Republic Day is celebrated in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) every year on December 1, to commemorate the anniversary of the C.A.R. becoming an autonomous territory within the French Community in 1958. The C.A.R. was granted independence on this day, although the region was still part of the French African empire. It is a public holiday for the general population with schools and businesses closing for the day. Celebrate this important and historic day by exploring the rich heritage and immersing yourself in the country’s culture.
History of Central African Republic Republic Day
The Central African Republic is a landlocked country, inhabited for at least 10,000 years.
It wasn’t until the 1800s that the European invasion of Central African territory began, during the ‘Scramble for Africa.’ Europeans, mainly the French, Germans, and Belgians arrived in the area in 1885.
France took control over and established a colony in the Ubangi-Shari territory in 1894. At the Treaty of Fez in 1911, France ceded nearly 186,411 square miles of the Sangha and Lobaye basins to the German Empire which ceded a smaller area to France. After World War I France annexed the territory once again.
In 1920, French Equatorial Africa was founded and Ubangi-Shari was administered from Brazzaville. During the 1920s and 1930s, the French rulers made cotton cultivation mandatory and simultaneously built a network of roads. Other developments made were attempts to combat sleeping sickness and the establishment of Protestant missions to spread Christianity in the region.
In 1950, the Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa or MESAN was established by Barthélemy Boganda who was disheartened with the French political system. He maintained a political stance against racism and colonial rule.
Boganda became the president of the Grand Council of French Equatorial Africa and vice-president of the Ubangi-Shari Government Council in the Ubangi-Shari Territorial Assembly election in 1957. Within a year, he announced the establishment of the C.A.R. and served as the country’s first prime minister. The nation was granted independence within the French Community on December 1, 1958.
Central African Republic Republic Day timeline
French, Germans, and Belgians arrive in the C.A.R.
French Equatorial Africa is founded and the Ubangi-Shari region is administered from Brazzaville.
The Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa or MESAN is established.
The country is granted independence within the French Community.
Central African Republic Republic Day FAQs
What is Independence Day in the Central African Republic?
Independence Day is a public holiday in the country, celebrated on December 1 every year. This is the National Day of the C.A.R. and marks independence from France on the same day in 1958.
What was the Central African Republic called?
The French called the country French Congo, and later French Equatorial Africa, with Brazzaville as its capital. The French colonies included Ubangi-Shari, which later became the Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, and the Middle Congo, which became the Republic of the Congo.
Who led the Central African Republic to independence in 1958?
On December 1, 1958, France granted the Central African Republic independence. Soon after in 1962, David Dacko became its first President.
How to Observe Central African Republic Republic Day
Visit the CAR
Book your tickets and visit the Central African Republic. Explore the various sights the country has to offer including the Dzanga-Sangha Reserve, Oubangui River, and the Les Chutes de Boali.
Immerse yourself in the culture
Celebrate your heritage by dressing up in traditional clothing. You can also cook up some classic dishes from the country including Chicken Nyembwe, Egusi soup, Arroz Doce and Kanda.
Learn about the struggle
Use this day as an opportunity to educate yourself about the many struggles that led to the freedom of this great nation. Find out more about the many problems the C.A.R. still faces to this day because of its colonial past.
5 Facts About The Central African Republic That Will Blow Your Mind
More forest elephants and lowland gorillas live here than in almost any other African country.
There isn’t much light pollution
The country is one of the least affected by light pollution along with Madagascar.
It’s very diverse
The C.A.R. has over 80 ethnic groups, with each having its own language.
There’s a lot of rainforest cover
Due to the country’s tropical climate, C.A.R. once had the third largest area of rainforest cover in Africa.
It has the lowest life expectancy
The C.A.R. has the lowest life expectancy in the world in 2019 at just 53 years.
Why Central African Republic Republic Day is Important
It has a long history
Groups have occupied the region for at least 10,000 years. The earliest inhabitants were probably the ancestors of today’s Pygmy people who still live in the western and southern forests of the C.A.R.
It challenges imperialism
The day commemorates independence and challenges France’s brutal colonial rule. It celebrates standing up to the people who enslaved, looted, and killed the natives of the C.A.R.
It’s a matter of national pride
The people of the C.A.R. are proud of their history and the long struggle it took to overthrow its rulers. The day is observed by the general population who close shop as a matter of national pride for the country.
Central African Republic Republic Day dates