Central Africa

Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent comprising various countries according to different definitions. Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe are members of the Economic Community of Central African States. Six of those states are members of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa and share a common currency, the Central African CFA franc; the African Development Bank defines Central Africa as Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon. Middle Africa is an analogous term used by the United Nations in its geoscheme for Africa, it includes the same countries as the African Development Bank's definition, along with Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe. The Central African Federation called the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, was made up of what are now the nations of Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa covers dioceses in Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe, while the Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian has synods in Malawi and Zimbabwe. These states are now considered part of East or Southern Africa; the basin of Lake Chad has been ecologically significant to the populations of Central Africa with the Lake Chad Basin Commission serving as an important supra-regional organization in Central Africa. Archeological finds in Central Africa have been discovered dating back, over 100,000 years. According to Zangato and Holl, there is evidence of iron-smelting in the Central African Republic and Cameroon that may date back to 3000 to 2500 BCE. Extensive walled settlements have been found in Northeast Nigeria 60 km southwest of Lake Chad dating to the first millennium BCE. Trade and improved agricultural techniques supported more sophisticated societies, leading to the early civilizations of Sao, Bornu, Shilluk and Wadai. Around 1000 BCE, Bantu migrants had reached the Great Lakes Region in Central Africa.

Halfway through the first millennium BCE, the Bantu had settled as far south as what is now Angola. The Sao civilization flourished from ca. the sixth century BCE to as late as the sixteenth century CE in northern Central Africa. The Sao lived by the Chari River south of Lake Chad in territory that became part of Cameroon and Chad, they are the earliest people to have left clear traces of their presence in the territory of modern Cameroon. Today, several ethnic groups of northern Cameroon and southern Chad but the Sara people claim descent from the civilization of the Sao. Sao artifacts show that they were skilled workers in bronze and iron. Finds include bronze sculptures and terra cotta statues of human and animal figures, funerary urns, household utensils, jewelry decorated pottery, spears; the largest Sao archaeological finds have been made south of Lake Chad. Note: BCE is the same as BC and CE is the same as AD; the Kanem-Bornu Empire was centered in the Chad Basin. It was known as the Kanem Empire from the 9th century CE onward and lasted as the independent kingdom of Bornu until 1900.

At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of Chad, but parts of modern southern Libya, eastern Niger, northeastern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, parts of South Sudan and the Central African Republic. The history of the Empire is known from the Royal Chronicle or Girgam discovered in 1851 by the German traveller Heinrich Barth. Kanem rose in the 8th century in the region to the east of Lake Chad; the Kanem empire went into decline, in the 14th century was defeated by Bilala invaders from the Lake Fitri region. The Kanuri people led by the Sayfuwa migrated to the west and south of the lake, where they established the Bornu Empire. By the late 16th century the Bornu empire had expanded and recaptured the parts of Kanem, conquered by the Bulala. Satellite states of Bornu included the Damagaram in the west and Baguirmi to the southeast of Lake Chad; the Shilluk Kingdom was centered in South Sudan from the 15th century from along a strip of land along the western bank of White Nile, from Lake No to about 12° north latitude.

The capital and royal residence was in the town of Fashoda. The kingdom was founded during the mid-fifteenth century CE by Nyikang. During the nineteenth century, the Shilluk Kingdom faced decline following military assaults from the Ottoman Empire and British and Sudanese colonization in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan; the Kingdom of Baguirmi existed as an independent state during the 16th and 17th centuries southeast of Lake Chad in what is now the country of Chad. Baguirmi emerged to the southeast of the Kanem-Bornu Empire; the kingdom's first ruler was Mbang Birni Besse. In his reign, the Bornu Empire conquered and made the state a tributary; the Wadai Empire was centered on the Central African Republic from the 17th century. The Tunjur people founded the Wadai Kingdom to the east of Bornu in the 16th century. In the 17th century there was a revolt of the Maba people. At first Wadai paid tribute to Bornu and Durfur, but by the 18th century Wadai was independent and had become an aggressor against its neighbors.

Following the Bantu Migration from Western Africa, Bantu kingdomes and empires began to develop in southern Central Africa. In the 1450s, a Luba from the royal family Ilunga Tshibinda married Lunda queen Rweej and united all Lunda peoples


Paragrilus is a genus of beetles in the family Buprestidae, the jewel beetles. These beetles are native to the Americas, they are dark in color and not shiny in texture. At least one group of species in this genus is found on plants of the genus Sida. Species include: Paragrilus abjunctus Kerremans, 1903 Paragrilus acuticostis Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus aeneifrons Kerremans, 1896 Paragrilus aeneus Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus aeraticollis Waterhouse, 1889 Paragrilus akersorum Hespenheide, 2002 Paragrilus alutaceidorsis Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus angulaticollis Waterhouse, 1889 Paragrilus argentinus Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus azureus Hespenheide, 2002 Paragrilus bergi Kerremans, 1903 Paragrilus beskei Paragrilus bicarinicollis Cobos, 1976 Paragrilus bolivianus Moore, 1986 Paragrilus bonariensis Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus brasiliensis Paragrilus bruchi Kerremans, 1903 Paragrilus burkei Hespenheide, 2002 Paragrilus cavinus Fisher, 1925 Paragrilus coerulans Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus crassus Kerremans, 1897 Paragrilus credulus Kerremans, 1897 Paragrilus cupricollis Cobos, 1976 Paragrilus dormitzeri Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus dubius Saunders, 1871 Paragrilus embrikiellus Obenberger, 1936 Paragrilus exiguus Paragrilus fallorum Hespenheide, 2002 Paragrilus gestroi Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus heliocarpi Hespenheide, 2002 Paragrilus holomelas Fisher, 1925 Paragrilus ignotus Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus impressus Paragrilus kheili Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus laevicollis Waterhouse, 1889 Paragrilus lesueuri Waterhouse, 1889 Paragrilus major Kerremans, 1897 Paragrilus modicoides Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus modicus Paragrilus moldenkei Hespenheide, 2002 Paragrilus mrazi Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus nanulus Paragrilus nickerli Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus nigritus Kerremans, 1899 Paragrilus obliquus Kerremans, 1903 Paragrilus oculatus Cobos, 1976 Paragrilus opacipennis Fisher, 1925 Paragrilus paulensis Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus percautus Paragrilus peruvianus Paragrilus pulchellus Fisher, 1925 Paragrilus punctifrons Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus purpureus Fisher, 1925 Paragrilus reichei Paragrilus rugatulus Thomson, 1879 Paragrilus similis Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus strandi Obenberger, 1924 Paragrilus sulcicollis Kerremans, 1903 Paragrilus tenuis Paragrilus transitorius Waterhouse, 1889 Paragrilus trifoveolatus Waterhouse, 1889 Paragrilus vianai Obenberger, 1947 Paragrilus vicinus Waterhouse, 1889

Peasholm Park

Peasholm Park is an oriental themed municipal park located in the seaside town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England. It opened in 1912 and became a favourite venue for galas and exhibitions; the park was extended to include Peasholm Glen, a natural ravine, in 1924. Attractions include an artificial boating lake, where mock naval battles are staged, a putting green and a champion tree walk; the park suffered a decline in popularity from the 1970s as the number of holidaymakers visiting Scarborough decreased but it has been restored using Heritage Lottery Funding. Peasholm Park is sited on the north side of the town of Scarborough in a residential area; the site is about 14-hectares and takes in a narrow steep-sided valley running north-east towards North Bay. The valley broadens until it opens out on to low-lying ground closer to the sea; the south-west tip of the site adjoins a cemetery, opened in the late 19th century, the north-east boundary of the site is the A165 road, here called Columbus Ravine.

The boundary on the south and south-east side is the cemetery. On the north side the boundary is Northstead Manor Drive and the west boundary is at roads called Ryndleside and Glenside. There is iron fencing on the perimeter of the park in some places but most of the park boundary is defined just by pavements or grass verges alongside the roads; the park is on the site of a medieval manor house of Northstead, part of the Crown Estate from the 14th century. By the beginning of the 20th century the area was open land used as allotments. In 1911 Scarborough Corporation bought some land called Tuckers Field from the Duchy of Lancaster to create a public park, it was the borough engineer, Harry W Smith, who had the idea of setting out the gardens in Japanese style. Japanese style statues in the park were purchased from Killerby Hall and exotic shrubs and flowers were imported from the home of a local retired banker, living in the French Riviera. In 1924 the park was extended south-westwards along Peasholm Glen following the purchase of more land from the Duchy of Lancaster 1921.

Parts of the east side of the Glen were in private ownership and these were donated to the Corporation. The park was used for musical performances and evening firework displays, it became immensely popular in the immediate pre- and post-Second World War era. After a period of decay a programme of restoration was initiated. Improvement works have been made possible by the granting of funding of over £300,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and additional funds from Scarborough Borough Council. Following the draining of the lake, work was undertaken to remove the large amount of silt in the lake bottom,with the aim of removing enough silt to free sufficient water capacity for the lake to operate successfully; the park remains open and in public ownership. The park received grade II listed status from English Heritage in 1999; the park was closed following a fire at the pagoda started by vandals. Heritage lottery funding has since allowed the restoration of the pagoda itself, the Half-Moon Bridge and the gardens.

The Peasholm Glen Tree Trail has unusual trees. The lottery-funded project there aims to conserve the trees and provides a leafleted trail identifying the most interesting and important species; the leaflet is free and is available to download from the internet. Together with signage on site, it opens up this resource to the widest possible audience. During restoration of the site the Dicksonian Elm, a tree, believed to be extinct, was discovered alive and well in Peasholm Glen. Japanese themed gardens and lake with a pagoda said to be based on the Willow Pattern pottery design, are a central feature of the park; the lake has a central island, accessible by a Japanese-style bridge. There are waterfalls and wildlife in the more tranquil wooded areas; the Naval Warfare event, Battle of Peasholm, has been played out for half an hour three times a week during the summer season for over 80 years. The model boats used are man powered earning the fleet the title of "The smallest manned navy in the world".

All the boats were man powered, until 1929, when electricity was introduced, now only the larger boats need to be steered by council employees. In the early days, the models were a U-boat. After the Second World War, the fleet was replaced with new vessels and the battle, recreated was the Battle of the River Plate. Other events staged in the park include silver and brass band concerts, party in the park, proms in the park and lantern displays. A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has enabled the Scarborough Borough Council to rebuild the Pagoda in its original form using fire retardant wood; the Half-moon Bridge connecting the Island to the mainland has been replaced, the cascade upgraded and the gardens restored and upgraded. Peasholm Park – visiting info Friends of Peasholm Park