Beautifully engraved Certificate from the famous Societe Miniere & Fonciere du Bandama issued
in 1912. This historic documen has an
ornate border around it with a vignettes of miners, and water scenes, including a boat that looks like the African Queen.
This item is hand
signed and is
over 93 years old.
It is difficult to tell the first human settlement in Côte d' Ivoire for bones
cannot be preserved in the moist climate of the country ; however the
discovery of arms and tools scraps prove that in the upper paleolithic
age ( -15,000 TO - 10,000 Years ) men were present in a great
At that age, metallurgy was created as in the other parts of the world.
At the end of the first millennium, the north of Côte d'Ivoire recorded the settlement of the
Sénoufos and the Koulangos.
It seemed that the pigmies would arrive in this part of Africa, forced to move by the
disapearance of the Sahara forests at that time. In fact many Ivorian beliefs note some short,
bearded and clear complexion men as the first masters of the land and living in the trees with
their spears and arrows ; which mostly resemble the pigmies still living in East Africa.
15th to 17th century
Portuguese were the first to set foot in Côte d'Ivoire during the 15th century. So Sassandra and
San Pédro have kept the names of Portuguese seamen. It is at that time also that slave trade
begun carried on later by the French during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Slave Trade
The slave trade was a plague which devastated Africa for three centuries before it was
forbidden in 1848 by the whole Europe. It generated the depopulation of Africa from its best
elements carrying out the substantial drop of the demographic rate,but worse still an intense
hate between ethnic groups with tribal wars. As a matter of fact, since Europeans were
reluctant to venture into the lands, Africans were paid to bring them slaves. Quickly numerous
manhunts would be developed between ethnic groups and therefore provoke the migration of
the weaks. Experts are still keeping a controversial view on the number of captured slaves. It is
estimated between 20 and 100 millions for the whole continent.
At the end of the 17th century several Akans from Ghana, the Agnis moved to Côte d'Ivoire in
order to escape from the hunters on the one hand, and in search of gold on the other hand.
They quickly organized themselves into a kingdom and submitted the new immigrants. The
famest character of that time was undoubtedly Amon N'Douffou II, sovereign of the Sanwi the
most powerful kingdom which signed a protectorate treaty with the French in 1843.
In the reign of Louis XIV, the region of Assinie was governed by an Essouma Prince. The
French then entrusted ANIABA, an Assinian Prince, an adoptive child of Niamkey, he himself
brother of the king Essouma with missionnaries so as to be educated. In 1681 he would be
baptized by BOSSUET as the first coloured officer to serve under the French flag.
The last Akans to emigrate in Côte d'Ivoire were the Baoulé meaning "the child is dead". They
settled in the middle of the country and extended their influence in the long run. They were first
governed by Queen Abla Pokou, then later by her niece Akoua Boni.
In order to satisfy the new needs from the western industrial revolution, the French admiral
BOUET met African chiefs of the different tribes in the region and signed many agreements of
trade monopoly from 1830. Those agreements were essentially based on gold, ivory, rubber
and palm oil trade. Little by little the French were going to settle on the entire coast until they
were chased out in 1870.
Nevertheless Arthur VERDIER persisted in staying in Côte d'Ivoire, resisting therefore to the
English . His boat regularly pillaged by the latters , he decided to grow coffee in the region of
Assinie. This decision would be of a paramount importance for the country because coffee and
cocoa would later become the income products of Côte d'Ivoire. BINGER was then appointed
French Resident to the establishments of Cote d'Ivoire and as such represented France at the
local kings'. In 1882 he created the Kong Company which managed a coffee plantation. The
agricultural potentials of Côte d'Ivoire and Africa in general is proved.
In 1884 France, Great Bretain, Germany and Belgium shared Africa in different spheres of
influence, each of those countries being able to profit from Africa freely.
From 1887, TREICH-LAPLENE, a clerk of VERDIER proceeded his travel towards the
north signing treaties with the Bétés, Agnis and eventually the Abrons in the name of France. He
would then arrive in Kong and settle there.
From 1887 to 1889, Louis BINGER (1856 - 1926) left Sénégal and travelled 4,000 km to
reach Grand Bassam. During his trip he met TREICH-LAPLENE at kong and they arrived at
Grand Bassam together. BINGER was the first to link Sénégal to Côte d'Ivoire.
During that period, a Guinean warrior SAMORY TOURE arrived in Côte d'Ivoire in search
of new territories. He first attacked the Sénoufos, then the Lobis that he captured and sold as
In 1890, Grand Lahou was once again taken possessed by the French and little by little the
effective power of France was imposed on the remaining posts still existing.
In 1891, SAMORY was at the head of a new empire going from Odiénné to Bouna.
In 1892, worrying about what was going on in the north of the country the French decided to
send a column commanded by captain MENARD to capture SAMORY. That column would
be massacred at Séguéla.
In March 10th,1893 the decree founding the colony of Côte d'Ivoire was signed. BINGER
became the Governor and Grand Bassam the capital. However the surrender of the whole
country remained far. It would take more than 20 years to France to impose itself really. Apart
from the difficulty for the French to live under such a climate, numerous conflicts appeared
because the different ethnic groups could not stand most of the despotic decisions taken by the
In 1893, the French sent another army against SAMORY. SAMORY, being sure of his defeat
turned tail. A real manhunt would start therefore and would only end in 1898 when he was
captured and sent to Gabon.
In 1899, Grand Bassam was undergoing a terrible outbreak of yellow fever. The French would
retreat to Bingerville where the atmosphere was purer. So they changed Bingerville into the new
capital of Côte d'Ivoire.
20th century - The Colonial Period
In 1902 Côte d'Ivoire entered AOF (Afrique Occidentale Française/French Western Africa)
which Governor was in Dakar.
Just after the end of the first world war mentality would change as far as mistrust towards
teaching was concerned, specially thanks to villagers who had been abroad. Many Africans
from different countries of AOF would then go to study in Dakar.
In 1932, Félix HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY, a young medical doctor trained at Ecole de
Médecine de Dakar (Dakar Medical School) championed cocoa farmers' cause. At the
beginning he militated in favour of a peaceful struggle and dialogue.
In 1934, for economic development reasons Abidjan became the capital of Côte d'Ivoire
instead of Bingerville.
In 1944, the Brazzavile Conference convened by General De Gaulle on the French colonies'
future contemplated the possibility of an autonomy for the colonies.
Félix HOUPHOUET BOIGNY very quickly had a dominant place which would allow him to
work in favour of the suppression of forced labour for cocoa and coffee farmers.
In 1944 he created the first Syndicat Agricole Africain (African Agricultural Trade Union) to
fight much harder against injustices.
In 1945 the different colonies were granted the possibility to have their representative at the
Assemblée Constituante Française (French Constituent Assembly) and Félix HOUPHOUET
BOIGNY was elected deputy of Côte d'Ivoire. The following year he obtained the suppression
of forced labour in the whole French colonies.
In 1946 Félix HOUPHOUET BOIGNY founded the PDCI (Parti Démocratique de Cote
d'Ivoire / Cote d'Ivoire Democratic Party) which was the Ivorian section of the RDA
(Rassemblement Démocratique Africain /African Democratic Rally).
In 1949, the Party held a meeting. Right after, many members were arrested and sent to jail at
Grand Bassam because meetings had been forbidden since 1948. Women would gather then
and started a demonstration which would have consequential effects in France and therefore
allow the release of the Party leaders.
In 1952, Félix HOUPHOUET BOIGNY was elected at the Assemblée Territoriale (Territorial
In 1956, he entered the French Parliament then became a Representative Minister to the
Presidency of the Conseil de France (Council of France).
In 1957, Félix HOUPHOUET BOIGNY became President of the Council of AOF and
declared his will to see the of a republican and independent Côte d'Ivoire.
In 1959, he became the Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire and lead the country to independence.
In August 7th,1960 the Independence of Côte d'Ivoire was effective.
In november 1960, Félix HOUPHOUET BOIGNY was elected at the head of the Republic
of Côte d'Ivoire.
20th century - The Post Colonial period
From the beginning, the President of the republic set himself ambitious objectives:
Reach quickly self-sufficiency in food, diversify the crops in order to be less dependent upon
coffee and cocoa, and finally start the construction of dams allowing the inplantation of
In the 70s, Côte d'Ivoire would live therefore a strong economic growth supported by cocoa
and coffee prices. The country would start an important progamme of industrialization and
development of infrastructures.
From 1982 to 1984, Côte d'Ivoire would undergo it first big economic crisis due to the
simultaneous effects of drowsiness and the fall in cocoa and coffee prices.
In May 1987, Côte d'Ivoire declared itself unable to pay a debt of 4.5 billions francs.
In July 1987 Félix HOUPHOUET BOIGNY decided to block the exports of cocoa and
coffee in order to put an end to the staggering fall in prices. However, that decision would not
be correctly observed and consequently not have the effect expected.
In June 5th,1989 the price of cocoa paid to the farmer fell from 400 CFAF per kilogramme to
250 CFAF (then to 200 CFAF in 1990).
In September 27th,1989 the Pope Paul II personally inaugurated the Basilica Notre Dame de
la Paix in Yamoussoukro.
In March 1990 Application of the austerity plan decided in 1989 with the World Bank and the
IMF providing specially the reduction of salaries in the public service and the deduction of a
contribution of salaries from the private sector. But from April the plan would be suspended
after demontrations in Abidjan.
In March 1990 Democracy was proclaimed (25 political parties were created between May
and September) .
In October 28th,1990 Presidential elections would declare for the 7th consecutive times Félix
HOUPHOUET BOIGNY, President of the Republic with more than 80% of the votes.
In December 7th,1993 the President Félix HOUPHOUET BOIGNY died . Côte d'Ivoire
then lost its Spiritual Father. Henri KONAN BEDIE , President of the parliament became his
In January 12th,1994 the CFA franc was devalued by 50%. That measure would be
followed by the reduction of custom taxes so as to limit inflation. Devaluation would sooner be
a doping for exports.
In October 22th,1995 Henri KONAN BEDIE was elected President of the Republic of Côte
d'Ivoire with 95% of the votes.
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