According to localcollegeexplorer, the Ivorian territory hosted, from the 14th century, settlements of tribal, agricultural or mercantile communities, sometimes organized into kingdoms or potentates on an ethnic basis, dedicated to the land trade mainly of cola, gold and ivory (hence the name). French settlements arose from the 17th century, but only in 1842 did France impose treaties and trade agreements on local leaders. The colony took shape in 1893 with the appointment of the first governor and in 1895 it became part of French West Africa (AOF). The conquest took a few years and ended only on the eve of the First World War. The first colonial capital was Grand-Bassam, followed by Bingerville and finally by Abidjan (1934). At the end of the Second World War the agrarian classes organized themselves to assert their claims and, at the head of the nationalist party, Houphouët-Boigny was elected, who was later called to the presidency of the inter-territorial party Rassemblement démocratique africain (RDA), founded in 1946. The RDA joined in France with the Communist Party and for some years waged a vigorous struggle for independence. In 1950, however, Houphouët-Boigny broke with the PCF and entered into negotiations with the French government which led to autonomy in 1956, accession to the French Community in 1958 and independence in 1960.
After independence, the power of Houphouët-Boigny, elected president of the Republic and of the single party (PDCI), founded in 1946 as a local section of the RDA, was imposed. The relationship with France remained predominant and maintained a safety device in the country. Thanks to the resources of its agriculture and foreign investments, Ivory Coast recorded high development rates for about twenty years, becoming a kind of ‘showcase’ of African capitalism. The period of growth ended in the late 1970s and in the following decade the fall in international cocoa and coffee prices and the progressive depletion of forest resources caused a serious crisis. The austerity measures decided by the government also due to pressure from international creditors sparked a wave of social protests, to which were added growing demands for the democratization of the country. In the autumn 1990 elections the participation of some opposition forces was allowed but the extensive irregularities favored the landslide victory of Houphouët-Boigny and the PDCI, which was followed by harsh repressions of the protest demonstrations.
Houphouët-Boigny was succeeded by HK Bédié, supported by France, who accelerated the reorganization program and won the 1995 elections, boycotted by the opposition. In 1999, after a series of manifestations of discontent caused by the worsening of the economic situation and the accentuated authoritarianism of the president, a coup d’état led by General R. Guëi dismissed Bédié. Faced with the results of the elections that saw the affirmation of the candidate of the Socialist-inspired Front populaire ivorien (FPI), L. Gbagbo, Guëi imposed a state of emergency by proclaiming himself the winner. After days of violent unrest Guëi left the country and Gbagbo assumed the presidency (2000). In 2002 a military revolt, in which Guëi was killed, tried in vain to overthrow Gbagbo’s government. However, the rebels took control of a large part of the north of the country. Thanks to the mediation of France, in 2003 an agreement was reached between the parties, which provided for the retention of Gbagbo and the formation of a government of national reconciliation with the participation of the rebels. The latter, however, accusing Gbagbo of violating the clauses of the treaty, refused to lay down their arms until 2007. Only in March 2007 with the mediation of Burkina Faso was an agreement reached that seemed capable of guaranteeing the exit from the crisis. G. Soro, the leader of the Forces Nouvelles rebels, was appointed prime ministerand a coalition government formed by the main parties was formed. In the middle of April it was decided to dismantle the “zone of trust” (zone de confiance) which divided the N and S of the country from 2002, replaced with a temporary “green line”, manned by mixed brigades of members of the army and rebels who thus took over from the international interposition forces. Although the controversial presidential election held in Nov. 2010 after a protracted series of postponements decreed Alassane Ouattara (b. 1942) as the winner, Gbagbo refused to leave the post and only in apr. in 2011 the UN special forces managed to arrest him and allow the settlement of Ouattara. The clear victory of Ouattara’s party, the Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR), was recorded in the legislative elections held in December 2011, and the results of which were disclosed only in March of the following year. who obtained an absolute majority in parliament with 138 seats out of 253, while former prime minister Soro was elected president of the National Assembly, taking over from him as prime minister JK Ahoussou. In November 2012, due to differences in the majority on a bill for the recognition of equal rights for women in marriage, Ouattara dismissed the government led by Ahoussou, which was replaced by former foreign minister DK Duncan. In the following years, thanks to Ouattara’s investment policies in infrastructures, the country experienced strong economic growth, registering an increase in GDP from 3.6% in 2009 to 6.3% in 2015.
In November 2016, a series of amendments to the Constitution were approved through a referendum which, proposed by President Ouattara, include, among other things, the introduction of the Senate and the figure of the vice-president, as well as the modification of the controversial law on ‘ivorianity’., according to which the candidate for president of the country must have been of Ivorian ethnicity and citizenship for at least two generations. In the elections for the renewal of the National Assembly held the following month, the ruling coalition of Ouattara obtained a clear majority, winning 167 seats out of 254, while an advance of independent candidates was recorded. In January 2017, as part of a transition under the new constitution, Prime Minister Duncan resigned and assumed the post of vice president interim of the country, while Ouattara has assigned that of prime minister to his trusted man AG Coulibaly. In November 2020 Ouattara was re-elected for a third presidential term, while in the legislative consultations held in March 2021 – the first, after ten years, in which all political groups participated – the president’s RDR party obtained a majority in Parliament.