Situated on both sides of Ghana, West Africa’s first nation to gain independence, are the present-day countries of Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Togo, and Benin. Though the ethnic background and tribal identifications of each country overlap with those of Ghana, each country boasts its own rich arts, crafts & African mask traditions, including African mask-making.
Tribes of Benin
The largest tribe within Benin is the Fon (Dahomeyans). Closely related to the Fon are the Asja and Aizo tribes, who reside mostly in the south of Benin and are typically agriculturalists.
The Goun tribal people mostly reside in the South, especially the Porto-Novo area.
In the North of Benin, the well-known Bariba, Somba and nomadic Fulani (Fula) tribes are often found.
Benin, like neighboring Nigeria, is also home to the Yoriba tribes, although many Yoriba now live in Eastern Benin.
Other tribes scattered throughout Benin include Holli, Dendi and Pilapila (also known as Yowa).
Tribes of Togo
Perhaps even more notable than the 40 ethnic groups that pack this tiny nation is the fact that the majority still maintain their traditional religious beliefs. Less than half of Togo’s population identifies themselves as Muslim or Christian.
In Togo, there are about 40 different ethnic groups, the most numerous of which are the Ewe, who comprise more than 40 per cent of the population (mostly in the South). Although some consider the The Uaci (also called Ouatchi) part of the Ewe tribes, they are counted separately and comprise nearly fifteen percent of the population. In the North and Central areas, the Kotokoli, Tchamba and Kabye tribes reside, totaling another quarter of Togo’s population. The remaining population consists of Mina, Mossi, and Aja tribes.
Tribes of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Within the Ivory coast, the widespread Akan tribes and their subgroups (including the Ashanti) make up more than 40 percent of the population.
The next largest ethnicicity in terms of population are the people of the Mandes, broken into two groups: The Northern Mandes and the Southern Mandes. Together, these two tribal groups comprise more than a quarter of Cote D’Ivoire’s population.
Voltaiques or Guro tribes, comprise just under 20 percent of the population in the Ivory Coast, and the Krous tribal population reflects about 11 percent of the nations’ people.