The Central African Republic is located in Central Africa just north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its total land area is slightly smaller than that of Texas but is a landlocked nation. The official language is French, but Sangho is also widely spoken.
The Central African Republic became the French colony of Ubangi-Shari in the late 1800s. However, the Central Africans gained independence in 1960. From that time until the 1990s, it existed under military rule and experienced much turmoil. Civilian rule was established in the 1990s, and in 2003, President Ange-Felix Patasse was deposed by General Francois Bozize.
The government of this nation is a republic consisting of an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch. The president is elected to a five-year term and may serve up to two terms, while the prime minister is appointed by the political party currently holding the majority in the legislature. The legislature is called the National Assembly and has 109 members, who are elected to five-year terms. The Supreme Court is comprised of nine judges — three judges who are appointed by the president, three who are appointed by the president of the National Assembly, and three who are appointed by their fellow judges.
Some of the nation's most important natural resources are timber, diamonds, gold, and agricultural products. Together, agriculture and forestry account for well over half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Exports consist mainly of timber and diamonds.
The climate of the Central African Republic is tropical. The geography consists mostly of flat to rolling plateaus with some hills in the northeast and the southwest. Much of the nation is covered in savanna, with forests in the south and desert in the north.
The people of the Central African Republic are at high risk for many major infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and malaria. Due to these medical issues and the nation's serious economic problems, the nation depends on foreign aid and many non-governmental organizations (NGOs). There are many ethnic groups in this country, but the major groups include the Baya, Banda, Mandjia, and Sara. About half of the people of the Central African Republic are Christian, while the rest either follow indigenous beliefs or Islam.