|Though this African region has been open to development since the 1800s, it was not until 1889 that a European settlement was set up by the French. Five years later, the region became the territory of Ubangi-Shari and in 1910, became part of French Equatorial Africa. Self-governing since 1958, the country was granted independence two years later. Originally a republic, the army overthrew the elected government in 1966. The coup leader, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, was given the title of president-for-life in 1972 but four years later, declared himself an emperor and the country the Central African Empire. In 1979, Bokassa was exiled to France and country became a republic once more. But in 1981, the army once again took over, banning political parties and it was not until 1991 that the country legalized opposition parties. Since elections in 1993, the government led by Ange Felix Patisse has attempted to limit the powers of the army but the military has not been quelled. In 1996 alone, France was asked to help Patisse twice in keeping army-led rebellions in check.