History of Yamoussoukro

Published on 28th August 2007

Yamoussoukro is the capital city of Côte d'Ivoire. With a population of over 200,000 inhabitants, the city is located about 274 kilometers north of Abidjan on rolling hills and plains. It is divided into four sub-prefectures: Attiégouakro, Didiévi, Tié- diékro and the Commune of Yamoussoukro, which contain 169 villages and hamlets. The fishing, forestry, and perfume industries play important roles in the city's economy.

Queen Yamousso, the niece of Kouassi N'Go, ran the village of N'Gokro in 1901 at the time of French colonization. The village, at that time, comprised 475 inhabitants.  It was one of 129 Akoué villages. Diplomatic and commercial relations were then established.

In 1909 however, on the orders of the Chief of Djamlabo, the Akoué revolted against the administration and Bonzi station, seven kilometres from Yamoussoukro, and was set on fire. The French administrator, Simon Maurice, was spared only by the intervention of Kouassi N'Go. As the situation returned to normal Simon Maurice decided to transfer the French military station to Yamoussoukro. Here the French Administration built a pyramid as a memorial to Kouassi N'Go, Chief of the Akoué, and in homage to Yamousso, N'Gokro was renamed Yamoussoukro. In 1919, the civil station of Yamoussoukro was removed, and Félix Houphouët-Boigny became the leader of the village in 1939.

Yamoussoukro remained in the shadows until after the war. It then saw the creation of the African Agricultural Trade Union. But it was only with Independence that Yamoussoukro finally rose to prominence.  

The city was the home of Côte d'Ivoire's long-term president, Félix Houphouët-Boigny who sponsored the city's rapid growth. He helped build hotels and a large highway connecting Yamoussoukro to  Abidjan, where most government offices and foreign embassies remain. In March 1983, Yamoussoukro became the political and administrative capital of Côte d'Ivoire.

The city also has the world's largest Christian church. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro is also known as Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro. The basilica was constructed between 1985 and 1989. Also noteworthy are the Kossou Dam, the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation, various schools, the international airport, the Town Hall, the Protestant Temple, and the Mosque among others.  



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