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Location of Bangui in the Central African Republic
Location of Bangui in the Central African Republic
Bangui, ( Sango Bangî), is the only commune or federal district in the Central African Republic. It serves as its capital and largest city. Population estimates vary considerably around 700,000.

Geography - Contents

Bangui lies on the northern banks of the Ubangi River just below a series of rapids that limit major commercial shipping farther upriver, on the southern border. The navigable Ubangi River turns sharply south below Bangui and connects to the Congo River just south of the Equator near Brazzaville as its chief northern tributary. The river marks the border between the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Congolese town of Zongo sits opposite the river from Bangui. Bangui is located at 4°22' North, 18°35' East (4.36667, 18.58333). [1]Most people in the Central African Republic live in the western sections near Bangui.The city centre lies near the river and houses a large triumphal arch dedicated to Bokassa, the Presidential Palace and the central market. Km 5, lying 5km further north, the heart of the residential area, hosts the largest market and most nightlife. Further north still lie rolling hills.

History - Contents

The city was founded as part of French Equatorial Africa in 1889 and is named for local rapids.The Central African Republic gained independence from France on August 13, 1960.The University of Bangui, founded in 1970 enrolls about 2900 students and monopolizes non-agricultural college education in the Central African Republic.Widespread violence followed the March 1981 elections. Opponents of unpopular vote-rigging dictator David Dacko laid siege to Bangui and compelled his flight to exile. Andre Kolingba then formed the Comité Militaire pour le Redressement National.In October 1985, a conference of public health officials including representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organisation met in Bangui and defined AIDS in Africa as, "prolonged fevers for a month or more, weight loss of over 10% and prolonged diarrhoea". About half the AIDS cases in Africa based on the Bangui definition are HIV positive.A French Jaguar aircraft crashed in Bangui in March 1986, killing 35 and leading a resurgence in anti-French sentiment. Andre Kolingba, however, continued to allow the French to maintain military bases in the Central African Republic.Some 200 Central African Republic soldiers mutinied in Bangui in May 1996, demanding back pay and the abdication of dictator Patassé. French troops stationed in the country quelled the mutiny and reestablished dictatorial power. The renegades, however, heavily looted Bangui and killed more than 50 people.After elected president Ange-Félix Patassé announced a national unity government in early 1997, mutinous troops refused to relinquish a military base in Bangui. New fighting erupted in June.

Culture and Economy - Contents

Bangui serves as an administrative, trade, and commercial center.Bangui manufactures include textiles, food products, beer, shoes, and soap. The main exports are cotton, timber, coffee, and sisal. Because of the ongoing strife, unemployment hovered near 23% in the city as of 2001.Bangui hosts a river port and an international airport ( IATA airport code BGF); the former handles the overwhelming majority of the country's international trade. River ferries sail to Brazzaville and Zongo. Roads connect the city to Cameroon, Chad, and Sudan.
Several periodicals and three daily newspapers publish in Bangui. Other attractions in Bangui include Boganda Museum and Bokassa Palace.
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