Capital : Abidjan
Size: 125 000 sq m Popn: 12 910 000
This area was once made up of several native kingdoms. From the C16th, Portugal, France and Britain established coastal trading centres for slaves and ivory. Europeans were late colonising the area with the French inducing coastal tribes to sign treaties giving them a trade monopoly in the 1840s. Although fighting with interior tribes continued, it became a French colony in 1893 and part of French West Africa in 1904.
Indigenous political groups emerged after WWII and the Ivory Coast was given self-government within the French community in 1958. Félix Houphouét-Boigny unilaterally announced independence in 1960, remaining virtually unopposed until unrest over inflation in 1978. Social unrest in the 1980s was widespread but he won a sixth five-year mandate in 1987. He retained close ties with France and this support helped the economy and provided political stability. In 1990, his PDCI party was re-elected for a further tern although there were allegations of political pressurizing and ballot rigging.
There are still about 50 000 French in the country with 60 different tribes in six main groups and immigrants from neighbouring countries, 65% follow traditional beliefs, 23% Islam and 12% Christianity.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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