Central African Republic
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A virtual guide to the Central African Republic, known until 1958 as Ubanghi Shari, a landlocked country in Central Africa. The former French colony became independent in 1960. The CAR is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo to the south and Cameroon to the west.
The country occupies an area of 622,984 km², making it somewhat larger than France, or slightly smaller than Texas.
Most of the country's landscape consists of savannas, the Sahel covers the extreme north and there is equatorial forest, a forest and savanna ecoregion in the south.
The Central African Republic has a population of about 5 million people. The capital and largest city are Bangui. Spoken languages are French (official) and Sango.
The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule - mostly by military governments - civilian rule was established in 1993 and lasted for one decade. President Ange-Felix PATASSE's civilian government was plagued by unrest, and in March 2003 he was deposed in a military coup led by General Francois BOZIZE, who established a transitional government.
Though the government has the tacit support of civil society groups and the main parties, a wide field of candidates contested the municipal, legislative, and presidential elections held in March and May of 2005 in which General BOZIZE was affirmed as president. The government still does not fully control the countryside, where pockets of lawlessness persist. Unrest in neighbouring nations, Chad, Sudan, and the DRC, continues to affect stability in the Central African Republic as well.
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French abbreviation: RCA
English abbreviation: CAR
ISO Country Code: cf
Local Time = UTC +1h
Country Calling Code: +236
Capital City: Bangui (pop. 700 000)
Other Cities: Berberati, Bouar, Bambari, Bangassou, Bossangoa, Mbaiki, and Carnot.
Independence: 13 August 1960 (from France).
Location: Landlocked country in Central Africa, almost the precise center of Africa.
Area: 623,000 km² (242,000 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Rolling plain 600 meters-700 meters (1,980 ft.-2,310 ft.) above sea level; scattered hills in northeast and southwest, mainly savannah in the north and equatorial forest in the south. The Oubangui River, which forms the southern border and flows through the capital Bangui and then south to the Congo basin, is an important transport route.
Climate: Tropical, ranging from humid equatorial in the south to Sahelo-Sudanese in the north; hot, dry winters with mild to hot, wet summers.