Ivory Coast


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Ivory Coast is Number 104 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The Ivory Coast (the present day Republic of Côte d’Ivoire) was a French colony, the origins of which went back to the late 18th century, when the French began concluding treaties of protection with various chiefs along part of the northern coast of the Gulf of Guinea. The book covers physical and political geography, political history, and economic conditions. Social and political conditions are covered in Number 100 in the series, French West Africa. The main ethnic groups living the country are identified as the Agni, Mande, and Krus (also Kru or Krous), but the culture and history of these peoples are not described in any detail. The economic section of the study notes the extensive efforts by the French to improve the road system in the colony. Construction of a railway line began in 1904, “part of the general scheme for railway construction, intended eventually to link together the colonies forming French West Africa.” The leading exports, by value, were rubber, mahogany, palm oil, palm kernels, oxen, and ivory. The study discusses prospects for the postwar development of the colony, which is described as rich in natural resources but lacking an adequate supply of skilled labor.

Last updated: September 5, 2014