Togo (officially the Togolese Republic) is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately 57,000 square kilometres (22,000 sq mi) with a population of approximately 6.7 million.
Togo is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture, with a climate that provides good growing seasons. The official language is French; however, there are many other languages spoken in Togo. Approximately one half of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
Togo gained its independence from France in 1960. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup, after which he became president. At the time of his death in 2005, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in African history, after having been president for 38 years. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president.
The Oyo Empire was a West African empire of what is today southwestern Nigeria. The empire was established by the Yoruba in the 15th century and grew to become one of the largest West African states encountered by colonial explorers. It rose to preeminence through wealth gained from trade and its possession of a powerful cavalry. The Oyo Empire was the most politically important state in the region from the mid-17th to the late 18th century, holding sway not only over other Yoruba kingdoms in modern day Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, but also over other African kingdoms, most notable being the FonDahomey (located in modern day Benin).
The mythical origins of the Oyo Empire lie with Oranyan (also known as Oranmiyan), the second prince of the Yoruba Kingdom of Ile-Ife (Ife). Oranyan made an agreement with his brother to launch a punitive raid on their northern neighbors for insulting their father Oba (King) Oduduwa, the first Ooni of Ife. On the way to the battle, the brothers quarreled and the army split up. Oranyan's force was too small to make a successful attack, so he wandered the southern shore until reaching Bussa. There the local chief entertained him and provided a large snake with a magic charm attached to its throat. The chief instructed Oranyan to follow the snake until it stopped somewhere for seven days and disappeared into the ground. Oranyan followed the advice and founded Oyo where the serpent stopped.
Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé (born June 6, 1966) has been the President of Togo since May 4, 2005. A son of President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, he was appointed to the government by his father, serving as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications from 2003 to 2005. When Eyadéma died on February 5, 2005, Gnassingbé was immediately installed as President with support from the army. Doubts regarding the constitutional legitimacy of the succession led to heavy regional pressure being placed on Gnassingbé, and he resigned on February 25. He then won a controversial presidential election on April 24 and was sworn in as President again. Gnassingbé is also the National President of the Rally of the Togolese People (RPT).