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Language areas correspond closely to the four cultural regions of the nation.
Agni and Baoule, both Kwa languages, are the most widely spoken languages in the south.
Today, the sixty distinct ethnic groups that make up the Côte d'Ivoire are loosely grouped into four main cultural regions which are differentiated in terms of environment, economic activity, language, and overall cultural characteristics.
Most representatives of southeast cultures are Akan peoples, descendants of eighteenth-century migrants from the kingdom of Asante.
The country is made up of three distinct geographic regions: the southeast is marked by coastal lagoons; the southern region, especially the southwest, is densely forested; and the northern region is called the savannah zone.
The population of Côte d'Ivoire is ethnically diverse and delineated by the places the more than sixty indigenous ethnic groups live, although this number is often reduced to four major cultural regions—the southeast, sometimes referred to as the Atlantic East (Akan), the southwest, sometimes referred to as the Atlantic West (Kru), the northeast/north-central (Voltaic), and the northwest (Mande).
Other significant ethnic groups include the Bete (18 percent), Senufo (15 percent), and Malinke (11 percent).
The country changed its name to Côte d'Ivoire in 1985; its official name is the République de Côte d'Ivoire —a reflection of French control of the country from 1843 until independence.
Today, the nation's rich economy lies in juxtaposition to its turbulent political climate.
In 18, the French government signed treaties with the kings of the Grand Bassam and Assinie regions, placing their territories under a French protectorate.
The French gradually extended the area under French control until they dominated in 1915.