The land now called Burkina Faso was populated early, between 12000 and 5000 BCE, by hunter-gatherers in the northwestern part of the country, whose tools, such as scrapers, chisels and arrowheads, were discovered in 1973. Farming settlements appeared between 3600 and 2600 BCE and based on traces of the farm structures, the settlements appear to have been permanent. The use of iron, ceramics and polished stone developed between 1500 and 1000 BCE, as well as a preoccupation with spiritual matters, as shown by burial remains.
A poor country even by West African standards, landlocked Burkina Faso has suffered from recurring droughts and, until the 1980s, military coups when Capt Thomas Sankara seized power and adopted radical left-wing policies. He renamed the country, previously Upper Volta. meaning “land of honest men”.
Burkina Faso has discovered significant reserves of gold, but cotton is the economic mainstay for many Burkinabes an industry vulnerable to world prices..
Burkina Faso has a primarily tropical climate with two very distinct seasons. In the rainy season, the country receives between 600 and 900 millimeters (24-35 inches) of rainfall, and in the dry season, the harmattan, a hot dry wind from the Sahara, blows constantly.