Cameroon, nation like most African nations is a creation of the late 19th Century, although the name ‘Rio dos Cameroes’ had been given to the Wouri Basin by the Portuguese as far back as the 15th century. There had been contact with North Africa through caravan routes across the Sahara as well as with Central Africa. Contact by sea with North Africa and Europe was inaugurated by the sea-loving Phoenicians who discovered the ‘Theo Oekama’ (Chariot of fire), possibly mount Cameroon during an eruption. The Portuguese continued these coastal contacts by discovering Fernando Po in 1462 and the river Wouri which they named ‘Rio dos Cameroes’ (river of prawns). Other visitors and traders included the Poles, French, British, Germans and Spanish. Many trading posts and factories were established along the coast of Bimbia, Cameroon (Douala), Big Batanga (south), by various European traders especially the British.During the First World War 1914 to 1918 Germany was defeated in Cameroon in 1915 by a combined force of British, French and Belgian troops. The British and French thereafter established a joint administration of the territory (condominium) for a few months, and then partitioned it. The British took a smaller Western band with the Mountain range forming a natural frontier between her sector and the larger eastern French sector. The British sector was disjointed by the Benue Valley thus providing Nothern British Cameroon and Southern Cameroons.
During the Second World War, 1938-1945, Germany tried to recover her colonies of which Cameroon was one. But her defeat in the War and the creation of a new world organization, the United Nations, he League of Nation’s mandate was transformed to the United Nations Trusteeship by which the trusteeship powers were obliged to develop the territories for eventual self-determination. French Cameroun was first ruled without participation of the people, directly by French administrators. This was the principle of direct rule whereby the French regarded their civilization as superior to any African civilization, let alone that of Cameroon.