Photo Credit: Eva Blue
5 Things You Likely Didn't Know About Côte d'Ivoire
How much do you know about the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire? The West African nation is much more than just the native land of soccer star Didier Drogba. It is also home to over 60 ethnic groups and has 78 different languages that are spoken.
With the Atlantic Ocean on its southern coast, Côte d’Ivoire borders Liberia and Guinea to the west, Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, and Ghana to the east. Here are five interesting facts you may not have known about Côte d’Ivoire.
1. Cote d'Ivoire's is the World's Top Supplier of Cocoa Beans
Though Côte d’Ivoire gained its name through the profitable trade of ivory, this trade died out by the eighteenth century. By the late 1980s, Côte d’Ivoire had become the world’s leading cocoa bean producer. Today, cocoa beans remain the country’s main export crop, with 33 percent of the total in the world coming from there.
2. Cote d'Ivoire is Home to the World's Largest Church
Located in the political capital of Yamoussoukro, The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is the largest church building in the world. It spans an impressive 323,000 square feet and can accommodate up to 18,000 worshipers. With Baroque and Renaissance design elements, the massive church is said to have been inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
3. The Flag of Cote d'Ivoire is NOT the Same as the Flag of Ireland
Many people believe the two countries share a flag design, but this is not the case. Though the flags have the same colors and a similar design, there are ways to distinguish them. The easiest way to tell them apart is to remember that the flag of Côte d’Ivoire begins with orange (nearest to the flagpole) while Ireland’s begins with green. Also, with a length-to-width ratio of 2:1, Ireland’s flag is longer than usual, while Côte d’Ivoire’s flag has a standard length-to-width ratio of 2:3.
4. There are Four UNESCO Heritage Sites Within Cote d'Ivoire
Yes, Côte d’Ivoire is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- Comoé National Park is the largest in West Africa. Over 240 animals species reside there, as well as more than 500 species of birds and 620 plant species.
- Grand Bassam is a historic town which, according to UNESCO, is unique for its indigenous way of life, as well as its late 18th and early 20th-century architecture.
- Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve is an endangered site threatened by poachers, mining activities, and refugees moving into the area.
- Tai National Park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve containing two climatic zones. Within it lies the primary rainforest of West Africa, which contains many endangered species.
5. Cote d'Ivoire was Founded by Queen Abla Pokou
Born an Ashanti princess in Ghana, Abla Pokou broke awake from the main group due to disagreements that led to war. She became the queen of her own group, which became the Baoule people, and led them west into what is now Côte d’Ivoire.
There is a legend that says Queen Pokou offered her son as a sacrificed to the Comoé River so that her people would be able to cross it.