For ten years Jean-Bédel Bokassa had reigned with an iron fist in the Central African Republic, having ousted his distant cousin from office when he was the head of the armed forces.
Attempting to emulate his idol, Napoleon Bonaparte, Bokassa had himself declared the Emperor of the Central African Republic. His coronation was unbelievably decadent: he spent some $20 million US dollars - more than a third of the country's national income - on the occasion. No foreign leaders attended, and he was considered a laughing stock by much of the world.
The Central African Empire lasted only three years before Bokassa was himself overthrown in an operation by the French military. He was exiled to France and tried in absentia, though later returned and was tried again. He served six years of a life sentence before being released in 1993, dying three years later.
Source: Apollo Magazine
- 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