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20 September 1979 – Coup d'Etat in CAR

By September 20, 2007

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Emperor Bokassa I is overthrown by ex-president David Dacko, who abolishes the Empire and reinstates the Republic.

David Dacko had been the first president of the Central African Republic, from 14 August 1960 until 1 January 1966, when he was ousted from power in a military coup by Jean-Bédel Bokassa. In 1972 Bokassa declared himself president-for-life, and then bizarrely named himself emperor of Central Africa in 1976. Bokassa's coronation was based on that of Napoleon.

David Dacko spent ten years in detention before he was released and made an advisor to Bokassa. But Bokassa's rule was becoming unhinged – he ordered, for example, the massacre of 150 children who refused to buy school uniforms and kept body parts in the freezer of his palace.

In 1979, with the aid of French paratroopers, Dacko deposed Bokassa and resumed the presidency, but it was short lived. Unable to bring the country together following Bokassa's erratic reign, Dacko was himself removed in 1981 by General André Dieudonné Kolingba, once again in a French supported military coup.


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