Central Africa
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Central Africa is a
subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south are commonly used to define a subregion. United Nations subregions The United Nations Statistics Division, Statistics ...
of the
African continent Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area ...
comprising various countries according to different definitions.
Angola , national_anthem = " Angola Avante"() , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Luanda , religion = , religion_year = 2020 , religion_ref = , coordina ...
,
Burundi Burundi (, ), officially the Republic of Burundi ( rn, Repuburika y’Uburundi ; Swahili language, Swahili: ''Jamuhuri ya Burundi''; French language, French: ''République du Burundi'' ), is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley at the ...
, the
Central African Republic The Central African Republic (CAR; ; , RCA; , or , ) is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān, officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جم ...
,
Chad Chad (; ar, تشاد , ; french: Tchad, ), officially the Republic of Chad, '; ) is a landlocked country at the crossroads of North Africa, North and Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to Chad–Libya border, the north, Sudan to Chad– ...
, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo (french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC), colloquially "La RDC" ), informally Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly and also colloquially Zaire, is a country in ...
, the
Republic of the Congo The Republic of the Congo (french: République du Congo, ln, Republíki ya Kongó), also known as Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo Republic or simply either Congo or the Congo, is a country located in the western coast of Central Africa to the ...
,
Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea ( es, Guinea Ecuatorial; french: Guinée équatoriale; pt, Guiné Equatorial), officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea ( es, link=no, República de Guinea Ecuatorial, french: link=no, République de Guinée équatoria ...
,
Gabon Gabon (; ; snq, Ngabu), officially the Gabonese Republic (french: République gabonaise), is a country on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, it is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, ...
,
Rwanda Rwanda (; rw, u Rwanda ), officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley of Central Africa, where the African Great Lakes region and Southeast Africa converge. Located a few degrees south of the Equator ...
, and São Tomé and Príncipe are members of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Six of those states (the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon) are also members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and share a common currency, the
Central African CFA franc The Central African CFA franc (French language, French: ''franc CFA'' or simply ''franc''; ISO 4217, ISO code: XAF; abbreviation: F.CFA) is the currency of six independent states in Central Africa: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Repub ...
. The
African Development Bank The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) or (BAD) is a multilateral development finance institution headquartered in Abidjan Abidjan ( , ; N'Ko script, N’ko: ߊߓߌߖߊ߲߬) is the economic capital of the Ivory Coast. As of the Demogra ...
defines Central Africa as the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Middle Africa is an analogous term used by the United Nations in its geoscheme for Africa. It includes the same countries as the African Development Bank's definition, along with Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe.


List of Central African countries


Background

The
Central African Federation Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...
(1953–1963), also called the
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, also known as the Central African Federation or CAF, was a colonial federation that consisted of three southern African territories: the Self-governing colony, self-governing British colony of Southe ...
, was made up of what are now the nations of
Malawi Malawi (; or aláwi Tumbuka: ''Malaŵi''), officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country in Southeastern Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. A ...
,
Zambia Zambia (), officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Africa, Central, Southern Africa, Southern and East Africa, although it is typically referred to as being in Southern Africa at its most cent ...
, and
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southeast Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north, and Mozam ...
. Similarly, the Anglican
Church of the Province of Central Africa The Church of the Province of Central Africa is part of the Anglican Communion, and includes 15 dioceses in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Primate (bishop), Primate of the Church is the Archbishop of Central Africa. Albert Chama is the ...
covers dioceses in
Botswana Botswana (, ), officially the Republic of Botswana ( tn, Lefatshe la Botswana, label= Setswana, ), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with approximately 70 percent of its territory being the Kal ...
, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, while the
Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) is a Presbyterianism, Presbyterian denomination. It consists of five synods: one in Zambia (Zambia Synod), one in Zimbabwe (Harare Synod) and three in Malawi – Church of Central Africa Presbyteria ...
has synods in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. These states are now typically considered part of
East East or Orient is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the four main compass directions: north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by their initials N, E, S, and W respectively. Relat ...
or Southern Africa.


Geography

The Congo River basin has historically been ecologically significant to the populations of Central Africa, serving as an important supra-regional organization in Central Africa.


History


Prehistory

Archeological finds in Central Africa have been discovered dating back, over 100,000 years. According to Zagato and Holl, there is evidence of iron-smelting in the Central African Republic that may date back to 3000 to 2500 BCE. Extensive walled settlements have recently been found in Northeast Nigeria, approximately southwest of Lake Chad dating to the first millennium BCE. Trade and improved agricultural techniques supported more sophisticated societies, leading to the early civilisations of West African civilisations Sao, Kanem, Bornu, Shilluk, Baguirmi, and Wadai. Around 2500 BCE, Bantu migrants had reached the Great Lakes Region in Central Africa. Halfway through the first millennium BCE, the Bantu had also settled as far south as what is now
Angola , national_anthem = " Angola Avante"() , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Luanda , religion = , religion_year = 2020 , religion_ref = , coordina ...
.


Ancient history


Sao civilization

The West African Sao civilization flourished from ca. the 6th century BCE to as late as the 16th century CE in northern Central Africa. The Sao lived by the Chari River south of Lake Chad in territory that later became part of Cameroon and Chad. They are the earliest people to have left clear traces of their presence in the territory of modern Cameroon. Today, several ethnic groups of northern Cameroon and southern Chad but particularly the
Sara people The Sara people are a Central Sudanic languages, Central Sudanic ethnic group native to southern Chad, the northwestern areas of the Central African Republic, and the southern border of North Sudan. They speak the Sara languages which are a part o ...
claim descent from the civilization of the Sao. Sao artifacts show that they were skilled workers in
bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (including aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such ...
, copper, and iron.Fanso 19. Finds include bronze sculptures and terra cotta statues of human and animal figures, coins, funerary urns, household utensils, jewelry, highly decorated pottery, and spears. The largest Sao archaeological finds have been made south of Lake Chad.


Kanem Empire

The West-Central African kingdom of
Kanem–Bornu Empire The Kanem–Bornu Empire existed in areas which are now part of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad. It was known to the Arabian geographers as the Kanem Empire from the 8th century AD onward and lasted as the independent kingdom of Bornu (the B ...
was centered in the Lake
Chad Basin The Chad Basin is the largest endorheic basin in Africa, centered on Lake Chad. It has no outlet to the sea and contains large areas of semi-arid desert and savanna. The drainage basin is roughly coterminous with the sedimentary basin of the same ...
. It was known as the Kanem Empire from the 9th century CE onward and lasted as the independent kingdom of Bornu until 1900. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of
Chad Chad (; ar, تشاد , ; french: Tchad, ), officially the Republic of Chad, '; ) is a landlocked country at the crossroads of North Africa, North and Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to Chad–Libya border, the north, Sudan to Chad– ...
, but also parts of modern eastern
Niger ) , official_languages = , languages_type = National languagesNigeria Nigeria ( ), , ig, Naìjíríyà, yo, Nàìjíríà, pcm, Naijá , ff, Naajeeriya, kcg, Naijeriya officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of G ...
, northern
Cameroon Cameroon (; french: Cameroun, ff, Kamerun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (french: République du Cameroun, links=no), is a country in West Africa, west-central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the nor ...
and parts of
South Sudan South Sudan (; din, Paguot Thudän), officially the Republic of South Sudan ( din, Paankɔc Cuëny Thudän), is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Con ...
. The history of the Empire is mainly known from the Royal Chronicle or '' Girgam'' discovered in 1851 by the German traveler
Heinrich Barth Johann Heinrich Barth (; ; 16 February 1821 – 25 November 1865) was a German explorer of Africa and scholar. Barth is thought to be one of the greatest of the European explorers of Africa, as his scholarly preparation, ability to speak and wri ...
. Kanem rose in the 8th century in the region to the north and east of Lake Chad. The Kanem empire went into decline, shrank, and in the 14th century was defeated by Bilala invaders from the Lake Fitri region.


Bornu Empire

The
Kanuri people The Kanuri people (Kanouri, Kanowri, also Yerwa, Baribari and several subgroup names) are an List of ethnic groups of Africa, African ethnic group living largely in the lands of the former Kanem Empire, Kanem and Bornu Empires in Niger, Nigeria ...
of West Africa led by the Sayfuwa migrated to the west and south of the lake, where they established the
Bornu Empire Bornu may refer to: * Bornu Empire, a historical state of West Africa * Borno State, Nigeria {{disambig