Republic of Upper Volta

Republic of Upper Volta
République de Haute-Volta
Flag Coat of arms
"Unité  Travail  Justice" (French)
"Unity  Work  Justice"
Hymne National Voltaïque
Capital Ouagadougou
Languages French
Government Republic
   1959–1966 Maurice Yaméogo
  1983–1984 Thomas Sankara
High Commissioner
  1958–1959 Max Berthet
  1959–1960 Paul Masson
Prime Minister
  1971–1974 Gérard Kango Ouedraogo
  1983 Thomas Sankara
Historical era Cold War
   Self-governing colony December 11, 1958
  Independence August 5, 1960
   Renamed August 4, 1984
Currency CFA franc
Preceded by
Succeeded by
French Upper Volta
Burkina Faso
Part of a series on the
History of Burkina Faso
Bura /
Prehistoric /
c. 3rd–13th century
Mossi Kingdoms 11th? century – 1896
French Upper Volta
Republic 1958–1984
Burkina Faso
Agacher Strip War 1985
Assassination of Sankara 1987
Compaoré rule 1987-2014
Burkinabè revolution 2014
Transitional period 2014-2015
Burkinabé coup d'état 2015
2015 elections and aftermath 2015-present
Burkina Faso portal

The Republic of Upper Volta (French: République de Haute-Volta) was a landlocked west-African country established on December 11, 1958, as a self-governing colony within the French Community. Before attaining autonomy it had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On August 5, 1960, it attained full independence from France.


Map showing the Volta River in Upper Volta.

Thomas Sankara came to power through a military coup d'état on August 4, 1983. After the coup, he formed the National Council for the Revolution (CNR), with himself as president. Under the direction of Sankara, the country changed its name on August 4, 1984, from the Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means "Land of Incorruptible People".[1]

The name Upper Volta indicated that the country contains the upper part of the Volta River. The river is divided into three parts—the Black Volta, White Volta, and Red Volta, which form the colors of the national flag corresponding to parts of the river.

See also


Coordinates: 12°16′N 2°4′W / 12.267°N 2.067°W / 12.267; -2.067

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