Independence Day in Ivory Coast comes on 7 August to mark the day in 1960 when the country left behind its French colonial days and became an independent state.
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France took control of what is now Ivory Coast in 1893, and the new colonial masters were soon exploiting the rich national resources and forcing the native population to work on plantations from which the French reaped the profit.
During the early 1900’s, Ivory Coast became part of the Federation of French West Africa, but that did not improve their situation. Following World War II, in reward for their loyalty to France during the war, all of French West Africa was granted French citizenship. Yet, they didn’t really get to make many important decisions.
In 1958, Ivory Coast gained a degree of autonomy within the “French Community”. But it wasn’t until 7 August, 1960 that they became fully autonomous. Independence leader Felix Houphouet Boigny became the new nation’s first president and remained president until his death in 1993.
On Independence Day, there are military and other parades in Yamoussoukro, the capital, and there are many events held by local governments, besides private parties and, sometimes, political street rallies.