Douala, Cameroon

Reference work entry


Cameroon’s most populous city, Douala is also the country’s chief port, located on the Wouri River estuary, 24 km inland from the coast.


Originally comprising three villages, Akwa, Bell and Deïdo, Douala developed as a centre for the slave trade following the arrival of the Portuguese in 1472. After the efforts of English missionary.

Alfred Saker in 1845 a treaty was signed with Douala’s chiefs, abolishing slavery. Saker became a national hero and is also credited with translating and publishing the bible in the national language.

In 1884 Douala became a German protectorate. The swampy areas surrounding the city were cleared for development and rail connections were put in place.

After the First World War Douala became part of French Cameroon.

Modern City

Douala’s deep water port handles the bulk of Cameroon’s overseas trade and has been adapted for the handling of timber, gasoline, bananas and bauxite.

The Wouri Bridge (built in 1955) connects Douala to Bonabéri and carries both rail and road connections. There are rail links to Kumba, Yaoundé and Ngaoundéré and road connections to all major towns and cities in Cameroon as well as an international airport.

Main industries include: textiles, palm-oil, soap and processed food. There is a branch of the University of Yaoundé as well as several vocational colleges.

Places of Interest

The city has a museum and a handicrafts centre.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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