During the Middle Ages, the region that is now known as the Ivory Coast, was the center of several important trade routes of Africa, which united the two great empires that existed then: Ghana and Mali. European merchants had been present at the region from the XV century, but it was not until the XIX when the French undertook an penetration of the region.
The territory it was later incorporated into so-called French West Africa until independence was achieved in August 1960. The country's leadership passed into the hands of Felix Houphouët-Boigny, a bizarre politician who dominated the country's political life for 30 years. Houphouët-Boigny maintains close ties with the West (especially in France) and also with South Africa.
During his time in office, Ivory Coast It was known for being the most prosperous and most stable country in the West African region. It was also the seat of the largest French community in Francophone Africa. His reign was shaken by the economic downturn in the 1990s. 80, when the prices of the basic products of the main exports (cocoa and coffee) plummeted.
The first elections multiparty since independence they have been held in 1990, where Houphouët-Boigny easily won veteran opposition leader Laurent Gbagbo. Houphouët-Boigny died in December 1993 and was replaced by former President of the National Assembly, Henri Konan Bédié. The delicate ethnic and regional balance that Houphouët-Boigny had nurtured, along with its welcoming of immigrant workers, was soon compromised. Bedie introduced the concept of "ivoirité" (Côte d'Ivoire nationalism) into political discourse, which soon acquired connotations xenophobes.
Africa... States of Independence - Ivory Coast (April 2021)