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History of Côte d'Ivoire

History of Côte d'Ivoire

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The date of the first human presence in Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

(also commonly called "Ivory Coast") has been difficult to determine because human remains have not been well-preserved in the country's humid climate. However, the presence of old weapon and tool fragments (specifically, polished axes cut through shale
Shale
Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. The ratio of clay to other minerals is variable. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering...

 and remnants of cooking and fishing) in the country has been interpreted as a possible indication of a large human presence during the Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

 period (15,000 to 10,000 BC), or at the minimum, the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 period. The earliest known inhabitants of , however, have left traces scattered throughout the territory. Historians believe that they were all either displaced or absorbed by the ancestors of the present inhabitants. Peoples who arrived before the 16th century include the Ehotilé (Aboisso
Aboisso
Abiosso is the main town of Aboisso Department of Côte d'Ivoire, located in the Sud-Comoé Region. The city's population is primarily composed of the Anyi Sanwi ethnic group, a branch of the Akan people. Once part of the Krindjabo kingdom, the city also served as a staging point for Marcel...

), Kotrowou (Fresco), Zéhiri (Grand Lahou
Grand Lahou
Grand Lahou is a town in Grand Lahou Department of Côte d'Ivoire in Lagunes Region.The town of Grand Lahou is situated where the Bandama River meets the Gulf of Guinea. It was occupied by the British, Germans and Dutch before the French developed it as a trading port from 1890...

), Ega and Diès (Divo
Divo, Côte d'Ivoire
Divo is a town in Divo Department of Côte d'Ivoire. Divo Department is part of Sud-Bandama Region. The town is served by Divo Airport.-References:...

).

Pre-Islamic and Islamic Periods


Little is known about the original inhabitants of Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

. Historians believe that they were all either displaced or absorbed by the ancestors of the present inhabitants. The first recorded history is found in the chronicles of North African traders, who, from early Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 times, conducted a caravan
Camel train
A camel train is a series of camels carrying goods or passengers in a group as part of a regular or semi-regular service between two points. Although they rarely travelled faster than the walking speed of a man, camels' ability to handle harsh conditions made camel trains a vital part of...

 trade across the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 in salt, slaves, gold, and other items. The southern terminals of the trans-Saharan trade routes were located on the edge of the desert, and from there supplemental trade extended as far south as the edge of the rain forest. The more important terminals—Djenné
Djenné
Djenné is an Urban Commune and town in the Inland Niger Delta region of central Mali. In the 2009 census the commune had a population of 32,944. Administratively it is part of the Mopti Region....

, Gao
Gao
Gao is a town in eastern Mali on the River Niger lying ESE of Timbuktu. Situated on the left bank of the river at the junction with the Tilemsi valley, it is the capital of the Gao Region and had a population of 86,663 in 2009....

, and Timbuctu—grew into major commercial centers around which the great Sudanic
Sudan (region)
The Sudan is the name given to a geographic region to the south of the Sahara, stretching from Western to Eastern Africa. The name derives from the Arabic bilâd as-sûdân or "land of the Blacks"...

 empires developed. By controlling the trade routes with their powerful military forces, these empires were able to dominate neighboring states. The Sudanic empires also became centers of Islamic learning. Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 had been introduced into the western Sudan by Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 traders from North Africa and spread rapidly after the conversion of many important rulers. From the eleventh century, by which time the rulers of the Sudanic empires had embraced Islam, it spread south into the northern areas of contemporary Côte d'Ivoire.

Ghana
Ghana Empire
The Ghana Empire or Wagadou Empire was located in what is now southeastern Mauritania, and Western Mali. Complex societies had existed in the region since about 1500 BCE, and around Ghana's core region since about 300 CE...

, the earliest of the Sudanic empires, flourished in present-day eastern Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

 from the fourth to the thirteenth century. At the peak of its power in the eleventh century, its realms extended from the Atlantic Ocean to Timbuctu. After the decline of Ghana, the Mali Empire
Mali Empire
The Mali Empire or Mandingo Empire or Manden Kurufa was a West African empire of the Mandinka from c. 1230 to c. 1600. The empire was founded by Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa I...

 grew into a powerful Muslim state, which reached its apogee in the early part of the fourteenth century. The territory of the Mali Empire in Côte d'Ivoire was limited to the northwest corner around Odienné
Odienné
Odienné is the chief town of Odienné Department of Côte d'Ivoire, lying in the northwestern part of the country. West of Odienné is the Deng Kele Massif. The town of Odienné was founded by Malinké people under Vakaba Tourié . Later, Samory Touré founded a support base in the town. Features of...

. Its slow decline starting at the end of the fourteenth century followed internal discord and revolts by vassal states, one of which, Songhai
Songhai Empire
The Songhai Empire, also known as the Songhay Empire, was a state located in western Africa. From the early 15th to the late 16th century, Songhai was one of the largest Islamic empires in history. This empire bore the same name as its leading ethnic group, the Songhai. Its capital was the city...

, flourished as an empire between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. Songhai was also weakened by internal discord, which led to factional warfare. This discord spurred most of the migrations of peoples southward toward the forest belt. The dense rain forest covering the southern half of the country created barriers to large-scale political organizations as seen further north. Inhabitants lived in villages or clusters of villages whose contacts with the outside world were filtered through long-distance traders. Villagers subsisted on agriculture and hunting.

Five important states flourished in Côte d'Ivoire in the pre-European era. The Muslim Kong Empire
Kong Empire
The Kong Empire , also known as the Wattara Empire or Ouattara Empire for its founder, was a pre-colonial African Muslim state centered in north eastern Cote d'Ivoire that also encompassed much of present-day Burkina Faso.-Early Period:...

 was established by the Juula in the early eighteenth century in the north-central region inhabited by the Sénoufo, who had fled Islamization under the Mali Empire. Although Kong became a prosperous center of agriculture, trade, and crafts, ethnic diversity and religious discord gradually weakened the kingdom. The city of Kong was destroyed in 1895 by Samori Touré. The Abron
Abron
The Abron or Bono are an Akan people of West Africa. They speak the Abron language.In the late sixteenth century, the Abron founded the Gyaaman kingdom as extension of Bono state in what is now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.-References:...

 kingdom of Jaman
Gyaaman
Gyaman also spelled Jamang was a medieval African state of the Akan people, located in what is now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. Gyaman was founded by the Abron, a branch of the Akan, in the late 15th century...

 was established in the seventeenth century by an Akan
Akan people
The Akan people are an ethnic group found predominately in Ghana and The Ivory Coast. Akans are the majority in both of these countries and overall have a population of over 20 million people.The Akan speak Kwa languages-Origin and ethnogenesis:...

 group, the Abron, who had fled the developing Asante confederation
Ashanti Empire
The Ashanti Empire , also Asanteman was a West Africa state of the Ashanti people, the Akan people of the Ashanti Region, now in Ghana. The Ashanti or Asante are a major ethnic group in Ghana, a powerful, militaristic and highly disciplined people of West Africa...

 in what is present-day Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

. From their settlement south of Bondoukou
Bondoukou
Bondoukou is a town in Bondoukou Department of Côte d'Ivoire, located in the Zanzan Region, 420 km Northeast of Abidjan...

, the Abron gradually extended their hegemony over the Juula in Bondoukou, who were recent émigrés from the market city of Begho. Bondoukou developed into a major center of commerce and Islam. The kingdom's Quranic scholars attracted students from all parts of West Africa. In the mid-eighteenth century in east-central Côte d'Ivoire, other Akan groups fleeing the Asante established a Baoulé
Baoulé
The Baoulé are an Akan people and one of the largest groups in the Ivory Coast. The Baoulé are farmers who live in the eastern side of Côte d'Ivoire . The Baoule people are represented by religion, art, festivals, and equal society . There are more than sixty-five different Akan-speaking ethnic...

 kingdom at Sakasso and two Agni
Anyi people
The Anyi people are an ethnic group in southeast Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.. They are an Akan people who speak the Anyi language.-History:...

 kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi. The Baoulé, like the Asante, elaborated a highly centralized political and administrative structure under three successive rulers, but it finally split into smaller chiefdoms. Despite the breakup of their kingdom, the Baoulé strongly resisted French subjugation. The descendants of the rulers of the Agni kingdoms tried to retain their separate identity long after Côte d'Ivoire's independence; as late as 1969, the Sanwi of Krinjabo attempted to break away from Côte d'Ivoire and form an independent kingdom.

Trade with Europe and the Americas


The African continent, situated between Europe and the imagined treasures of the Far East, quickly became the destination of the European explorers of the fifteenth century
Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europeans engaged in intensive exploration of the world, establishing direct contacts with...

. The first Europeans to explore the West African coast were the Portuguese. Other European sea powers soon followed, and trade was established with many of the coastal peoples of West Africa. At first, the trade included gold, ivory
Ivory trade
The ivory trade is the commercial, often illegal trade in the ivory tusks of the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, mammoth, and most commonly, Asian and African elephants....

, and pepper, but the establishment of American colonies in the sixteenth century spurred a demand for slaves, who soon became the major export from the West African coastal regions (see African slave trade
African slave trade
Systems of servitude and slavery were common in many parts of Africa, as they were in much of the ancient world. In some African societies, the enslaved people were also indentured servants and fully integrated; in others, they were treated much worse...

). Local rulers, under treaties with the Europeans, procured goods and slaves from inhabitants of the interior. By the end of the fifteenth century, commercial contacts with Europe had spawned strong European influences, which permeated areas northward from the West African coast.

Côte d'Ivoire, like the rest of West Africa, was subject to these influences, but the absence of sheltered harbors along its coastline prevented Europeans from establishing permanent trading posts. Seaborne trade, therefore, was irregular and played only a minor role in the penetration and eventual conquest by Europeans of Côte d'Ivoire. The slave trade, in particular, had little effect on the peoples of Côte d'Ivoire. A profitable trade in ivory, which gave the area its name, was carried out during the seventeenth century, but it brought about such a decline in elephants that the trade itself virtually had died out by the beginning of the eighteenth century.

The earliest recorded French voyage to West Africa took place in 1483. The first West African French settlement, Saint Louis
Saint-Louis, Senegal
Saint-Louis, or Ndar as it is called in Wolof, is the capital of Senegal's Saint-Louis Region. Located in the northwest of Senegal, near the mouth of the Senegal River, and 320 km north of Senegal's capital city Dakar, it has a population officially estimated at 176,000 in 2005. Saint-Louis...

, was founded in the mid-seventeenth century in Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

, while at about the same time the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 ceded to the French a settlement at Ile de Gorée off Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

. A French mission
Mission (station)
A religious mission or mission station is a location for missionary work.While primarily a Christian term, the concept of the religious "mission" is also used prominently by the Church of Scientology and their Scientology Missions International....

 was established in 1687 at Assinie
Assinie
Assinie is a resort town in Côte d'Ivoire, 80 km East of Abidjan on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea....

, near the Gold Coast
Gold Coast (British colony)
The Gold Coast was a British colony on the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa that became the independent nation of Ghana in 1957.-Overview:The first Europeans to arrive at the coast were the Portuguese in 1471. They encountered a variety of African kingdoms, some of which controlled substantial...

 (now Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

) border, and it became the first European outpost in that area. Assini's survival was precarious, however, and only in the mid-nineteenth century did the French establish themselves firmly in Côte d'Ivoire. By that time, they had already established settlements around the mouth of the Senegal River
Sénégal River
The Sénégal River is a long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania.The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali...

 and at other points along the coasts of what are now Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau
The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west....

. Meanwhile, the British had permanent outposts in the same areas and on the Gulf of Guinea east of Côte d'Ivoire.

In the 18th century, the country was invaded by two related Akan groups – the Agni, who occupied the southeast, and the Baoulés, who settled in the central section. In 1843–1844, French admiral Bouët-Willaumez
Louis Edouard Bouët-Willaumez
Louis Edouard Bouët-Willaumez was a French admiral.He was born Louis Edouard Bouët, the son of a businessman in Maison-Lafitte, near Paris...

 signed treaties with the kings of the Grand Bassam and Assini regions, placing their territories under a French protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

. French explorers
Exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

, missionaries, trading companies, and soldiers gradually extended the area under French control inland from the lagoon region. However, pacification was not accomplished until 1915.

Activity along the coast stimulated European interest in the interior, especially along the two great rivers, the Senegal and the Niger
Niger River
The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about . Its drainage basin is in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea...

. Concerted French exploration of West Africa began in the mid-nineteenth century but moved slowly and was based more on individual initiative than on government policy. In the 1840s, the French concluded a series of treaties with local West African rulers that enabled the French to build fortified posts along the Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Guinea
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian is in the gulf....

 to serve as permanent trading centers. The first posts in Côte d'Ivoire included one at Assinie
Assinie
Assinie is a resort town in Côte d'Ivoire, 80 km East of Abidjan on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea....

 and another at Grand-Bassam
Grand-Bassam
Grand-Bassam is a city in Côte d'Ivoire, lying east of Abidjan. It was the French colonial capital city from 1893 until 1896, when the administration was transferred to Bingerville after a bout of yellow fever. The city remained a key seaport until the growth of Abidjan from the...

, which became the colony's first capital. The treaties provided for French sovereignty within the posts and for trading privileges in exchange for fees or coutumes paid annually to the local rulers for the use of the land. The arrangement was not entirely satisfactory to the French because trade was limited and misunderstandings over treaty obligations often arose. Nevertheless, the French government maintained the treaties, hoping to expand trade. France also wanted to maintain a presence in the region to stem the increasing influence of the British along the Gulf of Guinea coast.

The defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 (1871) and the subsequent annexation by Germany of the French province of Alsace-Lorraine
Alsace-Lorraine
The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871 after it annexed most of Alsace and the Moselle region of Lorraine following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east...

 caused the French government to abandon its colonial ambitions and withdraw its military garrisons from its French West African trading posts, leaving them in the care of resident merchants. The trading post at Grand-Bassam in Côte d'Ivoire was left in the care of a shipper from Marseille
Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

, Arthur Verdier
Arthur Verdier
Arthur Verdier was a French mariner, shipowner, merchant and pioneer. From 1871 to 1889, he was the French resident in Grand-Bassam and Assinie, in present-day Côte d'Ivoire. He was an active participant in the development of this region....

, who in 1878 was named resident
Resident (title)
A Resident, or in full Resident Minister, is a government official required to take up permanent residence in another country. A representative of his government, he officially has diplomatic functions which are often seen as a form of indirect rule....

 of the Establishment of Côte d'Ivoire.

In 1885 France and Germany brought all the European powers with interests in Africa together at the Berlin Conference
Berlin Conference
The Berlin Conference of 1884–85 regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period, and coincided with Germany's sudden emergence as an imperial power...

. Its principal objective was to rationalize what became known as the European scramble for colonies in Africa
Scramble for Africa
The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914...

. Prince Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

 also wanted a greater role in Africa for Germany, which he thought he could achieve in part by fostering competition between France and Britain. The agreement signed by all participants in 1885 stipulated that on the African coastline only European annexations or spheres of influence that involved effective occupation by Europeans would be recognized. Another agreement in 1890 extended this rule to the interior of Africa and set off a scramble for territory, primarily by France, Britain, Portugal, and Belgium.

Establishment of French rule


In 1886, to support its claims of effective occupation, France again assumed direct control of its West African coastal trading posts and embarked on an accelerated program of exploration in the interior. In 1887 Lieutenant Louis Gustave Binger
Louis Gustave Binger
Louis Gustave Binger was a French officer and explorer who claimed the Côte d'Ivoire for France.Binger was born at Strasbourg in the Bas-Rhin . In 1887 he travelled from Senegal up to the Niger River, arriving at Grand Bassam in 1889. During this expedition he discovered that the Mountains of Kong...

 began a two-year journey that traversed parts of Côte d'Ivoire's interior. By the end of the journey, he had concluded four treaties establishing French protectorates in Côte d'Ivoire. Also in 1887, Verdier's agent, Marcel Treich-Laplène, negotiated five additional agreements that extended French influence from the headwaters of the Niger River Basin through Côte d'Ivoire.

By the end of the 1880s, France had established what passed for effective control over the coastal regions of Côte d'Ivoire, and in 1889 Britain recognized French sovereignty in the area. That same year, France named Treich-Laplène titular governor of the territory. In 1893 Côte d'Ivoire was made a French colony, and then Captain Binger was appointed governor. Agreements with Liberia
Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

 in 1892 and with Britain in 1893 determined the eastern and western boundaries of the colony, but the northern boundary was not fixed until 1947 because of efforts by the French government to attach parts of Upper Volta
French Upper Volta
Upper Volta was a colony of French West Africaestablished on March 1, 1919, from territories that had been part of the colonies of Upper Senegal and Niger and the Côte d'Ivoire...

 (present-day Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

) and French Sudan
French Sudan
French Sudan was a colony in French West Africa that had two separate periods of existence, first from 1890 to 1899, then from 1920 to 1960, when the territory became the independent nation of Mali.-Colonial establishment:...

 (present-day Mali) to Côte d'Ivoire for economic and administrative reasons.

Throughout the process of partition, the Africans were little concerned with the occasional white person who came wandering by. Many local rulers in small, isolated communities did not understand or, more often, were misled by the Europeans about the significance of treaties that compromised their authority. Other local leaders, however, thought that the Europeans could solve economic problems or become allies in the event of a dispute with belligerent neighbors. In the end, the loss of land and freedom by all the local rulers resulted more from their inability to counter European deception and brute strength than from a loss of will to respond to European encroachment.

French colonial era


Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire
The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. It has an area of , and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be...

officially became a French colony on March 10, 1893. Binger, who had explored the Gold Coast frontier, was named the first governor. He negotiated boundary treaties with Liberia
Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

 and the United Kingdom (for the Gold Coast) and later started the campaign against Samori Ture, a Malinké
Mandinka people
The Mandinka, Malinke are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa with an estimated population of eleven million ....

 chief, who fought against the French until 1898.

Throughout the early years of French rule, French military contingents were sent inland to establish new posts. The African population resisted French penetration and settlement, even in areas where treaties of protection had been in force. Among those offering greatest resistance was Samori Ture, who in the 1880s and 1890s was establishing an empire that extended over large parts of present-day Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Côte d'Ivoire. Samori Ture's large, well-equipped army, which could manufacture and repair its own firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

s, attracted strong support throughout the region. The French responded to Samori Ture's expansion of regional control with military pressure. French campaigns against Samori Ture, which were met with fierce resistance, intensified in the mid-1890s until he was captured in 1898.

France's imposition of a head tax in 1900, aimed at enabling the colony to undertake a public works
Public works
Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the government, for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater community...

 program, provoked a number of revolts. The public works programs undertaken by the Ivoirian colonial government and the exploitation of natural resources required massive commitments of labor. The French therefore imposed a system of forced labor under which each male adult Ivoirian was required to work for ten days each year without compensation as part of his obligation to the state. The system was subject to extreme misuse and was the most hated aspect of French colonial rule. Because the population of Côte d'Ivoire was insufficient to meet the labor demand on French plantations and forests, which were among the greatest users of labor in French West Africa, the French recruited large numbers of workers from Upper Volta
Republic of Upper Volta
The Republic of Upper Volta was established on December 11, 1958, as a self-governing colony within the French Community. Before attaining autonomy it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On August 5, 1960 it attained full independence from France.Thomas Sankara came to power...

 to work in Côte d'Ivoire. This source of labor was so important to the economic life of Côte d'Ivoire that in 1932 the AOF annexed a large part of Upper Volta to Côte d'Ivoire and administered it as a single colony. Ivoirians viewed the tax as a violation of the terms of the protectorate treaties because it seemed that France was now demanding the equivalent of a coutume from the local kings rather than the reverse. Much of the population, especially in the interior, also considered the tax a humiliating symbol of submission.

From 1904 to 1958, Côte d'Ivoire was a constituent unit of the Federation of French West Africa. It was a colony and an overseas territory under the Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

. Until the period following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, governmental affairs in French West Africa were administered from Paris. France's policy in West Africa was reflected mainly in its philosophy of "association", meaning that all Africans in Côte d'Ivoire were officially French "subjects" without rights to representation in Africa or France.

In 1908 Gabriel Angoulvant was appointed governor of Côte d'Ivoire. Angoulvant, who had little prior experience in Africa, believed that the development of Côte d'Ivoire could proceed only after the forceful conquest, or so-called pacification, of the colony. He thus embarked on a vigorous campaign, sending military expeditions into the hinterland to quell resistance. As a result of these expeditions, local rulers were compelled to obey existing antislavery laws, supply porters and food to the French forces, and ensure the protection of French trade and personnel. In return, the French agreed to leave local customs intact and specifically promised not to intervene in the selection of rulers. But the French often disregarded their side of the agreement, deporting or interring rulers regarded as instigators of revolt. They also regrouped villages and established a uniform administration throughout most of the colony. Finally, they replaced the coutume with an allowance based on performance.

French colonial policy incorporated concepts of assimilation
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

 and association. Assimilation presupposed the inherent superiority of French culture over all others, so that in practice the assimilation policy in the colonies meant extension of the French language, institutions, laws, and customs. The policy of association also affirmed the superiority of the French in the colonies, but it entailed different institutions and systems of laws for the colonizer and the colonized. Under this policy, the Africans in Côte d'Ivoire were allowed to preserve their own customs insofar as they were compatible with French interests. An indigenous elite trained in French administrative practice formed an intermediary group between the French and the Africans.
Assimilation was practiced in Côte d'Ivoire to the extent that after 1930 a small number of Westernized Ivoirians were granted the right to apply for French citizenship. Most Ivoirians, however, were classified as French subjects and were governed under the principle of association. As subjects of France they had no political rights. Moreover, they were drafted for work in mines, on plantations, as porters, and on public projects as part of their tax responsibility. They were also expected to serve in the military and were subject to the indigénat
Indigénat
The Code de l'indigénat was a set of laws creating, in practice, an inferior legal status for natives of French Colonies from 1887 until 1944–1947. First put in place in Algeria, it was applied across the French Colonial Empire in 1887–1889...

, a separate system of law.

In World War II, the Vichy regime remained in control until 1943, when members of Gen. Charles De Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

's provisional government assumed control of all French West Africa. The Brazzaville conference
Brazzaville Conference of 1944
After the Fall of France during World War II, and the alignment of many West African French colonies with the Free French, Charles de Gaulle recognized the need to revise the relationship between France and its colonies in Africa...

 in 1944, the first Constituent Assembly of the Fourth Republic
French Fourth Republic
The French Fourth Republic was the republican government of France between 1946 and 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of the Third Republic, which was in place before World War II, and suffered many of the same problems...

 in 1946, and France's gratitude for African loyalty during World War II led to far-reaching governmental reforms in 1946. French citizenship was granted to all African "subjects," the right to organize politically was recognized, and various forms of forced labor were abolished. A turning point in relations with France was reached with the 1956 Overseas Reform Act (Loi Cadre
Loi Cadre
The loi-cadre was a French legal reform passed by the French National Assembly on 23 June 1956. It marked a turning point in relations between France and its overseas empire...

), which transferred a number of powers from Paris to elected territorial governments in French West Africa
French West Africa
French West Africa was a federation of eight French colonial territories in Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan , French Guinea , Côte d'Ivoire , Upper Volta , Dahomey and Niger...

 and also removed remaining voting inequalities.

Until 1958, governors appointed in Paris administered the colony of Côte d'Ivoire, using a system of direct, centralized administration that left little room for Ivoirian participation in policy making. The French colonial administration also adopted divide-and-rule policies, applying ideas of assimilation only to the educated elite. The French were also interested in ensuring that the small but influential elite was sufficiently satisfied with the status quo to refrain from any anti-French sentiment. In fact, although they were strongly opposed to the practices of association, educated Ivoirians believed that they would achieve equality with their French peers through assimilation rather than through complete independence from France, a change that would eliminate the enormous economic advantages of remaining a French possession. But after the assimilation doctrine was implemented entirely, at least in principle, through the postwar reforms, Ivoirian leaders realized that even assimilation implied the superiority of the French over the Ivoirians and that discrimination and inequality would end only with independence
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

.

Independence



In December 1958, Côte d'Ivoire became an autonomous republic within the French Community
French Community
The French Community was an association of states known in French simply as La Communauté. In 1958 it replaced the French Union, which had itself succeeded the French colonial empire in 1946....

 as a result of a referendum that brought community status to all members of the old Federation of French West Africa except Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

, which had voted against association. Côte d'Ivoire became independent on August 7, 1960, and permitted its community membership to lapse. It established the commercial city Abidjan
Abidjan
Abidjan is the economic and former official capital of Côte d'Ivoire, while the current capital is Yamoussoukro. it was the largest city in the nation and the third-largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris, and Kinshasa but before Montreal...

 as its capital.

Côte d'Ivoire's contemporary political history is closely associated with the career of Félix Houphouët-Boigny
Félix Houphouët-Boigny
Félix Houphouët-Boigny , affectionately called Papa Houphouët or Le Vieux, was the first President of Côte d'Ivoire. Originally a village chief, he worked as a doctor, an administrator of a plantation, and a union leader, before being elected to the French Parliament and serving in a number of...

, President of the republic and leader of the Parti Démocratique de la Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) until his death on December 7, 1993. He was one of the founders of the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA), the leading pre-independence inter-territorial political party for all of the French West African territories except Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

.

Houphouët-Boigny first came to political prominence in 1944 as founder of the Syndicat Agricole Africain, an organization that won improved conditions for African farmers and formed a nucleus for the PDCI. After World War II, he was elected by a narrow margin to the first Constituent Assembly
Constituent assembly
A constituent assembly is a body composed for the purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution...

. Representing Côte d'Ivoire in the French National Assembly
French National Assembly
The French National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The upper house is the Senate ....

 from 1946 to 1959, he devoted much of his effort to inter-territorial political organization and further amelioration of labor conditions. After his thirteen-year service in the French National Assembly, including almost three years as a minister in the French Government, he became Côte d'Ivoire's first prime minister in April 1959, and the following year was elected its first president.

In May 1959, Houphouët-Boigny reinforced his position as a dominant figure in West Africa by leading Côte d'Ivoire, Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

, Upper Volta
Republic of Upper Volta
The Republic of Upper Volta was established on December 11, 1958, as a self-governing colony within the French Community. Before attaining autonomy it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On August 5, 1960 it attained full independence from France.Thomas Sankara came to power...

 (Burkina), and Dahomey
Dahomey
Dahomey was a country in west Africa in what is now the Republic of Benin. The Kingdom of Dahomey was a powerful west African state that was founded in the seventeenth century and survived until 1894. From 1894 until 1960 Dahomey was a part of French West Africa. The independent Republic of Dahomey...

 (Benin
Benin
Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

) into the Council of the Entente, a regional organization promoting economic development. He maintained that the road to African solidarity was through step-by-step economic and political cooperation, recognizing the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other African states.

Houphouët-Boigny was considerably more conservative than most African leaders of the post-colonial period, maintaining close ties to the west and rejecting the leftist and anti-western stance of many leaders at the time. This contributed to the country's economic and political stability.

The first multiparty presidential elections were held in October 1990 and Houphouët-Boigny won convincingly.

After Houphouët-Boigny


Houphouët-Boigny died on December 7, 1993, and was succeeded by his deputy Henri Konan Bédié
Henri Konan Bédié
Aimé Henri Konan Bédié is an Ivorian politician. He was President of Côte d'Ivoire from 1993 to 1999, and he is currently the President of the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire - African Democratic Rally .-Biography:...

 who was the President of the Parliament.

He was overthrown on December 24
1999 Ivorian coup d'état
The 1999 Ivorian coup d'état took place on December 24, 1999. It was the first coup d'état since the independence of Côte d'Ivoire.- Background :...

, 1999 by General Robert Guéï
Robert Guéï
Robert Guéï was the military ruler of the Côte d'Ivoire from December 24, 1999 to October 26, 2000.Guéï was born in Kabakouma, a village in the western Man region, and was a member of the Yakouba tribe. He was a career soldier: under the French administration, he was trained at the Ouagadougou...

, a former army commander sacked by Bédié. This was the first coup d'état in the history of Côte d'Ivoire. An economic downturn followed, and the junta
Military dictatorship
A military dictatorship is a form of government where in the political power resides with the military. It is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military....

 promised to return the country to democratic rule in 2000.

Guéï allowed elections to be held the following year, but when these were won by Laurent Gbagbo
Laurent Gbagbo
Laurent Koudou Gbagbo served as the fourth President of Côte d'Ivoire from 2000 until his arrest in April 2011. A historian by profession, he is also an amateur chemist and physicist....

 he at first refused to accept his defeat. But street protests forced him to step down, and Gbagbo became president on October 26, 2000.

First Civil War



On September 19, 2002 a rebellion in the North and the West came up and the country became divided in three parts. Mass murders occurred, notably in Abidjan from the 25 to 27 March, when government forces killed more than 200 protesters, and on the 20 and 21 June in Bouaké and Korhogo, where purges led to the execution of more than 100 people. A reconciliation process under international auspices started in 2003. In 2002 France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 sent its troops to Côte d'Ivoire (Operation Unicorn) as peacekeepers. In February 2004 the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 established the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire
United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire
The United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire is a peacekeeping mission whose objective is "to facilitate the implementation by the Ivorian parties of the peace agreement signed by them in January 2003"...

 (UNOCI)

A disarmament was supposed to take place on October 15, 2004, but was a failure. Côte d'Ivoire is now divided between the rebel leader Guillaume Soro
Guillaume Soro
Guillaume Kigbafori Soro has served as the Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire since 4 April 2007...

 and president Laurent Gbagbo
Laurent Gbagbo
Laurent Koudou Gbagbo served as the fourth President of Côte d'Ivoire from 2000 until his arrest in April 2011. A historian by profession, he is also an amateur chemist and physicist....

 who has blocked the diplomatic advances made in Marcoussis and Accra—of the laws related to political reforms promised by Gbagbo in Accra, only two out of ten have been voted on so far. The rebel side has not held its promises either, which results in a state of quasi–civil war.

Frustration is now a dominant sentiment in the population, especially since the overall quality of life has dropped since the Félix Houphouët-Boigny era. Responsibility for the worsening of the situation is widely attributed to the Northern people, though the quality of life under Houphouët-Boigny was mainly due to the sponsoring through the "Françafrique
Françafrique
Françafrique is a term that refers to France's relationship with Africa. The term was first used in a positive sense by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of Côte d'Ivoire, but it is now generally understood to denounce the neocolonial relationship France has with its African backyard...

" system (designed to consolidate the influence of France in Africa), and the economy worked mainly thanks to a low-paid Burkinabé
Burkinabe
Burkinabé may refer to:* Something of, from, or related to Burkina Faso, a nation in West Africa* A person from Burkina Faso, or of Burkinabé descent. For information about the Burkinabé people, see:** Demographics of Burkina Faso** Culture of Burkina Faso...

 working class and immigrants from Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

.

The debt of the country has now risen, civil unrest is occurring daily, and political life has turned into personal struggles for interests. To answer these problems, the concept of "ivoirité" was born, a racist term which aims mainly at denying political and economic rights to the Northern immigrants.

New laws about eligibility, nationality and property are due to be adopted to address this issue, but if they are delayed, inscription of electors will be impossible before the next elections. This might lead to a dangerous situation where the government would stick to power, which the rebellion would likely not accept.

Tensions between Côte d'Ivoire and France increased on November 6, 2004, after Ivorian air strikes killed 9 French peacekeepers and an aid worker. In response, French forces attacked the airport at Yamoussoukro
Yamoussoukro
The District of Yamoussoukro is the official political capital and administrative capital city of Côte d'Ivoire, while the economic capital of the country is Abidjan. As of 2010, it was estimated to have 242,744 inhabitants...

, destroying all airplanes in the Ivorian Air Force. Violent protests erupted in both Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, and were marked by violence between Ivorians and French peacekeepers. Thousands of foreigners, especially French nationals, evacuated the two cities.

Most of the fighting ended by late 2004, with the country split between a rebel-held north and a government-held south. In March 2007 the two sides signed an agreement to hold fresh elections, though they ended up being delayed until 2010, five years after Gbagbo's term of office was supposed to have expired.

Second Civil War



After northern candidate Alassane Ouattara
Alassane Ouattara
Alassane Dramane Ouattara is an Ivorian politician who has been President of Côte d'Ivoire since 2011. An economist by profession, Ouattara worked for the International Monetary Fund and the Central Bank of West African States , and he was the Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire from November 1990 to...

 was declared the victor of the 2010 Ivorian presidential election by the country's Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), the President of the Constitutional Council – an ally of Gbagbo – declared the results to be invalid and that Gbagbo was the winner. Both Gbagbo and Ouattara claimed victory and took the presidential oath of office
Oath of office
An oath of office is an oath or affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government or within a religious body, although such oaths are sometimes required of officers of other organizations...

. The international community, including the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

, the Economic Community of West African States
Economic Community of West African States
The Economic Community of West African States is a regional group of fifteen West African countries. Founded on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, its mission is to promote economic integration across the region....

 (ECOWAS), the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and former colonial power France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 have affirmed their support for Ouattara and called for Gbagbo to step down.However, negotiations to resolve the dispute failed to achieve any satisfactory outcome. Hundreds of people were killed in escalating violence between pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara partisans and at least a million people have fled, mostly from Abidjan.

International organizations have reported numerous instances of human rights violations by both sides, in particular in the city of Duékoué
Duékoué
Duékoué is a town in Duékoué Department of Moyen-Cavally Region, Côte d'Ivoire.-History:At least 800 people were killed in Duékoué on March 29, 2011 during the fierce fighting as part of the 2010–2011 Ivorian crisis....

. The UN and French forces took military action, with the stated objective to protect their forces and civilians. Ouattara's forces arrested Gbagbo at his residence on 11 April 2011.

See also

  • History of Africa
    History of Africa
    The history of Africa begins with the prehistory of Africa and the emergence of Homo sapiens in East Africa, continuing into the present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states. Agriculture began about 10,000 BCE and metallurgy in about 4000 BCE. The history of early...

  • History of West Africa
    History of West Africa
    The partial history of West Africa can be divided into five major periods:#Its prehistory, in which the first human settlers arrived, agriculture developed, and contact made with the Mediterranean civilizations to the north....

  • List of heads of government of Côte d'Ivoire
  • List of heads of state of Côte d'Ivoire
  • Politics of Côte d'Ivoire
    Politics of Côte d'Ivoire
    The government of Côte d'Ivoire takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of Côte d'Ivoire is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government...


Literature

Sow, Adama: Ethnozentrismus als Katalysator bestehender Konflikte in Afrika südlich der Sahara, am Beispiel der Unruhen in Côte d`Ivoire, European University Center for Peace Studies
European University Center for Peace Studies
European Peace University is a private university in Stadtschlaining, Austria.The institution was founded in 1988 as European University Center for Peace Studies by Gerald Mader in his capacity as president of the ASPR, with the support of European UNESCO commissions, and is affiliated to the...

(EPU), Stadtschleining 2005

External links