Burkina Faso covers an area of 274.4 thousand km² in the center of West Africa and has no access to the ocean. The main part of the country is located in the savannahs of the Sudanese zone, which in the north passes into the Sahel, adjacent to the Sahara, and in the south – into Guinea. Most of the country is the undulating Mosi plateau, composed of slates, gneisses and granites, over which individual mountains rise up to 750 m high. The Black Volta, Red Volta, White Volta and right tributaries of the Niger originate on the plateau.
Upper Volta, judging by archaeological finds, was one of the ancient centers of human settlement in West Africa. In the 13th century, a powerful state already existed here, and the first Europeans appeared only at the beginning of the 19th century. Since 1919, Upper Volta has been a possession of France, independence was proclaimed in 1960. In 1985 the country was renamed Burkina Faso. The official language is French.
According to Countryaah, the population of the country (about 17.3 million people) is very diverse in ethnic composition. Its core is Mosi (their language is becoming a national language, although French continues to remain official), the Bobos close to them are famous as skilled artisans (their woodcarving, ivory, gold, bronze and terracotta figurines have gained fame). In the north of the country live nomadic Tuareg herders. There are few cities in the country, the largest of them are the capital of Ugadugu, Bobo-Diulaso, the rest are not much different from large villages.
The struggle of winds from the Sahara and the Atlantic Ocean determines the peculiarity of the subequatorial climate of Burkina Faso: in the dry season (from October to May-June), the northeast harmattan wind dominates, bringing withering heat and clouds of fine sand. The heat in April reaches 41-45 ° C, but in May the rainy season begins, brought by the Atlantic monsoon. The amount of precipitation, however, does not exceed 1000 mm, and in the north – 120-200 mm per year. During the rainy season, the rivers overflow their banks, and in winter they almost completely dry up. Lack of water and drought are the main problems of the country.
The vegetation, however, is quite diverse: in the north it is shrub deserts, which to the south are replaced by the Sudanese savanna with acacias, shea butter trees, carob trees, tamarind and baobabs, in the very south forming picturesque light forests interspersed with gallery evergreen forests in river valleys. The fauna preserved in national parks is also diverse. Elephants, lions and panthers are abundant in the Arly, Curtiagou and Double Vey reserves in the east of the country; a variety of antelopes live in the savannah forests – from small kobs to large, long-horned black antelopes; swampy riverbanks in the Dedugu area are a paradise for hippos, crocodiles and water turtles. There are also buffaloes, cheetahs, wild cats, hyenas, many monkeys, not to mention birds and reptiles.
History of Burkina Faso
Since the 14th century, on the territory of modern Burkina Faso, there have been the states of Ouagadougou, Yatenga, Tenkodogo and Fadan-Gurmai, whose leaders from the Mosi people converted to Islam. From the 14th to the 16th century, the Yatenga state conquered part of the territories of neighboring Mali and Songhai. At the end of the 19th century, the colonization of lands by the French colonizers began. In 1895, the army of the state of Yatenga was defeated, in 1897 Fada-Gurma recognized the protectorate of France. From 1904 to 1919, Upper Volta was part of the French colony of Upper Senegal-Niger, then separated into a separate colony.
In 1934, a railway was built to Abidjan. In 1947 the colony of Upper Volta was restored. The African Democratic Union (ADO) was gaining strength, headed first by Koulibaly, then by Yameogo. From 1947 to 1958, Upper Volta was an “overseas territory” of France, then received self-government. August 5, 1960 Yameogo proclaimed the independent state of Upper Volta and became president. In 1966, a nationwide strike began, as a result of which Yameogo was overthrown. Power passed to the military, led by Sangule Lamizana. The confrontation between the prime minister and the National Assembly grew, as a result of which Lamisana usurped power, and only in 1977 the country passed to civilian rule. However, in November 1980, a military regime was again established in the country, led by Colonel Saye Zerbo.
In 1982, Zerbo was deposed in a new military coup that brought Major Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo to power. In 1983, the new leader decided to break with the “leftists” in his government, one of the measures was the removal of the leftist Captain Thomas Sancar from the cabinet. As a result of another military coup, Sankara became the head of state, renamed the country Burkina Faso and proclaimed a course for a social revolution, which he implemented in very non-standard ways. One of the first innovations of the government was the disclosure of income and accounts of all government officials. The new authorities also deprived the leaders of all privileges and property, abolished mandatory payments and labor service in favor of the leaders. In the first year of the “revolution” a “day of solidarity” took place, when the men were ordered to cook dinner and go to the market to trade, in order to experience the delights of the female lot themselves. On New Year’s Eve, administrators were required to hand over their monthly salary to social funds. There were also other extravagant political moves, for example, once half the cabinet was fired and immediately sent to collective farms to work on the land. Sankara is credited with housing programs, vaccinations, the “Alpha Campaign” to teach literacy in nine local languages, planting trees to counter the expansion of the Sahara, the fight against “river blindness” and other local diseases. In society, he was extremely popular, not least because of his populist image – he did not use air conditioning in his office, “because it is not available to the people”,
In 1985, a border conflict with Mali broke out over a territory rich in mineral resources located on an undemarcated section of the border (the so-called “Agasher War”). According to the decision of the International Court of Justice, to which the parties applied, the disputed territory was divided approximately in half.
On October 15, 1987, Sankara was assassinated in a coup by his closest associate, Blaze Compaore. On June 11, 1991, a new constitution was adopted. In 1997, restrictions on the number of presidential re-elections were lifted, which gave Compaora the right to hold this post for virtually life.
Economy of Burkina Faso
agricultural country. French capital dominates the economy. GNP per capita $230 (1995). More than 90% of the population is employed in agriculture, which is carried out mainly at the subsidiary level. The leading branch of agriculture is agriculture. Without irrigation, only less than 10% of the territory can be cultivated. Therefore, Burkina Faso depends on foreign supplies. Export crops: cotton (80% of production in the west of the country), peanuts, oil palm, oil tree, karite. Transhumance-pasture cattle breeding is developed (among the Fulbe, Tuareg). Industry is underdeveloped and is limited to the production of basic consumer goods such as shoes and bicycles. The largest enterprises are concentrated mainly in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso. Recently, beer production has become an important industry and export item. Thanks to the availability of low-salinity artesian water, beer brands such as Brakina and SoBra have become popular not only in West Africa, but also in other parts of the continent. Handicraft and handicraft production are developed. Many men are forced to migrate and work on farms and factories in the neighboring states of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Extraction of mercury, gold, marble.