Bobo-Dioulasso is a city with a population of about 435,543 (as of 2006[update]), the second largest city in Burkina Faso, Africa, after Ouagadougou, the nation's capital. The name means literally, "home of the Jula who speak Bobo," and is possibly a creation of the French who misunderstood the identity complexities of the location. The local Bobo-speaking population of the city refers to it as Sia. The city is situated in the southwest of the country, in the Houet Province, some 350 km (220 mi) from Ouagadougou.
It is significant both economically (agricultural trade, textile industry) and culturally (Bobo is the center of culture and music of Burkina Faso). At the end of the nineteenth century Sia consisted of two large villages, Tunuma and Sia proper, located at a few hundred meters from each other on a narrow spit of land bounded by 8 to 10 feet deep ravines on either side, carved by the We (Houët) river to the east and by its tributary Sanyo to the west, and three small satellite villages lying beyond this natural border.
There were a number of other independent villages in the surroundings (Bindogoso, Dogona, Kwirima, Kpa) which all now lie within the municipal boundaries and are incorporated into the city. The two main villages were occupied by the French on September 25, 1897 after a brief but bloody confrontation. Soon afterwards the French created an administrative settlement near them, on the east side of the We river, which became the headquarters of a district ("cercle") carrying the same name, Bobo-Dioulasso.