Bangui (French pronunciation: [bɑ̃ɡi]) (or Bangî in Sango, formerly written Bangi in English) is the capital and largest city of the Central African Republic. As of 2020 it had an estimated population of 889,231. It was established as a French outpost in 1889 and named after its location on the northern bank of the Ubangi River (French: Oubangui); the Ubangi itself was named from the Bobangi word for the “rapids” located beside the settlement, which marked the end of navigable water north from Brazzaville. The majority of the population of the Central African Republic lives in the western parts of the country, in Bangui and the surrounding area.
The city forms an autonomous commune (commune autonome) of the Central African Republic which is surrounded by the Ombella-M’Poko prefecture. With an area of 67 square kilometres (26 sq mi), the commune is the smallest high-level administrative division in the country, but the highest in terms of population. The city consists of eight urban districts (arrondissements), 16 groups (groupements) and 205 neighbourhoods (quartiers). As the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui acts as an administrative, trade, and commercial centre. It is served by the Bangui M’Poko International Airport. The National Assembly, government buildings, banks, foreign enterprises and embassies, hospitals, hotels, main markets and the Ngaragba Central Prison are all located here. Bangui manufactures textiles, food products, beer, shoes and soap. Its Notre-Dame Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bangui. The city is also home to the University of Bangui, inaugurated in 1970.
Bangui has been the scene of intense rebel activity and destruction during decades of political upheaval, including the recent rebellion. As a result of political unrest, the city was named in 1996 as one of the most dangerous in the world
French is the official language of the city and country. Prior to colonization however Sango was the native language spoken in the Central African Republic and the Ubangi River region. The language is still spoken by many people in Bangui and throughout the country. The main religious groups are Catholics, Muslims, native religions, and Protestants. The people who comprise the majority of the city’s inhabitants are migrants from the countryside who seek a better life in the capital.
Since independence in 1960 the Central African Republic has undergone frequent military and political strife. Because of this violence, the city has been named one of the most dangerous places in the world. There is a lack of general sanitation and potable water, a situation made more difficult by the constant arrival of new migrants from the countryside.
Wikipedia Contributors. Bangui. Wikipedia. Published April 9, 2021. Accessed April 11, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangui
Ayodale Braimah. Bangui, Central African Republic (1889- ) •. Blackpast.org. Published March 2, 2015. Accessed April 11, 2021. https://www.blackpast.org/global-african-history/bangui-central-african-republic-1889/
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