December 4, 1977

On This Date in! in 1977, Jean-Bedel Bokassa crowned himself ruler of the Central African Empire in a ceremony that was believed to cost more than $20 million dollars ($100 million in today’s dollars). Before he became emperor of the Central African Empire, in 1966, he overthrew the president of the Central African Republic (later the Central African Empire), David Dacko, and assumed control of the country. Before he was president, he was a captain in the French Army and distinguished himself in the French Conflict in Indochina. In 1965, President Dacko asked Bokassa to resign from the French Army and take assume control of the armed forces of the newly created Central African Republic. Before he was a captain in the French Army, Bokassa was the son of a village headman and was educated at local missionary schools. So kids, you too can become the ruler of your own African Empire, if you just follow the template Emperor Bokassa laid out. Go to school, join the army, become a war hero, get asked by your friend and admirer to leave said army and assume a position of authority in his newly created country, kick your friend out, assume the presidency, and ten years later, throw a big gala of a party, dress like Napoleon and crown yourself Emperor. But you won’t live happily ever after. He was deposed less than two years later in 1979 and charged with the murder of 100 schoolchildren, throwing his political adversaries to wild animals and watching them die, and cooking and the eating of his enemies. To his dying day, Bokassa claimed he never ate his enemies.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
This entry was posted in 20th Century, Historical Facts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *