Abidjan, Ivory Coast » City Info » History

After Grand-Bassam and Bingerville, Abidjan was the third city to be declared the capital of Côte d'Ivoire. Today Yamoussoukro is the official capital of Côte d'Ivoire and Bingerville now forms a part of its suburbs.

Bingerville was created under the able hands of engineer Houidaille in 1889. Due to the epidemic of Yellow Fever, people residing in Grand-Bassam area moved to Bingerville, hoping that it would be a more apt atmosphere to live in. Bingerville was initially called Adjamé, but when the Colonial Government transferred its base here, it was renamed as Bingerville after its first governor Louis-Gustave Binger.

Today’s Abidjan was also situated nearby and from the viewpoint of commercial growth; the area was more profitable and preferable. The Petit-Bassam Wharf which we today know as Port Bouët, expanded considerably compared to the Grand-Bassam Wharf, which was till then the chief economic access.

Even while development plans for Bingerville were ongoing, in 1904, Abidjan took over and became the primary port for all Côte d'Ivoire colonies, especially for European goods trade.

On August 10, 1933 through a decree, the capital was shifted from Bingerville to Abidjan, resulting in shifting of many tchaman villages to Adjame, situated to the north of Plateau. This place became the chief point of the tchaman community. The loss of the “Sacred Drum” became a focal point for blackmailing the tchaman community, ensuing in forced participation in the construction of the Abidjan-Niger Railway system.

Initially, the villagers of Dugbeyo formed their base in the central district of the Abidjan metropolitan area, which lies to the south of the Plateau District. But it shifted to Anoumabo which lay on the other side of the Lagoon, known as the "forest of the dogfish". Later on, in 1934, it became the district of Treichville, named in honor of Marcel Trench-Laplène who is considered to be the founder of Côte d'Ivoire. The past location of Dugbeyo village is now a bus and ferry terminal and also location of the commercial street 'Avenue Charles de Gaulle'.

Abidjan was also designed in the way the European colonies are designed, using colonial guiding procedures.

While the rulers or colonists lived in The Plateau, the city population or the colonized people resided in the north. The two areas were separated by Gallieni Military Barracks, where today the country's Law Courts are positioned.

The Plateau and Treichville were connected via a floating bridge at place du pont Houphouët Boigny in 1931. In this same year, Abidjan got its first street addresses which were later changed in 1964 at the impulse of Mayor Conan Kanga.

The Vidri Canal was built in 1951 to connect the sea and the Ébrié Lagoon so the Port of Abidjan could be easily accessed, but this led to a drop in the temperatures of the hot waters of the Lagoon.

When the country achieved independence in 1960, the colonial cities became the seat for administration, political, and business centers. The area of Treichville was mostly inhabited by the Europeans and the rich Abidjan&rsquo's.