Ivory Coast is a West African State bordering Ghana in the east, Burkina Faso, Mali in the north, and Guinea and Liberia in the east. To the south lies the Atlantic Ocean.
The first written records about Ivory Coast were by North African traders who visited south Saharan states in search of gold. The powerful Sudanese empires dominate the history of the Ivory Coast. It was from these empires that Islam spread to the northern regions of the Ivory Coast. After the collapse of the Sudanic empires, the Juula or Dyula people in the north began to re-assert themselves and established the Kong kingdom. The Akan people also established their Abron kingdom that later dominated the Kong people. Another Akan kingdoms were the Bauole, and two Agni kingdoms. The Akan kingdoms introduced highly centralised political systems in Ivory Coast.
The first Europeans to visit the area where the Portuguese and later other Europeans followed. In 1842 the French declared the area their protectorate. Formal French colonial rule was introduced in the 1880s following the scramble for Africa. In 1904, Ivory Coast became part of French West Africa until 1960 when the country regained independence from France.
Before the first military coup of 1999, Ivory Coast was a model of stability and good economic growth. The consequences of military coup were economic breakdown and civil war splitting the country into two halves, north and south.
For a broad overview of African independence.
http://countrystudies.us/ for a recent history of Ivory Coast.
http://www.cia.gov/ for basic historical info and map, as well as
http://www.worldatlas.com/ for a map of Ivory Coast
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ offers a good but brief historical coverage
http://www.sas.upenn.edu/ has a great map
http://www-sul.stanford.edu/ is a great search engine, as are: