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The creation of Cameroon
   Cameroon, nation like most African nations is a creation of the late 19th Century, although the name ‘Rio dos Cameroes’ had been given to the Wouri Basin by the Portuguese as far back as the 15th century. There had been contact with North Africa through caravan routes across the Sahara as well as with Central Africa. Contact by sea with North Africa and Europe was inaugurated by the sea-loving Phoenicians who discovered the ‘Theo Oekama’ (Chariot of fire), possibly mount Cameroon during an eruption. The Portuguese continued these coastal contacts by discovering Fernando Po in 1462 and the river Wouri which they named ‘Rio dos Cameroes’ (river of prawns). Other visitors and traders included the Poles, French, British, Germans and Spanish. Many trading posts and factories were established along the coast of Bimbia, Cameroon (Douala), Big Batanga (south), by various European traders especially the British.
       But in spite of the several treaties contracted between the Douala chiefs and the British to declare protectorate over their people and territory in 1877, 1879 and 1881, Queen Victoria hesitated. In 1884 therefore, chancellor Bismark, in search of a colonial empire for Germany, sent Dr. Gustav Nachtigal to Morocco, Togo, Cameroon and S.W. Africa. Nachtigal negotiated and signed treaties with the kings of Douala, Bimbia and Batanga, thus declaring Kamerun a German Protectorate. German explorers Zintgraff, Zeuner, Thoebecke soon started exploring and surveying their new protectorate. Germany set up an administration based first in Douala, then later at Buea. They created plantations, built roads, railways and houses, schools and ports, using forced labor. They launched pacification expeditions against turbulent groups. By 1914, they had created Kamerun and put in on the map of Africa and the world. Many Germans settled in the country as traders, farmers and administrators.
Kamerun becomes Cameroon
 During the First World War 1914 to 1918 Germany was defeated in Cameroon in 1915 by a combined force of British, French and Belgian troops. The British and French thereafter established a joint administration of the territory (condominium) for a few months, and then partitioned it. The British took a smaller Western band with the Mountain range forming a natural frontier between her sector and the larger eastern French sector. The British sector was disjointed by the Benue Valley thus providing Nothern British Cameroon and Southern Cameroons.
       Cameroonians were henceforth subjected to two other types of colonial experiences with problems of adaptation to new languages: French and English respectively; new attitudes and cultures. This was a new start all over again.
       While British ruled their sector of Cameroon as part of Nigeria to which they attached it for administrative convenience, the French ruled the French Cameroun as an entity after carving out of it that part which she had earlier ceded, under pressure, to Germany in 1911 in exchange for German hands-off in Morocco where France wished to have a free hand. At the end of the war, the newly formed League of Nations confirmed the partition of Cameroon and awarded the sectors as Mandates to the British and French respectively in 1922.
  During the Second World War, 1938-1945, Germany tried to recover her colonies of which Cameroon was one. But her defeat in the War and the creation of a new world organization, the United Nations, he League of Nation’s mandate was transformed to the United Nations Trusteeship by which the trusteeship powers were obliged to develop the territories for eventual self-determination.
      French Cameroun was first ruled without participation of the people, directly by French administrators. This was the principle of direct rule whereby the French regarded their civilization as superior to any African civilization, let alone that of Cameroon. This assumption produced the policies of paternalism and assimilation which characterized the whole French colonial system. By these policies, Cameroonians and colonized peoples in general had to be treated somewhat as immature, tender, and ignorant and therefore progressively to be turned into Frenchmen. This was ‘Direct Rule’ which however, did not ever hope to be able to transform all French colonized peoples into the ‘evolues’ and therefore on the threshold of full French citizenship. Education through which French culture, in all its aspects, had to be imbibed was to play a paramount role in this process. But at what pace and at what cost.
    At fist, the French Cameroonians were represented in the French parliament by Frenchmen of whom the most notable was Dr. Aujoulat Louis-Paul. But political consciousness developed gradually through tribel and youth organizations, basically cultural in approach at first but gradually became poilitically inclined with changing times. With time, policies of assimilation were modified and Cameroonians went to the French national assembly. Later on a Cameroonian Assembly was finally set up.
     On its part British Cameroons as ruled as a part of Nigeria. Southern British Cameroons was attached to the eastern region and Northen Britsih Cameroons was attached to the Northern region of Nigeria. Indirect rule was the basis of administration using African traditional rulers. This supported, reinforced and encouraged chiefdoms with only sparing and discrete supervision by a few British administrative officers. The traditional was thus less disrupted. With the coming of representative governments, British Cameroons sent parliamentarians to lagos, Enugu and kaduna.
Origins of Nationalism
  The spread of Western education, the after effects of the two World Wars and acquaintance with other peoples, systems and thoughts, as well as disgust with certain actions of the colonial powers, gradually pointed the way to political activitiy amomg Cameroonians, a sign of nationalism.
   This was manifested in divers ways. Through religious protest such as that against some of Alfred Saker’s  actions in Victoria. Lotin Same broke away from the successors to Basel Mision ( the Evangelical Mission) to found the Native Baptist Church which accepeted polygamists and members of traditional societies as full Christians. Workers went on strike in the plantations to protest against poor wages, housing, etc. villagers protested against forced labour, high taxation, imposition of the production of certain crops such as cotton. Trade Unions developed in this way and political parties followed in their trail: Union des populations du Cameroon (UPC), Parti Democrat (PD), Paysans Independants (P.I.), Union Cameroonaise (UC), all these of French Cameroon.
         In the British Cameroons many parties existed in sucession: Kamerun United National Congress (K.U.N.C.), Cameroon National Federation (C.N.F), French Cameroon Welfare Union (F.C.W.U.), Kamerun National Congress (C.C.C), Kamerun United Party (K.U.P.) and the One Kamerun (OK) which replaced the UPC when the latter was banned.
     In the French Cameroon, a nationalist, radical party, the UPC waged a serious campaign for immediate independence and reunification and was ready to do anything to attain its objectives. This angered and frightened the French as strikes, protests, and demonstrations broke our in large towns, especially Douala, in support of the UPC. This resulted in the proscription of the party. While some of its leaders fled to British Cameroons others went underground and still, others fled to France, West and North Africa.
       While the UPC waged a violent struggle against the French Colonial system in Cameroun, moderate parties cooperated with the French and therefore stole the show. Andre-Marie Mbida who was the first to lead a black government soon fell from power. Ahmadu Ahidjo was the appointed prime minister in 1958. he was the one to lead the French Cameroon to independence on 1st January 1960. His Party, the Union Cameroonaise (UC), had to consolidate its position and virtually swallow all other parties through a process of cajoling maneuvering and baiting. 
Creating a Federal Cameroon
  Southern British Cameroon had requested its session from Eastern Nigeria in 1954 to become a separate region within the Federation of Nigeria. This followed the political crisis that rocked Nigeria and in which Southern British Cameroons did not wish to be entangled. This was in fact a clear sign that British Cameroons was, in spite of everything, a separate entity from Nigeria and had to remain so. But a roar broke out within the KNC governing party of the British Cameroons: disagreement on the process and timing of reunification which had served as the major weapon used by the leaders to realize separation from Nigeria. John Ngu Foncha insisted on reunification while Endeley put it somewhat in the future, within the framework of West African Unity.
        Foncha then resigned from Enderley’s KNC and formed the KNDP. He won the 1959 general elections on the platform of reunification and therefore replaced Dr. Enderdeley as prime Minister of Southern Cameroons. As Nigeria gained independence on 1st October 1960, Southern and Northern British  Cameroons were separated from her with a view that they would decide their future at a later date; wether to join the federation of Nigeria or the Republic of Cameroon.
      At the UN supervised Plebiscites of 11th February 1961, Southern British Cameroons voted to reunify with the Republic of Cameroun while the Northern British Cameroons voted to unite with Nigeria.
          The reunification of Cameroon was therefore an act soley of the people of Southern Cameroons. They thus expressed overwhelmingly their belief in the reconstitution of a larger, stronger, populous and richer Cameroon nation such as was bequeathed by German colonization. Northern British Cameroons was lost to Nigeria just as British Togoland had been lost to Ghana by votes in the late 1950s.
     After series of meetings between Prime Minister Foncha of Southern British Cameroon and President Ahidjo of the Republic of Cameroun on the form unification should take, an enlarged constitutional conference was held in Foumban in July 1961. During that conference, a framework of a constitution was mutually worked out by government and opposition leaders of Southern Cameroons on the one hand and leaders of the Republic of Cameroun on the other hand. Ahidjo was determined and succeeded to force the acceptance of a strong federal government with weak federated state governments. After agreement in August 1961 on the constitution of the federal republic of Cameroon, reunification was formally consummated at Buea on 1st October 1961 with the lowering of the union Jack and the withdrawal of the British Commissioner and the proclamation of the Federal Republic of Cameroon. British troops were replaced in Southern British Cameroon (renamed West Cameroon) by troops of the Republic of Cameroon (which became East Cameroon).
Source of information: Samuel Ngome, 1985 ‘Change in Cameroon’, ARC publications, Alexandria, Virginia.