Bangui is the capital of and the largest city in the Central African Republic. The majority of the population of the Central African Republic lives in the western parts of the country, near Bangui. Though located within Ombella-M'Poko prefecture, it is an independent commune, and thus politically independent of the surrounding prefecture. The city was founded in 1889 in what was then the French colony Haut-Oubangui, later renamed Oubangui-Chari and made part of French Equatorial Africa. Named for local rapids, the city grew around the French military post on the Ubangi river.