Cote d'Ivoire

 

Côte d'Ivoire is a country in West Africa. It borders on Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana, from the south it is washed by the waters of the Gulf of Guinea of the Atlantic Ocean. Until 1960 - a colony of France.

There are more than 60 ethnic groups in the country. The capital is Yamoussoukro (with a population of 231 thousand inhabitants), the main economic and cultural center of the country is Abidjan (about 5.2 million people). The official language is French, the main local languages are Gyula, Baule, and Baté. National holiday - Independence Day (August 7, 1960).

 

Etymology
Until 1986, the name of the state was officially translated into Russian as the Republic of the Ivory Coast. In October 1985, the Congress of the ruling Democratic Party decided that the word "Côte d'Ivoire" is a geographical name and does not need to be translated from French.

However, outside the countries of the former USSR, the name of the state is still translated (English Ivory Coast, German Elfenbeinküste, Spanish Costa del Marfil, port Costa do Marfim, Polish Wybrzeże Kości Słoniowej, etc.)

natural conditions
Mostly flat country, covered with tropical rain forests in the south and tall grass savannah in the north.

Natural resources - oil, gas, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, gold, nickel, tantalum.

Climate
The climate is equatorial in the south and subequatorial in the north. The average annual temperature is from +26 to +28 °C. The annual precipitation amounts are from 1100 mm in the north to 5000 mm in the south.

The country lies in two climatic zones - subequatorial in the north and equatorial in the south. Average monthly temperatures are everywhere from +25 to +30 °C, but the amount of precipitation and their regime are different. The climate in the southern part of the country, in the equatorial climate zone, is hot and humid with heavy rains. The temperature ranges from +22 to +32 °C, and the heaviest rains come from April to July, as well as in October and November. Oceanic air dominates here all year round and there is not a single month without precipitation, the amount of which reaches 2400 mm per year. In the north, in the subequatorial climate, the temperature difference is sharper (in January it drops to +12 °C at night, and in summer it exceeds +40 °C), there is much less precipitation (1100-1800 mm) and a pronounced dry winter period. From December to February, harmattan winds blow in the northern regions of the country, bringing hot air and sand from the Sahara, sharply reducing visibility and making breathing difficult.

Inland rivers
The main rivers are Sasandra, Bandama and Komoe, however none of them is navigable for more than 65 km from the mouth due to numerous rapids and a sharp drop in the water level during the dry period.

Vegetation
Ivory Coast has a tropical climate with four seasons in the coastal and central regions and two seasons in the northern savannah. The flora of Côte d'Ivoire changes from the south of the country, where dense tropical forests of evergreens grow (African lofira, iroko, red Basam tree, yangon, black ebony, etc.), to the north, where savannah dominates with light forests and herbaceous plants . Along the banks of the reservoirs in the south, near the 4th parallel, there is a tropical forest zone of trees growing in the water. Coffee, cocoa, bananas and pineapples are cultivated in this zone. In the west of this zone is the Tai National Park - one of the last primary forests in Africa, recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage.

Further north, in the center of the country is a humid tropical zone. Here begins the dominance of the savanna, but at this latitude there are still many trees. The savannah is used for growing coffee, and cotton plantations are located on its northern borders. Starting from here, the tropical climate determines the abundance of large savannahs with dense grasses and thickets of shrubs. Crops such as millet, sorghum, rice, cotton and many garden plants are cultivated here.

Many plants of the flora of Côte d'Ivoire are of interest as sources of food, technical and medicinal products.

Animal world
Ivory Coast is home to jackals, hyenas, leopards, elephants, chimpanzees, crocodiles, several species of lizards and poisonous snakes.

Protected areas
The country has one of the most developed national park systems in West Africa. The Thai National Park is included in the World Heritage List.

 

History

Pre-colonial period
The territory of modern Côte d'Ivoire was inhabited by pygmies in the 1st millennium BC, who were engaged in hunting and gathering in the conditions of the Stone Age. Then other African peoples began to move there, the first of them were the Senufo, who came in the 11th century from the northwest.

In the 15th-16th centuries, the Mande tribes (Malinke, Gyula, etc.) came from the north, pushing the Senufo back. At the beginning of the 18th century, the Mande created the state of Kong, which became an important trading center and center for the spread of Islam in West Africa.

colonial period
For the first time, Europeans began to land on the shores of modern Côte d'Ivoire in the 15th century. They were Portuguese, Dutch, Danes. The Portuguese were the first, in the 1460s. Europeans bought ivory, gold, slaves from the natives.

The first settlers from Europe were French missionaries who landed there in 1637. Their first settlement was soon destroyed by the natives. Half a century later, in 1687, a new French mission was created, this time with armed guards. At the beginning of the 18th century, the French tried to establish two more settlements on the coast, but they lasted only a few years.

The French again took up the development of the Ivory Coast from 1842. They restored the fort of Grand Bassam (on the coast, not far from present-day Abidjan), and by 1846 they had established their protectorate over almost all coastal tribes.

Inland, the French began to move in 1887. Within two years, the French made treaties with most of the tribes from the coast to the modern northern border of the country.

In 1892, borders were established with Liberia, in 1893 - with the British colony of the Gold Coast (modern Ghana).

In 1893, the Ivory Coast was separated into a separate French colony (from the colony of Senegal), and in 1895 BSC was included in French West Africa.

During the colonial period, the French began to develop the production of export crops (coffee, cocoa, bananas and others), as well as to mine diamonds, gold, manganese ore, and developed forest resources. The French were engaged in the development of infrastructure, in particular the construction of railways and highways, seaports.

In October 1946, the Ivory Coast was granted the status of an overseas territory of France, and a general council of the territory was created.

In March 1958, the autonomous Republic of the Ivory Coast was proclaimed.

Post-independence period
On August 7, 1960, the independence of the country was proclaimed. The leader of the Democratic Party, Houphouet-Boigny, became its president, and the Democratic Party became the ruling and sole party. The principle of inviolability of private property was proclaimed. The country continued to be an agricultural and raw material appendage of France, but by African standards, its economy was in good condition, with economic growth reaching 11% per year. The Ivory Coast in 1979 became the world leader in the production of cocoa beans, but success in this area was based on a favorable market environment and a combination of qualified managers, foreign investment and a large number of cheap labor, mainly guest workers from neighboring countries.

However, in the 1980s, the prices for coffee and cocoa on world markets fell, in 1982-1983 the country suffered a severe drought, an economic recession began; by the end of the 1980s, per capita external debt exceeded that of all African countries except Nigeria. Under public pressure, Houphouet-Boigny made political concessions, legalized alternative ruling political parties, initiated the electoral process, and in 1990 was elected president.

In 1993, he died and the country was headed by Henri Conan Bedier, who had long been considered his heir. In 1995, a forum was held on investment in the country's economy, in which Russian companies also participated. As political instability increased in the late 1990s, Bedier had a serious competitor: Alassane Ouattara. He was born in Côte d'Ivoire, and his parents were originally from Burkina Faso, but subsequently received Ivorian citizenship. Whereas, according to the Constitution of the country, only the candidate who has both parents - Ivorians by birth, and not by naturalization, can apply for the presidency. Thus, all people born in mixed marriages are excluded from a possible struggle for the presidency. This circumstance exacerbated the already emerging split in society along ethnic lines. By that time, from a third to a half of the country's population were people of foreign origin, mainly working earlier in agriculture, which fell into decline due to the deteriorating economic situation.

On December 25, 1999, a military coup took place in the country, the organizer of which Robert Gay, a former army officer, held a presidential election in 2000, marked by fraud and riots. Opposition leader Laurent Gbagbo was officially declared the winner of the election.

On September 19, 2002, a military mutiny was committed against him in Abidjan, which was organized by Robert Gay. During the rebellion, Gaia, as well as the Minister of the Interior of the country, Emil Boga Dudu, were killed. The rebellion was suppressed, but served as the beginning of a civil war between political factions representing the north and south of the country.

The main rebel group in the north, possibly supported by the government of Burkina Faso, was the Patriotic Forces of Côte d'Ivoire, led by Guillaume Kigbafori Soro. In addition, other groups operated in the east of the country.

Since the end of 2002, Liberia has also intervened in the conflict.

France took the side of Gbagbo ("Operation Licorne") (under the pretext of protecting the country's large European population) and helped the president with its armed forces.

Troops from neighboring African countries (including Nigeria) were also sent to Côte d'Ivoire.

In 2003, an agreement was reached between the official authorities and the rebels to end the clashes, but the situation continued to be unstable: the government controlled only the south of the country.

A lasting peace agreement was only signed in the spring of 2007.

At the end of 2010, presidential elections were held in Côte d'Ivoire, which resulted in an acute political crisis and, as a result, a civil war. International organizations recorded numerous human rights violations on both sides, several hundred people died. During a joint operation by the UN and French troops, Laurent Gbagbo was removed from power, and Alassane Ouattara became the new president.