Benin Facts

Benin Facts and History


Benin – The former Dahomey

The Republic of Benin is located on the Gulf of Guinea in western Africa.

The coast, however, is only 102 km long, from where the country between Togo and Nigeria stretches almost like a tube to the north.

Until 1975, Benin was called “Dahomey” after the kingdom of Dahomey, which existed in the area from the 17th to the 19th centuries and was particularly rich in the slave trade with European countries. After it was conquered by the French, Dahomey became a part of West Africa.

It has been independent since 1960. The Voodoo cult, which is very popular here and to which around 50% of the population follow, arose in this country.

Name of the country Republic of Benin
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location West Africa, it stretches in a north-south direction
National anthem L’Aube Nouvelle
National holiday August 1
Population approx. 12 million residents (Credit: Countryaah: Benin Population)
Ethnicities Fon, Yoruba, Adja, Batanou, Somba and others african. people
Religions 50% natural religions, including Voodoo; 30% Christians and 20% Muslims
Languages French, Fon, Yoruba, Dendi, Bariba, Ge and around 50 other regional languages
Capital, seat of government Porto Novo with approx. 225,000 residents, the seat of government is Cotonou with approx. 1 million residents
Surface 112,622 km²
Highest mountain Mont Sokbaro with 658 m height
Longest river Ouéme with a length of about 400 km
Largest lake Lac Nokoué
International license plate RPB
National currency CFA Franc
Time difference to CET CET applies.
International phone code 00229
Voltage frequency 220 volts and 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .bj

Benin: history

In the 17th and 18th centuries

In the 17th century the kingdom of Dahomey was established, which extended to the coast around 1720. The basis of its great wealth was the slave trade with European countries.

In the 19th century

According to Abbreviationfinder website, in 1894 the French conquered the empire, which from 1899 became a partial colony of West Africa.

In the 20th century

In 1958 Dahomey became an autonomous republic within the French community. It became a fully independent republic two years later. A phase of political and economic instability followed with numerous changes of government, military coups and constitutional changes. The coup d’état by Major Mathieu Kérékou in 1974 led to the introduction of Marxism-Leninism as a state ideology, which brought among other things a one-party system and nationalization. In 1975 the Republic of Dahomey was renamed the People’s Republic of Benin.

The catastrophic economic situation caused unrest in the population in 1989/90, which led to the convening of a national conference under the direction of Archbishop de Souza. Guidelines for a new democratic beginning were laid, a presidential democracy was established and the market economy was introduced. On December 11, 1990, the new constitution came into force. After a temporary defeat, however, Kérékou prevailed again in the second presidential election in March 1996. He was also re-elected in March 2001. The first local elections in Benin took place in December 2002, an important step in the decentralization of the country. In the fourth parliamentary elections in March 2003, the parties supporting President Kérékou won, while the opposition had a majority in parliament until then.

In mid-April 2005, after around ten years of educational work (primarily by the German association (I) NTACT), the circumcision of women and girls in Benin was abolished.

Benin Facts