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Constituent of French Equatorial Africa
Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
La Marseillaise  •  La Renaissance
(instrumental only)
Location of Ubangi-Shari
Green: Ubangi-Shari (prior to 1916)
Lighter green: Ubangi-Shari (1916 concession from Kamerun)
Lime green: French Equatorial Africa
Dark gray: Other French possessions
Darkest gray: French Republic
Capital Les Abiras (1903–1906)
Fort de Possel (1906)
 •  Established 1903
 •  Merged with Chad 1906
 •  Merged into French Equatorial Africa 1910–1916
 •  Separately administered 1916–1934
 •  Merged into French Equatorial Africa 1934–1958
 •  Autonomy December 1, 1958
Ubangi-Shari c. 1910. Note the borders are reduced to the southeastern section of the present-day CAR.

Ubangi-Shari (French: Oubangui-Chari) was a French colony in central Africa, named after the Ubangi and Chari rivers along which it was colonised. It was established on December 29, 1903, from the Upper Ubangi (Haut-Oubangui) and Upper Shari (Haut-Chari) territories of the French Congo; renamed the Central African Republic (CAR) on December 1, 1958; and received independence on August 13, 1960.[1]


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


A 1924 1-centime stamp with two overprints.

French activity in the area began in 1889 with the establishment of the outpost Bangi (now Bangui) at the head of navigation on the Ubangi.

The Upper Ubangi was established as part of the French Congo on December 9, 1891. Despite a Franco-Belgian convention establishing a border around the 4th parallel, the area was contested from 1892 to 1895 with the Belgian Congo, which claimed the region as its territory of Ubangi-Bomu (Oubangui-Bomou). The Upper Ubangi was a separate colony from July 13, 1894, until December 10, 1899, at which time it was folded back into the French Congo. The Upper Shari region was established as part of the French Congo on September 5, 1900.[1]

The territories were united as the separate colony of Ubangi-Shari on December 29, 1903,[1] following the French defeat of Abbas II of Egypt, who had claimed the area. On February 11, 1906, this colony merged with the French settlements around Lake Chad and became the Ubangi-Shari territory of Ubangi-Shari-Chad (Oubangui-Chari-Tchad).[1] In 1909, it received the administration over the sultanates of Zemio and Rafai from the Belgian Congo.[2]

On January 15, 1910, this administration was merged with the French Middle Congo and Gabon as the Ubangi-Shari area of French Equatorial Africa (FEA). On April 12, 1916, it again became the separate colony of Ubangi-Shari, but lost the territory around Lake Chad in 1920 and was again folded into FEA on June 30, 1934. As a part of FEA, it was declared an overseas territory on December 31, 1937.[1]

Between 1915 and 1931, stamps were overprinted for use in Ubangi-Shari, and later specially printed for the colony.

During World War II, it remained loyal to Vichy France from June 16 to August 29, 1940, before being taken by the Free French. It was granted autonomy as the Central African Republic on December 1, 1958, and independence under the same name on August 13, 1960.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f World Statesmen. "Central African Republic." Accessed 29 Mar 2014.
  2. ^ World History at KMLA. "Central African Republic". Accessed 29 Mar 2014.

External links

  • 1870–1960 timeline
  • 1891–1960 timeline at World Statesmen

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