A poor country even by West African standards, landlocked Burkina Faso has suffered from recurring droughts and military coups.
Burkina Faso, which means "land of honest men", has significant reserves of gold, but the country has faced domestic and external concern over the state of its economy and human rights.
A former French colony, it gained independence as Upper Volta in 1960.
In 1983 Captain Thomas Sankara seized power and adopted radical left-wing policies but was ousted by Blaise Compaore, who went on to rule for 27 years before being ousted in a popular uprising in 2014.
Population 18.6 million
Area 274,200 sq km (105,870 sq miles)
Major languages French, indigenous languages
Major religions Indigenous beliefs, Islam, Christianity
Life expectancy 59 years (men), 61 years (women)
Currency CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc
President: Roch Marc Kabore (ousted)
Marc Kabore, who served as prime minister and speaker of parliament under veteran President Blaise Compaore, won presidential elections in 2015 and 2020, easily beating his main rival.
A French-educated banker, Mr Kabore saw himself as a social democrat, and pledged to reduce youth unemployment, and improve education and healthcare.
But, like his neighbours, he found his domestic agenda undermined by the spread of jihadist groups from Mali, and the attendant military and security problems.
In January 2022, the army ousted him over the insurgency, dissolved both the government and parliament, and suspended the constitution.
Lieutenant-General Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba set up a junta and promised to begin talks on restoring democracy, but set no timetable.
Some key events in Burkina Faso's history:
1896 - Kingdoms now making up Burkina Faso become a French protectorate, later known as Upper Volta.
1960 - Upper Volta becomes independent with Maurice Yameogo as president. He is overthrown in 1966 by Sangoule Lamizana.
1980 - President Lamizana is ousted in coup led by Saye Zerbo, who is overthrown two years later by Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo, ushering in a period of unrest and power struggles.
1984 - Upper Volta renamed Burkina Faso.
1990 - Blaise Compaore, who assumed power when he ousted and killed Thomas Sankara in 1987, introduces limited democratic reforms. He remains in power for 27 years.
2014 - President Compaore steps aside following massive protests against plans to extend his rule. A transitional government takes charge.
2022 - Army seizes power in the face of a growing jihadist insurgency.