French Equatorial Africa

French Equatorial Africa, former French federation in W central Africa. It consisted of four constituent territories: Gabon, Middle Congo (see Congo, Republic of the), Chad, and Ubangi-Shari (now the Central African Republic). The capital was Brazzaville. The federation was formed in large part through the efforts of Savorgnan de Brazza, who forged the link between French possessions in the Congo basin and those in W Africa. French Equatorial Africa (originally called French Congo) was officially established in 1910. Until 1920, Chad and Ubangi-Shari were a single territory. The federation was ruled by a governor-general, resident in Brazzaville, who had a deputy in each of the four territories. About 100,000 sq mi (259,000 sq km) were ceded to Germany as a result of the Agadir crisis (1911) but were returned to France by the Treaty of Versailles. During World War II the federation supported the Free French. In the Fourth French Republic, French Equatorial Africa was given representation in the French parliament and in the assembly of the French Union. When the constituent territories voted (1958) to become autonomous republics within the French Community, the federation was dissolved. In 1959 the new republics formed a loose association called the Union of Central African Republics, and in 1960 they became fully independent republics within the French Community.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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