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Thursday 23rd May
Cameroon Information - Page 2
The Portuguese were the first to set up plantations in Cameroon (1500s), followed by the Dutch (1600s). Slave labour was used to work the sugar plantations. Towards the end of the nineteenth century Germany established a protectorate over Cameroon.

During the First World War (1914-1918) British and French troops forced Germans to leave the country. Following the War administration of Cameroon was divided between the British (twenty percent) and the French (eighty percent).

In 1958 French Cameroon became self-governing. Two years later, French Cameroon achieved independence and became the Republic of Cameroon.

In 1961 [British] Southern Cameroons joined the Republic to become the Federal Republic of Cameroon; Northern Cameroons - formerly administered by Britain - joined Nigeria. Following a referendum in 1972 Cameroon became the United Republic of Cameroon. The name changed to the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.

Cameroon has taken part in International Monetary Fund and World Bank programmes to increase investment and efficiency.

The agricultural sector produces a significant percentage of the country's Gross Domestic Product and provides employment for a large percentage of the working population. Agricultural products include bananas, cocoa, coffee, grains and oilseed. Cotton and rubber are also produced. Livestock is reared.

Industries are petroleum, aluminum, timber, ship repair, consumer goods, textiles and food processing. (2008)

Cameroon is a diverse society with people from over two hundred and fifty ethnic groups. This variety is reflected in the arts of the country.

Wood carving and sculpture are traditional crafts. Other crafts are metal work, weaving, batik and embroidery.

An interesting development in the music of one of the country's ethnic groups is the use of a mobile, solar-powered studio to record music in-situ. The Baka Gbine - seven musicians and dancers - recorded their first album in their home in the Cameroonian rainforest. The pygmy musicians play guitars and traditional instruments, accompanied by the "yelli" singing of the Baka women.

Cultural institutions include the Cameroon Art Museum and Cameroon National Museum. The Royal Palace at Foumban houses a museum with exhibits dating back to the fourteenth century.

Football is the most popular team game played in Cameroon. Other sports include basketball and cricket.

As a member of the Commonwealth, Cameroon takes part in the Commonwealth Games.

All religious holidays are celebrated. Other holidays include Labor Day - 1 May and Republic Day - 20 May (1972).

News from Cameroon is available from Newslink.

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