Interesting facts about Cameroon:
In the early 2000s, scientists discovered strong evidence that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) originated in chimps in Cameroon’s southeastern corner. They believe the virus was first acquired by a human in 1908 while killing an infected chimp for bushmeat.
HIV/AIDS affects approximately 4.77% of the adult population, or 657,500 Cameroonians. HIV/AIDS was responsible for 34,200 deaths in 2014.
Korup National Park’s forest is Africa’s oldest remaining forest, dating back more than 60 million years. It has over 1,000 known species, including over 90 medicinal plant species. Ancistrocladus korupensis, for example, may be capable of combating HIV and cancer.
Waza National Park is Cameroon’s most visited park, where visitors can see lions, hippopotamuses, monkeys, giraffes, buffalo, elephants, and other animals.
Cameroon is home to over 1,000 butterfly species, accounting for more than a quarter of all species found in Africa.
AIDS has orphaned approximately 300,000 Cameroonian children, and up to 45,000 of Cameroon’s 9,142,000 children are HIV-positive.
The goliath frog is the world’s largest frog and can only be found in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. The frog is about the size of a domestic house cat and can grow to be a foot long.
Cameroon’s government burned over 2,000 tusks and 1,753 ivory objects seized for a total of 3.5 tons of ivory to deter illegal poaching. To keep ivory off the black market, it was destroyed. In an effort to protect elephant populations, over 600 firearms and 3,000 rounds of ammunition were also seized.
Cameroon is slightly larger than the state of California, or twice the size of the United Kingdom, at 184,000 square miles (475,440 square kilometers), and is home to over 200 ethnic groups.
Cameroon has a sizable Christian and Muslim population, but 40% of Cameroonians still practice traditional religions, and many believe in witchcraft. In 2001, for example, the Baba village hired a witch hunter after believing that a meningitis outbreak responsible for an average of ten deaths per week was the work of witches and wizards.
Diviners are thought to have special abilities in some Cameroonian tribes to divine supernatural aspects of life. At the entrance to earth spider burrows, spider diviners build small shrines with symbolic cards. A diviner determines a person’s fortune by reading the cards based on how the spider disrupts their arrangement after tempting the spider with bait.
The Baka, a tribe of hunter-gatherers who lived in the forests, are thought to be Cameroon’s earliest inhabitants. Baka are frequently misidentified as Pygmies due to their average height of 4 feet 9 inches. The term Pygmy is offensive to most Baka, who see it as a sign of ignorance or misunderstanding of their people and culture.
The Indomitable Lions, Cameroon’s national soccer/football team, has qualified for FIFA competitions six times, more than any other African team. They were the first African team to reach the World Cup quarterfinals in 1990, and they went on to win the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Two years after the initial burial, the Bamileke of Cameroon exhume and honor their ancestors’ skulls with singing and dancing. They believe the skulls contain the ancestral spirit, which can bring good or bad fortune. The skulls are frequently kept close to family members, such as inside the home’s floor.
A “fon,” or king, reigns over a Bamileke village in Cameroon. The fon is said to have supernatural abilities, such as the ability to transform into a lion, elephant, buffalo, or leopard. He also has the ability to marry many wives and have up to 150 queens as well as hundreds of children.
The Fulani of Cameroon place a high value on their livestock as pastoral cattle herders. They frequently prioritize the health of their cattle over their own, and a person’s social status is determined by the number of cattle he or she owns.
The Fulani of Cameroon have an initiation ceremony in which young boys are lashed with sticks to leave distinctive scarring to show that they have reached puberty.
Breast ironing is practiced in some Cameroonian villages. This practice mutilates a young girl’s breasts in order to stop their development and ward off advancement by boys who associate breast development with the girl’s readiness for intercourse.
Cameroon and Nigeria’s coasts were African slave trade hubs in the 18th century. Every year, approximately 20,000 men and women are taken from their shores.
Marriages are still arranged in much of Cameroon, though this practice has been declining in recent years. The groom is expected to give his bride or her family a dowry, which could include palm wine, an animal, or bushmeat. If a man can pay the dowry for each bride, he can take multiple wives.
Three out of every four Cameroonians own and work their own land, and the country produces 90% of its own food. Being self-sufficient is one of the reasons Cameroon is more economically stable than many other African countries.
Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon, and public homosexual acts can result in prison sentences ranging from 6 months to 5 years. A widespread belief that homosexuals are cursed or bewitched contributes to the community’s lack of acceptance.
Cameroon has one of the most diverse and prosperous economies in Africa, accounting for half of the gross domestic product of all Central African countries due to its favorable geographic location, wealth of natural resources, and relative political stability. However, the economy remains relatively poor on a global scale due to corruption, unequal wealth distribution, and forest destruction.
McAfee, an Internet security company, named Cameroon’s web domain (.cm) the world’s most dangerous domain. Cybercriminals target Cameroon websites for malicious downloads, spyware, adware, and other unwanted programs, with 36.7% of Cameroon websites rated as posing a security risk.
Cameroon is ranked as one of the world’s most corrupt countries by Transparency International. Cameroon was ranked 138th out of 163 in the organization’s Corruption Perception Index in 2006.
Cameroon is known as “Africa in miniature” because it has all of the continent’s terrains, including rain forest, desert, swamp, and savannah. Other nicknames include “Africa’s melting pot” and “Africa in microcosm.”