In 1976, Central African Republic President Jean-Bédel Bokassa declared his country as an empire to be known as the Central African Empire. His purpose was to help his nation to stand out among the other African countries. His coronation took place in December 1977, where he styled himself as "His Imperial Majesty". The lavish coronation ceremony cost the fledgling empire approximately US$20 million, which amounted to nearly one-third of the nation's budget.

Emperor Bokassa's reign would not last, internal strife and loss of support of Central African Empire's foreign benefactor, France, led to his overthrow in 1979. As far as international recognition, the empire never was acknowledged as an empire, but seen as a continuation of President Bokassa's military dictatorship that started when he took power in 1966.

Bokassa fled during the French invasion of the country, for a time he spent his exile in France, until his presence became an embarrassment for the French government. Bokassa returned to Central African Republic in 1986, arrested and tried for numerous crimes but his sentence following his trial was reduced from the death penalty to life imprisonment. He was released in 1993 and died in 1996, aged 75.

More Info: