By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (May 20, 2024) – In this edition of Fun with Maps we learn how choosing a language can truly be a challenge in some parts of the world.

250 Native Languages

The west-central African nation of Cameroon became a Republic on May 20, 1972.  It is a national holiday.

As is the case with many other African nations, Cameroon is made up of many different sets of folks, as manifested by having 250 native languages among the 30 million inhabitants.

It was first colonized by the Germans in 1884, who lost it after World War I.  The French and British split Cameroon among themselves, eventually relinquishing colonial rule in the early 1960s.

So how does one pick an official language?  Defer to the colonizers – so both French and English are the official languages.

This map by Perthes in German shows coastal Cameroon.  It was issued in the same year Germany colonized it.

Cameroon -Circa 1884 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.