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Cote d'Ivoire History Timeline

1300 - 1700

  • (1300s) Mandinka people migrated from Niger basin
  • (1300s) Mali Empire extended into region around present-day Odienne
  • (1600s) Portuguese were first Europeans to arrive along coast; traded gold, ivory, pepper
  • (1600s) Slave trade began by local chiefs bringing Africans from interior
  • (1637) French missionaries arrived
  • (1710 - 1895) Muslim rulers led Kong Empire across West Africa
1800s
  • (1830s) French trading posts built along coast
  • (1842) France established protectorate over coastal zone, trading rights negotiated with local chiefs
  • (1871) France withdrew most of its military troops from Cote d'Ivoire after losing Franco-Prussian War
  • (1881) Samouri Toure's Wassoulou Empire extended into northern Cote d'Ivoire
  • (1885) Berlin Conference acknowledged French interests in Cote d'Ivoire
  • (1886) France took control of coastal trading posts
  • (1887) Lieutenant Louis Gustave Binger of France reached protectorate agreement with local chiefs
  • (1890) Lieutenant Louis Gustave Binger spent two years in interior of Cote d'Ivoire establishing additional protectorate agreements with local chiefs
  • (1892) Border agreement with Liberia established
  • (1893) Border agreement with Ghana established
  • (1893) Cote d'Ivoire became colony, Captain Louis Gustave Binger appointed governor
  • (1895) City of Kong destroyed by Samouri Toure's forces
  • (1898) Present-day boundaries of Cote d"Ivoire established
  • (1898) Samouri Toure captured, exiled to Gabon
1900s
  • (1903 - 1936) Plantations with cash crops were developed
  • (1904) Cote d'Ivoire became part of French Federation of West Africa
  • (1908) France military occupation of Cote d'Ivoire was completed
  • (1910) Abe people in the southern part of the country staged rebellion
  • (1914 - 1918) France's attempt to conscript indigenous people for World War I caused rebellion
  • (1934) Parts of French colony of Upper Volta (present-day Burkina Faso) were added to Cote d'Ivoire
  • (1944) Syndicat Agricole Africain (SAA, African Agricultural Syndicate) formed by Felix Houphouet-Boigny and August Denise
  • (1946) Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA, African Democratic Rally) formed
  • (1946) Cote d'Ivoire and Upper Volta separated
  • (1958) Cote d'Ivoire began internal self-government as republic within French community
  • (1959) Felix Houphouet-Boigny became prime minister
  • (1960) Cote d'Ivoire granted independence from France, Félix Houphouët-Boigny became president
  • (1963) Attempted military coup suppressed
  • (1970) Oil extraction industry was developed
  • (1973) Attempted military coup suppressed
  • (1979) Cote d'Ivoire became world's leading cocoa producer
  • (1980) Attempted military coup suppressed
  • (1981) Agricultural recession greatly impacted economy, national debt grew
  • (1981) Capital moved from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro
  • (1987) Cocoa prices fell internationally by 50%, greatly impacted Cote d'Ivoire's economy
  • (1989) World's largest Catholic basilica built at Yamoussoukro
  • (1990) Strike launched by civil servants, students protesting institutional corruption
  • (1990) Opposition parties were legalized
  • (1990) Houphouet-Boigny won first multi-party presidential election
  • (1990) New constitution introduced
  • (1993) President Houphouet-Boigny died, Henri Konan Bedie became president
  • (1995) Henri Konan Bedie reelected in general election which was boycotted by opposition parties
  • (1995) President Bedie jailed several hundred opposition supporters following elections
  • (1999) President Bedie overthrown by military coup led by General Robert Guei; Bedie fled to France
  • (1999) Muslim Alassane Ouattara left International Monetary Fund to run for presidency in 2000 elections; opposition declared him to be a national of Burkina Faso, not Cote d'Ivoire
  • (1999) Law passed by government which required both parents of a presidential candidate to be born in Cote d'Ivoire; Alassane Ouattara was disqualified
  • (1999) Soldiers went on rampage with gunshots and looting in Abidjan protesting wages and perks
2000s
  • (2000) General Robert Guei announced suspension of country's foreign debt payments
  • (2000) General Robert Guei dissolved interim government
  • (2000) Adoption of new constitution passed by voters
  • (2000) Military reached agreement with mutinous soldiers for lump sum payments of $1,600; soldiers had demanded $9000
  • (2000) Soldiers drove back attackers in assassination attempt on General Guei, two bodyguards were killed
  • (2000) Bus station bombing killed four people, state of emergency declared
  • (2000) General Guei declared himself the winner in the presidential elections, dissolved electoral commission that showed main opponent to be in the lead
  • (2000) People's revolt forced General Guei out of power
  • (2000) Laurent Gbagbo proclaimed president
  • (2000) Opposition leader, Alassane Ouattara, who was excluded from running for president, called for new election
  • (2000) Fighting broke out between President Gbagbo's Christian supporters and Ouattara's Muslim followers, dozens were killed
  • (2000) Ouattara went into exile in France
  • (2001) Coup attempt against President Gbagbo failed
  • (2001) Thousands of people fled to Burkino Faso, Mali, Ghana and Niger following attacks on foreigners accused of being involved in coup attempt
  • (2001) International media published stories about cocoa farmers using migrant child laborers as slaves
  • (2001) Alassane Ouattara returned from France, met with President Gbagbo to work for reconciliation
  • (2001) Four ministerial posts given to members of Ouattara's party as part of reconciliation agreement
  • (2002) Only 39,000 western chimpanzees out of original 600,000, remained in Azagny National Park
  • (2002) Rebels seized control in north of country, military mutiny in Abidjan
  • (2002) French sent troops to support Cote d'Ivoire's military, thousands killed during conflict
  • (2002) General Robert Guei was killed in attack on government and security installations
  • (2002) U.S. troops and military planes sent in to rescue Americans
  • (2002) Rebels and government agreed to truce, ceasefire began
  • (2002) After month-long ceasefire, fighting resumed when rebel forces attacked government positions in western part of the country; government soldiers killed more than 120 civilians suspected of collaborating with rebels
  • (2002) French troops evacuated city of Man after rebels captured the city
  • (2002) French forces opened fire on rebels in western part of country in attempt to stop them from reaching Abidjan
  • (2002) Rebel helicopter bombing killed 12 civilians, injured several more
  • (2003) Rebels attacked French troops, 30 rebels killed, nine soldiers injured
  • (2003) Rebels and political parties agreed on new government to include nine rebel members; Prime Minister Seydou Diarra to form new cabinet
  • (2003) Loyalists from Cote d'Ivoire attacked French Embassy and army base, fighting continued among ethnic classes over peace deal with rebels
  • (2003) Nearly 100,000 loyalists marched through Abidjan in protest of the French-brokered peace deal, burned flags, called for death of the French president
  • (2003) New government held first cabinet meeting
  • (2003) Rebel groups and armed forces signed ceasefire agreement
  • (2003) Military chiefs and rebels announced war was over at ceremony in presidential palace
  • (2003) Group of mercenaries and backers planning to assassinate President Gbagbo were detained in France
  • (2003) Attack on state TV building in Abidjan killed 19
  • (2004) Deadly clashes occurred during opposition rally against President Gbagbo
  • (2004) UN sent peacekeepers
  • (2004) President Gbagbo fired three rebel and opposition ministers from government
  • (2004) Dozens of boys and men suffocated in airless shipping containers after being locked up by rebels for days
  • (2004) Cote d'Ivoire's Air Force attacked rebel bases, nine French soldiers killed, anti-French protests erupted, UN imposed arms embargo
  • (2004) France and UN evacuated thousands of French and other expatriates from Cote d'Ivoire
  • (2004) New reforms planned during 2003 peace accord passed by Parliament, included the abolishment of the president being required to have Ivorian parents
  • (2005) At peacekeeping talks held in South Africa, government and rebels declared "immediate and final end" to hostilities
  • (2005) More than 100 were killed in massacre in Duekoue
  • (2005) U.S. and France reached agreement to increase size of UN peacekeeping mission by nearly 2,000 troops and police
  • (2005) Rebel leader Guillaume Soro, said they would no longer recognize South African President Thabo Mbeki as mediator
  • (2005) Planned elections were postponed, UN extended President Gbagbo's mandate for one year
  • (2005) Mediators appointed economist Charles Konan Banny as prime minister
  • (2005) UN Security Council increased its embargo to include diamonds along with the arms
  • (2006) Supporters of President Gbagbo involved in violent street demonstrations protesting UN interference in internal affairs
  • (2006) Political rivals met for first time since 2002, agreed to work out differences
  • (2006) President Gbagbo's military missed disarmament deadlines
  • (2006) An additional 1,500 peacekeepers were added by the UN Security Council
  • (2006) A Panamian-registered ship, chartered by Dutch company Trafigura Beheer BV, unloaded waste containing hydrogen sulphide in Abidjan port, then dumped into eight open air sites, 15 people died, more than 100,000 became ill
  • (2006) Political and rebel leaders failed to come to agreement on main issues of voter registration and disarmament
  • (2006) Government resigned over the toxic waste dumping scandal in Abidjan
  • (2006) New cabinet formed, ministers of transport and environment replaced, most other members reappointed
  • (2006) Cote d'Ivoire authorities arrested two executives of Dutch company involved in dumping of toxic waste, they were charged with poisoning and infractions of toxic waste laws, sentenced to prison
  • (2006) UN report said smugglers in Cote d'Ivorie violated UN ban on diamond sales, were illegally exporting to neighboring countries for sales overseas
  • (2006) Cocoa farmers went on strike protesting low retail prices, high export taxes
  • (2006) UN Security Council extended transitional government mandate for another year
  • (2007) President Gbagbo and rebel leader Guillaume Soro, signed peace accord; called for new government to hold elections by end of year, dismantling of buffer zone separating the two sides
  • (2007) Guillaume Soro named prime minister
  • (2007) Military began to disarm
  • (2007) Prime Minister Soro's airplane came under heavy gunfire by rebels at airport in northern region, four killed, 14 wounded
  • (2007) UN announced sanctions would continue for another year
  • (2007) Rebels and government soldiers withdrew from buffer zone as part of disarmament program
  • (2008) UN renewed mandate for 8,000 peacekeepers to remain for additional six months
  • (2008) Ten people arrested, charged with plotting coup in 2007
  • (2008) President Gbagbo cancelled customs duties after two days of violent protests against rising food prices
  • (2008) Rebels in northern Cote d'Ivoire began disarming
  • (2008) UN extended sanctions and arms embargo again, said it would review situation after presidential elections were held
  • (2008) President Gbagbo, Prime Minister Soro postponed presidential elections again due to delays in voter registrations and security concerns
  • (2009) Stampede at Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium during World Cup qualifying match killed 19, 132 injured
  • (2009) International Monetary Fund agreed to write off $3 billion of Cote d'Ivoire's $12.8 billion national debt
  • (2009) Rebels turned over ten northern zones to civilian administrators
  • (2009) Presidential elections postponed again
  • (2010) President Gbagbo declared he was dissolving government and election commission
  • (2010) Opposition announced it would no longer recognize Laurent Gbagbo as president
  • (2010) Anti-government demonstrations held in eight cities; five killed and dozens injured at rally in Gagnoa
  • (2010) Prime Minister Guillaume announced new unity government, including 16 ministers from President Gbagbo's party and 11 ministers from opposition parties
  • (2010) Two people were killed, 30 injured during stampede at reggae concert in Bouake
  • (2010) Delayed presidential elections held; President Gbagbo won 38%, Alassane Ouattara 32%, run-off date set
  • (2010) President Gbagbo issued nationwide curfew from 10pm to 6am to prevent any tampering with vote counting following run-off election
  • (2010) Election commission chief Youssouf Bakayoko announced that Alassane Ouattara had won with 54.1% of the vote, 45.9% for President Gbagbo
  • (2010) President Gbagbo loyalists said he had been reelected by more than 51% of the vote after some 500,000 ballots from Ouattara strongholds were discarded
  • (2010) President Gbagbo sworn in for new term in spite of UN and world leaders disputing his win
  • (2010) Top UN envoy in Cote d'Ivoire said Alassane Ouattara had won election by "irrefutable margin", international community increased pressure on Gbagbo to concede defeat
  • (2010) African Union suspended Cote d'Ivoire until Gbagbo handed power to Ouattara
  • (2010) EU said it would impose sanctions against Cote d'Ivoire unless Gbagbo recognized Ouattara as winner of the presidential election
  • (2010) Laurent Gbagbo ordered all UN peacekeepers to leave country immediately
  • (2010) Laurent Gbagbo controlled media, state television showed him taking oath of office
  • (2010) UN announced peacekeepers would stay
  • (2010) U.S. approved travel sanctions against Gbagbo and 30 others
  • (2010) UN General Assembly formally recognized Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the run-off election, rescinded the credentials of Cote d'Ivorie's UN ambassador
  • (2010) Post-election violence killed 173, 90 others injured
  • (2010) Officials cut off Gbagbo's access to state funds for paying soldiers, state television remained off air
  • (2010) West African leaders from 15-country bloc of Economic Community of West African States threatened to send military to intervene if Gbagbo did not step down
  • (2010) Alassane Ouattara's allies called for general strike until Gbagbo stepped down
  • (2010) Canada announced it would no longer recognize Cote d'Ivoire's ambassador to Ottawa who was appointed by Gbagbo
  • (2010) Britain said it would no longer recognize the ambassador who had been appointed by Gbagbo
  • (2011) African leaders returned to Cote d'Ivoire to put pressure on Gbagbo to cede power
  • (2011) EU increased pressure on Gbagbo to cede power by freezing assets of country's cocoa-exporting ports, state oil firm and three banks
  • (2011) Switzerland announced it would freeze any assets of Gbagbo's
  • (2011) UN Security Council voted to deploy additional 2,000 peacekeepers to Cote d'Ivoire
  • (2011) Laurent Gbagbo filed lawsuit against West African regional bloc for recognizing Ouattara as the winner of the presidential election
  • (2011) Forces backing Alassane Ouattara arrested Gbagbo
  • (2011) UN renewed arms and diamonds embargo for another year
  • (2011) Alassane Ouattara inaugurated as president
  • (2011) African Union lifted sanctions on Cote d'Ivoire
  • (2011) 15 ex-ministers who served under Gbagbo were indicted for crimes against the state, embezzlement of funds and other offenses
  • (2011) Former President Gbagbo charged with aggravated theft, embezzlement of public funds
  • (2011) Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue Commission was launched, its goal was to form unity after post-election violence
  • (2011) Former President Gbagbo taken into custody by International Criminal Court at The Hague on charges of murder, rape and other crimes after elections
  • (2011) In parliamentary elections, President Ouattara's party won majority
  • (2012) President Ouattara named new head of West Africa's regional bloc
  • (2012) Authorities foiled plot to overthrow government organized by supporters of former President Gbagbo
  • (2012) Borders with Ghana were closed for two weeks after attack on army checkpoint in Noe
  • (2012) President Ouattara dissolved government after a dispute over new marriage law
  • (2013) 64 people were killed in stampede after New Year's fireworks display in Abidjan
  • (2013) Militia leader Amade Oueremi was arrested on suspicion of leading massacre during 2011 post-election violence

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.