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TOGO - LOME

FAST FACTS

RÉPUBLIQUE TOGOLAISE

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• Togo is a narrow country located on the west coast of Africa. It borders Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso and has 51km (32mi) of coastline on the Gulf of Guinea.

• During the 15th to 17th centuries, Togo was settled by Ewe clans from Nigeria and the Ane people from Ghana and Ivory Coast.

• The name Togo derives from the native Ewe language. It comes from the Ewe words “to” (river) and “godo” (on the other side) implying “on the other side of the river”.

• From the 16th to the 18th centuries, the coastal region of Togo, along with the surrounding region, was known as “The Slave Coast” as it was a major Atlantic slave-trading hub.

• During the 1700s, Togo was occupied by Denmark before becoming the German protectorate of Togoland in 1884. Germany used forced labour to develop plantations in the region.

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    • During the First World War, Britain and France took control of Togoland from Germany and split the area between them.

    • In a 1956 referendum, British Togoland voted to become part of the Gold Coast (now Ghana). French Togoland became an autonomous republic within the French Union before voting for and then gaining full independence in 1960.

    • Togo’s first president, Sylvanus Olympio, was assassinated during a military coup in 1963. It was widely assumed that Togo’s next president, Gnassingbe Eyadema, killed Olympio. Following Olympio’s death, Eyadema took power and served as President of Togo for 38 years until his death in 2005.

    • Togo performs very poorly in terms of gender equality. In the latest report, it ranked among the world’s worst 15 countries when measured by the relative gaps between women and men in health, education, economy and politics.
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    • Togo only has one UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba. The site consists of mud tower houses – known as Takienta – which have come to be seen as a symbol of Togo.

    • In 2015 in Lomé, the biggest seizure of ivory in African history took place when over four tons of elephant tusks were apprehended – representing around 800 poached elephants.
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    • The voodoo religion is practiced widely in Togo. Throughout the region, voodooism does not have the negative implications it has in the West. In Togo, voodooism is considered to be more than a belief system as it extends to culture, philosophy, language, art, dance, music and medicine.

    • Togo is one of the world’s top producers of phosphates, which are used in fertilisers. The industry was nationalised in 1974 which helped to increase state revenues.
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    • A common dish in Togo is Akoume – La Pâte which is a huge part of the culinary culture, as it actually forms the base of Togolese cuisine and is the most appreciated food in Togo.

    • Traditional Togolese music and dance are essential parts of the country’s culture. Through songs and movement, Togolese pass down folklore, values, real-life experiences and history from generation to generation.
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