Interesting facts about Togo

togo flag

Togo is a country in West Africa.

The official name of the country is the Togolese Republic.

It is bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.

The official language is French.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Togo was estimated to be 7,599,721 people.

It is the 123rd largest country in the world in terms of land area with 56,785 square kilometers (21,925 square miles).

Lomé is the capital and largest city of Togo. Located on the Gulf of Guinea, Lomé is the country’s administrative and industrial center and its chief port.

lomé

Togo’s terrain is diverse. In the north the land is characterized by a gently rolling savanna in
contrast to the center of the country, which is characterized by hills. The south of Togo is
characterized by a savanna and woodland plateau which reaches to a coastal plain with extensive
lagoons and marshes.

The highest mountain of the country is the Mont Agou at 986 meters (3,235 feet) above sea level.

mont agou

There are also a number of relatively small lakes, the largest of which is Lake Togo, a shallow lagoon, separated from the ocean by a narrow strip of land. Lake Togo is about 15 km (9.3 mi) long, 6 km (3.7 mi) wide.

As for rivers, the most significant is the 400 kilometers (250 miles) long Mono River and its tributaries.

Togo has 56 kilometers (35 miles) of coastline along the Bight of Benin of the Gulf of Guinea in the
North Atlantic Ocean.

The waters off Togo’s coast have a strong undertow, making its beaches generally unsafe for swimming; one coastal area, however, is protected by a natural coral reef.

togo beach

The network of protected areas in Togo covers about 28% of the national territory. It is made up of 3
national parks, plus other types of protected areas.

Fazao Malfakassa National Park is the largest of three national parks in Togo, the others being Kéran and Fosse aux Lions. It is situated between the Kara Region and Centrale Region in semi-mountainous wetland, and forms part of the border with Ghana. The park was established in 1975 by the merger of two reserve forests created in 1951: Fazao (1,620 square kilometers (630 sq mi)) and Malfakassa (300 square kilometers (120 sq mi)).

fazao malfakassa national park

The Koutammakou landscape in north-eastern Togo, which extends into neighbouring Benin, is home to the Batammariba whose remarkable mud tower-houses (Takienta) have come to be seen as a symbol of Togo. In this landscape, nature is strongly associated with the rituals and beliefs of society. The 50,000-hectare (123,500-acre) cultural landscape is remarkable due to the architecture of its tower-houses which are a reflection of social structure; its farmland and forest; and the associations between people and landscape. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

koutammakou

One of the most tranquil and most serene areas of Togo is the Kpalime region only 120 kilometers from Lomé. In the forested hills of the cocoa and coffee region, it offers some of Togo’s best scenery and hiking and a lovely waterfall.

kpalime

The Monument de L’Independance was built as a tribute to Togo’s independence from France on April 27, 1960. The structure is composed of a human silhouette carved within it and surrounded by promenades, palm trees, manicured lawns, fountains and a black gold iron fence.

monument de lindependance

The Sacred Heart Cathedral is a Catholic church in Lomé. Built in just over a year (April 1901 to September 1902) by the German colonial authorities, then it became one of the iconic buildings of the
new capital of Togo. On August 9, 1985, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in the cathedral.

sacred heart cathedral

Compared to many other African nations, Togo has a short history. There is no evidence of ancient civilization here and the earliest known records only go back 10 centuries.

From the 11th to the 16th century, various tribes entered the region from all directions.

From the 16th century to the 18th century, the coastal region was a major trading center for Europeans
to search for slaves, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name “The Slave Coast”.

Slavery was abolished in the early 19th century; however, toward the end of that century Africa
suffered another blow from the empire-building European nations.

In 1884, Germany declared a region including present-day Togo as a protectorate called Togoland.

After World War I, rule over Togo was transferred to France.

Togo gained its independence from France in 1960.

togo-flag-2

In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup d’état after which he became president of an anti-communist, single-party state. At the time of his death, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in modern African history, having been president for 38 years.

Togo is among the smallest countries in Africa, and enjoys one of the highest standards of living on the continent owing to its valuable phosphate deposits and a well-developed export sector based on agricultural products such as coffee, cocoa bean, and peanuts (groundnuts), which together generate roughly 30% of export earnings.

Approximately 29% of the population is Christian, 20% are Muslim, and 51% hold indigenous beliefs including animalism, fetishism (especially common), the cult of ancestors, the forces of nature, etc.

In Togo, there are about 40 different ethnic groups, the most numerous of which are the Ewe in the south who make up 32% of the population.

According to one count, 39 languages are spoken.

Staple foods in Togolese cuisine include maize, rice, millet, cassava, yam, plantain and beans. Maize is the most commonly consumed food in the Togolese Republic. Fish is a significant source of protein, and bush meat is often hunted and consumed.

The official Togolese drink is called sodabi, a liquor that is created from the distillation of palm wine.

Football is the most recognized and national sport of Togo.

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