Ivory Coast 1931
According to Computerminus.com, Ivory Coast was a French colony of West Africa. It is limited to S. from the Gulf of Guinea, to E. from the Gold Coast, to N. from Upper Volta and French Sūdan, to W. from French Guinea and Liberia. Its surface is 315,000 sq km.
Almost everywhere, like the rest of West Africa, the Ivory Coast has a monotonous and little accentuated relief. It includes only a strip of the Nigerian plateau (400 m), while in the western part some rocky peaks and hills from 800 to 900 m high. they precede the Nimba massif, located on the borders of Guinea and Liberia, which rises up to 1860 m. The rivers are numerous, but interrupted by waterfalls that make them unusable. The main ones are: the Cavally, which descends from the Nimba Mountains and forms, in most of its course, the border with Liberia; the Sassandra, enlarged by the Férédougouba and the Bafing; the Bandama, 800 km long, of which the Nzi and finally the Comoé is a tributary. The high course of some tributaries of Niger (Bagoé) and Volta Nero belongs to the colony, which for a stretch constitutes the border with the Gold Coast. The coast, where some rocky points meet at Capo Palmas (W end of the colony), is low and sandy to E. di Fresco; a littoral cord, formed by the sea current, has separated from the sea a series of lagoons, into which rivers flow and which communicate with the sea only by means of narrow passages (lagoons of Fresco, of Lahou, of Bassam or Ebrié and of Assinie).
The climate is hot and humid, and the rains are generally abundant. The southern part, with an equatorial climate, has two rainy seasons and two dry seasons; the remainder, with a tropical climate, only one rainy season. Grand Bassam receives 2050 mm. of rains a year; in the interior the figures are lower – from 1250 to 1500 mm. – The southern part is an immense forest, covering 120,000 sq km. over a width of 150-200 km; in N., the country, more open, gradually takes on the appearance of a Sudanese savannah, with forest-galleries along the waterways; a strip of the savannah, the Baoulé, also penetrates the forest region like a gulf.
The population of the Ivory Coast is 1,724,500 residents (1926: density 5.5), including 1600 Europeans; half of the entire population belongs to Baoulé alone, with one fifth of the surface (density 10). The indigenous people belong to different groups: the most important is that of the Agni, made up of quite intelligent individuals, who occupy the whole E. part of the forest region and the Baoulé. The Kona-Kona are scattered between Comoé and Sassandra; the Kru, sailors and good workers, between Sassandra and Cavally; the Guro, rough and savage, live along the Bandama; the Mande (Malinke, Diola, Mandingue) make up about a quarter of the population; the very primitive Senufo and Lobi live in the high Ivory Coast. Almost all of these populations are animists; only the Mande are more or less superficially Islamized.
The capital of the colony is Bingerville (850 residents). Grand Bassam (7000 residents, Including 350 Europeans) is the main port at the mouth of the Comoé; Abidjan (9000 residents, including 450 Europeans) is the starting point of the railway and will have to become the capital. Inland, Bouaké (6,000 residents), Well located in the Baoulé savannah, and Kong, a large indigenous agglomeration commercially very active, are remarkable.
The main resource of the Ivory Coast is the precious wood for cabinet making (mahogany, okumé, iroko, etc.); exports increased from 13,000 tons. in 19o5 to 119,000 tons. in 1927. In 1927, 11,000 tons were also exported. of palm almonds and 8000 tons. of palm oil. Among the food plants, cassava, bananas and rice are cultivated in the S., maize and yam in the N. For some years the Europeans have given development, especially in the Indemié, to the cultivation of cocoa (9800 tons.), cotton (800 tons) and coffee (187 tons). The natives mine some gold in the Baoulé (Kokumbo) and manganese deposits have been reported in the Boudoukou region. The Europeans have founded a few sawmills and oil and cotton gin factories.
The Ivory Coast railway departs from Abidjan, on the Ebrié lagoon. Begun in 1904, it arrived in Bouaké in 1913, after having encountered many difficulties in crossing the forest region. It has now reached Tafiré (km. 488) and is being extended towards Bobo-Dioulasso. The road network covers 4600 km. of truckable roads, which connect the main production centers to the railway. Navigation was organized in the lagoons, which constitute a good internal communication route, although the sand banks make embarking and disembarking difficult; two piers were built at Grand Bassam and at Port-Bouet; this last place must be joined to Abidjan, terminus of the railway, with a bridge.
Trade in 1927 reached 428 million francs (import 193 million, export 235). In imports, the part that belongs to France is 104 million; then come Great Britain (37 million) and the United States (6). In exports, France’s share is 131 million; followed by Germany (30) and Great Britain (23).