Ivorian king to help rebuild Notre-Dame cathedral on age-long loyalties

The King is in consultation with community elders to make a donation toward the cathedral’s reconstruction

King Amon N’Douffou V, of Sanwi- a kingdom in south-eastern Ivory Coast, vows to help rebuild Paris’ Notre-Dame cathedral, which in the 17th century, played a monumental part in his kingdom’s history.

The King is in consultation with community elders to make a donation toward the cathedral’s reconstruction.

“I couldn’t get to sleep because I was so disturbed by the pictures of the fire”, he says. “This cathedral represents a strong bond between my kingdom and France”.

King Amon N’Douffou V’s ancestral indebtedness dates back to 1687 in France. When French traders who had settled in the Kingdom, took a 15-year-old prince of Sanwi to France as a token, in diplomatic exchange.

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The prince was taken to Notre-Dame where it is believed that he found Christianity at the cathedral. This pleased the Sun King, Louis XIV, who became his godfather and protector.

The prince was baptized and christened, Louis. He then joined the king’s cavalry regiment, reputedly becoming the first black officer in the French army. He returned to Ivory Coast in 1701 after his father’s death.

Sanwi became a French protectorate in 1843, merging into Ivory Coast in 1959, a year before independence.

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