Culture Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast

  • Ivory Coast,
    © Johan Swanepoel / 123 RF
  • Ivory Coast,
    © Sylvie Bouchard / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Ivory Coast

Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast : Discover the country's culture


Côte d'Ivoire- Lonely Planet

Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

15th century: the Portuguese landed in Côte d'Ivoire. They started up the slave trade, followed by the French in the 17th and 18th century. The trade was abolished in 1848. Malian migrants started to settle.
End of the 17th century: Ghana Akans migrated to Côte d'Ivoire to find gold. They will be followed by the Baoulé people.
1843: Amon N'Douffou II, sovereign of Sanwi, the most powerful kingdom, signed a protectorate treaty with France.
1861: Bossuet baptised a young Assinian prince, Aniaba, who became the first non-white officer in the French army.
18th century: France obtained the trade monopoly over gold, ivory and rubber.
End of the 19th century: the French explorer Louis Binger left Senegal on a 2,480 miles trip to Grand-Bassam, which became in 1893 the colony's capital.
1902: Côte d'Ivoire joined the FWA (French Western Africa) whose governor lived in Dakar.
1932: Félix Houphouët-Boigny, a young doctor who studied in Dakar, defended the cocoa planters.
1934: Abidjan became the new capital.
1945: Houphouët-Boigny was elected deputy of the Côte d'Ivoire. The following year, he obtained the abolishment of forced labour in the French colonies.
In 1959: he became Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire and guided the country to independence on the 7th August 1960. He was, at the same time, elected President of the Republic. Important developments were initiated and by the 70s, Côte d'Ivoire had a flourishing economy.
1983: Yamoussoukro, the city in which Houphouët-Boigny was born, became the capital. The world's biggest basilica, inaugurated by Pope John-Paul II, was built here.
From 1982 to 1990: the country faced a heavy economic crisis due to droughts and the fall of coffee and cocoa rates.
1990: austerity measures began. Demonstrations in Abidjan. The multi-party system was declared and Houphouët-Boigny was elected President for the seventh time with more than 80% of the votes.
7th December 1993: Houphouët-Boigny died. His successor was Henri Konan Bedié.
December 1999: a soldier mutiny transformed into a military coup. General Robert Guei took power, dismissed the President, dissolved the National Assembly and created the National Committee of Public Salvation (Comité national de salut public, CNSP)
October 2000: General Gueï, who refused to acknowledge his presidential defeat, was chased out of power by a public uprising. Winner of the elections, Laurent Gbagbo became head of State.
April 2007: a national reconciliation government was composed.

Côte d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events


1st January: New Year.
January: Sheep Celebration.
April: Prophet's birthday - Easter.
1st May: Labour Day.
May: Ascension - Pentecost.
7th August: Independence Day.
15th August: Assumption.
1st November: Toussaint.
15th November: Peace Day.
7th December: anniversary marking the death of Félix Houphouët Boigny.
25th December: Christmas.
31st December: Sheep Celebration.

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