Some basic facts on the Ivory Coast, where the government is struggling to restore order following a coup attempt:

LAND: The West African nation covers 124,503 square miles of tropical forest and farmland in the south and savannah in the north.

PEOPLE: The population is estimated at 19 million people. There are 60 different ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Baoule, Bete, Senoufou, Malinke and Agni. French is the official language, and various African languages are also spoken.

RELIGIONS: Estimated Muslim 60 percent, Christian 22 percent, indigenous 18 percent (some of whom are also numbered among Christians or Muslims).

THE ECONOMY: The world's largest cocoa producer, now recovering from a economic downturn. Over 85 percent of the labor force works in agriculture.

HISTORY: Formerly ruled by France. Became an autonomous republic in the French Union after World War II and achieved independence on Aug. 7, 1960.

Founding President Felix Houphouet-Boigny lead the country until his death in 1993. Encouragement of investment and stability made it one of region's most prosperous.

A 1999 coup -- Ivory Coast's first-ever -- brought junta leader Gen. Robert Guei to power. Guei's regime was seen as fomenting ethnic and political unrest in a bid to keep power.

Clashes and other violence killed hundreds until street protests forced Guei to yield power to politician Laurent Gbagbo in October 2000 presidential elections.