December 7 – Félix Houphouët-Boigny Remembrance Day in Ivory Coast

Posted on December 7, 2017

Sometimes a strong leader oversteps his (or her) place, and rules people just a bit too tightly.

Sometimes a strong leader overstays his (or her) welcome, ruling far too long.

But sometimes the nation benefits from such a strong leader.

Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the first president of Ivory Coast, after the nation became independent of France. And he was president for more than 30 years! The only reason he is not STILL president, now, is because he eventually died, still the president, at age 88.
That was on this date in 1993.
The thing is, Houphouët-Boigny meddled with other nations' governments, and he moved the nation's capital to his own hometown. And he stayed and stayed and stayed on as the most powerful person in his country.

But the other thing is, Ivory Coast flourished under 
Houphouët-Boigny's rule. Especially compared to other new African nations rising out of old European colonies, Ivory Coast was stable and developed successful industries in coffee and cocoa. People of different religions and ethnicities got along fine. 

After Houphouët-Boigny died, Ivory Coast was sadly no longer stable. There were several coups, the money lost its value, the economy went into a recession, and eventually a civil war broke out!
The Ivory Coast is located in Western Africa.

Did you know...?

Remember that I mentioned that Houphouët-Boigny moved the capital city of the nation to his own hometown? That meant that Abidjan was no longer the capital, but instead the capital was Yamoussoukro. The new capital had a bunch more letters and probably another entire syllable - to me, it seems twice as hard to spell correctly!

The old capital, Abidjan, is on the coast.
The new capital is roughly the center of the nation.

Abidjan remains the largest city. Maybe that's partly because of its gorgeous beaches!

Houphouët-Boigny had the world's largest church built in his new capital. The cost of this huge construction project is reported to be from US $175 million to a staggering US $600 million - and I have no idea why there would be such a wide range of estimates!!!

Ivory Coast used to be very big in the export of - you guessed it - ivory. Other names for Ivory Coast include the Frenchname Côte d'Ivoire and the Portuguese name Costa do Marfim (both of these translate to "Ivory Coast"), and Côte de Dents (which means "Coast of Teeth" and also refers to ivory). This trade died out by the 18th Century and is now illegal.

Ivory Coast is now the #1 producer of cocoa beans. It supplies - get this - about one-third of the world's chocolate!!

Ivory Coast has its natural beauties:


Also on this date:

No comments:

Post a Comment