Central African Republic

The Central African Republic received independence in 1960. Formerly the French colony of Ubangi-Shari, this country experienced misrule by military governments until 1993, when civilian rule was established, lasting for one decade. The Central African Republic has had a history of controversial elections, the latest of which occurred in 2011. The Central African Republic is slightly smaller than Texas with a total area of 622,984 sq km. Its natural resources include diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, oil, and hydropower. Its population is 5,057,208, and its capital is Bangui. Ethnic groups of the country are Baya (33%), Banda (27%), Mandjia (13%), Sara (10%), Mboum (7%), M'Baka (4%), Yakoma (4%), and other (2%). 35% of the population holds indigenous beliefs, while a fourth of the people are Protestant, another fourth are Catholic, and 15% are Muslim, though animistic beliefs and practices strongly influence the Christian majority. The national symbol of the Central African Republic is the elephant.

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    Rebecca Hardin

    Assistant Professor, Anthropology
    Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources and Environment