Compaoré was born in Ziniaré, 43 km from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso (then named Upper Volta). He reached the rank of Captain in the Voltaïc army. Compaoré met Thomas Sankara in 1976 in a military training center in Morocco, and subsequently Compaoré and Sankara were considered close friends. Compaoré played a major role in the coups d'état against Saye Zerbo and Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo. He has been married to Chantal Compaoré (née Chantal Terrasson) since 1985.
Congress for Democracy and Progress
Also known by its short-form name Burkina, is a landlocked country in West Africa around 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) in size. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north; Niger to the east; Benin to the southeast; Togo and Ghana to the south; and Ivory Coast to the southwest. Its capital is Ouagadougou. In 2010, its population was estimated at just under 15.75 million.
Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4 August 1984 by then-President Thomas Sankara, using a word from each of the country's two major native languages, Mòoré and Dioula. Figuratively, "Burkina", from Mòoré, may be translated as "men of integrity", while "Faso" means "fatherland" in Dioula. "Burkina Faso" is thus meant to be understood as "Land of upright people" or "Land of honest people". Inhabitants of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabè
Half the population of Burkina Faso, or "land of the honest people," claims descent from the Mossi warriors who ruled over one of the most powerful empires in West Africa from the 11th to the 19th century. The landlocked country, desert in the north and savanna in the center and south, is home to 63 ethnic groups. Formerly known as Upper Volta, the French colony gained independence in 1960. Its mostly agricultural economy has been hurt by droughts and political instability. Parks protect the largest elephant population in West Africa and other wildlife.
Between 14,000 and 5000 BC, Burkina Faso was populated by hunter-gatherers in the country's northwestern region. Farm settlements appeared between 3600 and 2600 BC. What is now central Burkina Faso was principally composed of Mossi kingdoms. These Mossi Kingdoms became a French protectorate in 1896. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent many governmental changes until arriving at its current form, a semi-presidential republic. The president is Blaise Compaoré.
Burkina Faso is a member of the African Union, Community of Sahel-Saharan States, La Francophonie, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Economic Community of West African States.