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• The République de Côte d’Ivoire is a country in West Africa that shares borders with Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia and Guinea. It gets its name from the intensive ivory trade that took place on that particular stretch of the coast from the 15th to 17th centuries.

• Before colonialism, Ivory Coast was made up of numerous kingdoms including the Kong, Bouna, Bounkani, Senufo, Malinke and Baule among others.

• In 1842, the French colonized Ivory Coast, first as a protectorate, then as a formal colony in 1893, before making it a part of the French Federation of West Africa in 1904. The French left their mark on the country as French is the official language of the Côte d’Ivoire. In fact, it is the third-most populous French-speaking country in the world.

• In 1960, Ivory Coast gained independence under President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who held power until his death in 1993. Following independence, the country was widely recognised as the Republic of the Ivory Coast, however, the government changed the name to République de Côte d’Ivoire in 1986.

• République de Côte d’Ivoire has two capital cities: Yamoussoukro and Abidjan. The official capital, since 1983, is Yamoussoukro. However, Abidjan is the administrative capital, the officially designated economic capital, the chief port and largest city of Côte d’Ivoire.

• Most people are Christian, Muslim, or follow a native religion.

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    • Côte d’Ivoire boasts five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
    - The historic town of Grand-Bassam is a fine example of a late 19th- and early 20th-century colonial town.
    - Comoe National Park is one of the largest protected areas in West Africa.
    - Tai National Park is rich with natural flora, and home to threatened mammal species such as the pygmy hippopotamus.
    - Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve harbors an especially rich flora and fauna, with endemic species such as the viviparous toad and chimpanzees that use stones as tools.
    - The Sudanese style mosques in northern Côte d’Ivoire are unique to the savannah region of West Africa and were developed between the 11th- and 19th-century.
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    • Côte d’Ivoire is the biggest producer of cocoa beans in the world, producing over 2 million tons.
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    • Constructed between 1985 and 1989, the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix (Basilica of Our Lady of Peace), is a Catholic minor basilica in the city of Yamoussoukro.

    • Ivory Coast has one of the world’s lowest life expectancies. At just 57.4 years, it had the seven-lowest life expectancy at birth in 2018 (latest available data).
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    • Ivory Coast has produced a number of eminent footballers known as the “golden generation”. These included Yaya Toure and Salomon Kalou, but the most notable was Didier Drogba who played for Premier League-side Chelsea for nine years.

    • The national football team is known as Les Éléphants. They won the African Cup of Nations in 1992 and 2015 and have appeared in three World Cups.

    • During the 1980s and 1990s, Abidjan was known as the “the Paris of West Africa” and its business district as “the Manhattan of West Africa” due to the city’s impressive skyline and location beside a lagoon.

    • The UNESCO-listed Comoé National Park is one of the largest protected areas in West Africa. It has an area of 1,495 sq km and is known for its plant diversity.
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