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In the English-speaking world, the nation of Côte d'Ivoire is commonly known as the Ivory Coast. The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire is in West Africa, bounded by the Gulf of Guinea, Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana.

The country is home to more than sixty ethnic groups, which are usually classified into five general divisions: Akan (east and center), Krou (southwest), Southern Mande (west), Northern Mande (northwest), and Senoufo/Lobi (north center and northeast). Roughly eighty percent of the country's population is Ivorian, the rest being mostly workers from neighboring countries, with about four percent of the population of non-African ancestry.

The early history of the Ivory Coast is uncertain, but it is believed that the region was inhabited during the Upper Paleolithic or Neolithic periods. For a period of time prior to the 16th century, the region was ruled by a succession of Sudanic empires, which introduced Islamic teachings. In the 18th century, the region came under attack by a couple of Akan groups from Ghana - the Agni, who settled in the southeast, and the Baoule, who took over the central section.

In the 1840s, the French took control of a portion of the region, then gradually expanded the lands under French control as they moved inland. Côte d'Ivoire became a French colony in 1893, and French troops began a campaign against areas that were not yet subdued. Africans in Côte d'Ivoire became French citizens but without right of representation in Africa or France.

During World War II, Vichy France held control of Côte d'Ivoire until 1943 when General De Gaulle's provisional government took control of French West Africa. After the War, France gave its African subjects the right to organize politically, and force labor was abolished. In 1958, Côte d'Ivoire became an autonomous republic, and independence was granted in 1960.

Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the new country's first president, maintained good relations with France. His government gave farmers good prices for their products, chiefly coffee and cocoa, and it also became a significant exporter of pineapples and palm oil. Whereas in other African countries, Europeans were driven out following independence, they were welcomed in the Ivory Coast. The country's French community doubled.

Houphouët-Boigny died in 1993. His successor tightened his grip on political opponents, jailing hundreds. Under his rule, relationships between various ethnic groups were strained, as well as its relationship with its non-African population. He lost power in a military coup in 1999, and the country became embroiled in a couple of civil wars over the next two decades, in which France would become involved.

Following the country's second civil war in 2011, its government has been relatively stable. The government is a republic, and power is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.

The Ivory Coast has a relatively high per capita income, and its economy is the largest in the West African Economic and Monetary Union. It is the largest exporter of cocoa beans in the world, and it also exports natural rubber, coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, and petroleum. Overall, its economy has grown faster than most African economies following independence.

Côte d'Ivoire's official language is French, which is taught in schools. About sixty-five other languages are used within the country, the most common being the Dyula language. Islam is the dominant religion, followed by Christianity, and native animist religions. The north part of the country is primarily Muslim, while Christians are the most common in the south.

A large portion of the country's adult population is illiterate, particularly women, and several children between six and ten years of age are not enrolled in school. Most of the country's secondary students are male.

Telephone and telegraph services in the Ivory Coast are owned by the government. There are about fourteen mainline telephones for every thousand people, and about seventy-seven mobile phones for every thousand people. The government also controls the country's radio and television stations. Radio broadcasts are available in French, English, and indigenous languages, while television is in French alone. International broadcasts are sometimes available but subject to disruption by the government. There are about one hundred and eighty-five radios and sixty-one televisions for every thousand people, and 9.3 computers for every thousand people.

 

 

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