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The name Côte d'Ivoire has its origins in the explorations by Portuguese and French merchants in the 15th and 16th centuries. They divided the West coast of Africa, very roughly, into five coasts reflecting local economies. The coast that the French named the Côte d'Ivoire and the Portuguese named the Costa do Marfim — both, literally, being "Ivory Coast" — lay between what was known as the Guiné de Cabo Verde, so-called "Upper Guinea" next to Cape Verde, and Lower Guinea. There were also a "Grain Coast", a "Gold Coast", and a "Slave Coast", and, like those three, the name "Ivory Coast" reflected the major trade that occurred on that particular stretch of the coast: the export of ivory. Other names for the coast included the Côte de Dents[n 1], literally "Teeth Coast", again reflecting the trade in ivory; the Côte de Quaqua, after the people that the Dutch named the Quaqua (alternatively Kwa Kwa); the Coast of the Five and Six Stripes, after a type of cotton fabric also traded there; and the Côte du Vent, the Windward Coast.
One can find the name Cote de(s) Dents regularly used in older works. It was used in Duckett's Dictionnaire (Duckett 1853) and by Nicolas Villault de Bellefond, for examples, although Antoine François Prévost used Côte d'Ivoire. But in the 19th century it died out in favour of Côte d'Ivoire. The modern state is, formally in international diplomatic protocol since April 1986, the Côte d'Ivoire and its government officially refuses to recognize or accept the Anglicization Ivory Coast in its international dealings. Its coastline isn't quite coterminous with what the 15th and 16th century merchants knew as the "Ivory" coast, which was considered to stretch from Cape Palmas to Cape Three Points and which is thus now divided between the modern states of Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire. Despite the Ivorian government's request, […]
^Joseph Vaissète, in his 1755 Géographie historique, ecclésiastique et civile, lists the name as La Côte des Dents ("The Coast of the Teeth") but notes that Côte de Dents is the more correct form.
Duckett, William (1853). "Côte Des Dents". Dictionnaire de la conversation et de la lecture inventaire raisonné des notions générales les plus indispensables à tous (in French) 6 (2nd ed.). Paris: Michel Lévy frères.
Engerman, Stanley L.; Gallman, Robert E., eds. (1996). The Cambridge Economic History of the United States1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN9780521394420.
Homans, Isaac Smith (1858). "Africa". A cyclopedia of commerce and commercial navigation1. New York: Harper & brothers.
Lea, David; Rowe, Annamarie (2001). "Côte d'Ivoire". A Political Chronology of Africa. Political Chronologies of the World 4. Taylor & Francis. ISBN9781857431162.
Lipski, John M. (2005). A History of Afro-Hispanic Language: Five Centuries, Five Continents. Cambridge University Press. ISBN9780521822657.
Plée, Victorine François (1868). "Côte des Dents où d'Ivoire". Peinture géographique du monde moderne: suivant l'ordre dans lequel il a été reconnu et decouvert (in French). Paris: Pigoreau.
Vaissète, Jean Joseph (1755). Géographie historique, ecclesiastique et civile (in French) 11. Paris: chez Desaint & Saillant, J.-T. Herissant, J. Barois.
Walckenaer, Charles-Athanase (1827). Histoire générale des voyages ou Nouvelle collection des relations de voyages par mer et par terre (in French). Paris: Lefèvre.
It's curious to me that (according to the summary above) Wikipedia users debated dropping "Côte d'Ivoire" in favor of "Ivory Coast" fíve times and never did, before having yet another debate and finally agreeing on the sixth time. What made that sixth argument more compelling than the previous five? Shouldn't there be some sort of precedent established by the first few debates? Otherwise issues like this will never die. 18.104.22.168 (talk) 16:13, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
It was the biggest fuckup and insult to a sovereign nation on the project to this date, actually. Piss-poor reading of sources, use of unacceptable sources all to support a decision that had zero basis in reality. It was unacceptable to say the least the panda ɛˢˡ” 16:46, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Maybe because Ivory Coast doesn't have the right to make this demand? --Khajidha (talk) 18:55, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
The argument that it is somehow disrespectful for an English speaker to speak English is nonsense. I can't help noticing that it is fairly patronising, too. Apparently the Germans are not to be offended by "Germany", or the Italians by "Florence" but those Africans, they might well take offence...... Avalon (talk) 08:49, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
Of course. It is offensive, colonial, imperalist and racist to call the country by its colonial name instead of its indigenous name. Oh, wait ... --Florian Blaschke (talk) 05:21, 15 August 2014 (UTC)