Burkina Faso Facts

Burkina Faso Facts and History


Burkina Faso – The “Land of the Righteous”

Burkina Faso, the “land of the incorruptible”, or the “land of the upright”, is located between the African states of Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

The Burkinabè, which are officially called Burkiner in German, are not only committed to integrity, but also to integration. “Burkina” comes from the Mossi language, who make up the majority of the population. “Faso”, on the other hand, is rooted in the minority language Dioula. With joint efforts one is then called: “Burkina Faso”. In order to round off the picture harmoniously, the suffix -bè was taken from another minority language, the Fulfuldé, and the name “Burkinabè” was created.

The integrative and very liberal aspirations of the Democratic Republic of Burkina Faso are not only reflected in the country name, but are also manifested in the constitution. It is noteworthy that the first steps towards equal rights for women were taken as early as 1984. This is now guaranteed by the constitution.

As is so often the case, in some places there is still a lack of implementation of the established rights. With regard to the situation of women, reference should be made in particular to rural conditions. The attack on the journalist Norbert Zongo, who was critical of the government, in 1998 also motivated severe criticism from human rights organizations. For this reason, more measures to protect human rights have been taken in recent years. We know: a name says a lot – but not always enough.

Name of the country Democratic Republic of Burkina Faso
Name of the residents Burkinabe
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location West Africa
National anthem Une Seule Nuit (One Night Only)
National holiday December 11th (proclamation of the republic in 1958)
Independence August 05, 1960
Population about 20.5 million (Credit: Countryaah: Burkina Faso Population)
Ethnicities approx. 40% Mossi, also Dioula (Bobo), Fulani (Peul) and others
Religions approx. 55% Muslims, 30% followers of natural religions, 15% Christians
Languages French is the official language.
Capital Ouagadougou with over 2 million residents
Surface 274,000 km²
Highest mountain Tene Kouron with a height of 747 m
Longest river Black, White and Red Volta
Largest lake There are no larger lakes in the country.
International license plate BF
National currency CFA franc
Time difference to CET -1h (= GMT)
International phone code 00226
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts and 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .bf

Burkina Faso: history

Early history

A first demonstrable settlement of the territory by groups of hunters and gatherers took place at the latest about 14,000 years ago. Sedentary farming cultures developed from around 3,600 BC.

From the 12th to the 19th century

According to Abbreviationfinder website, from the 12th century, ethnic groups from today’s Mali invaded the area in the course of the great north-south migration. Instead of the previously autonomously administered small village communities, the tightly hierarchically organized kingdoms of the Mossi emerged in the center of today’s Burkina Faso.

Ouédraogo, who was Emperor of Tenkodogo around the 15th century, is considered to be the progenitor of the Mossi dynasties that followed. At the same time, the kingdoms of the Bwa emerged in the west of the country and that of the gourmantché in the east.

The north was ruled by the emirates of Liptako and Djelgodji of the Fulbe, who promoted the Islamization of the surrounding peoples.

20th century until today

Towards the end of the 19th century, the French colonial powers began to occupy the country from the north.

In 1919 the Upper Volta colony was founded as part of French West Africa.

In 1932 this was divided between the neighboring colonies of French Sudan, Niger and Côte d’Ivoire.

From 1947 Upper Volta was again administered separately.

In 1958 an autonomous republic was proclaimed and on August 5, 1960, the country gained independence from France. The country’s first president, Maurice Yaméogo, was forced to resign in 1966 following popular protests. His successor was the Army Chief of Staff, General Lamizana, who initially led a moderate military regime with civilian participation.

In 1970 a democratic constitutional state was re-established (the second republic). Between 1974 and 1978, military leaders occupied key government positions. After Lamizana’s electoral victory again, there was a return to the constitutional system (third republic). In 1980 Save Zerbo took power in a military coup, which resulted in a ban on all political parties.

In 1982/1983 the regime was overthrown by the left forces of the officer corps and Captain Thomas Sankara became president. The pan-African socialist revolutionary broke off relations with the former French colonial power and tried, with the support of Ghana, Libya and Cuba, to reorient the economy and politics. In 1984 he changed the name of the previous Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (land of the upright). The politician enjoyed great popularity among the population. Among other things, he succeeded in effectively preventing corruption, increasing medical care and people’s level of education. Sankara also tried to improve the status of women in the country, banning the circumcision of girls, opposed polygamy and advocated contraception.

In 1985, a border conflict over the Agacher Strip led to a ten-day war with Mali.

In 1987 Thomas Sankara was murdered by his former ally Blaise Compaoré, who then became the country’s new ruler. The new constitution of 1991 made it possible to introduce a multiparty system. In December of that year Compaoré won the presidential election.

In 1996 the ruling party ODP/MT merged with ten other parties, some of which had been part of the opposition until then, to form the “Congrès pour la Democratie et le Progrès” (CDP). In 1997 the constitution was changed. Compaoré won the presidential election of 1998 again.

In December 1998 the government-critical journalist Norbert Zongo was assassinated. In September 2003 there was an attempted coup in which the governments of the neighboring countries Côte d’Ivoire and Togo were accused of participating.

In 2004 the parliament approved a change in the electoral law, the opposition protested against it because of the resulting disadvantage.

Burkina Faso Facts