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Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta
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Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta (République de Haute-Volta) and established on December 11, 1958 as a self-governing colony within the French Community, the name Upper Volta indicated that the country contains the upper part of the Volta River. The river is divided into three parts (Black Volta, White Volta and Red Volta), the colors of the national flag corresponded to the parts of the river. Before attaining autonomy, Burkina Faso had been French Upper Volta and part of the French Union. On August 5, 1960 Burkina Faso attained full independence from France. Also known as Bourkina or Burkina after 1984, this landlocked nation in West Africa is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest. The 2009 estimated population is more than 13,200,000. Burkina Faso's capital is Ouagadougou. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent many governmental changes. Today, the country is a semi-presidential republic.
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