Togo ( ( listen)), officially the Togolese Republic (French: République togolaise), is a sovereign state 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, where its capital Lomé is located. Togo covers 57,000 square kilometres (22,008 square miles), making it one of the smallest countries in Africa, with a population of approximately 7.6 million.
From the 11th to the 16th century, various tribes entered the region from all directions. From the 16th century to the 18th century, the coastal region was a major trading center for Europeans to search for slaves, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name "The Slave Coast". In 1884, Germany declared a region including present-day Togo as a protectorate called Togoland. After World War I, rule over Togo was transferred to France. Togo gained its independence from France in 1960. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup d'état after which he became president of an anti-communist, single-party state. Eventually in 1993, Eyadéma faced multiparty elections, which were marred by irregularities, and won the presidency three times. At the time of his death, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in modern African history, having been president for 38 years. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president.
Lomé, with an estimated population of 737,751, is the capital and largest city of Togo. Located on the Gulf of Guinea, Lomé is the country's administrative and industrial center and its chief port. The city exports coffee, cocoa, copra, and palm kernels. It also has an oil refinery.
The city was founded in the eighteenth century by the Ewe people. Its population grew rapidly in the second half of the twentieth century. With approximately 30,000 inhabitants in 1950, by 1960 (the year Togo gained its independence from France) the population had reached 80,000 and 200,000 by 1970. From 1975, investments were increasingly huge, but not always in areas which had been targeted for development, and Togo was a hub of trade between its more powerful neighbors.
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General Gnassingbé Eyadéma (born Étienne Eyadéma, December 26, 1935 – February 5, 2005), was the President of Togo from 1967 until his death in 2005. He participated in two successful military coups, in January 1963 and January 1967, and became President on April 14, 1967. As President, he created a political party, the Rally of the Togolese People (RPT), and headed a single-party regime until the early 1990s, when reforms leading to multiparty elections began. Although his power was seriously challenged by the events of the early 1990s, he ultimately consolidated power again and won multiparty presidential elections in 1993, 1998, and 2003; the opposition boycotted the 1993 election and denounced the 1998 and 2003 election results as fraudulent. At the time of his death, Eyadéma was the longest-serving ruler in Africa.
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