The Portuguese discovered Côte d’Ivoire (or the Ivory Coast as it was formerly known) in the 15th century but there was little initial interest in the area. The dense forests which covered the southern half of the area that was to become Côte d’Ivoire formed barriers to large-scale socio-political organizations and in the north dissimilar populations did not have the incentive to overcome ethnic differences and so forge a larger state. Even with the development in the 17th and 18th centuries or the Guinea coast gold and slave trades, Cote d Ivoire generally lay too far to the west to be of significance.
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