Ivory Coast, formally known as the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (French: République de Côte d’Ivoire), is a West African country. The political capital of Ivory Coast is Yamoussoukro, and the port city of Abidjan is the country’s economic and biggest metropolis. Guinea and Liberia border it on the west, Burkina Faso and Mali on the north, and Ghana on the east. South of Ivory Coast is the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean).
Prior to European colonialism, Ivory Coast was home to a number of nations, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. During the French colonial period and after independence, two Anyi kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi, tried to maintain their distinct identities. During the European race for Africa, the Ivory Coast became a French protectorate in 1843–44 and was later turned into a French colony in 1893. Ivory Coast gained independence in 1960, and Félix Houphout-Boigny governed the country until 1993. It maintained tight political and economic relations with its West African neighbors while also keeping close ties with the West, particularly France. Ivory Coast has suffered one coup d’état, in 1999, and two religion-based civil conflicts since the end of Houphout-reign Boigny’s in 1993. The first occurred between 2002 and 2007, and the second between 2010 and 2011.
Ivory Coast is a republic in which the President has considerable executive power. During the 1960s and 1970s, the country was an economic powerhouse in West Africa due to the production of coffee and cocoa. In the 1980s, Ivory Coast had an economic crisis, which contributed to a period of political and social unrest. In the twenty-first century, the Ivorian economy is primarily market-based and remains highly reliant on agriculture, with smallholder cash-crop production dominating.
The official language is French, although local indigenous languages such as Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin, and Cebaara Senufo are also commonly spoken. Ivory Coast is home to about 78 different languages. Islam, Christianity (mainly Roman Catholicism), and numerous indigenous faiths are the major religions.