Republic on the Bight of Biafra SE of Nigeria with its capital at Yaounde. In its early history the region witnessed many migrations and invasions. Slave trading followed the arrival of the Portuguese in 1472. In the 19th century the British established commercial hegemony over the coastal area, but were later supplanted by the Germans. Germany’s territory was occupied during World War I by France and Britain, and in 1919 the area was divided into French and British zones. The French zone became independent on January 1, 1960, with Ahmadou Ahidjo as president. In 1961 the northern section of the British zone united with Nigeria and the southern section joined the independent Cameroon. In 1972 the two zones became a united state with Ahidjo as president. In 1982, Ahidjo resigned in favor of Paul Biya who has continued to rule the country through 2005. In the 1990s there was conflict between Cameroon and Nigeria over the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula in the Gulf of Guinea, with fighting occurring in 1994 and 1997. In 2002, the International Court of Justice awarded the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, but Nigeria delayed implementing the decision.