Cameroon - (Africa)

Information about Cameroon

475440 square kilometres
indigenous beliefs 5%, Christian 53% (RCath 35%, Prot 18%), Muslim 16%
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

In 1472 the mouth of the river Wouri (Duala) was discovered by Portuguese navigators. The first Prot missionaries were freed slaves from Jamaica who were sent in 1841 by the London Baptist Missionary Society to visit the West African coast. In 1842 a British missionary, Alfred Saker, started work in Fernando Po (Bioko), but, due to the intolerance of the Spanish rulers, he left three years later with a Jamaican, Joseph Merick, for the area of Duala. The converts of Fernando Po joined him in 1858. Saker concentrated his energy on the translation of the Bible, while his colleagues carried the Gospel further inland. Saker’s New Testament was published in Duala in 1862, and the Old Testament in 1872.
In 1877 leading Duala chiefs wrote to Queen Victoria offering their territory to be protected by the British government. Before then British and German traders had been operating in Duala without any formal protection by a European government. Since Britain was hesitating, German traders persuaded the German government to accept the offer. In 1884 the German flag was hoisted over Duala. From then on British traders and missionaries were considered to be a threat to German interests. After World War I the Cameroon was divided — while West Cameroon came under British rule, the main part of the country, fourfifths of the territory, became French. Independence was achieved in 1960. Due to the double colonial past the country uses both English and French as official languages.
Four of the five churches with Ref background are very close to one another both in teaching and in practice. Separation is primarily due to mission history and geographical distance, though all churches have begun to have congr in the “territory” of the others. Efforts toward union were made in the ’60s and early ’70s but so far have not led to tangible results. A Church Union Committee continues to exist but is practically inoperative.


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