Bamun Bush Cow Mask Cameroon
The Cameroon Grasslands can be divided into three smaller subgroups, one of which is the Bamum. Within the Bamum complex there are numerous smaller ethnic groups, which are loosely affiliated with one another and share many historical and political similarities while retaining separate identities. All members of this group originally came from an area to the north and migrated in various complex patterns throughout the last several centuries. Fulani traders moving steadily southwards into Cameroon forced the Bamum into their current location during the 17th century. The Bamum are also one of the first peoples in Africa to develop a writing system under the auspices of King Njoya at the end of the 19th century. Njoya was able to maintain his status as a ruler under German indirect colonial rule but was forced into exile when the French took over in 1916. The kingship has since been restored.