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Côte d'Ivoire

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The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire (also called The Ivory Coast) is a republic in western Africa. In the 19th century, it was seized by Louis Gustave Binger[?], (1856-1936) as a colony for France. Maintaining close ties to France since independence in 1960, diversification of agriculture for export, and encouragement of foreign investment has made Côte d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states. About 20% of the population consists of workers from neighboring countries.

On December 25, 1999, a military coup d'état -- the first ever in Côte d'Ivoire's history -- overthrew the government. An economic downturn followed. The new regime promised to return the country to democratic rule in 2000. In October 2000, Laurent Gbagbo replaced junta leader Robert Guei as president, ending ten months of military rule.

In 2002 a rebellion in the North and the West came up and the country is now divided in three parts. A reconciliation process (2003) under international auspices is on the way.

The capital is Yamoussoukro; although Yamoussoukro has been the official capital since 1983, Abidjan remains the administrative center; most countries maintain their Embassies in Abidjan.

The country was originally known in English as Ivory Coast, and corresponding translations in other languages: Elfenbeinküste in German, Costa de Marfil in Spanish, and so on. Because of the disorder this could produce in international forums, in October 1985 the government requested that the country be known as Côte d'Ivoire in every language.


  • Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.

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