ETHNIC GROUPS AND LANGUAGES
It is commonplace to observe that African boundaries are artificial in that they do not correspond to ethnohistorical divisions. In few parts of Africa is this as true as in the Ivory Coast. As a broad generalization, the Ivory Coast may be thought of as a square, in each quarter of which resides several related ethnic groups. These related groups are parts of larger entities which cut across national boundaries. In each case, the Ivory Coast segment of the larger entity is but a small part of it, an extension away from its cultural and spiritual center. Furthermore, none of these four culture provinces can be said clearly to predominate in Ivory Coast life, and probably no single ethnic group comprises more than 15 percent of the total population. The Ivory Coast is thus, ethnically speaking, a total accident.
Ethnic differences are, in part, related to geographic regions. The eighth parallel, which lies about midway in the country, roughly divides the country between the savanna woodland region (and the savanna peoples) and the dense forest region (and the forest peoples). The forest, in turn, is split about midway by the Bandama River, west of which lies the densest forest. The river serves to some extent as an ethnic boundary. These geographic correlates of ethnic differences should not be overstressed, as some "forest peoples" live in the southern tips of the savanna woodland region (Baoulé, Yacouba, Bété, Gouro) (see fig. 7).
In the southeast the indigenous population belongs to the East Atlantic or Eburneo-Beninian Family. The two principal branches to be found in the Ivory Coast are the Lagoon Cluster and the AgniBaoulé subbranch of the Akan peoples. In the southwest is a series of small groups belonging to the West Atlantic Family. The two main groupings are the Krou peoples and the Peripheral Mandé (or Mandéfou) peoples. In the northwest the'. peoples belong to the Mandingo (Nuclear Mandé or Soudanese) Family. Most of those in the northwest Ivory Coast are Malinké; a few are Bambara; and further east there is a concentration of Dioula. In the northeast and north-center the peoples belong to the Voltaic Family. The two largest groups are the Sénoufo, in the center, and the Koulango, in the northeast.
There has never been a census for the whole of the Ivory Coast. Hence the sizes of the various ethnic groups represent estimates only (see table 1). As a general rule, the indigenous population is vastly