I posted this on another board, and I wanted to share here,
Bokassa grew up in what was then French Equatorial Africa(a # of connected French colonies in Africa)...where as a young man Bokassa served with distinction in the French army. Eventually the French Equatorial Africa dissolved in 1960 and was replaced by a # of different countries. The part that relates to Bokassa became known as the Central African Republic of which the 1st President of the CAR at the time, President David Dacko....installed Bokassa as the head of the CAR army. On the eve of 1966 Bokassa used his prominent position to overthrow President Dacko and effectively installed himself as the President of the CAR...now President Bokassa alleged that there was foreign interference in the CAR and used this excuse as why he overthrew Dacko ....Dacko was put under arrest but later released, serving briefly as an advisor to Bokassa but later teaming with the French to overthrow Bokassa.
In 1976 Bokassa decided to rename the CAR to the Central African Empire where the Emperor was to be Bokassa himself. Now Emperor Bokassa who looked up to his hero, the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte....held a lavish coronation that reportedly almost bankrupted the Empire. Emperor Bokassa dreamed of a glorious Central African Empire mimicking that of the French Empire under Napoleon...but things did not work out as Bokassa hoped being accused of horrible crimes including crimes against children(whether the crimes are true or not IDK as a later CAR court posthumously pardoned Bokassa)....Eventually in 1979 as discussed earlier Bokassa was overthrown, the Empire was abolished and the French effectively reinstalled Dacko as President of the CAR.
In exile.... Bokassa first went to the Ivory coast for refuge but eventually settled in France due to his status as a French war veteran....where the French were criticized for harboring Bokassa. While in France as an exile....Bokassa was a wanted man in his former CAR being sentence in absentia to death.. Remarkably Bokassa went back to the CAR in 1986 where he was tried and found guilty of a # of crimes and sentenced to death which was later commuted to life in prison, of which Bokassa was eventually freed from prison and went on to live his remaining years in peace in the CAR. Bokassa was posthumously pardoned by the CAR in 2010..
Thoughts on Bokassa and the Central African Empire are welcome....