French Equatorial Africa

French Equatorial Africa

Discussion
Ask a question about 'French Equatorial Africa'
Start a new discussion about 'French Equatorial Africa'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
French Equatorial Africa or the AEF was the federation of French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 colonial possessions in Middle Africa, extending northwards from the Congo River
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

 to the Sahara Desert.

History


Established in 1910, the federation contained five territories : French Congo
French Congo
The French Congo was a French colony which at one time comprised the present-day area of the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and the Central African Republic...

 and Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

, Oubangui-Chari
Oubangui-Chari
Oubangui-Chari, or Ubangi-Shari, was a French territory in central Africa which later became the independent Central African Republic . French activity in the area began in 1889 with the establishment of an outpost at Bangui, now the capital of CAR. The territory was named in 1894.In 1903, French...

, Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

 and French Cameroon (after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

), although the last was not organized as a separate entity until 1920. The Governor-General
Governor-General
A Governor-General, is a vice-regal person of a monarch in an independent realm or a major colonial circonscription. Depending on the political arrangement of the territory, a Governor General can be a governor of high rank, or a principal governor ranking above "ordinary" governors.- Current uses...

 was based in Brazzaville
Brazzaville
-Transport:The city is home to Maya-Maya Airport and a railway station on the Congo-Ocean Railway. It is also an important river port, with ferries sailing to Kinshasa and to Bangui via Impfondo...

 with deputies in each territory.

In 1911, France ceded parts of the territory to German Kamerun as a result of the Agadir Crisis
Agadir Crisis
The Agadir Crisis, also called the Second Moroccan Crisis, or the Panthersprung, was the international tension sparked by the deployment of the German gunboat Panther, to the Moroccan port of Agadir on July 1, 1911.-Background:...

. The territory was returned after Germany's defeat in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, while Cameroon proper became a French League of Nations mandate
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

 not integrated into the AEF.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s an anti-colonial movement Société Amicale des Originaires de l'A.E.F.
Société Amicale des Originaires de l'A.E.F.
The Société Amicale des Originaires de l'A.E.F. was a social and political anti-colonial movement in French Equatorial Africa . The association was founded by André Matsoua in Paris 1926. Its followers were known as matswanistes after their founder.-Origins:Initially the association worked solely...

was established by André Matsoua
André Matsoua
André Grenard Matsoua was a Congolese Lari religious figure and politician, perhaps the most influential figure in Congolese politics before independence in 1960...

, seeking French citizenship for the territory's inhabitants.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the federation rallied to the Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 under Félix Éboué
Félix Éboué
Félix Adolphe Éboué was a Black French colonial administrator and Free French leader. He was the first black French man appointed to high post in the French colonies, when appointed as Governor of Guadeloupe in 1936...

 in August 1940, except for Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

 which was Vichy French between 16 June 1940 and 12 November 1940, and became the centre for their activities in Africa.

Under the Fourth Republic
French Fourth Republic
The French Fourth Republic was the republican government of France between 1946 and 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of the Third Republic, which was in place before World War II, and suffered many of the same problems...

 (1946–58), the federation was represented in the French parliament
Parliament of France
The French Parliament is the bicameral legislature of the French Republic, consisting of the Senate and the National Assembly . Each assembly conducts legislative sessions at a separate location in Paris: the Palais du Luxembourg for the Senate, the Palais Bourbon for the National Assembly.Each...

. When the territories voted in the September 1958 referendum to become autonomous within the French Community
French Community
The French Community was an association of states known in French simply as La Communauté. In 1958 it replaced the French Union, which had itself succeeded the French colonial empire in 1946....

, the federation was dissolved. In 1959 the new republics formed an interim association called the Union of Central African Republics, before becoming fully independent in August 1960.

Geography


Territories :
  • Chad
    Chad
    Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

  • Oubangui-Chari
    Oubangui-Chari
    Oubangui-Chari, or Ubangi-Shari, was a French territory in central Africa which later became the independent Central African Republic . French activity in the area began in 1889 with the establishment of an outpost at Bangui, now the capital of CAR. The territory was named in 1894.In 1903, French...

     (currently Central African Republic
    Central African Republic
    The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

    )
  • French Congo
    French Congo
    The French Congo was a French colony which at one time comprised the present-day area of the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and the Central African Republic...

     (currently The Republic of Congo)
  • Gabon
    Gabon
    Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

  • French Cameroon (currently Cameroon
    Cameroon
    Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

    )

Postage stamps


The postal administrations of the four territories were separate until 1936, each issuing its own stamps. In that year, stamps of Gabon and Middle Congo were overprinted AFRIQUE / ÉQUATORIALE / FRANÇAISE. A definitive series for the colony followed in 1937, featuring local scenes and key (French) figures in the formation of the colony, with various color and value changes each year through 1940.

The 1937 series was overprinted AFRIQUE FRANÇAISE / LIBRE or just LIBRE in 1940 by the Free French, and in 1941 they issued a series depicting a phoenix
Phoenix (mythology)
The phoenix or phenix is a mythical sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Arabian, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, Indian and Phoenicians....

 rising from the flames.

A new definitive series, featuring local scenery and people, was issued in 1946, and another twenty-odd stamps came out during the 1950s, with the last being the omnibus Human Rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 issue on 10 December 1958.

See also


  • List of colonial heads of French Equatorial Africa
  • French colonial empires
    French colonial empires
    The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

  • French West Africa
    French West Africa
    French West Africa was a federation of eight French colonial territories in Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan , French Guinea , Côte d'Ivoire , Upper Volta , Dahomey and Niger...

  • List of French possessions and colonies
  • French colonial flags
    French colonial flags
    Some of the colonies, protectorates and mandates of the French Colonial Empire used distinctive colonial flags. These most commonly had a French Tricolour in the canton....

  • French North Africa