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Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso's Information

Flag of Burkina Faso
Land Area 273,800 km2
Water Area 400 km2
Total Area 274,200km2 (#74)
Population 19,512,533 (#59)
Population Density 71.27/km2
Government Type Presidential Republic
GDP (PPP) $32.99 Billion
GDP Per Capita $1,800
Currency Franc (XOF)
More Information Burkina Faso
Largest Cities

Burkina Faso, once known as Upper Volta, and as the longtime kingdom of the Mossi people, was first populated between 14,000 and 5,000 BC by hunter-gatherers.

Between the 10th and 11th centuries, Mossi tribes immigrated into the region from Ghana, pushing out the original Yonyonse inhabitants, and began creating complex states complete with powerful militaries.

There were a number of Mossi kingdoms within Burkina Faso, the most significant being the Wagadogo (Ouagadougou) and Yatenga, and they survived until the late 19th century.

Following a decade of intense rivalry and competition with Britain and France, the Mossi's were defeated by French forces, and subsequently colonized in 1896.

In 1958, the region-achieved self-governance, becoming the Republic of Upper Volta, and by 1960 had gained complete independence from France.

Subsequently, the Upper Volta suffered from numerous military coups in its early days as a new nation. In 1983 Thomas Sankara, a Burkinabe military captain, Marxist revolutionary and Pan-Africanist theorist, seized power, and became president.

Sankara changed the name of Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, meaning "the country of honorable people" on August 4, 1984; he was a widely regarded and charismatic leader whose revolutionary programs for African self-reliance made him an icon to Africa's poor.

In 1987 a French-backed coup overthrew and then assassinated Sankara as a result of his revolutionary ideals, and Captain Blaise Compaore came into power.

Dissatisfied with the progression of the country, a new constitution was drafted in 1991, and countrywide elections held the following year - the results of which helped form a stable coalition government.

With a high population density and very limited natural resources, most of the citizens remain economically suppressed. Local health conditions are improving, but still generally poor in the rural areas. The country is reported to have the second-highest illiteracy rate on the planet.

The death of a schoolboy in early 2011 sparked a country-wide uprising, complete with military mutiny, lasting some two months before they were subdued by a consideration to change the constitution.

This page was last updated on July 12, 2016.

Burkina Faso Trivia

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Burkina Faso?

The natural resources of Burkina Faso include arable land and minerals. Important crops include cotton, maize, sorghum, and millet. Gold is the most important mineral in the nation.

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Burkina Faso?

What is the Culture of Burkina Faso Like?

Burkina Faso has great ethnic diversity. The Mossi is the largest ethnic community living in the country, comprising of 52% of the population. The ethnic minorities with a significant presence in the country are the Fulani (8.4%), Gurma (7%), Bobo (4.9%), Gurunsi (4.6%), and Senufo (4.5%). The legacy of the French colonial rule in Burkina Faso is visible in the country. For one thing, the official language in Burkina Faso is French. Different ethnic groups also speak their own indigenous languages. Muslims represent 61.5% of the population of Burkina Faso. Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, are also present in significant numbers. A large section of the population adheres to the traditional indigenous religions.

The Culture Of Burkina Faso

Which Is The Largest Ethnic Group In Burkina Faso?

The Mossi is the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso and accounts for 50.2% of the country’s population. The Fulani, Bobo, Gurma, and Mandé are some of the ethnic minorities of the country.

Largest Ethnic Groups In Burkina Faso

What Is The Dominant Religious Belief In Burkina Faso?

Islam is the religion of the majority in Burkina Faso. 61.1% of the country’s population adhere to this religion. 19.0% of the population practice Roman Catholicism. 11.3% practice indigenous African beliefs. Protestant Christianity is the religion of 5.5% of the population.

Religious Beliefs In Burkina Faso

What is the Currency of Burkina Faso?

The official currency of Burkina Faso is the West African CFA franc.

What is the Currency of Burkina Faso?

What Languages are Spoken in Burkina Faso?

French is Burkina Faso’s official language. Mossi is the most widely spoken language of Burkina Faso, as it is spoken by nearly 40% of the country’s population. Most people living in the country’s urban areas are multilingual, while the rural population uses their native languages for common activities.

What Languages Are Spoken in Burkina Faso?

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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