, pub-7771400403364887, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 The Rise and Fall of Jean-Bédel Bokassa: A Controversial Figure in Central African History

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The Rise and Fall of Jean-Bédel Bokassa: A Controversial Figure in Central African History

The history of the Central African Republic (CAR) is marked by political turmoil and transitions of power. One of the most notable figures in this narrative is Jean-Bédel Bokassa. From proclaiming the fall of the Central African Empire (CAE) to his years in exile, Bokassa's story is intertwined with intrigue and controversy. In this article, we will explore the key events surrounding Bokassa's rise to power, his subsequent overthrow, and his life in exile.

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The Fall of the Central African Empire:
By 00:30 on 21 September 1979, Barthélemy Boganda Dacko, a pro-French political figure, proclaimed the fall of the CAE and the restoration of the CAR under his presidency. This marked the end of Bokassa's imperial reign, which had begun in 1976. Dacko assumed the presidency and Bokassa was forced to step down.

Bokassa in Exile:
Following his ousting, Bokassa found himself in a state of exile. Initially, he fled to Ivory Coast, where he resided for four years in the city of Abidjan. Eventually, he moved to France, where the French government granted him political asylum based on his prior service in the French military.

Château d'Hardricourt:
In France, Bokassa settled in his Chateau d'Hardricourt, located in the suburb of Paris. This decision caused controversy within the French government, as many ministers who had supported Bokassa during his rule felt embarrassed by his presence. It is important to note that Bokassa's residency in France was primarily motivated by his dissatisfaction with his French military pension, which he deemed insufficient.

Memoirs and Controversy:
During his seven years in exile, Bokassa took the time to write his memoirs. However, his book faced legal action in France. A French court ordered the destruction of all 8,000 copies of his memoirs due to controversial claims made within. Specifically, Bokassa alleged that he had shared women with then-French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who had frequently visited the CAR during Bokassa's rule.

Château du Grand Chavanon:
Aside from his residence in Chateau d'Hardricourt, Bokassa also owned the Château du Grand Chavanon in Neuvy-sur-Barangeon. From the 1970s to 1995, he rented the chateau to the Cercle national des combattants, a non-profit organization run by National Front politician Roger Holeindre. In 1995, the Cercle purchased the property from Bokassa.


The story of Jean-Bédel Bokassa is a fascinating chapter in Central African history. From his rise as an emperor to his eventual exile, Bokassa's trajectory is one marked by political upheaval and controversy. The destruction of his memoirs and his presence in France continue to be subjects of interest and debate. Despite the controversy surrounding his rule, Bokassa's influence on the CAR gives us valuable insights into the challenges faced by the nation during that time.

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