Cameroon lies at the junction of Western and Central Africa. Its ethnically diverse population is among the most urban in Western Africa. The country’s name is derived from Rio dos Camarões (“River of Prawns”) — the name given to the Wouri River estuary by Portuguese explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries. Camarões was also used to designate the river’s neighbouring mountains. Until the late 19th century, English usage confined the term “the Cameroons” to the mountains, while the estuary was called the Cameroons River. The country’s dense forests are inhabited by screaming red and green monkeys, chimpanzees, and mandrills, as well as rodents, bats, and numerous birds — from tiny sunbirds to giant hawks and eagles. A few elephants survive in the forest and in the grassy woodlands, where baboons and several types of antelope are the most common animals. Waza National Park in the north, which was originally created for the protection of elephants, giraffes, and antelope, abounds in both forest and savanna animals, including monkeys, baboons, lions, leopards, and birds which range from white and grey pelicans to spotted waders. Nearly two-fifths of the population are Roman Catholic, and more than a quarter are Protestant. On 1 January 1960 French Cameroun gained independence from France, and 1 October 1961, the former British Southern Cameroons achieved independence following a vote by the UN General Assembly. They joined with French Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon.
Fun fact: Cameroon is one of the wettest countries on Earth due to its rivers, rainfalls, and waterfalls. It was also the first African country to reach the FIFA World Cup quarter finals.