Brief History of the Baule Tribe of Cote d’Ivoire

The Baule tribe, according to history are a group of Akan people that forcefully emigrated from the Ashanti people of the Gold Coast which is present-day Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in the 17th century.

The Baule who are mainly farmers under the leadership of Queen Poku were at war with the  Ashanti Kingdom  in 1790, seeing they were losing the war, they had to flee towards the Comoe River, on reaching the river, they were unable to cross, with their enemies on their tail, a diviner advised that the river needed their most cherished possession, they began casting their most cherished possession into the river, the Queen’s son was thrown into the river which after a Hippopotami came up from the river and allowed them to pass through…

Her first word after crossing the river was ‘Ba ouli’ which means “The Child Is Dead” and from then onward, they took that as their name.

The Baule people have Tano as their language. They worship Alouroua as their creator while they still recognize their ancestors and other smaller gods which was represented by a fine made sculptures accordingly.

They operate a centralized government with the king as the head with sub-chiefs who are in charge of the subjects and rely on advisors who help in the decision-making.

Brief History of the Baule Tribe of Cote d'Ivoire
Baule chiefs (image credit:

With their main source of income relying on crops, the Baule people are mostly farmers who dealing mainly on major crops like maize, rice, cocoa, coffee, kola nuts, and the rest which they export to other lands. They raise animals which their women take to market for sales and exchanges.

They have a ceremonial dance which they dance at the death of any ceremonial person in Baule – the Bonu Amuen. It is believed that the dance protects the village from threats and dangers.

The Baule people believe that a ceremonial stool represents their ancestral spirits which spiritual and physical qualities of their men come from there.

They are greatly known for their craftsmanship of making machetes, and ceremonial masks which they mostly make for commercial intentions.