Cameroons, Fr. Cameroun, Ger. Kamerun, former German colony, W Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea and extending N to Lake Chad. Germany's penetration of the area began in 1884 and by 1902 its possession was recognized. A portion of French Equatorial Africa was added in 1911 in return for the surrender of German rights in Morocco. In World War I, French and British troops occupied the Cameroons. After the war the territory ceded in 1911 was rejoined to French Equatorial Africa, and in 1919 the remainder of the Cameroons was divided into French and British zones, which became mandates under the League of Nations. In 1946 the mandates were made trust territories of the United Nations.
British Cameroons consisted of two noncontiguous sections lying on the eastern border of Nigeria; the more southerly extended to the coast. French Cameroons was administered as a separate territory with the capital at Yaoundé. In 1960, French Cameroons became the Cameroon Republic; in 1961 the southern section of British Cameroons was joined to the Cameroon Republic to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon (United Republic of Cameroon after 1972), while the northern section passed to Nigeria.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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