Central African Republic

The Central African Republic in the hearth of Africa

Overview of Central Africa
The Eco-Regions of the Congo basin
Sometimes rafts are needed to cross the rivers

The Central African Republic (CAR) is located in the geographical heart of Africa and on the northwestern limit of the Congo Basin. Covering a land surface area of 623,000 square kilometers it is approximately one and a half times the size of France. Most of the country’s surface area is covered by wooded savannah. However the southern part of the country consists of a band of several million hectares of rain forest much of which is now being exploited by commercial logging. Another natural resource is diamonds which are found throughout the country and contribute more than 70% to the total national economy.

The population is estimated at 3.3 million inhabitants, with a human density 5 people per square kilometer. Certain parts of the country are practically uninhabited with most of the inhabitants residing in the bigger towns. The capital of Bangui, located at the edge of the Oubangui river, has a population of about 600,000 people.

In the 1880’s the area of the Central African Republic was annexed by France and organized into the territory of Oubangui Chari. In 1910, the French combined the areas of Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo into French Equatorial Africa. The Central African Republic gain its independence from France in 1960. During the years 1976-1979 Jean Bedel Bokassa proclaimed himself emperor, and the Central African Republic was known as the Central African Empire.