What Was Ivory Coast Formerly Known As: Expert Tell You

Ivory Coast, formerly known as Côte d'Ivoire, has a rich history dating back centuries. Under French rule, the country went through significant changes before adopting its current name.

The Origins of Ivory Coast: Tracing Back Centuries of History

The origins of Ivory Coast stretch back centuries with various ethnic groups settling in the region and trading ivory and other goods. The first people to inhabit the area were Kru and Akan groups who established villages and ports along the coast. Starting around the 11th century, Malinke traders settled in commercial cities and integrated with the local population. The trade in ivory and gold attracted Arab traders who established trading posts along the coast in the 15th and 16th centuries.
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ivory coast, ivory trade, variety of vegetables
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The Birth of a Nation: How Ivory Coast Came to Be

The modern state of Ivory Coast began to take shape in the late 19th century during the Scramble for Africa. In 1883, France established a protectorate over parts of the territory and gradually extended its control. In 1893, France officially declared Ivory Coast a French colony and part of French West Africa.

The colony of Côte d’Ivoire comprised modern-day Ivory Coast as well as parts of present-day Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Guinea. Under French rule:

  • The colony’s economy became centered on agriculture, especially the cultivation and export of cocoa and coffee.
  • Infrastructure like railroads, ports, and roads was built to facilitate the export of agricultural products.
  • Immigration of workers from neighboring colonies was promoted to provide labor for cocoa and coffee plantations.

France ruled Côte d’Ivoire as a colony for over 60 years until it gained independence in 1960. After independence, the new nation adopted the name Ivory Coast in English, marking a break with its colonial past and emergence as an independent state.

ivory coast, ivory trade, three gold bitcoins sitting on top of a wooden table
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The Colonial Era: Ivory Coast Under French Rule

After declaring itself a colony of France in 1893, Ivory Coast came under direct French control and remained a colony for over 60 years until independence in 1960. During this colonial period known as Cote d’Ivoire, the economic and social development of the country was shaped by French interests.

  • The colony’s economy was developed to serve France. Agriculture became the primary economic sector with the production of cocoa and coffee for export to France.

  • Infrastructure such as transportation and communication systems were built to facilitate the extraction and exportation of agricultural commodities to France.

  • French became the main language of administration, education, and upward social mobility and many Ivorians received their education in France.

  • Most positions of power, such as the colonial administration and large commercial enterprises, were held by the French. Ivorians lacked representation and self-government.

  • The emigration of labor from neighboring colonies to Ivory Coast plantations led to ethnic tensions and conflict over land and resources.

Overall, under colonialism Ivory Coast‘s economy and society were shaped to serve the interests of the colonial power rather than for the benefit of the local population. However, this period also laid the foundations for the country’s economic prosperity after independence.

ivory coast, ivory trade, close-up photography of white elephant tusk
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A New Identity: The Renaming of Ivory Coast

After gaining independence from France in 1960, the newly independent nation adopted the official name Republic of Ivory Coast in order to distinguish itself from its colonial past. The name change marked a shift from the French colonial name Côte d’Ivoire to an English name that referenced the country’s main economic resource – ivory.

Some key facts about the name change:

  • In French, the country is still officially named Côte d’Ivoire, meaning “Coast of Ivory”. This name was given by France during the colonial era.

  • In English, the country adopted the name Ivory Coast upon independence in 1960. This was intended to distinguish the newly independent nation from its colonial past under French rule.

  • The name Ivory Coast references the country’s history of ivory trade dating back centuries. Ivory was one of the first commodities traded by the early inhabitants of the region.

  • However, the name Ivory Coast is considered controversial by some due to associations with the ivory trade that contributed to the poaching of African elephants.

The renaming from Côte d’Ivoire to Ivory Coast in English symbolized the country’s emergence from colonial rule and assumption of a new identity as an independent African nation.

ivory coast, ivory trade, selective focus photography of graph
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More Helpful Guide

Frequently Asked Question

What attractions bring tourists to Ivory Coast?

Tourist attractions include beaches, rainforests, cultural sites, and national parks. Eco-tourism and sport fishing draw visitors.

What tribes and ethnic groups live in Ivory Coast?

Ethnic groups include Akan, Voltaic, Krou, Southern Mande, Northern Mande, and Senoufo peoples.

What natural resources does Ivory Coast have?

Natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, gold, and hydropower.

What is the capital of Ivory Coast?

The capital is Yamoussoukro. However, Abidjan is the administrative center and largest city.

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