This African nation was settled over a millennium ago. Outsiders, in the form of the Portuguese who arrived about 500 years ago, eventually made their way to this coastal region. The brisk slave trade decimated the indigenous population, leaving the country unable to resist foreign domination. The Germans created it a protectorate in 1884, but the British and French invaded the area during World War I. The war's end saw Cameroon divided into French and British mandated regions. During the Second World War, the French mandate declined to accept Vichy control and instead made itself available to the Free French forces under Charles de Gaulle. In 1960, independence was achieved following the elimination of the French mandate. A portion of the British mandate later joined with Cameroon with the remaining areas choosing to unite with Nigeria. In 1972, the United Republic of Cameroon was created, though it became once again the Republic of Cameroon in 1984. Over the ensuing decades, the political structure has evolved from a one-party system to multiparty with the first such elections held in 1992. MORE HISTORY