Prehistory

The earliest remains of stone implements in the Ivory Coast come from scattered finds belonging to the postacheuléan Sangoan and Lupemba cultures. Characteristic tools are heavy logs that have probably been used in forest environments. The microlith manufacturing of the later Stone Age about 13,000 years ago is located on the Bugerville Highway. In the hinterland, early village buildings, between 4 250 and 2 750 years old, from the so-called kintampo complex have been paved at, among other things. Dabakala. From the kintampo complex, apart from substantial settlements, there are also remains of storage pits and house-mills, as well as signs of grain cultivation and possibly utilization of certain species of jams and oil palms. Sheep and goats were included in animal husbandry. The homogeneity of the ceramics and the presence of sea shells suggest that trade had some significance. The transition from stone-using collector cultures to iron-using agricultural cultures during the last centuries BC is best studied at the kitchen meetings in Tchotchoraf, Eboussou Tiebussou and Nyamwan.

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History

The early history of the Ivory Coast is little known, and the area was characterized by isolated coastal settlements. After about 1200, the ancestors of the Akan people immigrated to the Ivory Coast. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Ivory Coast. The Baule people established after 1700 a system of hierarchically organized kingship. As the baule established itself as middlemen in the trade between coast and inland, these kingdoms were dissolved, which completely ceased in the late 19th century.

Europeans were attracted to the area because of the availability of ivory and slaves. Already at the end of the 17th century, France had begun to establish trading stations along the Ivory Coast, and during the 19th century the hinterland also began to colonize. However, contact with European trade was far less in Ivory Coast than in the nearby Gold Coast (Ghana). In the 1880s, the first coffee trees were introduced, mahogany exports started and an agricultural school was founded.

In 1893, the Ivory Coast became a French colony, but among other things, Baule made strong resistance and was subjected to brutal penal expeditions. The French government pursued a particularly tough policy in Cote d’Ivoire, including the forced discharge of labor and soldiers. Economic policy followed a classic pattern: infrastructure expansion (rail networks and ports) and commodity production (timber, palm oil, coffee and cocoa). After 1930, cocoa became the most important export product.

Towards the end of the Second World War, the peasant organization Syndicat agricole africain (SAA) was formed, which in 1945 was transformed into a party, the Parti démocratique de la Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI). Together with the mass movement Rassemblement démocratique africain (RDA), the PDCI organized a series of major demonstrations in the late 1940s with demands for independence.

In 1945, Félix Houphouët-Boigny was electedto the Ivory Coast representative in the French National Assembly. From advocating continued French supremacy, he came to work for the Ivory Coast’s national sovereignty in the 1950s. At the Ivory Coast’s independence on August 7, 1960, he became its first president, a post he held until his death in 1993. Houphouët-Boigny conducted an authoritarian and heavily centralized policy, and the PDCI was the only allowed party. An economic crisis, caused by falling prices of Ivory Coast export products, forced certain reforms in the 1980s. However, the International Monetary Fund’s and the World Bank’s demands for cuts in the public sector, wage cuts and reduced payments to coffee and cocoa producers led to social problems, and the risk of open rebellion was imminent. Houphouët-Boigny promised that the austerity measures would be mitigated and accepted the introduction of multi-party systems. He and PDCI easily retained power in the first free elections of 1990.

After his death in 1993, Houphouët-Boigny was succeeded by Parliament’s President Henri Konan Bédié, who subsequently pushed through an amendment to the electoral law so that candidates for presidential and parliamentary elections must be of Ivorian origin. Since the relative prosperity of the Ivory Coast since the colonial era was based on immigration of cheap labor, with the result that a considerable part of the population has foreign roots, the new electoral law had far-reaching consequences. Among other things was former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara is not allowed to run for election because his one parent came from current Burkina Faso. Disagreement over the electoral law led most opposition parties to boycott the presidential election in 1995, with the result that Bédié was re-elected with just over 95 percent of the vote. The opposition interrupted the boycott before the parliamentary elections that year, when PDCI admittedly retained power with a large majority but with a markedly weakened position in the country’s northern part. The conflict over the nationality issue, fueled by an active “policy of ivory” by Bédié, intensified when Ouattara was deprived of his citizenship in 1999 and prosecuted for falsifying his identity documents.

When a soldier’s protest against missing wages culminated in a military coup in 1999, led by former commander-in-chief General Robert Gueï, the coup initially seemed sympathetic to Ouattara. However, Gueï soon broke with his party’s Rassemblement des republicans (RDR), which briefly participated in the military-led government, and then pushed through a new constitution with retained Ivorian provenance for presidential candidates. In the run-up to the 2000 presidential election, the Supreme Court ruled out most candidates, with the fight mainly standing between Gueï and Laurent Gbagbo, leader of the vaguely socialist-oriented Front populaire ivoirien(FPI). Preliminary results showed that Gbagbo received the most votes, but the Ministry of the Interior then canceled the vote count and declared Gueï as the winner. After the riots erupted and the military leadership withdrew from Gueï, he fled and Gbagbo proclaimed president. However, voter turnout was so low that parts of the opposition questioned the legitimacy of the result. The parliamentary elections in December 2000 and January 2001 were boycotted by the RDR in the light of continued xenophobic government policy. The result was almost a dead race between FPI and PDCI. After the reconciliation talks in 2002 between the country’s four dominant politicians, Gbagbo, Ouattara, Bédié and Gueï, Ouattara regained his citizenship but was still barred from running for president.

In 2002, a military revolt broke out simultaneously in Abidjan and the two largest cities in the north, Bouaké and Korhogo. Robert Gueï was killed. As the army quickly regained control of Abidjan, the revolt deepened in the north, where the insurgents emerged as a political force under the name of the Mouvement patriotique de la Côte d’Ivoire (MPCI). Their demands were that Gbagbo should resign and a new election be made. While negotiations between the government and MPCI were held in November, two new rebel movements in the western parts of Ivory Coast appeared, the Mouvement populaire ivoirien du grand ouest (MPIGO) and the Mouvement pour la justice et la paix(MJP), whose main ambition was said to be revenge for Gueïs death. During ongoing fighting in parts of the country, representatives of seven political parties and the three rebel forces gathered through French support in early 2003 in Marcoussis outside Paris, where a peace agreement was signed. A unifying government would be formed, with the participation of both rebels and civil opposition, under a neutral prime minister. Seydou Diarra, who led the reconciliation talks in 2002, was appointed to lead the government. Despite persistent disagreement over the distribution of ministerial posts and continued fighting, the war was concluded on 4 July 2003. MPIGO and MJP then joined MPCI, and the former rebels adopted the name Forces nouvelles(U.N). However, the country remained in reality divided in the middle, and the standstill line was patrolled by about 4,000 French soldiers and just over 3,000 West Africans. The latter were broadcast by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), while the French were originally sent to protect French citizens.

In April 2004, the ECOWAS squad was converted to the United Nations Operation United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) following a decision by the UN Security Council and expanded to just over 6,200 men. However, the peace was fragile and the suspicion between the partners in the government was great. After a promised vote in Parliament on, among other things, constitutional amendments and softened citizenship rules, was not left by the Forces Nouvelles government and accused Gbagbo of planning a new war. Shortly thereafter, the government attacked the rebel forces in the north. After French soldiers were killed in an air raid, the French force actively entered the conflict and took control of parts of Abidjan, including the international airport. French hostile demonstrations were followed by violence and looting that drove thousands of Europeans into flight. After mediation by the President of South AfricaThabo Mbeki re-assembled Parliament in December 2004 and approved a series of legislative amendments that would eliminate the citizenship conflict.

However, constant delays in the mutual disarmament of irregular forces and the issuance of ID documents meant that promised general elections were postponed time and time again. However, Gbagbo agreed that Ouattara should be allowed to run for office. The African Union (AU) and the UN were reluctantly required to approve the postponements, but the UN sanctions introduced in 2004 were extended and extended gradually. The sanctions applied to prohibitions on arms sales to the country, prohibitions on Ivorian exports of diamonds, and travel bans and frozen financial assets for a number of individuals.

By mediating the government of Burkina Faso, Gbagbo and the Forces Nouvelle made peace in early 2007, which led to rebel leader Guillaume Soro being appointed to lead a unifying government. Both sides seemed satisfied with the new circumstances and electoral preparations continued to drag on over time. Only in the fall of 2010, five years after Gbagbo’s term expired, presidential elections could be held, even though the disarmament of irregular forces had not been completed. The election was a decisive round between Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. According to the official Independent Electoral Commission, the latter prevailed, but the Constitutional Council led by close associates of Gbagbo rejected so many results in Ouattara’s fortifications in the north that the president emerged victorious. Both proclaimed president, but all major international organizations and Western governments supported Ouattara and demanded Gbagbo’s departure. A long-standing postwar war that paralyzed the country’s economy followed. Neither repeated mediation attempts nor threats of military intervention against Gbagbo yielded results and the fighting escalated in the spring. The US and the EU banned financial contacts with the Gbagbo circle and blocked their assets. In April, UN and France forces launched attacks on strategic targets in Abidjan, and Gbagbo was seized in the presidential palace by Ouattara’s forces. According to the UN, more than 1,000 people were killed in the winter/spring conflicts in 2011. Tens of thousands of people also lost their homes during the unrest and many fled across the border into Liberia. Neither repeated mediation attempts nor threats of military intervention against Gbagbo yielded results and the fighting escalated in the spring. The US and the EU banned financial contacts with the Gbagbo circle and blocked their assets. In April, UN and France forces launched attacks on strategic targets in Abidjan, and Gbagbo was seized in the presidential palace by Ouattara’s forces. According to the UN, more than 1,000 people were killed in the winter/spring conflicts in 2011. Tens of thousands of people also lost their homes during the unrest and many fled across the border into Liberia. Neither repeated mediation attempts nor threats of military intervention against Gbagbo yielded results and the fighting escalated in the spring. The US and the EU banned financial contacts with the Gbagbo circle and blocked their assets. In April, UN and France forces launched attacks on strategic targets in Abidjan, and Gbagbo was seized in the presidential palace by Ouattara’s forces. According to the UN, more than 1,000 people were killed in the winter/ spring conflicts in 2011. Tens of thousands of people also lost their homes during the unrest and many fled across the border into Liberia. In April, UN and France forces launched attacks on strategic targets in Abidjan, and Gbagbo was seized in the presidential palace by Ouattara’s forces. According to the UN, more than 1,000 people were killed in the winter/spring conflicts in 2011. Tens of thousands of people also lost their homes during the unrest and many fled across the border into Liberia. In April, UN and France forces launched attacks on strategic targets in Abidjan, and Gbagbo was seized in the presidential palace by Ouattara’s forces. According to the UN, more than 1,000 people were killed in the winter/spring conflicts in 2011. Tens of thousands of people also lost their homes during the unrest and many fled across the border into Liberia.

Both sides were charged with various crimes against humanity in connection with the civil war in 2010-11. In November 2011, Gbagbo was brought to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is thus the first former head of state to be tried in court. The first parliamentary elections of eleven years were held in December 2011. However, Gbagbo’s party FPI did not stand and RDR, led by Outtara, became the largest party. Turnout was low, 36 percent.

In Gbagbo’s absence, the FPI was divided before the 2015 presidential election. Under the Coalition name Coalition national pour le change(CNC) protested parts of the opposition against allowing Ouattara to run for election despite its alleged foreign origin. The demonstrations degenerated into violence in several parts of the country. In October, Amnesty International accused the government of harassing the opposition, partly through arbitrary arrests of opposition supporters. The election itself resulted in a superior victory for Ouattara, who got 84 percent of the vote against 9 percent for N’Guessan. To Ouattara’s advantage, the fact that the country experienced several years of strong economic growth during his time in power spoke. However, turnout was only 55 percent.

In October 2016, a new constitution was approved by a referendum. The requirement for a president’s two parents to be born in the country was removed, as was the age limit of 75 years; both changes favored Ouattara, who was born in 1942. The December 2016 parliamentary election resulted in victory for Ouattara’s party Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la demokratie et la paix (RHDP). In both the referendum and the parliamentary elections, turnout was below 50 percent.

History of Ivory Coast
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