Newsletter II-2, an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard, is dated 2010-06-30. It changes the status of Bangui from capital to commune, and
the status of Nana-Grébizi and Sangha-Mbaéré from prefectures to economic prefectures.
Juan Fandos-Rius, who studies the Central African Republic ,
has put up his own website with lots of historical and geographical information. I have used some of it to improve the change history.
des Statistiques, des Études Économiques et Sociales of the Central African Republic has posted the results
of the 2003 census. The enumeration was carried out from 2003-12-08 to 2003-12-22. I have updated this page accordingly.
FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 9, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2004-10-01. It shows the changes to the prefecture names
which are listed in the Change history section under ~1992.
|Short name||CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC|
|Languages||French (fr), Sango|
In 1900, the territory of Ubangi-Shari, part of French Kongo, corresponded most closely to the present-day Central African Republic.
On 1910-01-15, the Kongo became French Equatorial Africa. In 1911, France ceded part of this area to German-owned Kamerun, but during
World War I (1916), the land was restored to its previous status. For part of the colonial period, Chad was administered jointly with
Ubangi-Shari. In one week in August, 1960, all of the territories of French Equatorial Africa gained complete independence. The Central
African Republic's turn came on 1960-08-13, and it took its name then. During the reign of Jean-Bedel Bokassa (1976-12-04 to 1979-09-21),
the country was called the Central African Empire.
Other names of country:
- Danish: Den Centralafrikanske Republik
- Dutch: Centrafrikaanse Republiek, Centraal-Afrikaanse Republiek (formal)
- English: Central African Empire (obsolete), Ubangi-Shari (obsolete)
- Finnish: Keski-Afrikan tasavalta
- French: République f centrafricaine, Oubangui-Chari (obsolete)
- German: Zentralafrikanische Republik f, Zentralafrika n
- Icelandic: Mið-Afríkulýðveldið, Mið-Afríka (informal)
- Italian: Centrafrica m, Repubblica f Centrafricana
- Norwegian: Den sentralafrikanske republikk (Bokmål), Den sentralafrikanske republikken (Nynorsk)
- Portuguese: República f Centro-Africana
- Russian: ЦАР (abbr), Центральноафриканская Республика
- Spanish: República f Centroafricana, Imperio Centroafricano (obsolete), Ubangui-Chari (obsolete)
- Swedish: Centralafrikanska republiken
- Turkish: Orta Afrika Cumhuriyeti
Origin of name:
Central African Republic is divided into fourteen préfectures, two préfectures économiques (economic prefectures), and one commune
autonome (autonomous commune).
- Division: These divisions are préfectures, except for Bangui, which is a
commune autonome (autonomous commune),
and Nana-Grébizi and
Sangha-Mbaéré, which are préfectures économiques (economic prefectures).
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
- ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. The code for Bangui is the same as the IATA airport code.
- FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
- Lic: License plate prefix, according to Where's that vehicle
- Population: 2003-12-08 census
See the Sub-prefectures of the Central African Republic page.
The prefectures are subdivided into sous-préfectures (sub-prefectures). There were 36 sub-prefectures in 1965, 51 in 1984, and 71 in
2000. (A report updated to March 2004 says there were 66 sub-prefectures; I have yet to investigate this assertion.) At a still lower
level, there are about 175 communes.
Origins of names:
- The prefectures are named for the major rivers of the area: Ubangui, Nana, Mambéré, Kadeï, Lobaye, M'Poko, Ombella, Sangha, Kémo,
Ouaka, Kotto, and M'Bomou all flow into the Congo; Pendé, Ouham, Gribingui, Bamingui, Bangoran, and Vakaga all flow into the Chari, and
thus to Lake Chad. Basse (Lower) means downstream, and Haut or Haute (Upper) means upstream.
- Bangui: in the Bobangui language, it means "the rapids." Bangui is located at the first great rapid of the Ubangi River.
- 1946-10-16: Ubangi-Shari organized as a territory, divided into regions of Haute-Sangha (capital Berbérati), Kémo-Gribingui
(Fort-Sibut), Lobaye (M'Baïki), M'Bomou (Bangassou), Ombella-M'Poko (Bangui), Ouaka-Kotto (Bambari), Ouham (Bossangoa), and Ouham-Pendé
(Bozoum), and autonomous districts of Birao (Birao) and N'Délé (N'Délé).
- 1957: Name of Obo district changed to Zandé and its status changed to autonomous district.
- 1960-12-12: Name of Zandé autonomous district changed to Obo-Zémio.
- 1961-01-23: Status of regions changed to prefectures. At this time, the Central African Republic was divided into the prefectures
of Basse-Kotto (capital Mobaye), Bouar-Baboua (Bouar), Haute-Kotto (Bria), Haute-Sangha (Berbérati), Kémo-Gribingui (Fort-Sibut), Lobaye
(M'Baïki), M'Bomou (Bangassou), Obo-Zémio (Obo), Ombella-M'Poko (Bangui), Ouaka (Bambari), Ouham (Bossangoa), and Ouham-Pendé (Bozoum),
and the autonomous sub-prefectures of Birao (Birao) and N'Délé (N'Délé).
- 1961-12-22: The names of two prefecture capitals were changed from Fort-Crampel to Crampel and from Fort-Sibut to Sibut by Law No.
- 1964-01-03: Bangui split from Ombella-M'Poko and became an autonomous city, a status on par with a prefecture, by Law No 63.445.
- 1964-11-20: Capital of Ombella-M'Poko moved from Bangui to Bimbo. Status of Birao and N'Délé changed from sous-préfectures autonomes
(autonomous sub-prefectures) to prefectures. Name of N'Délé changed to Bamingui-Bangoran. Name of Obo-Zemio changed to Haut-Mbomou. Name
of Bouar-Baboua changed to Nana-Mambéré. Name of Birao prefecture changed to Vakaga.
- 1967-05-12: Capital of Ombella-M'Poko moved from Bimbo to Boali by Decree No. 67/172.
- 1972-09-29: "Code Officiel Géographique" created by decree no. 72/322. This was a four-level hierarchical code for the
administrative subdivisions of the Central African Republic. The first digit represented a "province économique". According to the
decree, "the Central African Republic may be divided into six economic provinces". My interpretation is that these provinces were not
part of the administrative structure, but just convenient groupings. The first two digits represented a prefecture; the first three, a
sub-prefecture; and a five-digit code represented a commune. The decree speaks of "assimilating Bangui to a prefecture", meaning that it
is really a commune but is administratively on a par with the prefectures. The table below shows the prefectures with their official
geographic codes as of this date.
- CG: Code Officiel Géographique. First digit
represents province: 1 = Bangui, 2 = Sud,
3 = Ouest, 4 = Centre,
5 = Nord, 6 = Est
- Population: 1968 estimate.
- Source for population and area: Encyclopædia
Britannica, 1984 edition. Figures for Bangui
- 1974-08-06: Kémo-Gribingui prefecture split into Kémo and Gribingui-Économique (the economic prefecture of Gribingui). Name of the
capital of Gribingui-Économique changed from Crampel to Kaga Bandoro.
- ~1974: Sangha-Économique (the economic prefecture of Sangha) formed by taking about 14,150 km.² of Haute-Sangha, plus 5,250
km.² of Lobaye.
- ~1982: Capital of Ombella-M'Poko moved from Boali back to Bimbo.
- ~1982: Name of Sangha[-Économique] changed to Sangha-Mbaéré.
- ~1992: Name of Gribingui[-Économique] changed to Nana-Grébizi. Name of Haute-Sangha changed to Mambéré-Kadéï. Name of Kémo-Gribingui
changed to Kémo.
Other names of subdivisions:
- Bamingui-Bangoran: N'Délé, Ndélé (obsolete)
- Haut-Mbomou: Haut-M'bomou (variant); Obo-Zemio (obsolete)
- Kémo: Kémo-Gribingui, Kémo-Ibingui (obsolete)
- Mambéré-Kadéï: Haute-Sangha (obsolete); Mambéré Kadéi (variant)
- Mbomou: M'Bomou (variant)
- Nana-Grébizi: Gribingui, Gribingui-Économique, Ibingui (obsolete); Nana Gribizi (variant)
- Nana-Mambéré: Bouar-Baboua, Buar-Baboua (obsolete); Nana Nambéré (variant)
- Ombella-M'Poko: Ombella-Mpoko, Ombelle Mpoko (variant)
- Sangha-Mbaéré: Sangha, Sangha-Économique (obsolete); Sangha M'baéré (variant)
- Vakaga: Birao (obsolete)
1960 data are from an "enquête démographique" (demographic investigation).