Benin or République Populaire du Bénin is a former French colony in West Africa, until 1975 known as Dahomey. The country has a 120 km narrow strip of coast in the south out to the Gulf of Benin and borders Togo in the west, Nigeria in the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger in the north. From south to north, the country consists of various natural areas: the coastal belt, where palm trees are grown; the rainforests of the highlands; the plateau that rises slightly to the tributaries of the Ouermé, Mekrou, Alibori and Pendjaris rivers in the hilly tropical region.
The former kingdom has a rich cultural history and offers, among other things, safaris in one of West Africa’s best parks, the opportunity to get acquainted with voodoo, interesting insights into the slave trade and Bounty beaches along the coast. The slave coast is an older term for the part of the coast of the Gulf of Guinea that lies between the rivers Volta and Niger.
Among the most serious environmental problems is the fact that desert areas are increasing due to the lack of rain in recent years. The almost non-existent sanitary conditions can not supply the population with drinking water and diseases caused by polluted water threaten 65% of the population, especially in agricultural areas. Benin is one of the poorest countries in the world.
According to ethnicityology, Benin has a glorious past as a rich kingdom under the name “Dahomey”. The country was the center of the slave trade, and from the town of Ouidah, slaves were sold and shipped in large numbers for several years. The slaves were primarily prisoners brought from neighboring countries in connection with feuds and wars.
17.-19. century. Benin was ruled by the Kingdom of Dahomey, and the region was referred to as the 17th-century Slave Coast due to the large number of slaves transported to the New World during the Atlantic Slave Trade.
1892 – Dahomey is colonized by France, until 70 years later, in 1960, the country gains independence.
1960 – The country gains independence, after which General Mathieu Kérékou seizes power and renames the country Benin, after a city and kingdom in Nigeria.
1990 – After 17 years of Marxist dictatorship, a democratic multi-party system is introduced in 1990, and the country once again changes its name to the current Republic of Benin.
2000 – In July, Benin enters the Extended Initiative for Highly Indebted Countries, and is thus entitled to a reduction in its external debt of DKK 460 million. US $.
2001 – In April, a ship with dozens of children disappeared for a few days, focusing on the slave-like trade in children taking place in the country and in the region. The children are sold for work – in many cases on cocoa and coffee plantations in neighboring countries. To stem this development, the Ministry of Family Affairs introduced an exit certificate for all young people under the age of 15 in September.
2003 – In October, the Presidents of Nigeria and Benín decide to set up a joint commission in cooperation with UNICEF and Terre des Hommes to work on the repatriation of child slaves. Iflg. According to calculations by the Benin Minority Brigade, 6,000 Benin children are being exploited as slave laborers in Nigeria.
2004 – At an OAU ministerial meeting in Porto Novo in April, UNICEF publishes an alarming report showing that human trafficking is taking place in 53 African countries. The report demonstrated that most victims are children used as soldiers, as slaves or for prostitution. Women were the second largest group. Iflg. UNICEF are the main factors promoting human trafficking, poverty and civil war. It was UNICEF’s hope that the report could help develop means to combat the phenomenon and to defend children’s rights.
2005 – A report from May indicated that the number of children in the country being trafficked annually has rounded 50,000. Traffickers often assure parents that their children earn enough money and will send large sums of money home, as well as that they will receive a good education. The majority are sent to Nigeria, but some are also sent all the way to Europe, where they work as slaves in the home. If parents get to see their children again at all, it is only after many years. One way to keep the children in the slave situation is to conduct voodoo ceremonies where they are told that they will die if they break the agreements.