Page:EB1911 - Volume 05.djvu/122

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110
CAMEROON

consequently a few congregations seceded. In 1876 the general body of the Reformed Presbyterians united with the Free Church of Scotland, leaving the few seceding congregations as the representatives of the principles of the Cameronians. In the British army the first battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) is directly descended from the “Cameronian guard,” which, composed of Cameronians, was embodied by the convention parliament in 1689, and was afterwards employed to restore order in the Highlands.

See J. H. Burton, History of Scotland, vols. vii. and viii. (Edinburgh, 1905); and A. Lang, History of Scotland, vol. iv. (Edinburgh, 1907).

CAMEROON[1] (Ger. Kamerun), a German protectorate in West Africa, bounded W. by the Atlantic, N.W. by British Nigeria, N. by Lake Chad, E. and S. by French Congo, save for a short distance on the south where it is conterminous with the Spanish Muni river settlement.

1911Cameroon.png

Boundaries and Area.—The sea frontier extends from the Rio del Rey, just where the great bend of the coast-line east to south begins, forming the Bight of Biafra, to the Campo river, a distance of 200 m. The north-western boundary, laid down in an agreement between Germany and Great Britain on the 15th of November 1893, runs from the mouth of the Rio del Rey to the “rapids” of the Cross river in 8° 48′ E. Thence it is continued in a north-east line towards Yola, as far as the confines of that town. The boundary is then deflected south so as to leave Yola in British territory, turning north again to cross the Benue river at a spot 3 m. west of where the Faro joins the Benue. From this point the frontier goes north-east to the border of Lake Chad, 35 m. east of the meridian of the town of Kuka. The southern shores of Lake Chad for a distance of some 40 m. belong to the protectorate. The south and east boundaries were laid down by agreements between Germany and France on the 24th of December 1885, the 15th of March 1894 and the 18th of April 1908. The south boundary runs in a fairly direct line from the mouth of the Campo river to the river Dscha (or Ngoko), which it follows to its confluence with the Sanga. The eastern boundary runs from the Sanga irregularly north to 10° N., where it approaches the British frontier at Yola, so that at its narrowest part the protectorate is little more than 50 m. across. From 10° N. the frontier turns eastwards to the Logone, thence going north-east to the Shari river, which it follows to Lake Chad. The protectorate has an area of about 190,000 sq. m. Estimated population (1908) 3,500,000, of whom 1128 were whites.

Origin of the Name.—The name Camarões was first given by the Portuguese discoverers of the 15th and 16th centuries to a large bay or estuary, lying south-east of a great mountain close to the sea, met with after passing the Niger delta. This estuary they called the Rio dos Camarões (the river of Prawns), from the abundance of the crustacea found therein. The name Camarões was also used to designate the neighbouring mountains. The English usage until nearly the end of the 19th century was to confine the term “the Cameroons” to the mountain range, and to speak of the estuary as the Cameroons river. Locally it was often called “the Bay.” On their acquisition of the country in 1884 the Germans extended the use of the name in its Teutonic form— Kamerun—to the whole protectorate.

Physical Features.—Cameroon forms the north-west corner of the great Central African plateau. This becomes evident in its eastern section, where are wide-spreading plains, which farther west assume an undulating character, and gradually merge into a picturesque mountain range. This range, running from north to south, is flanked by a parallel and lower range in the west, with a wide valley between. In the north-west the Upper Guinea mountains send their eastern spurs across the boundary, and from a volcanic rift, which runs south-west to north-east, the Cameroon peak towers up, its summit 13,370 ft. high. This mountain, whose south-western base is washed by the Atlantic, is the highest point on the western side of Africa, and it alone of the great mountains of the continent lies close to the coast. From any vantage point, but especially from the sea, it presents a magnificent spectacle, while some 30 m. westward rises Clarence peak, the culminating point of Fernando Po. With an area, on an isolated base, of 700 to 800 sq. m., Cameroon mountain has but two distinct peaks, Great Cameroon and Little Cameroon (5820 ft.), which is from foot to top covered with dense forest. The native designation of the highest peak is Mongo-ma-Loba, or the Mountain of Thunder, and the whole upper region is usually called Mongo-mo-Ndemi, or the Mountain of Greatness. On the principal summit there are a group of craters. In 1909 the mountain was in eruption and huge streams of lava were ejected. Inland the Chebchi and Mandara mountains indicate the direction and extent of the rift.

The mountains of the plateau sweep grandly round to the

  1. This English form of the name, adopted in the 10th ed. of the Ency. Brit., from the German, appears preferable both to the un-English Kamerun and to the older and clumsy “the Cameroons.”