Ethnic Groups: Baya 33%, Banda 27%, Mandjia 13%, Sara 10%, Mboum 7%, M’Baka 4%, Yakoma 4%, Other 2%
GDP: $2.855 billion (2014 est.)
GDP per capita: $600 (2014 est.)
Unemployment: 8% (2001 est.)
Since gaining independence from France in 1960, four of its five presidents have been ousted through unconstitutional means.
Despite natural resources, including gold, timber, diamonds and uranium, the Central African Republic (CAR) is among the poorest nations in the world.
CAR is a possible hideout of Joseph Kony, the brutal leader of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA).
Since March 2013 when President Francois Bozize was ousted by a coalition of rebels, CAR was plunged into chaos. Seleka, a predominantly Muslim coalition, has since been forced out of power, but Christian militias, known as the anti-balaka (translates to anti-machete), fought back to counter the attacks on Christian communities. Rights groups have warned of ethnic cleansing.
According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as of April 14, 2015, there were 436,300 internally displaced persons in CAR.
1894 – The territory of Ubangi-Shari (Oubangui-Chari) is brought under French colonial rule.
1910 – Ubangi-Shari joins with three other dependencies to form French Equatorial Africa (AEF).
December 1958 - Becomes an autonomous republic within the French Community, with Barthelemy Boganda serving as prime minister until his death in 1959.
August 13, 1960 - Achieves full independence from France as the Central African Republic. David Dacko becomes the first president.
1962 – President Dacko declares Social Evolution Movement of Black Africa (MESAN) the only legal political party.
1964 - Dacko runs unopposed and is formally elected president.
December 31, 1965 – President Dacko is overthrown in a military coup led by Jean-Bedel Bokassa, commander of the armed forces.
January 1966 – CAR’s constitution is rescinded, and the legislature is dissolved.
1972 – Jean-Bedel Bokassa makes himself president for life.
1976 – Bokassa proclaims himself emperor of the newly-renamed Central African Empire.
September 20, 1979 - Bokassa is deposed in a coup by David Dacko, with French backing.
September 1, 1981 - General Andre Kolingba leads a coup removing Dacko from power and establishes a military government.
November 29, 1986 - Kolingba is sworn-in as constitutional president.
October 1992 – Multiparty presidential elections are held, but the results are later annulled by the Supreme Court due to voting irregularities.
1993 – In the rescheduled multiparty presidential elections, Ange-Felix Patasse is elected president, defeating Andre Kolingba and David Dacko.
October 1999 - President Ange-Felix Patasse is re-elected, with 51.6% of the vote.
March 2003 - Francois Bozize, backed by Chad, seizes power while Ange-Felix Patasse is abroad. Bozize is elected president in 2005.
September 25, 2007 – The United Nations Security Council passes Resolution 1778, which establishes the peacekeeping operation MINURCAT, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad. The mission’s mandate ends on December 31, 2010.
January 23, 2011 – President Francois Bozize is re-elected despite allegations of fraud by election observers.
October 14, 2011 – In a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Barack Obama says he is sending about 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to provide assistance in hunting down Joseph Kony, the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
December 2012 – Seleka, a coalition of predominantly Muslim rebel groups, stages attacks on several cities as they advance towards the capital Bangui.
January 11, 2013 - An agreement signed in Gabon’s capital, Libreville, sets up a unity government headed by President Bozize. Under the agreement, the Seleka and opposition party members will pick a prime minister, and legislative elections will take place in a year.
March 2013 – Seleka accuses President Francois Bozize of reneging on the peace deal and ousts him. Bozize flees to Cameroon and Michel Djotodia, a Seleka leader, declares himself president.
April 13, 2013 – The National Transitional Council confirms Djotodia as interim president.
August 18, 2013 – Michel Djotodia is sworn in as interim president. He is considered the first Muslim head of state and the first from the northeast.
September 2013 - Djotodia officially disbands the Seleka coalition.
December 5, 2013 - The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 2127, which authorizes MISCA, the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic, and the French peacekeeping troops already on the ground to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and stabilize the country.
December 2013 – The African Union announces it will temporarily boost its troop levels in CAR to 6,000 soldiers.
January 2014 – According to the UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency, as a result of the violence that gripped CAR since March 2013, more than 935,000 people are internally displaced and nearly 60% of them are children.
January 10, 2014 – Interim President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye resign amid pressure from African regional leaders.
February 14, 2014 – The European Union commits to sending 500 troops to the Central African Republic, a number that the coalition is planning to double, according to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The EU’s announcement follows France’s statement that it will send 400 additional troops to join the 1,600 French personnel already deployed there.
April 10, 2014 – The U.N. Security Council unanimously approves the creation of a United Nations peacekeeping force for the Central African Republic, where competing militias have been fighting for months. The council approved the deployment of 11,800 peacekeepers to the country, where about 6,000 African-led peacekeeping forces and about 2,000 French troops already have been operating. Additionally, the European Union is planning to deploy up to 1,000 troops.
April 30, 2015 - French soldiers forced minors in the Central African Republic to perform sex acts on them in return for food or money, according to Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World, citing a confidential United Nations report. The abuses were allegedly committed against a dozen hungry, vulnerable children at a displaced persons camp at M’Poko International Airport in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, between December 2013 and June 2014.
May 7, 2015 - The Paris prosecutor’s office announces “a judicial investigation against unnamed persons accused of charges of rapes on minors” aged under 15 years, or complicity in this, “by people abusing the authority conferred by their functions.”
August 12, 2015 - A day after Amnesty International details allegations of the rape of a 12-year-old girl and indiscrimate killings by U.N. peacekeeping forces in CAR, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon requests and accepts the resignation of Babacar Gaye, head of U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.
August 19, 2015 – A U.N. spokeswoman says three additional people, including a minor, have accused U.N. peacekeepers working in the Central African Republic of rape. Since the United Nations established a force in the country in April 2014, there have been 14 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, including the three new accusations.
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