Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Central African Empire

File:Imperial Coat of arms of Central Africa (1976–1979).svg
The Coat of Arms of the Central African Empire.

From 1976-1979 the Central African Republic was, by decree of its one and only "Emperor," the Central African Empire.  It was ruled by the dictator Jean-Bedel Bokassa, or Emperor Bokassa I, after September 1976.

File:Central African Republic (orthographic projection).svg

The Central African Republic had been a the territory of Ubangi-Shari in French Equatorial Africa, with its capital at Bangui, as it is today.  It was natural that a petty psychopathic dictator of such a country determined to be an Emperor, would need a coronation modeled on something Napoleon might have done.  Hence, on 4 December 1977, he received his rather expensive coronation.  It is said that this event consumed a third of their national budget!  Emperor Bokassa I was confident that it was give the CAE greater respect and prominence in the world.  He was a nut.  You can watch some film of that event here:

Human rights violations and massacres, in addition to general misrule, led to the French-supported coup d'etat in 1979 that toppled the Emperor Bokassa I and restored the Central African Republic.  Bokassa, himself, survived the fall of his Empire, and has since been rehabilitated and cleared of all charges by his motherland.  He died there in 1996.

This French-language documentary details the days of this bizarre Empire:

Of course, the poor CAR remains in the midst of turmoil and unrest in our own day.

Live well!

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