Togo Information

General Information for Togo

Country: Togo
Location: West Africa
Independence: April 27, 1960
Nationality: Togolese
Capital City: Lome
Population: 4,410,370
Important Cities: Kpalime, Atakpame, Dapango, Tsevie
Head of State: Gnassingbe Eyadema
Area: 56,600
Type of Government: Republic
Currency: 500 FCFA=1USD
Major peoples: Ewe, Kabye, Kotokoli
Religion: African religion 70%, Christian 20%, Muslim 10%
Climate: Tropical
Literacy: 43%
Official Language: French
Principal Languages: Ewe, Kabye, Mina
Major Exports: Phosphates
Pre-Colonial History The Ewe people moved into area, which is now Togo, from the Niger River Valley between the 12th and 14th centuries. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese explorers and traders visited the coast. For the next 200 years, the coastal region was a major raiding center for Europeans in search of slaves, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name "the Slave Coast." In a 1884 treaty signed at Togoville, Germany declared a protectorate over a stretch of territory along the coast and gradually extended its control inland. In 1914, German Togoland was invaded by French and British forces and fell after a brief resistance. Following the war Togoland became a League of Nations mandate divided for administrative purposes between France and the United Kingdom. After World War II, the mandate became a United Nations trust territory administered by the United Kingdom and France. In 1957, the residents of British Togoland voted to join the Gold Coast as part of Ghana. By statute in 1955, French Togo became an autonomous republic within the French Union.
Post-Colonial History Togo became independent on April 27, 1960. A new constitution in 1961 established an executive president, elected for seven years by universal suffrage, and a national assembly. In elections that year, from which Grunitzky's party was disqualified, Olympio's party won all 51 National Assembly seats, and he became Togo's first elected president. On January 13, 1963, President Olympio was assassinated in an uprising of army noncommissioned officers dissatisfied with conditions following their discharge from the French army. In 1963, the Togolese adopted a new constitution which reinstated a multiparty system and elected Grunitzky as president. President Grunitzky formed a government in which all parties were represented. In 1967, Lt. Col. Etienne Eyadema (later Gen. Gnassingbe Eyadema) ousted President Grunitzky in a bloodless military coup. Political parties were banned, and all constitutional processes were suspended. In late 1969, a single national political party, the Assembly of the Togolese People (RPT), was created, and President Eyadema was elected party president. In 1979, Eyadema declared a third Republic and a transition to increased civilian rule.

Back to the Museum