Benin, officially the Republic of Benin (in
French: République du Bénin, formerly Dahomey), is a country located
in West Africa. It is limited by Togo to the west, by Nigeria to the
east and by Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. The majority of the
population lives in the Gulf of Benin. The capital of Benin is Porto
Novo but its government is in Cotonou, the largest city in the
country. Benin covers approximately an area of 112,622 square
kilometers, with a population of approximately 9.05 million people.
Benin is a tropical and sub-Saharan nation, dependent mainly on
agriculture, with substantial employment, whose income comes, once
again, from agriculture.
The official language of Benin is
French. However, some indigenous languages such as fon or yoruba
are commonly spoken. The most widespread religion is Catholicism,
followed by near Islam, Voodoo and Protestantism. Benin is a member
of the United Nations, the African Union, the Organization for
Islamic Cooperation, the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South
Atlantic, La Francophonie, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States,
the Association of African Oil Producers, and the Authority of the
Niger River Basin.7
It is an old French colony, known by the
name of Dahomey due to an old local kingdom, which reached
independence on August 1, 1960, as the Republic of Dahomey. In 1975,
the current name of the Republic of Benin was adopted, taking the
name of the Bay of Benin, on whose coast the country is located. In
turn, the name of the Bay comes from the ancient Yoruba kingdom of
Benin, which was farther east, around the current Nigerian city of
Benin City, which can lead to confusion. The reason for having
chosen the name of Benin to rename Dahomey, is that it was a neutral
name: before the French colonization, "Dahomey" was only the name of
a southern coastal kingdom, and therefore its name did not represent
to the Atakora region in the northwest, nor to the old kingdom (now
department) of Borgou in the northeast.
Travel Destinations in Benin
Pendjari National Park
Pendjari National Park situated in the Northwest
corner of Benin. This nature reserve gets its name from Pendjari
River that flows through its territory.
W National Park that is shared between Benin,
Niger and Burkina Faso. This nature reserve gets its name from a
river Niger that runs through protected reserve. Its shape here
looks like letter "W", thus it gets the name.
Geography the Republic of Benin
The Republic of
Benin is a country in a West Africa. It has access to the Gulf of
Benin of the Gulf of Guinea. The country is bordered with
Burkina Faso and
Niger to the North and Nigeria to the East. In the West it borders
Togo. While its capital is officially Porto Novo, its government is
established in Cotonous, the largest city in the country.
Geographically Benin is divided into five
natural regions: the coastal region, the plateau area, elevated
plateau with wooded African savannah in the north, a hilly region in
the North West and the fertile plains of the Niger in the North-
History of Benin
In ancient times, a gourmet tribe lived in the
north of the country, which was then pushed aside by the barba
tribe, which came from the territory of modern Nigeria. In the south
of the country lived the von and Aja tribes.
In the 15th
century, Portuguese appeared on the coast of Benin.
XVI – XVII centuries, forts and trading posts of French, Dutch,
English merchants and slave traders were built.
17th century, the coast of Benin and neighboring areas have been
transformed by Europeans into the largest slave trade area in Africa
(hence the name of the coast - Slave Coast).
In the 17th
century, the early state of Dahomey formed on the modern territory
of Benin. Its population was mainly engaged in hoe farming. The
social system is transitional from primitive to feudal, with
elements of slaveholding.
In the XVIII century, the rulers of
Dahomey were actively engaged in the slave trade, annually,
according to some estimates, up to 20 thousand slaves were sold to
European merchants. This continued until the middle of the 19th
century, when the slave trade was banned by most European countries.
Dahomey opposed the French colonialists from
1851, but in 1894 was finally subdued and became the possession of
France. In 1904, the territory of modern Benin was incorporated into
French West Africa as a colony of the French Dahomey (its borders
did not coincide with the borders of the precolonial state of
Dahomey). The French colonialists began to create industrial
enterprises (soap, sewing, etc.), to build railways and highways.
In 1946, Dahomey received the status of overseas territory of
France. Under the governor, an elected General Council began to
function. It included representatives of the African bourgeoisie,
bureaucracy, and intelligentsia.
Since 1958 - Autonomous
Republic of Dahomey as part of the French Community. The idea,
considered for some time, about the entry of Dahomey into the
structure of the then planned and existing in 1959-1960. The
Federation of Mali (Mali and Senegal) has not been implemented.
Period of independence
Since August 1, 1960 - an independent
state of the Republic of Dahomey. The first president of the
independent Dagomei was Maga Kutuku Huber, who established a
virtually personal dictatorship.
At the end of 1963, the
first military coup was carried out (under the leadership of Colonel
K. Soglo). A new constitution was adopted, a multi-party system was
restored, and presidential and parliamentary elections were held. S.
M. Apiti was elected President, proclaiming the course of the
In 1965 - the second military coup,
arranged by a group of senior officers. In 1968, E. Zinsu, who
conducted a pro-Western course, was elected president.
December 1969 - the third military coup. Maga and Apiti were
returned to power.
In October 1972, Major Mathieu Kereku made
the fourth coup d'etat, establishing a one-party system with a
Marxist-Leninist ideology and proclaiming the task of the government
to build socialism. Since November 1974, Benin was ruled by the
Politburo, led by Kereku.
Since November 30, 1975, the
country was renamed the People's Republic of Benin.
an attack on Benin by a group of mercenaries led by Bob Denard was
In 1983, the entire population of the country
aged 15 to 40 was enrolled in the Organization of Revolutionary
Youth (the average life expectancy in the country at that time was
Since 1989, Kereku has disowned Marxist principles
and removed the word “People’s” from the official name of the
country. In 1991, free elections were held.
dismantling of the one-party system, from March 1990 - the Republic