Posted on November 15, 2015
I couldn't find a single detail about why Côte d'Ivoire (“Ivory Coast”) celebrates a “National Peace Day,” so I'm a bit skeptical that it really does. However, I love promoting peace, and I love learning about the many and varied nations of the world. So I thought, why not just admit that it may or may not be “National Peace Day” in Côte d'Ivoire – but still take advantage of the fact that the internet votes “yay,” and use it as an excuse to talk about this fascinating Western African nation.
Several kingdoms and empires existed in the area before European powers colonized it; in the mid-1800s, Côte d'Ivoire became a protectorate of France and later a full-fledged French colony. After it achieved independence in 1960, Côte d'Ivoire was ruled by one man for several decades; but it recently experienced a coup d'état and two civil wars.
Not so wonderful!
However, like all other nations, Côte d'Ivoire has some great things to celebrate.
- Côte d'Ivoire has two official capitals, Yamoussoukro and Abidjan. The former is both the administrative and the political capital, and the latter is the economic capital.
- Côte d'Ivoire has an admirable amount of religious diversity, with close to a third of the population being Muslim, a third being Christian (mostly Catholic), and a third following Animism / native African religions. It is home to one of the largest Catholic basilicas in the entire world.
Some articles claim that it is THE largest basilica, and even THE largest church building, in the world. However, according to Wikipedia, it's #8 for basilicas and #17 for all church buildings.
- La Cascade is a waterfall located in a bamboo forest.
- Tai National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is billed as one of the last remaining areas of never-been-cut rainforest in all of Africa. Of the more than 140 species of mammals found in the park, five of them are on the Red List of threatened species: the pygmy hippopotamus, leopard, chimpanzee, Jentink's duiker, and olive colobus monkey.
- Côte d'Ivoire is known in the art world for its diverse mask traditions and has been recently attempting to establish itself as a center of African fashion.
For more about Côte d'Ivoire, check out this earlier post.
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