Ivory Coast / Côte d'Ivoire


Figure 1.--This commercial postcard was mailed from Abihan in 1954. It shows a boy wearing traditional dress, but does not indicate the tribe. Western clothing was at the time just beginning to become common outsude the cities.

Ivory Coast is commonly referred to by the French name Côte d'Ivoire which is the country's official name. It is a West African country located between the Gulf of Guina and the Sahara Desert. The topography changes from coastal swamps to inland savana. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the Gulf of Guina as they attempted to find a trade route east. They set up trading posts for gold, ivory, and slaves. Gradually the French presence became dominant. A treaty made Côte d'Ivoire a French protectorate (1843–44). It became a colony (1893) as part of the European colonia scramble for Africa. Ivory Coast achieved its independence (1960) under Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Côte d'Ivoire unlike many newly independent countries, maintained close relations with the former colonial power. The country was at independence one of the strongest West African countries economically. The econmy was primarily agricultural with coffee and cacao the primary export commodity. The economy suffered in the 1980s. This in part contributed to the destabalization of the political system. Houphouët-Boigny strong-arm rule prevented the development of democratic institutions. After Houphouët-Boigny's rule, two coups d’état (1999 and 2001) and a civil war caused wide spread domestic disprder. Elections and a political agreement between the new government and rebels offers the prospect for domestic peace. Despite the political turmoil, continued relations with France, a bountiful cocoa agricultural economy have created a more prosperous economy than many neighboring countries. This has attracted important foreign investment. The French ended the slave trade and promoted Christianity. Muslim are the lrgest religious group, but there is also a substantial Christisn popultion. Boys' clothing was primarily traditional outside of the cities until after World War II. While we do not yet have a lot of information on the Ivory Coast. We do have a school page.

Name

Ivory Coast is commonly referred to by the French name Côte d'Ivoire which is the country's official name in French. This of course reflects the French colonial experienbce. The term ivory reflects that ivory could be obtained in trade as the Europeans began setting up trading posts along the coast. The ivory of course came from elephants. The area around Ivory Coast (includibg Senegal, Liberia, and Guinea was rhe first area as the Portuguese moved south along the coast that they reached the range of African elephants.

Geography

Ivory Coast is a West African country located between the Gulf of Guina and the Sahara Desert. The topography changes from coastal swamps to inland savana. The terraine is mostly flat with undulating plains and mountains in the north-west.

History

The Portuguese who launched exploratoty voyages south were the first Europeans to reach the Gulf of Guina as they attempted to find a trade route east. They set up trading posts for gold, ivory, and slaves. Gradually the French presence became dominant. A treaty made Côte d'Ivoire a French protectorate (1843–44). It became a colony (1893) as part of the European colonia scramble for Africa. Ivory Coast achieved its independemce (1960) under Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Côte d'Ivoire unlike many newly independent countries, maintained close relations with the former colonial power. Houphouët-Boigny strong-arm rule prevented the development of democratic institutions. After Houphouët-Boigny's rule, two coups d’état (1999 and 2001) and a civil war caused wide spread domestic disprder. Robert Guei carried out a sucessful military coup--the first in the country's history (December 1999). Guei then rigged elections and simply declared himself the victor (2000). The public, however, was outraged. Demonstrations and protests forced him out. Laurent Gbagbo seized power. Ivorian dissidents and some soldiers attempted another coup, but failed (September 2002). While the coup failed, resistance to President Gbagbo escalated into a rebellion and ultimately a civil war. The war after comsiderable casualties and destruction ended ended with a cease fire (2003). This left the country divided with the rebels controling the north and the government the south. Peacekeeping forces were deployed in a buffer zone between the two. This situation continued for several years. Gbagbo and former New Forces rebel leader Guillaume Soro signed a peace agreement (March 2007). Soro agreed to join Gbagbo's government as prime minister. The two agreed to reunite the country and dismantle the buffer zone Soro's rebel forces were integrated into the national army. They also agree to hold elections. This took longer than expected. Elections and a political agreement between the government and rebels offerd the prospect for domestic peace, but it would not be easy. Alassane Dramane Ouattara won the presidential election, defeating Gbagbo (November 2010). It was not what Gbagbo refused to step down. A 5-month stand-off ensued.

Economy

The country was at independence one of the strongest West African countries economically. The econmy was primarily agricultural with coffee, cacao, and palm oil. the primary export commodity, both valuable export crops. The economy suffered in the 1980s. This in part contributed to the destabalization of the political system. Despite the political turmoil, continued relations with France, a bountiful cocoa agricultural economy have created a more prosperous economy than many neighboring countries. This has attracted important foreign investment. The country today despite its size is one of the largest producers and exporters of coffee, cocoa beans, and palm oil. The gross domestic product (GDP/PPP) was about $37 billion (2010), some $1,680 percapita. About 70 percent of the popultion continues to be involved in griculture. Fishing and forestry are also of some importance.

Demographics

The population is nearly 21 million people. [2009 Census] Life expectancy is low, less than 50 years.

Ethnicity

Ivory Coast is a multi-ethic society. The major ethnic groups are Akan (40 percent), Voltaiques or Gur (20 percent), Northern Mandes (15 percent), Krous (10 percent), and Southern Mandes (10%). There are also small numbers of Lebanese and French.

Religion

Islam gradually made inroads in the north of the Ivory Coast, arriving along trade routes connecting the area across the Sahara with Muslim North Africa (14th century). Christianity arrived with the Europeans. The first missionary arrived (17th century). Meanigful conversion only began later, espially after the French began the colonization pricess (19th century) The French ended the slave trade and promoted Christianity. There is some data, but are basically estimates. Islam is the dominant religion with Sunni Muslims are the largest religious group, but by a relatively small margin (nearly 40 percent). Christianity is the second-largest religion in the country (over 30 percent). Roman Catholicism is the largest denomination, reflecting the French colobial experience. Several indigenous religions are also practiced, especially in rural areas (about 10 percent). Most of the remainder express no religious preferences (15 percent). Both Islam and Christianity are practiced in various ways. Both have become mixed toan extent with traditional religion and cultutural beliefs. Islam is stringest in the north where it has been practiced for centuries. The devotion to Islam has shifted over time. Ivirians turned to it from their traditional religion because of its appeal as a world religion and its role in intriducing awritten language. With the arrival of the Europeans, it provided an alternative to European political contol and religion. Islam is not just a religion, but the Koran sets forwars a politucal order as well. With the arrival of the Europeans, Christianity appealed to those interested in education and advancement in the modrn wirld. Christian holidays are officially celebrated in the country. Muslim celebrations are also observed. There is a high degree of religious tolerance in the country, in part because Muslims are not a majority of the populstion. Ivorian religious communities have a now well-established tradition of coexisting peacefully. Conversion is widely accepted as an individual matter in most cases. There are many families with Muslim and Christian menbers. The Ivorian Constitution mandates a secular state. This is not seen as requiring a strict separation of church and state. Goverment officials attend religious ceremonies as representatives of the state. Some mission schools receive government support. Missionaries are respected and welcomed by Ivorians, in part because of their role in education and health care. Religious tolerance is promoted by government policy. The president personally contributes to the cost of building both mosques and churches. He encourages both Muslims and Christians to assist in projects undertaken by both religious communities. Religious practitioners are respected for their role in community activities and the promotion of social harmony.

Clothing

Boys' clothing was primarily traditional outside of the cities until after World War II.

Activities

We do not yet have a lot of information on the Ivory Coast including children's activities. As in most countries, the most popular sport is soccer (football). We do have a school page.







HBC







Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]



Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing national pages:
[Return to the Main African page]
[Angola] [Burkina Faso] [Cape Verde Islands] [Democratic Republic of the Congo] [Ethiopia] [Gabon] [Ghana] [Guinea] [Ivory Coast] [Kenya] [Lessotho] [Liberia]
[Mali] [Sierra Leone] [Somalia] [South Africa] [Uganda]




Created: 1:53 AM 12/22/2009
Last updated: 4:49 PM 10/25/2014