A landlocked country in West Africa. Formerly known as Upper Volta, it became independent from France in 1960 under President Maurice Yaméogo, who was overthrown in 1966 by General Aboubakar Sangoulé Lamizana, he in his turn in 1980 by Sayé Zerbo, then there was a brief civilian government under Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo between 1982 and 1983.

At that time the great Thomas Sankara came to power, and on his first anniversary (4 August) changed the name and flag. He was a very popular reformist, but in 1987 was brutally killed by his trusted deputy, the present President Blaise Compaoré.

Burkina is the name of the country, it means something like "land of great people", and Faso is the form of government, roughly "democratic and republican". The adjective of nationality is Burkinabê with the stress on the E-circumflex.

The principal language is Mossi, and the capital is Ouagadougou. The Mossi tribal state of Wogodogo is ruled by a ruler called the moogo-naaba.

The Upper Volta region, named after the River Volta, came under French rule in 1904 and was organised as a separate colony between 1919-1933 and also 1947-1958, when it became an autonomous republic within the French Community. It gained full independence on 5 August 1960.

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