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Africa 2006,

 The Voltaic peoples and the Kwa were the earliest known inhabitants. Unlike its neighbors, ancient Togo was not an area of kingdoms but settled by refugees from the strong neighboring military states. When European traders visited these shores towards the end of the 15th Century the Ewe and the Mina were already entrenched on the coastlands and the Kabre established in the north. In the late 1880s, while the British and the French were focusing on other parts of the so-called Slave Coast, the Germans took the land of the Ewe and the Kabre by treaty. Togoland's borders were finally fixed in 1897. Although their rule was as authoritarian as that of other colonial governments, Germany turned Togoland into a model colony with good roads and railways and a well-equipped harbor at Lomé. After Germany's defeat in World War I, Togo was split into two parts. The western section was placed under British administration and the larger eastern part given to the French. A UN referendum in the mid-forties in both territories largely boycotted by the Ewe-decided against reunification and when the Gold Coast became the independent state of Ghana in March 1957 it included British Togoland. French Togoland became the independent Republic of Togo in 1960. In 1967 the government led by the Polish- descended Nicolas Grunitzky was overthrown in a bloodless coup by Kabre army colonel Etienne Eyadema. After a few months of interim rule by a newly constituted National Reconciliation Committee Eyadema, took over as President Gnassingbé Eyadema's autocratic rule was initially marked by rapid economic growth but the 1980s were fraught with decay. Internal pressures and a threat by France to withhold economic assistance persuaded Gnassingbé to lift restrictions on opposition parties in April 1991. Gnassingbé Eyadema remained in power until his death in 2005. Parliament subsequently appointed his son, Faure, to succeed him to the post of president. After strong objections from the African Union he stepped down and called and election. Faure Gnassingbé won the election over objections by opposition parties and observers who questioned its fairness.