The World at War

CAMEROON 1837 - 1961


1837The king of Bimbia, a mainland district north of the Oil Rivers estuary, cedes a large tract of land on the bay to Great Britain.
1845Alfred Saker of the English Baptist Missionary Society obtains land for a mission station from the Akwa family.
1847Joseph Merrick of the Baptist Missionary Society makes the first attempt to scale 13,370 foot high Mount Cameroon.
1848Alfred Saker establishes a second mission station at Bimbia and obtains the king's agreement to abolish human sacrifices at the funerals of his great men.
1858The English Baptist Missionary Society is expelled from Fernando Po by the Spanish authorities. Alfred Saker founds Victoria on Ambas Bay as a settlement for freed slaves who left Fernando Po with the missionaries.
1860The Woermann Brothers of Hamburg establish the first German trading station in the Oil Rivers estuary.
1861Sir Richard Francis Burton, botanist Gustav Mann and Senor Calvo reach the summit of Mount Cameroon from Babundi on the coast west of the mountain.
1870The English Baptist Missionary Society abandons the station at Bimbia but the station at Akwa town continues to flourish.
Alfred Saker developes an orthography for the Douala language.
ca. 1875 The English Baptist Missionary Society succeeds in suppressing the slave trade with the assistance of the Royal Navy.
1882Great Britain fails to act on the request of the Douala chiefs for annexation despite considerable influence and authority exercised by the British consul for the Oil Rivers at this period.
1884July 15 Chancellor Bismarck’s emissary, Gustav Nachtigal, signs a Treaty of Protection with King Bell and the other chiefs of the Douala tribe.
July 20 British Consul H.E. Hewett arrives in the Cameroons on a mission of annexation. Though too late to secure King Bell’s territory, Hewett concludes treaties of protection with the neighboring chieftains. However, Westminster decides to recognize the German claim to the whole of the Cameroons.
July 26 A French gunboat enters the Oil Rivers estuary on another belated annexation mission.
1885July 4 Cameroon’s first German governor, Julius Freiherr von Soden, is appointed.
1887March Great Britain agrees to allow annexation of the Baptist mission at Victoria on Ambas Bay to the German protectorate. The Baptist Society of London later transfers its interests to the German Basel Society.
1893November 15 An Anglo-German agreement defines the border with Nigeria between the mouth of the Rio del Rey and Lake Chad.
1895Mary Kingsley reaches the summit of Mount Cameroon from the southeast.
1896June 15 Cameroon is declared a German crown land.
During the Year Sultan Ibrahim Njoya develops a written form of the Bamoun language which passes from an ideographic version to a syllabic and phonetic form over the next 15 years.
1901January 1 The capital is moved from Douala to Buea on the slopes of Mount Cameroon 3,000 feet above sea level.
During the Year German troops occupy a part of the Adamawa district lying outside the British frontier despite heavy resistance from the native tribesmen.
1902May 2 A German military expedition reaches the shores of Lake Chad in the portion of Bornu reserved to Germany by agreements with Great Britain and France where they find French troops occupying the country. The French officers stated that their presence was due to the measures rendered necessary by the ravages of the Arab slave trader Rabah and his sons and withdrew their troops into French territory.
1903The South Kamerun expediton, lead by Major Engelhardt, surveys the border with the Gabon and reaches Douala via Kribi, Yaounde and Bertua by years end.
Cocoa beans are Cameroon’s most valuable export (Germany alone imports 26 million marks worth of raw cocoa beans).
1904January 1 A census counts 710 Europeans resident in the colony of these 612 are Germans. Merchants and traders number 223, planters 103, government officials 93, Schutztruppe dependents 85 and missionaries 85.
January 17 Bascho tribesmen kill Count von Puckler, the district administrator of Ossidinge. A German trader name Kuster is murdered by natives of the Grossfluss (Great River) region. Martial law is imposed and an expedition is dispatched to pacifiy the region. Forced labor is imposed as punishment.
January An expedition under Lieutenant Scheunemann is sent to pacify the Ndsimu chiefs in southern Cameroon. The Ndsimu and adjacent tribes are forced to recognize German sovereignty.
August Lieutenant Scheunemann returns to Caoutchouc (rubber) rich Ngoko region to organize the move of the seat of administration from the border to further into the interior on the Upper Dscha.
September 16 Major Thierry, resident officer in the Garua District, is killed by an arrow near Mubi.
During the Year An Anglo-German expedition led by Major Glauning surveys the border with Nigeria between Yola and Lake Chad. The Niger-Benue-Lake Chad expedition under Fritz Bauer is active in the same region.
Palm oil products lead the list of Cameroon exports followed by rubber, cocoa and ivory. Coffee and tobacco have ceased to be exported during 1904.
The Government botanical garden opens a highland experimental station at the 600m elevation of Mount Kamerun.
The Kamerun-Bergwerks-Aktiengesellschaft (Cameroon Mining Corporation) forms a committee to study exploitation of the recently discovered oil field on the Wuri River near Douala.
1905January The station chief of Yaounde is compelled to react to raids by Bapea tribesmen.
Order is restored in the Cross region and the government station at Ossidinge is being reconstructed.
A Schutztruppe expediton under Colonel Müller maps previously unexplored areas of the Manenguba Mountains.
July French Senegalese soldiers cross the border with the French Congo and rob a German factory in Missum-Missum. Captain Scheuermann, the district officer, was shot during the incident but his men shot 5 of the attackers and captured 4. Colonel Muller, the Schutztruppe commander, was dispatched to Gabon for talks with the French Governor.
November The murder of a white merchant near Molundu, in the extreme southeastern corner of the colony, sets off a Schutztruppe punishment raid.
During the Year Ndsimu and Njem tribesmen of the Ssanga-Ngoko region raid the large stores of goods brought into the country by European traders.
An official sent into the districts of Kribi, Lolodorf, Ebolowa, Yaounde and Lomie verified that fears, the caoutchouc stands (rubber trees) could be damaged by overexploitation, were not unfounded.
1906January Chief Ngila, who had repeatedly plundered caravans passing through the Yaounde district, is killed in a skirmish with the Schutztruppe.
January 16 Schutztruppe Lieutenant Schroder is killed while storming a robbers’ nest in Ngute.
May 9 The Reichstag approves the budget for construction of a railway from Douala to the Manenguba Mountains.
During the Year Caoutchouc plants are report to be all but exterminated in the formerly rubber rich districts of Kribi, Lolodorf, Ebolowa and Yaounde.
The Kamerun-Bergwerks-Gesellschaft ceases oil explorations after failing to find exploitable quanities.
Governor von Puttkamer is recalled to Berlin to answer charges of malfeasance.
1907April 1 Trade in ivory tusks weighing less than 5kilograms is prohibited.
May 9 Theodor Seitz succeeds Jesco von Puttkamer as Governor.
During the Year Importation of guns and ammunition is prohibited. A subsequent decline in ivory exports is linked to the ban on arms imports. The exchange of guns and powder for elephant tusks is a well established tradition in Cameroon.
Exports increase by 43% over the previous year. Caoutchouc exports were valued at 7.6 million marks, Palm oil products 4.2 million marks, cocoa 2.7 million marks (more than double the previous year). Ivory exports increased despite the ban on trade in tusks weighing less than 5kg.
1908March 5 Captain Glauning, one of Cameroon’s oldest Schutztruppe officers, is killed in a skirmish with tribesmen along the border with Nigeria.
During the Year The Reichstag approves construction of a railway from Douala to Widimenge on the Njong River.
1909April 26 Earthquakes signal a resumption of volcanic activity on Mount Kamerun.
April 27 The Government moves back to Douala to escape the danger posed by Mount Kamerun’s reawakening.
April 28 Mount Kamerun erupts but lava flows cause minimal damage to the mountainside plantations.
May The Government returns to Buea after Mount Kamerun returns to a dormancy.
May 24 The Government institutes new regulations on the recruitment of native labor by commercial enterprises.
During the Year Two companies of Schutztruppes and the Yaounde Police Detachment subdue the Maka tribes who had been attacking steamers on the Njong River. Chief Menepepiti who had murdered a trade a few years previously is killed in the skirmishes.
The Mount Kamerun cocoa plantations report improved harvests but a sharp decline in prices more than offsets their gain.
The ranks of the colony’s traders drop from 381 to 326. The decrease is attributed to merchants leaving the southern districts due to low prices for rubber. The Manenguba Mountain Railway (Kamerun Nordbahn) opens as far as km 100.
1911November 4 France cedes Neu-Kamerun, a 275,000 square kilometer border territory to Kamerun under terms of the Agadir Convention. The agreement is to be fully implemented by July 1, 1913.
1912January 30 Karl Ebermaier succeeds the retiring Governor Gleim.
March 11 An Anglo-German agreement fixing the border with Nigeria between Yola and the Cross River is signed.
June 1 The last piece of exchanged territories, the larger part of the ceded Logrone area, is handed over to France. Cameroon is given possession of areas located further south, to the north and south of the Ubangi tip at the same time.
During the Year Expeditions leave Monda Bay and Wesso to join French parties in marking the new borders between Cameroon and the adjacent French colonies.
A Cameroon planter wins the German Colonial Society’s E. A. Oldemeyer Prize for the best tobacco grown in a German colony.
1913January 18 Completion of the Deutsch-Südamerikanische Telegraphen-Gesellschaft’s undersea cable between Lome, Togo and Douala frees Cameroon from dependence on British owned cables for communication with Germany.
March 3 A wireless telegraphy station begins operating at Douala.
June 13 Governor Ebermaier returns from a six month inspection tour of the new territories in northern Cameroon which included a visit to Lake Chad.
August 7 Two early nationalists are executed for resisting German rule. Chief Rudolph Douala Manga Bell is hung in Douala. Cameroonian soldier Samba Martin Paul is shot in Ebolowa.
During the Year The Franco-German expeditions formed in order to fix the Cameroon’s southern and eastern border according to the Morocco-Congo Agreement completed their work.
The colony’s health commissioner traveled to Neu-Kamerun to investigate an outbreak of sleeping sickness in the region.
The Government abandons plans to build a southern railway. Falling rubber prices make the project financially unfeasible.
1914August 1 News of the outbreak of war in Europe reaches Douala. After sinking several steamers in the Kamerun River to block an Allied attack on the capital the Government moves to Buea.
August 5 A 300 man French column leaves Bangui, Ubangi-Shari moving towards Cameroon.
August 7 The French Bangui column captures the German customs post at Singa.
German troops repel a French attack on Kusseri.
August 15 Governor Ebermaier establishes his command post at Buea.
September British troops enter Cameroon from Nigeria advancing along the coast towards Douala.
September 26 French reinforcements arrive from Dakar.
HMS Challenger, a British cruiser, enters Douala Bay and begins shelling the capital.
September 27 Douala surrenders and is occupied by an Anglo-French landing party.
1915June 10 The Garua garrison surrenders.
June 27 The Ngaundere garrison surrenders.
October 24 The German garrison withdraws from Banyo to Yaounde.
December Anglo-French forces occupy the entire coast including Buea and Edea.
1916January 9 The German garrison evacuates the Yaounde fortress and flees into the neighboring Spanish colony of Rio Muni.
February 4 France and Great Britain agree to divide Cameroon into separate administrative zones.
February 18 Captain von Raben surrenders the last German holdouts in Cameroon at Mora.
July 4 France assumes sole responsibility for administration in the zone comprising the old Neu-Kamerun territory. Great Britain settles for a 53,000 square kilometer zone (slightly under 20% of Kamerun’s territory).
During the Year Sultan Ibrahim Njoya completes the final revision of his Bamoun alpabet reducing the number of letters from 500 to 70.
1917The Governor General of French Equatorial Africa appoints Doctor Eugene Jamot, who served as medical officer with the Franco-Belgian Sangha-Cameroun column during the Cameroon campaign, to head a special service dedicated to the treatment of sleeping sickness. Jamot identifies the trypanosome parasite as the cause of the disease and the tsetse fly as the means of its transmission to humans.
1919June 28 The Treaty of Versailles takes effect. Germany cedes most of Cameroon to France and a small portion along the border with Nigeria to Great Britain. Germany agrees to pay reparations for damage suffered by French nationals in Cameroon or the frontier zone by reason of the acts of the German civil and military authorities and of German private individuals during the period from January 1, 1900 to August 1, 1914.
During the Year The use of forced native labor is halted in British Cameroon.
1921Doctor Jamot codifies a method of treatment for sleeping sickness.
1922July 20 The League of Nations ratifies the British and French mandates over Cameroon.
During the Year German settlers are allowed to return to their plantations in Cameroon.
Alexandre Douala Manga Bell, son of Chief Rudolf Douala Manga Bell, is allowed to return to Cameroon. French authorities are suspicious of his upbringing in Germany and had force him to reside in Paris after the end of World War I.
1923French is made the language of school instruction by ministerial decree.
1926February The Minister of Colonies, Andre Maginot, authorizes Doctor Jamot to establish a mission in Cameroon and take all necessary measures to eradicate sleeping sickness.
1928Eye disorders are discovered in 700 patients undergoing treatment for sleeping sickness at a mission in Bifra run by one of Doctor Jamot’s colleagues.
1931Sultan Ibrahim Njoya renowned author, artist and photographer is deposed as King of the Bamoun tribe and exiled to Yaounde by the colonial authorities.
Sleeping sickness is eradicated in Cameroon. Doctor Jamot is hailed as the “Conqueror of Sleeping Sickness” at the Colonial Exposition in Paris.
1932Doctor Jamot refuses to appear before a committee of inquiry investigating the Bifra incident. The Committee blames Jamot for the troubles and orders the Cameroon mission closed. Jamot moves on to Senegal to fight an epidemic then retires from medicine.
Jean-Louis Njemba Medou publishes Nnanga Kon in Boulou. The book is considered to be the first novel by a Cameroonian author.
1939September German settlers in Cameroon are interned and their plantations are confiscated.
1940July Governor General Brunot maintains his neutrality when M. Mauclere, Cameroon’s Director of Public Works, forms a pro-Gaullist committee. The Gaullists enjoy strong support from planters who fear a return of German settlers from the nearby Spanish island of Fernando Po.
August 27 Free French emissaries Le Clerc and Boislambert depart Victoria in the British Cameroons in native canoes for Douala in French Cameroon where they occupy the Government Palace without resistance.
August 28 General Le Clerc travels by train from Douala to Yaounde where he accepts a transfer of power from the colony’s Vichy authorities to Free France.
October 8 General de Gaulle arrives in Douala to popular acclaim. He meets with General Le Clerc to discuss strategy for consolidation of Free French position in Equatorial Africa, using the territory as a base for attacks on Italian and German positions in Libya and to break the Vichy stranglehold on French West and North Africa.
October 12 General de Gaulle issues orders for liquidation of the Vichy enclave in Gabon then departs Douala for a meeting with Eboue and Marchand at Fort Lamy, Chad. The trip nearly ends in disaster when the General’s plane makes a forced landing in the middle of a swamp.
November 5 Free French troops under Generals Le Clerc and Koenig depart Douala for Libreville, Gabon.
November 8 General Koenig’s mixed force of Legionaires, Senegalese and Cameroonian troops make a late night landing at Pointe La Mondah, Gabon.
November 9 Free French Lysanders based in Douala bomb the Vichy held aerodrome at Libreville, Gabon.
1945April 15 French colonists opposed to the reforms proposed at the Brazzaville Confernce ASCOCAM (the Association of Cameroon Colonists) and reaffirm their attachment to France and the existing colonial system.
September 24 26 Cameroonian demands for reform are followed by strikes and riots in Douala. French authorities and colonists unleash a bloody repression.
1946December 13 The British and French mandates in Cameroon become United Nations trusteeships. The trusteeship accords call for a grant of autonomy after 10 years.
1947Confiscated German owned plantations are turned over to the Cameroon Development Corporation.
1948April 10 Ruben Um Nyobe establishes the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), the country's first nationalist political party.
1949May Doctor Emmanuel Endeley establishes the Cameroons National Federation, the first political party in British Cameroon. Its platform calls for the southern region of the trusteeship to be granted autonomous status outside the Nigerian Federation.
During the Year N. N. Mbile and R. K. Dibongué leave the Cameroons National Federation which they believe is too timid in its demand for reunification with French Cameroon. They form the Kamerun United National Congress. The German spelling is adopted to underline the party's call for British and French Cameroon to be reunited just as it was under German rule.
The leftist Union des Populations du Cameroun, [Union of the Peoples of Cameroon] implants itself in the Southern British Cameroons to lend support to the reunification effort.
1953Doctor Endeley reconciles with N. N. Mbile and R. K. Dibongué and a new party, The Kamerun National Congress, is created by the merger of the Kamerun United National Congress and Cameroons National Federation.
1954October 1 British Cameroon becomes an autonomous region of Nigeria. Doctor Emmanuel Endeley of the Kamerun National Congress becomes the regional premier.
December The French High Commissioner for Cameroon, André Soucadaux, is replaced by veteran colonial administrator Roland Pré who has acquired a reputation as progressive but intractable opponent of anti-colonialist movements.
1955April 22 The Union des Populations du Cameroun issues a proclamation demanding an end to the trusteeship, establishment of a National Constituent Assembly before December 1, installation of an executive commission which would become the provisional government and the appointment of a United Nations commission to guarantee the functioning of these new institutions.
April - May All meetings of the Union des Populations du Cameroun are prohibited. High Commissioner Roland Pré opposes the leftists economic policies proposed by the party at a time when a sharp decline the market for raw materials is the cause of high unemployment and discontent among the planters.
May 17 - 26 Hundreds are killed and property damage is extensive due to rioting blamed on supporters of the nationalist Union des Populations du Cameroun.
July L'Union des Populations du Cameroun is banned by the French authorities. Ruben Um Nyobe and the leadership of the party are forced into the bush where they begins a 3 year guerilla war against the colonial administration.
1957May 16 French Cameroon becomes an an autonomous republic within the French Community.
1958February 18 Any autonomous Government of Cameroon is formed under Ahmadou Ahidjo of the Cameroonese Union whom the French authorities con.
September 13 Ruben Um Nyobe leader of the outlawed Union des Populations du Cameroun is killed. The UPC continues its clandestine rebellion under the leadership of Félix Roland Moumié.
1960January 1 The French controlled area of Cameroon becomes an independent republic.
November Nationalist leader Félix Roland Moumié is assassinated in Geneva, Switzerland by an agent of the French Secret Service.
1961February 11 The United Nations conducts a plebiscite of the future of British Cameroon. John Foncha of the Kamerun National Democratic Party promotes reunification.
June 1 The predominately Moslem northern two thirds of British Cameroon are incorporated in Nigeria.
October 1 The southern third of British Cameroon joins a federation with formerly French Cameroon. Each region retains its own government and parliamentary structure.

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