Burkina Faso is one of those countries you dont hear much in the media, even though there are reasons why it should be.
Once the home of a lot of Mossi kingdoms, it came to be a French colony during the Scramble for Africa. For a while before and during World War II, it was divided between its French colonial neighbors, but was reconstituted after the war. It achieved independence in 1960, as Upper Volta (Haute-Volta in French), as a reference to the Volta River. It was renamed as Burkina Faso in 1984, which means land of the honest people.
Like most of the near countries, Burkina Fasos history was dominated by autoritarian governments and coups (there were a number of military governments until 1983, with Thomas Sankara's coup), although Sankara's government was highly popular, something owed to his socioeconomic programs, which included inmense literacy campaigns, land redistribution, and the outlawing of female mutilation and forced marriages. From 1987, when the government of Thomas Sankara was toppled by his once-friend Blaise Compaoré (the reason given was "deteriorating relations wirh neighbours", and most Burkinabes hold that France instigated the coup), who undid most of the changes of his predecessor. He stood as President until 2014 in a country filled with poverty and other problems (the country is considered the third least developed in the world). Sadly, it is apparent that the leaders never understood completely the meaning behind their countrys name, with the only exception of Sankara.
In 2011, the death of a student triggered massive protests in the country and the munity of parts of the army and the National Guard. The protests are still ongoing, so its still too soon to make an educated guess about whats going to happen. However, things seem to have changed in late 2015, after (what appears to be) the last military coup d'état (this time against President Michel Kafando), and pressure from the African Union, ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States), and the armed forces, the military junta stepped down and Kafando was temporarily re-instated as President. The 2015 general election was then held on the 29th of November (with former president Blaise Compaore's party being banned from the election), and the new president, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of the People's Movement for Progress, has been in power ever since, becoming the first president in the country's recent history to have never had ties with the military.
Religiously, there seems to be an equilibrium between Christianity and Islam, although Islam seems to be midly more popular. However, the animistic religions are way more popular than both of them together, especially since they tend to blend their religion of choice with the local religions. In fact, a popular motto in the country seems to be 50% are Muslim, 50% are Christian and 100% are animist.
Even though the country is not widely known outside Africa, in the continent is well known because of its film industry, producing lots of well-known pictures in the continent, like Yaaba and Tilaï, of the director Idrissa Ouedraogo, or Buud Yam, one of the most famous pictures of Africa. Its also home of the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), the largest African film festival, held in the capital of the country.
The Burkinabe flag