Grand Bassam (Côte d’Ivoire)

The first colonial capital of Côte d’Ivoire, the town of Grand-Bassam is an example of a late 19th and early 20th-century colonial town planned with quarters specializing in commerce, administration, housing for Europeans and housing for Africans. It embodies, on the one hand, colonial architecture and town planning, based on the principles of functionalism and hygiene adapted to climatic conditions, and, on the other hand, an African village which demonstrates the permanency of indigenous cultures. Grand-Bassam was the most important port, economic and legal centre of Côte d’Ivoire and bears witness to the complex social relations between Europeans and Africans, and to the subsequent independence movement. As the most important commercial hub and economic centre of the territory of French trading posts in the Gulf of Guinea which preceded modern Côte d’Ivoire, it attracted populations from all areas of Africa, from Europe and from the Mediterranean Levant.

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