Bounded by Mali to the north and west, Niger to the northeast, Benin to the southeast, and Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo to the south
The name Burkina is a Moore (one of the ethnic groups in the country) word for “Honorary People, ” and Faso, is a Dioula word which means “Fatherland” and together means, “land of honest men.” The use of different ethnic languages to name places, landmarks, etc. indicates unification among ethnic groups in the country. The capital, Ouagadougou, is in the center of the country and lies about 500 miles (800 km) from the Atlantic Ocean. Ouagadougou, a Francophone spelling of the name; pronunciation: [waɡaduɡu], a name from the Ninsi tribe.
The country has significant reserves of gold, mining of copper, iron, manganese, cassiterite (tin ore), and phosphates are present but has yet to be tapped into. Since the country is affected by the Sahel drought and famine, there are domestic and external concerns over the state of its economy and human rights. However there is a potential for untapped natural resources. About 80% of the population lives on subsistence agriculture with Peanut, Millet, Sorghum, cotton and gold as exports.
Formerly, called "Upper Volta"
(named for its location on the upper courses of the Volta River-the Black, Red and White Volta) under the French Empire, the country gained its independence on August 5th 1960. Soon after, Maurice Yameogo became president and he was overthrown in 1966 by Sangoule Lamizana. In 1983 Thomas Sankara, also known as “Africa’s Che Guevara,” seized power and attempted to introduce major reforms and acted on Marxist ideology. Sankara also renamed the country Burkina Faso on 4 August 1984, formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta (1958-1984). He was killed in a coup led by his successor Blaise Compaore. Marc Kabore won the November 2015 presidential election.
There are four major ethnic groups, the Mossi, Mande (whose common language is Dioula), Fulani, Bobo and Lobi. The Voltaic Mossi makes up about one-half of the population. The Mossi claim descent from warriors who migrated from northern Ghana. Although French is the official language, three regional languages are spoken, Moore, Mandinka and Bambara.
Burkinabe cuisine is similar to many other West African countries
Is based on staple foods such as sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, beans, yams and okra. Popular dishes includes: Dolo or chapalo, (a home-made millet beer). Chips d’Igname (Yam Chips). Cuisses de Poulet a la Puree de Patates Douces (Chicken Thighs with Mashed Sweet Potatoes). Banfora (Fried Pastry with Pineapple). Tô (Saghbo) is a dough-based meal of cooked millet, sorghum or corn, served with a sauce of vegetables (tomatoes, peppers and carrots) and maybe a little mutton or goat.
Burkinabe music is popularized through the use of the kora, the stringed instrument of the djeli, Djembe drums, like balafons, are often manufactured in Bobo Dioulasso. Amadou Balaké was one of the foremost singers from the country during the 20th century. In his music, Balaké combined Mandé, Mossi, and Afro-Cuban traditions.