General Facts about the Central African Republic

Hello! Welcome to the Central African Republic!

The Central African Republic also know as CAR, is an landlocked country right in the middle of the African Continent. The countries that share borders with CAR are Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of Congo to the south, the Republic of Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west.

Cr. Nations Online Project

The Central African Republic covers a land area of about 240,000 sq mi (620,000 sq km). As of 2018, it had an estimated population of around 4.7 million.

At 240,535 square miles (622,984 sq km), the Central African Republic is the world’s 44th-largest country. It is comparable in size to Ukraine, as Ukraine is 233,000 square miles (603,500 sq km) in area. (1)

This country’s name was Ubangi-Shari (French: Oubangui-Chari) during its period as a French colony, a name derived from the Ubangi River and the Chari River. Barthélemy Boganda, the country’s first prime minister, favored its current name “Central African Republic” over Ubangi-Shari, reportedly because he envisioned a larger union of countries in Central Africa. (1)

Land

Much of the country consists of flat or rolling plateau savanna approximately 500 metres (1,640 ft) above sea level. In addition to the Fertit Hills in the northeast of the Central African Republic, there are scattered hills in the southwest regions. In the northwest is the Yade Massif, a granite plateau with an altitude of 1,143 ft (348 m). The Central African Republic contains six geographic regions: Northeastern Congolian lowland forests, Northwestern Congolian lowland forests, Western Congolian swamp forests, East Sudanian savanna, Northern Congolian forest-savanna mosaic, and Sahelian Acacia savanna.

The highest point is Mount Ngaoui at 4,658 feet. It is located in the northwest of the country, on the border with Cameroon, in the high granite range of the Karre mountains.

Cr. Central datacore

This is a photo of a man standing at its summit from Google Maps:

Cr. Mohamadou Ahmadou, Google Maps

Its lowest geographical point and also one of its major rivers is the Ubangi (French: Oubangi) River at 1,009 feet (1,420m). This river was named from the word Bobangi  for the “rapids” located beside the settlement.

Cr. Tripadvisor
Cr. Encyclopedia Britannica

These views of the Ubangi River are around its biggest city, the capital, called Bangui. Banqui was established as a French outpost in 1889 and named after its location on the northern bank of the Ubangi River.

The city of Bangui forms an autonomous commune (commune autonome) of the Central African Republic which is surrounded by the Ombella-M’Poko prefecture. With an area of 67 square kilometres (26 sq mi), the commune is the smallest high-level administrative division in the country, but the highest in terms of population. As of 2020 it had an estimated population of 889,231.

Cr. Blackpast
Cr. Skyscraper City, Google.

The people of the Central African Republic range from the hunting-and-gathering forest Pygmy peoples, the Aka, to state-forming groups such as the Zande and Nzakara. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the late 19th century, distinctions between different groups were highly fluid. Many thought of themselves as members of a clan rather than of a broader ethnic group. Interactions with those who spoke different languages and had different cultural practices ranged from peaceful trade and intermarriage to war and enslavement. (2)

A minority of Greek, Portuguese, and Yemeni traders are scattered around the country, and a small French population lives in Bangui. Diamond traders from western Africa and Chad, merchants from various African countries, and refugees from nearby countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also reside in Bangui and the hinterlands. (2)

About three-fifths of the population is rural, residing primarily in the southern and western parts of the country. The eastern and northeastern sections of the country are less populated. (2)

Flag

The Flag of the Central African Republic was adopted on December 1, 1958. Barthélemy Boganda (the nation’s first prime minister) originillay designed it for the United States of Latin Africa. But when this unification failed to happen, he used it for CAR.

According to Matt Doeden in his book: Central African Republic in Pictures, Boganda combined yellow and green, colors traditionally representing Africa with the colors of the French flag: red, white and blue. The red stripe was placed in vertical form and symbolizes the blood spilled to gain independence. The blue represents the sky and freedom. The white stands for peace, while the green represents hope, and yellow stands for tolerance. (3)

Encyclopedia Britannica has another description:

Blue stands for liberty, grandeur, and the sky, while white was for purity, equality, and candour. Green represents the forests of the nation, yellow its savannas, and red was for the common blood of all humankind. The link between Europeans and Africans was manifested in the red vertical stripe that traversed the other four colors. There is a yellow star in the flag placed over the blue stripe on its hoist side as a guide for future progress and an emblem of unity. (2)

The Emblem

Cr, Wikimedia Commons

This coat of arms was adopted on the 17th of May of 1963.  It consists of a shield in the center, with two flags on its edges, and with a sun rising over the shield. Below and above the shield are banners, and there is the badge of the Order of Central African Merit located below the shield as well.

These are the meanings of the different elements according to Wikipedia:

ZO KWE ZO, the motto in Sango, means “A man is a man” or “All people are people”.

The elephant and the baobab tree represent nature and the backbone of the country. The gold star on a map of Africa symbolizes the position of the Central African Republic. The hand (bottom right quarter) was the symbol of the dominant MESAN party in 1963 when the arms were adopted. The bottom left quarter holds three diamonds, which symbolize the mineral resources of the country.

The medal under the shield is the honorific decoration of the Order of Central African Merit.

An earlier version of the coat of arms had the words “1er DECEMBRE 1958” written within the sun.

The words at the bottom are the country’s motto: “Unity, Dignity, Work”

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