Various tribes invaded the area from all sides between the 11th and 16th centuries: the Ewé from the east, and the Mina and Guin from the west. The majority of people have settled in coastal regions.
The slave trade started in the 16th century, and the coastal area became a significant trading hub for Europeans looking for slaves for the following two centuries, giving Togo and the surrounding region the moniker “The Slave Coast.”
At 1884, Germany signed a contract with King Mlapa III in Togoville, claiming a protectorate over a swath of land along the coast and progressively expanding its authority interior. This became the German colony of Togoland in 1905. During World War I, British soldiers from the nearby Gold Coastcolony and French troops from Dahomey attacked German territory.
Following the conclusion of World War I, there was talk of having Czechoslovakia manage the province. This, however, did not occur. Togoland was divided into two League of Nations mandates, which were governed by the United Kingdom and France, respectively. These mandates were renamed UN Trust Territories after WWII. In 1957, British Togoland inhabitants chose to join the Gold Coast as part of the newly independent country of Ghana, and in 1959, French Togoland became an autonomous republic inside the French Union.
Under the leadership of Sylvanus Olympio, French Togoland gained independence in 1960. On 13 January 1963, he was murdered by a squad of soldiers led by Sergeant Etienne Eyadéma Gnassingbé in a military coup. The “Insurgency Committee,” led by Emmanuel Bodjollé, nominated opposition leader Nicolas Grunitzky as president.
Eyadéma Gnassingbé ousted Grunitzky in a bloodless coup four years later, on 13 January 1967, and seized the president, which he maintained until his unexpected death on 5 February 2005, after 38 years in power, the longest reign of any African dictator. Except for France, the military’s quick installation of his son, Faure Gnassingbé, as president drew considerable international criticism. Some democratically elected African leaders, such as Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, backed the proposal, causing a schism within the African Union.