Flag description: five equal horizontal bands of green (top
and bottom) alternating with yellow; there is a white five-pointed star
on a red square in the upper hoist-side corner; uses the popular pan-African
colors of Ethiopia
Location: Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between
Benin and Ghana
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 1 10 E
Climate: tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
Independence: 27 April 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
Capital City: Lome
Head of State: President Gen. Gnassingbe EYADEMA
Area: 56,785 sq km
Type of Government: republic under transition to multiparty democratic
Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100
Major peoples: native African (37 tribes; largest and most important
are Ewe, Mina, and Kabre) 99%, European and Syrian-Lebanese less than 1%
Religion: indigenous beliefs 70%, Christian 20%, Muslim 10%
Official Language: French
Principal Languages: French (official and the language of commerce),
Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (sometimes
spelled Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)
Major Exports: cotton, phosphates, coffee, cocoa
History: The Ewe and related peoples moved into what is now Togo
from the east between the 12th and 18th centuries. The area was part
of the German colony of TOGOLAND (1884-1914).
It was then administered
by France as a League of Nations mandate and later as a UN trust territory
until it gained independence on Apr. 27, 1960. Sylvanus Olympio,
the first president of independent Togo, was assassinated in a 1963 coup.
His successor, Nicolas Grunitzy, fled after a coup in January 1967 and
was replaced by Gnassingbe Eyadema, the head of the armed forces.
Eyadema appointed a civilian cabinet and in 1969 made Togo a one-party
A 1979 constitution created a directly elected legislature,
and Eyadema was reelected in 1979 and 1986. Widespread protests forced
Eyadema to surrender most of his authority in August 1991 pending transition
to a multiparty democracy.
Soldiers backing Eyadema made repeated
attempts to overthrow the interim government, and elections scheduled for
1992 had to be postponed.