Burkina Faso’s Rich Heritage: 10 Fun Facts to Learn

Burkina Faso

The large landlocked country in West Africa, Burkina Faso, is known as the ‘land of honest men’.

Did you know that the country houses three major UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Here are some interesting and fun facts about Burkina Faso.

1. Mossi Ruled The Country Before Colonization

The landlocked country of Burkina Faso was once known as Upper Volta and was colonized from 1896 to 1960. In the 11th and 13th centuries, the Mossi were the first to settle and rule the country.

The Mossi established powerful kingdoms such as Tenkodogo, Ouagadougou, and Yatenga. In 1890, the country was colonized by the French. In 1984, the country changed its name from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso.

2. People In Burkina Faso Are Devoted To Horse Riding

One of the fun Burkina Faso facts is that people here love horses. Horse riding is a tradition in the country. The indigenous people of Fulani consider horses as their best friends, cars, colleagues, and even their wives.

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Horses are often considered inseparable from humans and their lifestyles. Because of their love for horse riding, men in Burkina Faso are often referred to as ‘the cowboys of West Africa.’

3. The Country Is Rich In Gold And Cotton

One of the main exports of Burkina Faso is Gold. Another fun fact about the country is that it is the largest cotton producer in Africa.

Top brands such as Victoria’s Secret have publicly said that they are importing cotton from Burkina Faso to upgrade the value and quality of organic cotton.

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4. Burkina Faso Consists Of Protected Natural Reserves

Burkina Faso is a country with flat lands and some highlands, with the highest point at 747 meters in Mount Tena Kourou. It is home to 3 complete reserves, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, four national parks, ten protected forests, and six partial reserves.

The parks in the country consist of lions, elephants, hippopotami, buffalo, warthogs, baboons, boars, monkeys, and antelopes. The largest protected elephant herd is in the West African Nazinga Reserve. The Black Volta River is the longest river of Mount Tena Kourou.

5. Burkina Faso Is Known As The “Land Of Honest Men”

In 1983, the country officially got its name, Burkina Faso. This was after a coup that made Thomas Sankara the country’s president. He named the country Burkina Faso, the ‘land of honest men,’ and also composed the national anthem.

6. The Country Was Once Home To Hunter-Gatherers

The northwestern part of Burkina Faso was once home to hunter-gatherers between 14000 BC and 5000 BC. The early tools used were chisels, arrowheads, and scrapers. These were discovered in 1973.

Between 3600 and 2600 BC, the farmers started to build settlements. They are one of the ancient archaeological findings recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa. It also proves Burkina Faso to be West Africa’s oldest human settlement.

7. Several Main Crops Are Produced In Burkina Faso

The country of Burkina Faso is green in the southern part, with fruit trees, forests, and desert in the north. The country is also the leading cotton producer in Africa.

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Majority of the Burkinabes practice subsistence farming with staple foods. The main crops cultivated in the country are maize, millet, rice, sorghum, cowpea, and peanuts.

8. White Stallion Is The National Symbol Of The Country

The White Stallion is considered the national symbol and national animal of Burkina Faso. Several groups are proud of riding horses. There is a saying among the Fulani people that a horse is your car, your wife, your best friend, and your colleague.

Horse riding is a typical game in the Sahel region of the African desert.

9. Burkina Faso Houses 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

There are three major UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Burkina Faso. Situated near the borders of Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana, the Ruins of Loropeni are a thousand years old.

Among the ten fortresses, it is a well-preserved fortress in the Lobi region from the ancient trans-Saharan gold trade.

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The transnational property shared between the Republic of Benin, Niger, and Burkina Faso is W-Arly-Pendjari Complex. It consists of aquatic, semi-aquatic, and terrestrial ecosystems in the Savanna belt of West Africa.

10. 80% Of The Population Is Involved in Subsistence Farming

80% of people in Burkina Faso are involved in subsistence farming, with cotton being the main cash crop. Between June and September, during the summer months, several villages look deserted as the people are in the fields, farming.

Along with cotton, beans, sesame seeds, and mangoes are the main agricultural exports.


Since discovering how much fun and learning are to be had traveling, Alex has made it a point to tour his home country and continent while still in his heydays. His ultimate desire is to travel farther afield to see the wonders of Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia. When he isn’t traveling, he takes his time to write about various places to share his experiences with other global citizens.

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