Togo’s history from precolonial times to the present is one of a struggle for identity and leadership. A territory relatively untouched by neighboring pre-colonial empires was colonized by both the Germans and the French, and even before independence Togo was shaped by the struggle for political control by prominent families. Since the 1990s, widespread political movements have striven to unseat the ruling Gnassingbé family, in power for more than 50 years, only to be repressed by the military or thwarted at the ballot box. Economically more prosperous compared to many of the other countries in the West African region, Togo has diversified its economy from an early dependence on phosphates, and has navigated trade and foreign relations remarkably well for a country of only 7 million people, with a territory less than a quarter the size of neighboring Ghana. With at least 30 ethnic groups and wide array of languages, religions and cultural traditions, Togo is representative of the rich diversity of contemporary Africa, and a vibrant illustration of the dual quest for development and democracy that characterizes the West African region.
The fourth edition of Historical Dictionary of Togo contains a chronology, an introduction, an extensive bibliography, and a dictionary section has over 1,000 cross-referenced dictionary entries on important personalities, politics, economy, foreign relations, religion, and culture. This book is an excellent resource for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Togo.
Jennifer C. Seely is associate professor of politics and director of the Peace Corps Prep Program at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Côte d’Ivoire in the 1990s she studied democratic transitions in Togo and Benin supported by a Fulbright grant and authored the book The Legacies of Transition Governments. Her teaching and research interest’s center on African democracy, development, citizenship, and political economy.
Samuel Decalo is a specialist on Francophone Africa and the Middle East. He is the author of eleven books on Africa and is also the author of the Historical Dictionaries of Benin, Congo, Chad, and Niger.
Editor’s ForewordJon Woronoff
List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
About the Authors