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Cameroon, History

The coast of present-day Cameroon was explored late in the 15th century by the Portuguese, who named the estuary to the south of Cameroon Mountain Rio das Cameroes (“river of prawns”). Merchants established trading stations along the coast in the 17th century, buying slaves, ivory, and rubber. British traders and missionaries were especially active in the area after 1845. The Germans and British began to explore inland after 1860, and in 1884 the former established a protectorate over the Douala area; the British, taken by surprise, offered no resistance to their claim.

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