a republic in central africa lying east of chad and the central african republic. Its capital is yaounde. As the cameroons, it existed from 1884 under german, british, french, and un mandates until it achieved independence in 1960. It united with the former british trust territory of southern cameroons in 1961. Its name is from the river that runs through it, rio dos camaroes, river of prawns, so called by 16th century portuguese explorers impressed by the abundance of prawns in its waters.