French Equatorial Africa

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French Equatorial Africa (French: Afrique équatoriale française) or the AEF was the federation of French colonial possessions in Middle Africa, extending northwards from the Congo River to the Sahara Desert.

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History

Established in 1910, the federation contained four territories — Gabon, Middle Congo (now the Republic of the Congo), Oubangui-Chari (now the Central African Republic) and Chad, although the last was not organized as a separate entity until 1920. The governor-general was based in Brazzaville with deputies in each territory.

In 1911 France ceded parts of the territory to German Kamerun as a result of the Agadir Crisis. The territory was returned after Germany's defeat in World War I, while Cameroun proper became a French League of Nations mandate not integrated into the AEF.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s an anti-colonial movement Société Amicale des Originaires de l'A.E.F. was established by André Matsoua,[1] seeking French citizenship for the territory's inhabitants.[2]

During World War II the federation rallied to the Free French Forces under Félix Éboué (August 1940, except for Gabon which was Vichy French between 16 June 1940 and 12 November 1940) and became the centre for their activities in Africa.

Under France's Fourth Republic (1946–58), the federation was represented in the French parliament. When the territories voted in the September 1958 referendum to become autonomous within the French Community, the federation was dissolved. In 1959 the new republics formed an interim association called the Union of Central African Republics, before becoming fully independent in August 1960.

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