Ivory Coast, officially French République de Côte d’Ivoire [repy Republic də ko ː t di VWA ː r, after the former name of the corresponding section of the Upper Guinea Coast], German Ivory Coast, country in West Africa with (2019) 25700000 Residents – see threergroup; The capital is Yamoussoukro.
Given the general morphology of the territory – a sort of inclined plane from N to S – the country’s hydrographic system rests on almost parallel watercourses, flowing from the northern plateaus to the Atlantic; the largest are the Sassandra, the Bandama, the Comoé and the Cavally, which partly marks the border with Liberia: all have the course interrupted by rapids and are therefore scarcely usable for navigation. The northwestern Ivory Coast, however, pays tribute to the Niger River, to which they bring their waters, through the Bani, the Bagoé and the Baoulé.
In relation to the climatic conditions, the plant landscape presents throughout the southern part of the country the rainforest, rich in precious woodworking essences (especially mahogany), among a profusion of lianas and a great variety of palm trees. The forest extends towards the N with thin bands at the edge of the watercourses, in an environment already dominated by the savannah, which is mainly wooded in the central area, characterized by trees such as lingué (Afzelia africana), teli (Erythrophloeum guineense), iroko and samba; in the driest areas of the far north, the herbaceous and shrubby savannah predominates, with plants such as the shea nut. Jackals, hyenas, panthers, elephants, hippos, numerous varieties of monkeys, and many other mammals are widespread. Among the reptiles, crocodiles and poisonous snakes such as vipers, mambas aboundand many others. Deforestation and water pollution are the most serious environmental problems facing the country. Its forests, formerly the largest in West Africa, have been almost entirely destroyed. In addition, household sewage and chemical, agricultural and industrial waste poison water sources. The protected area covers a total of 20.4% of the territory, within which eight national parks and three areas declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO are identified, and they are: the Taï National Park (1982), the nature reserve del Monte Nimba (1981) and the Comoè National Park (1983). Unfortunately, the last two areas have been inscribed on the list of world heritage in danger.
8,000 years ago, small groups of pygmies lived as hunters and gatherers in what is now the Ivory Coast. From around 1400 AD, various peoples immigrated, including Mende, Senufo, Akan and Kru, and small empires emerged. The peoples advancing to the north professed Islam. In 1471 the Portuguese established their first trade relations (including ivory, hence the name “Ivory Coast”, later slaves). In 1687, French merchants founded the Assinie coastal branch and took part in the slave and ivory trade. After 1700, the Akan Baule and Agni immigrated from the east, from what is now Ghana. The southeast belonged in the 18th and 19th centuries. Century to the powerful empire of the Ashanti. The savannah of the north belonged to the sphere of influence of the Empire of Mali and its successor states.
The first French naval base was built in Grand-Bassam in 1843 and the French began to conquer the hinterland. In 1889 the Ivory Coast became a French protectorate and in 1895 part of French West Africa (AOF). In order to be able to better control the hinterland, the French began to build railways and roads in 1903. In 1915, after decades of resistance, the northern tribes recognized France as a colonial power.
In 1944 F. Houphouët-Boigny founded the Syndicat Agricol Africain (SAA) to represent the interests of African farmers, from which the Parti Démocratique de la Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI-RDA) emerged in 1945. The Ivory Coast became an overseas territory of France with limited internal autonomy in 1945, an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958.
On August 7, 1960, the Ivory Coast was under President Houphouët-Boigny independent. Based on the PDCI-RDA, he transformed the country into a one-party state. In contrast to other African states, however, the old tribal hierarchies were not broken, but integrated into the system of government. In the economic development of the country, the government oriented itself to market economy principles and opened it to Western capital. Apart from the student unrest in 1969, domestic political developments – compared to other African countries – were relatively calm for a long time. In 1977 petroleum was discovered off the coast; construction of headframes and a refinery in Abidjan began. Since the mid-1980s, political and economic crises have led to calls for the democratization of the state. After unrest and growing criticism from the urban population, opposition parties were admitted in 1990 and democratic reforms initiated. The following elections were nevertheless won by the PDCI-RDA in the same year.
Despite growing protests from a. At the universities, which escalated in 1991 and 1992 in particular and led to the intervention of the army, the government continued its economic course (including privatization, energetic austerity policy due to high debt). After the death of President Houphouët-Boigny, who was last re-elected in October 1990 (December 1993), the previous President of Parliament, H. K. Bédié, succeeded him. The presidential elections of October 1995, which were, however, boycotted by the opposition, confirmed Bédié in this office. The parliamentary elections of November 1995, in which the opposition parties took part, were won by the ruling party PDCI-RDA.