The name of the Ivory Coast (also known as Cote d'Ivoire) comes from its history; at one time, Europeans came to the region to hunt elephants for their valuable ivory. Today, the people of Ivory Coast are careful to preserve their country's ecology, which is rich in rare plants and wildlife. During the 1970s, the Ivory Coast was one of the wealthiest African countries, but in recent years the country's economy has suffered because it is subject to fluctuating market prices for its most important exports, such as cocoa and coffee.
Although Ivory Coast was long considered one of the most stable states in West Africa, since 1999 it has been beset by internal political tensions. Like many African countries, the leaders of Ivory Coast must figure out how to create a fair and equitable society composed of citizens from various ethnic groups and religions.
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