Since Cameroon was formerly under French and British rule, the official languages are French and English. There are also numerous endemic living languages spoken by the people that reflects the diversity of the country.
The long south extension of Cameroon, coupled with its vast expanse of about 475 000 sq Km makes its diversity not to be limited only to its natural milieu. There is a great diversity of people and ethnic groups in Cameroon. This explains why there are a multitude of local languages. In 1964, over 206 ethnic groups were identified. Towards the vast forest zone, on the western plateau and in the coastal region, live the pygmy and Bantou people. The pygmies are believed to be the oldest settlers in Cameroon. The north is characterized by the ‘Kirdis’ (meaning non-moslem) population as well as other descendants of the Sao civilization. From the north down south ends up in hills and plateaus at the foot of which live the Fulbe.
This diversity is marked by a variety of behaviors, activities, cultures and languages. This has however not influenced the sense of togetherness and peace in Cameroon. It is rather a political advantage in the sense that no group totally dominates the territory in terms of numbers.
These languages include the Akoose language, the Gbaya languages, the Fula language, the Gyele language, the Koonzime language, the Mundang language, the Ngiemboon language, and the Vengo language. The Vernacular languages from the ethnic groups in Cameroon are well over 200. Some of them are Ewondo, Bassa, Bamileke, Duala and Arabic in the North and Far-North regions.
Cameroon culture consists of numerous religions including Christianity (about 69%), Islam (about 21%), and many other indigenous religions. The citizens of Cameroon are entitled to freedom of religion, as it is stated within their constitution. Therefore, citizens are free to practice any religion they choose, without harassment or forceful conversion. The northern part of Cameroon is heavily occupied by the Fulani people (Fula: Fulɓe; French: Peul or Peulh; also known Mbororo, though this is sometimes seen as pejorative. The Fulani are mainly Muslims, because Islam is the dominant religion in the northern region. The western region is home of the Bamum people, an ethnic group that also practices the Islamic religion. The French-speaking people are often inhabitants of the southern and western regions and the majority of them are known to be Catholic, while English speaking citizens of the west tend to be Protestants.
Cameroon has 250-300 distinct groups, and an estimated 300+ languages. Cameroon is divided into several regions, which are dominated by specific ethnic or religious groups. Ethnic divisions often correspond to geography, which is also widely varied. Religious differences often correspond to colonial or other historical influence.
Partly through the influence of colonialism, there is a national culture, and two distinct regional cultures: the Anglophone and Francophone regions, which primarily speak English and French and use different legal systems. The national culture is established through public institutions such as school, the multiparty political system, shared history of colonialism and a national love of football.