The Comoe River of present today Ivory Coast had been settled by the Nzema people since the 15th century and the village there, called Bassam after the local word for the mouth of the Comoe River, grew into a trading centre. In 1843, the French signed a treaty with the ruler of the area to build a fort for its traders, known as Fort Memours, which was on the river bank for easy trading access. After the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, the modern day Ivory Coast became a French Colony with the now Grand-Bassam functioning as its capital, however the capital was then transferred to Bingerville in the early 20th century after Grand-Bassam fell to an outbreak of yellow fever, and then it was moved again to Abidjan in 1933.
In 1964 the Ivory Coast's first post independent president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, announced plans to create a new capital in his home town of Yamoussoukro and the capital was duly moved there in 1983 however most government offices and foreign embassies remain in Abidjan. The city was named after Houphouet-Boigny's great maternal aunt Queen Yamousso and literally means "village of Yamousso". She was queen of the Baoula people who historically settled the area between the Bandama and Comoe rivers in central Ivory Coast.
Yamoussoukro has grown rapidly from it 475 inhabitants at the turn of the 20th century when it was just a village known as N'Gokro to some 361,893 today (2020) and is home to the largest church in the world, The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, which was consecrated in 1990 and modelled on St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Like much of Yamoussoukro, is it under used and the city has failed to become the busy metropolis Houphouet-Boigny had envisaged with many of its large streets remaining just that, an empty grid of streets devoid of buildings. Despite ambition plans for its future, today Yamoussoukro's economy is driven by the banking and administration sectors together with the forestry, fishing, perfume industries and the production of banana plantain, yam, manioc, tomato, gumbo, and aubergine crops.
Yamoussoukro Profile: Volunteer in Cote d'Ivoire
Yamoussoukro Profile: Yamoussoukro City Map
Yamoussoukro Profile: Child Sponsor Ivory Coast
Yamoussoukro Profile: Cote d'Ivoire Country Profile
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