Why Famous: Bokassa reigned in the impoverished landlocked Central African Republic more than a decade, first as President and then for a three year tenure as Emperor.
His coronation in 1977 was an extravagant affair, costing some US$20 million, which was more than a third of the country's budget. Bokassa was particularly brutal in his rule, suppressing dissent violently and often personally overseeing punishments and trials.
His empire didn't last long - an invasion in 1979 by France restored the previous president and the empire was abolished. He went into exile before being imprisoned in his return to the country in 1986. He served six years of a life sentence before being released and dying shortly after in 1996.
- 1966-01-01 Military coup by Col. Jean-Bédel Bokassa in Central African Republic leads to his dictatorship
- 1972-03-02 Jean-Bédel Bokassa appoints himself President for life of Central African Republic
- 1977-12-04 Jean-Bédel Bokassa crowns himself Emperor of the Central African Empire in a lavish ceremony costing US$20 million - one third of the nation's budget
- 1979-09-20 Coup in Central African Republic as David Dacko overthrows Emperor Bokassa I
- 1987-06-12 Central African Republic ex-emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa sentenced to death
- 1993-09-02 Central African Republic ex-emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa freed