COUNTRY FACTS

Benin

Quick Facts

  • Continental region – Sub-Saharan country situated in West Africa bordered.
  • Currency symbol of Benin –CFA franc is an official currency and CFA is it symbol
  • Capital City – The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo
  • Official languages – French is the official language of the country
  • Population – 12,206,895 (2020)
  • Country dialling code  –  (+ 229)
  • Official website Benin
  • Top 3 biggest industries  –Agriculture, Textile, Oil
  • Google Maps link –Benin
  • Where is it? –Benin is bordered to the northwest by Burkina Faso, to the east by Nigeria, and to the west by Togo.

Benin In Pictures

Benin beauty and culture

Benin beauty and culture

Bridge in Cotonou

Bridge in Cotonou

Central Parakou

Central Parakou

Cotton field in northern Benin

Cotton field in northern Benin

La Porte Du Non Retour

La Porte Du Non Retour

Musee Honme (Palais Royal)

Musee Honme (Palais Royal)

Porto Novo Cathedral

Porto Novo Cathedral

Red Star Square

Red Star Square

The Pendjari National Park

The Pendjari National Park


Benin History

  • How did the country get its first name? -Before it was known as Benin, the country was known as Dahomey, a name assigned by the French over the entire area after colonisation and defeat of the Kingdom of Dahomey Kingdom. In 1975 the Republic of Dahomey changed its name to Benin.
  • How did the country get its current name? – In 1975 Dahomey was renamed to the People’s Republic of Benin.  by the military government headed by Major Mathieu Kerekou. in 1990 it became the Reuplic of Benin.
  • When and by whom the country was first discovered? – The area has been occupied since at least early 900BC when the Edo people settled in the area. The first European to reach Benin was Portuguese explorers under João Afonso de Aveiro in about 1485.
  • Who were the first Inhabitants? -Edo people were the first inhabitant of Benin and these people were ruled by the Ogiso. The first Ogiso (OgisoIgodo), wielded much influence and gained popularity as a good ruler.
  • When it was first recognized as a country? – A democratic republic began in 1960 when Dahomey gained its independence from France which lasted 12 years. The People’s Republic of Benin was a Marxist dictatorship the governed from 1972 to 1990. This led to a period of repression and economic collapse. The Republic of Benin formed in 1991 and brought with it multi-party elections.
  • Who was the first leader of the country? -Eweka is regarded as the first king, of Benin. Hubert Maga was elected as the first president of Benin.

Five Significant Events

  1. 1960 Independence: Dahomey (Previous name of Benin) gains independence and is admitted to the UN. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13040372)
  2. 1975 People’s Republic of Benin: Dahomey is renamed to the People’s Republic of Benin by the military government headed by Major Mathieu Kerekou. (https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/History/Benin-history-timeline.htm)
  3. 2009 Discovery of oil: Benin announces discovery of “significant quantities” of oil offshore near Seme, a town on the Nigeria-Benin border. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13040372)
  4. 1990 Constitutional change: Unrest continues. President Kerekou meets dissident leaders. Agreement on constitutional reform and multi-candidate presidential elections is reached.(https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13040372)
  5. 1600 Slave Trade: Slave trade become most vital export.(https://www.timetoast.com/timelines/important-events-in-benin-africa)

Five Places to Visit in Benin

  1. Cotonou: Cotonou is the economic capital of the West African country of Benin and is located on the coastal strip between Lake Nokoué and the Atlantic Ocean.(https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g297314-Cotonou_Littoral_Department-Vacations.html)
  2. Ouidah: The city is located about 40km away from Cotonou and in contrast is more relaxed. If you are interested in African history (and you should be) then this city should be top of your itinerary. (https://theincidentaltourist.com/benin-ouidah-the-birthplace-of-voodoo/)
  3. Abomey: The main attraction and reason for visiting the city is the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Abomey Royal Palaces.The site still has enormous historical value and the tales of kings that once residedhere are fascinating. (https://www.britannica.com/place/Abomey-Benin)
  4. Grand Pop: The town of Grand-Popo has an intriguing history mainly due to the important role it played in the slave trade. There are many backside hotels and resorts in the town and the beaches are a great place to relax and swim. (https://www.beninfo247.com/grand-popo-town-benin-republic/)
  5. Bohicon: The town is an almost entirely modern place but it is well worth visiting the market, which is arguably the biggest and the best in Benin. The busiest times for the market are in the mornings, so these should be avoided if possible. (https://www.thecrazytourist.com/15-best-places-to-visit-in-benin/7/)

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