Yaounde Commonwealth Walkway

Cameroon / Africa

The capital of Cameroon is Yaoundé, located in the south-central part of the country. With a population of more than 2.8 million, it is the second-largest city in the country after the port city, Douala. The earliest inhabitants of Cameroon were most likely the Bakas (pygmies). They still inhabit the forests of the south and east provinces. Bantu speakers originating in the Cameroonian highlands were among the first groups to move out before other invaders. During the late 1770s and early 1800s, the Fulani (a pastoral Islamic people of the western Sahel) conquered most of what is now northern Cameroon, subjugating or displacing its largely non-Muslim inhabitants. The outpost of Epsumb or Jeundo was founded between the Nyong and Sanaga rivers at the northern edge of the area's forests in 1887, 1888, or February 1889 by the German explorers Lieutenant Richard Kund and Hans Tappenbeck. From December 1889 to May 1895, it was occupied by the German botanist, Georg August Zenke, as an agricultural research station named Jaunde after the local Yaunde or Ewondo people. His settlement served as a base for the area's rubber and ivory trade, purchasing these from the natives in exchange for imported clothing and iron. During World War I Jaunde was occupied by Belgian troops from the Congo. After Imperial Germany's defeat in that war, France held eastern Cameroon as a mandate of the League of Nations and Yaoundé was chosen to become the capital of the colony in 1922. Douala long remained the more important settlement, but Yaoundé saw rapid growth after 1957 due to the cocoa crisis and unrest along the coast. It continued as the seat of government for the Republic of Cameroon upon its Independence.

5 miles / 8 kilometres

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