Togo

Info

Capital

Lomé

Population

7,154,237 (July 2013 est.)

Climate

Tropical

Currency

514.1 XOF = 1USD (2012 est.)

Important Cities

Kpalime, Atakpame, Dapango, Tsevie

Area

56,785 sq.km.

People

Nationality

Togolese

Major Peoples

Kabre

Religion

African religion 51%, Christian 29%, Muslim 20%

Literacy

60.9%

Principal Language

Ewe, Kabye, Mina, Dagomba

Official Language

French

Politics

Head Of State

Gnassingbe Faure (2005)

Type of Government

Republic under transition to Multiparty Democratic Rule

Date of Independence

April 27, 1960

Major Exports

Phosphates, Cotton, Coffee, Cocoa

Precolonial History

Ewe peoples migrating from Nigeria and Bénin settled along the coast of Togo centuries before European arrival. Portuguese explorers were the first to reach the area, which later became known as the Slave Coast. Denmark, Germany, France, and Britain also competed for colonial authority and trade influence in Togo until the 19th century. Germany declared the region a protectorate in 1884. After World War I, the League of Nations divided Togoland between France and Britain. British Togoland united with the Gold Coast to form the independent nation of Ghana in 1957. French Togoland declared independence in 1960.

Postcolonial History

Sylvanus Olympio of the Comité de l’unité togolaise (CUT) became the first president of Togo. He was assassinated during a coup d’état in 1963, and succeeded by Nicolas Grunitzky of the Parti togolais du progress (PTP). In 1967, Lieutenant Colonel Étienne Eyadéma (later General Gnassingbé Eyadéma) overthrew Grunitzky in a bloodless military coup. Eyadéma banned all political parties except the Rassemblement du people togolais (RPT), founded in 1969 with Eyadéma as president. By suppressing the opposition and altering the constitution, Eyadéma maintained a dictatorship until his death in 2005. His son Faure Gnassingbé was appointed president, although violent protests and political instability followed the election legitimizing his succession. Nearly 35,000 opposition supporters were arrested or kidnapped, 10,000 displaced, and over 150 killed. Gnassingbé was re-elected in 2010. In 2012 he dissolved the RPT and established a new ruling party, the Union pour la République (UNIR).

Recommended Sources:

Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/).

Pierre Englebert and Katharine Murison, “Togo: Recent History,” Africa South of the Sahara (London and New York: Routledge, 2008).