May 20 is Cameroon’s National Day, creation of a unitary state in 1972.
Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões (“Shrimp River”), which became Cameroon in English. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884 known as Kamerun.
After World War I, the territory was divided between France and the United Kingdom as League of Nations mandates. The Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) political party advocated independence, but was outlawed by France in the 1950s, leading to the Cameroonian Independence War. In 1960, the French-administered part of Cameroon became independent as the Republic of Cameroun. The southern part of British Cameroons federated with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.
The federation was abandoned in 1972. The country was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon, is a country in 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.