in 1995, it worsened as the powers of the president expanded and he made changes in the administration of the state that did not please the oppositions, which rebelled. The intervention of French troops was necessary but yet another military insurrection was inevitable.
After unrest and conflict, in 1997, through the mediation of other African countries, the formation of a government of national unity and the French troops were replaced by those of the United Nations.
And finally, the legislative elections of December 1998 were the confirmation of the “Mouvement pour la Liberation du Peuple Centrafricain”.