Assinie (äsēnēˈ) [key], town, SE Côte d'Ivoire, on a lagoon off the Gulf of Guinea. Because of its location on the coast and its contacts with the interior, Assinie became an early stopping place for European traders who sought gold and ivory. Portuguese merchants came to Assinie in the late 16th cent. French missionaries established a temporary post there in 1637, and a French fort and merchant community were maintained from 1701 to 1703. French traders returned in the early 19th cent. In 1842–43 the French gained treaty rights in the town and built a new fort. Assinie became a center of the palm oil trade, and coffee plantations were established nearby. In the 20th cent. the town declined as trade shifted to nearby Abidjan.