As of 1958, how many countries existed in the French Equatorial Africa, or the AEF?
French Equatorial Africa, or the AEF, was the federation of French colonial possessions in Equatorial Africa, extending northwards from the Congo River into the Sahel, and comprising what are today the countries of Chad, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, and Gabon.
Established in 1911, the Federation contained four (later five) colonial possessions: French Gabon, French Congo, Oubangui-Chari and French Chad. Following World War I, French Cameroon was added, although it was not organized as a separate entity until 1920.
In 1911, France ceded parts of the territory to German Kamerun as a result of the Agadir Crisis. The territory was returned after Germany's defeat in World War I.
During World War II, the federation rallied to the Free French Forces under Félix Éboué in August 1940, except for Gabon which was Vichy French until 12 November 1940, when the Vichy administration surrendered to invading Free French; the federation became the strategic centre of Free French activities in Africa.
Under the Fourth Republic (1946–58), the federation was represented in the French parliament. When the territories voted in the September 1958 referendum to become autonomous within the French Community, the federation was dissolved. In 1959 the new republics formed an interim association called the Union of Central African Republics, before becoming fully independent in August 1960.