Togo, formally the Togolese Republic, is a West African country surrounded by Ghana in the west, Benin in the east, and Burkina Faso in the north. It stretches all the way south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital, Lomé, is located. Togo is one of Africa’s smallest countries, covering 57,000 square kilometers (22,008 square miles) and home to about 7.5 million people.
Togo is a tropical, Sub-Saharan African country that is heavily reliant on agriculture and has a climate that allows for long growing seasons. The official language is French, although many other languages, notably those of the Gbe family, are spoken in Togo. Togo’s indigenous people make up the majority of the religious population, although there are substantial Christian and Muslim minority as well. Togo is a member of the African Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, La Francophonie, and the Economic Community of West African States.
Various tribes reached the region from all directions between the 11th and 16th centuries. The coastal region was a significant trade hub for Europeans looking for slaves from the 16th through the 18th centuries, earning Togo and the surrounding region the moniker “The Slave Coast.” Germany proclaimed Togoland a protectorate in 1884. Following World War I, France was given control of Togo. Togo declared independence from France in 1960.
Gnassingbé Eyadéma staged a successful military coup in 1967, following which he was elected president. Gnassingbé was the longest-serving leader in contemporary African history when he died in 2005, having been president for 38 years. His son, Faure Gnassingbé, was elected president in 2005. Togo is a member of the International Organization of the Francophonie.