Togo is named after the town of Togoville, where Gustav Nachtigal signed a treaty with Mlapa III in 1884, establishing a German protectorate.Togo is an Ewe (pronounced Ev'hé) word meaning "lake" or "lagoon." Since 1884, Togoland and later Togo became synonymous for the entire region under colonial control. The coastal region is low-lying, sandy beach backed by the Tokoin plateau, a marsh, and the Lake Togo lagoon.The term Togolese first appeared after World War I, and the population increasingly identified with this term, culminating in 1960 with the choice of the Republic of Togo as the official name. Covering a total area (land and inland water) of 21,925 square miles (56,785 square kilometers), Togo extends 365 miles (587 kilometers) inland, 40 miles (64 kilometers) wide at the coast and 90 miles (145 kilometers) wide at its widest point. The Tokoin (Ouatchi) Plateau extends about 20 miles (32 kilometers) inland at an elevation of 200 to 300 feet (61 to 91 meters).
The thirty Togolese ethnic groups are now found in all parts of the country, most notably in the capital Lomé, which is situated on the border with Ghana. The population of Togo is estimated by the United Nations to be 5 million in 2000, with growth at approximately 3.5 percent per annum (though the last government census dates from 1981).One fifth of the population lives in Lomé, the capital.