Map of Togo

Togo flag

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 colours 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).

Nationality: Togolese.

Capital City: Lome.

Population: 5,018,502.

Head of State: President Gen. Gnassingbe EYADEMA.

Area: 56,785 sq km.

Type of Government: republic under transition to multiparty democratic rule.

Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes.

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 state.

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.