Burkina Faso (UK: /bɜːrˌkiːnə ˈfæsoʊ/, US: /ˈfɑːsoʊ/ (About this sound listen); French: [buʁkina faso]) is a landlocked country in West Africa. It covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) and is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north; Niger to the east; Benin to the southeast; Togo and Ghana to the south; and Ivory Coast to the southwest. Its capital is Ouagadougou. In 2014 its population was estimated at just over 17.3 million. Burkina Faso is a francophone country, with French as an official language of government and business. Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta (1958–1984), the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara. Its citizens are known as Burkinabé (/bɜːrˈkiːnəbeɪ/ bur-KEE-nə-beh).
The northwestern part of present-day Burkina Faso was populated by hunter-gatherers from 14000 BC to 5000 BC. From the 3rd to the 13th centuries AD, the Iron Age Bura culture existed in the territory of present-day southeastern Burkina Faso and southwestern Niger. Various ethnic groups of present-day Burkina Faso, such as the Mossi, Fula and Dyula, arrived in successive waves between the 8th and 15th centuries. From the 11th century the Mossi people established several separate kingdoms. In the 1890s, during the European Scramble for Africa, the territory of Burkina Faso was invaded by France, and colonial control was established following a war of conquest between 1896 and 1904. The territory was made part of French West Africa in 1904, and the colony of French Upper Volta was established on 1 March 1919. The colony was named for its location on the upper courses of the Volta River (the Black, Red and White Volta).
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