Togo , officially the Togolese Republic (French: République togolaise), is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. The sovereign state extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lomé is located. Togo covers 57,000 square kilometres (22,008 square miles), making it one of the smallest countries in Africa, with a population of approximately 7.6 million.
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". 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. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup d'état after which he became president of an anti-communist, single-party state. Eventually in 1993, Eyadéma faced multiparty elections, which were marred by irregularities, and won the presidency three times. At the time of his death, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in modern African history, having been president for 38 years. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president.
The Akan people of Ghana frequently name their children after the day of the week they were born and the order in which they were born. These names have spread through West Africa, from Benin/Dahomey (Fon) and Togo (Ewe) to the Côte d'Ivoire (Baoulé), and throughout the African diaspora. For example, in Jamaica the following day names have been recorded: Monday, Cudjoe; Tuesday, Cubbenah; Wednesday, Quaco; Thursday, Quao; Friday, Cuffee; Saturday, Quamin; Sunday, Quashee. English translations of these names were used in the United States during the nineteenth century; Robinson Crusoe's Friday may be conceptually related.
Most Ghanaians have at least one name from this system. Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was so named for being born on a Saturday (Kwame) and being the ninth born (Nkrumah). Also, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, was so named for being born on a Friday (Kofi).
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Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé (born June 6, 1966) has been the President of Togo since May 4, 2005. A son of President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, he was appointed to the government by his father, serving as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications from 2003 to 2005. When Eyadéma died on February 5, 2005, Gnassingbé was immediately installed as President with support from the army. Doubts regarding the constitutional legitimacy of the succession led to heavy regional pressure being placed on Gnassingbé, and he resigned on February 25. He then won a controversial presidential election on April 24 and was sworn in as President again. Gnassingbé is also the National President of the Rally of the Togolese People (RPT).
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