Houphouët-Boigny, Félix (Côte d’Ivoire)

Reference work entry


Felix Houphouët-Boigny served as president from 1960 until his death in 1993. Regarded as the father of the nation, when he died he was the third longest serving world leader, behind Kim II-sung of North Korea and Fidel Castro of Cuba.

Early Life

Félix Houphouët-Boigny is thought to have been born on 18 Oct. 1905 in the town of Yamoussoukro. The son of a wealthy Baule tribe chief, he became a rural doctor as well as a wealthy planter. A Christian convert, he studied medicine in French Senegal and in 1944 co-founded the African Agricultural Syndicate to protect the interests of African planters against European settlers.

In 1945 he was the first African to be elected a deputy of the French National Assembly in the Côte d’Ivoire elections. In the same year he founded the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), which was affiliated with the French Communist Party.

Career Peak

In 1958 President de Gaulle offered French territories a referendum on whether to join a French...

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