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tiistai 13. lokakuuta 2015

Togo, Cool Facts #72

<= 71. Guinea                                                                                                                    73. Congo =>

1. Togolese society

Togo is a tiny country with 40 different tribes. The biggest tribe is the Ewe tribe from the south but also the Kabye, Tem and Gourma people are big population groups. In the pre-colonial time, the tribes were organized in kingdoms, from which the Ashanti Kingdom in the west and the Dahomey Kingdom in the east were the biggest. 

French is the official language but some most popular vernacular languages are Ewe, Mina and Kabiye. 

In Togo 51% of the people hold indigenous beliefs, about 29% are Christians and 20% Muslims.

Ewe people 
Kabye people

2. Symbolism in the Flag

The Togolese flag was designed by a Togolese artist Paul Ahyj, who had studied in France before returning back to his native country Togo, which at the time was still the French Togoland prior to independence. 

5 Stripes = 5 regions of Togo
Red square = blood shed in the struggle for independence
Yellow = soil 
Green = forests and agriculture
White star = light, intelligence and peace

Paul Ahyj, the designer of the Togolese flag

3. German Togoland

In 1884 the German Gustav Nachtigal made an agreement with the Ewe king Mlapa III about the coast of Togo, which became a German protectorate. The Germans established cotton, coffee, palm oil and cocoa plantations. The built the railways and the harbour of Lome to transport the agricultural products. The native people resisted the Germans stubbornly, especially the Kabyje people. 

By 1912 Germany had reached its power in the whole area of Togo. The German Togoland was intended to have its own flag, which included a coat of arms with two cobras in the German tricolor flag. The German Togoland was short-lived as the French and British troops occupied Togo during the World War I. 

After the war Togo was split into two. The French Togoland consisted 2/3 of the previous Togolese territory and the rest was part of the British Togoland. The British Togoland was later attached to Gold Coast, the current Ghana. This splitting separated the powerful Ewe tribe into the territories of two countries. 

Gustav Nachtigal
German Togoland flag 

4. Independence

In 1956 the British Togoland joined Gold Coast (Ghana) after a referendum, despite the resistance by the Ewe people who now lived in the territories of two different countries. 

In the same year France announced the French Togoland as an autonomic republic, being still part of the French West Africa. France announced Nicolas Grunitzky as the prime minister in French Togoland. 

In 1960 Togo became independent and Sylvanus Olympion became the country's first president. His main objective was to reunite the Ewe tribe again. This caused tensions between Togo and Ghana. 

Eastern Togoland = French Togoland

5. Dictator Gnassingbé Eyadéma

Gnassingbé Eyadéma was the president of Togo for 38 years. In 1967 Eyadema overthrow the previous president Nicolas Grunitzky becoming the new president. Nicolas Grunitzky himself became the president as Eyadema led a coup in 1963 overthrowing Sylvanus Olympion, the first Togolese president and installing Grunitzky as the new president. 

List of Gnassingbe Eyadema's notorious actions:

1. Entourage of 1000 dancing women who sang and danced in praise of him
2. Portraits of Eyadema which adorned most stores in Togo
3. Bronze statue of Eyadema in Lomé, the capital city
4. Comic book that depicted Eyadéma as a superhero with powers like invulnerability and super strength
5. Represented himself as the only survivor of a plane crash to make himself look like a superhero who miraculously survived when all the others were killed, even though this wasn't the case and there were other survivors in fact

Gnassingbé Eyadé ma comic book
Gnassingbé Eyadéma


1400s The Portuguese sail as the first Europeans at the coasts of Togo, the area was used for slave trade the following 300 years
1884 Togo becomes a German protectorate
1912 Germany gets the control of the whole area in Togo
1918 After World War I Togo was split into two protectorates administered by France and Britain
1957 British Togoland joins Ghana
1960 French Togoland becomes independent with Sylvanus Olympion becoming the first president
1963 Olympian is assasinated in a coup led by sergeant Gnassingbe Eyadema and Nicolas Gruntizky became the president
1967 Gnassingbe Eyadema overthrows Grunitzky in a bloodless coup
1991 Togo shifts into multiparty system after demonstrations and a general strike
1993 Unrests after presidential elections lead 50,000 to flee to Ghana and Benin
1998 Eyadema wins the elections against the former president's son Gilchrist Olympian
2005 Eyadema dies after being 38 years the president of Togo, against the constitution the military took the power and appointed Eyadema's son Faure Gnassingbe as the new president


2 kommenttia:

  1. with the appointment of Eyadema's son as President, Togo has declared an undeclared heredital monarchy like Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, North Korea and Syria !

    1. Yes it seems like that, what do you think would help Togo in the future to become more democratic and prosperous ?