The Republic of Benin was formed in 1960 when the colony of French Dahomey gained independence from France. Prior to this, the area that is now the Republic of Benin was divided largely between two coastal kingdoms, Dahomey and Porto-Novo, and a large area of various tribes in the north. The French assembled these various groups together into the colony of French Dahomey, which was part of the various colonies of French West Africa from 1904 until 1960. In the independence era, the republic was extremely unstable for the first decade and a half of existence, with multiple governments and multiple military coups. In 1972, Mathieu Kérékou led a military coup deposing the Presidential Council and appointing himself as the head of state, a position he held until 1991 when the country returned to multiparty elections. Since that point, the state has held multiple presidential and legislative elections and a number of different parties have become important.
Colonial Benin (formerly, République du Dahomey/Republic of Dahomey)
Dahomey was a French colony of and a part of French West Africa from 1904 to 1958. Under the French, a port was constructed at Cotonou, and railroads were built. School facilities were expanded by Roman Catholic missions. In 1946, Dahomey became an overseas territory with its own parliament and representation in the French national assembly. On December 4, 1958, it became the République du Dahomey, self-governing within the French Community. On 11 July 1960 France agreed to Dahomey becoming fully independent.
Dahomey declared independence on 1 August 1960.
President Talon swearing in on the 6th of April, 2016
Republique du Bénin
short form: Bénin
int’l long form: Republic of Benin
int’l short form: Benin
Local Time = UTC +1h
Actual Time: Mon-Aug-1 17:15
Country Calling Code: +229
Capital City: Porto-Novo (pop. 295 000)
Largest cityand economic capital: Cotonou (pop. 2 million)
Other Cities: Abomey, Gavié, Kandi, Ouidah
Type: Republic under multiparty democratic rule.
Independence: 1 August 1960 (from France).
Constitution: 10 December 1990.
Location: Western Africa
Area: 112,622 km² (43,483 sq. mi.).
Terrain: Mostly flat plains of 200 meters average elevation, but the Atacora Mountains with the highest points being Mont Sokbaro 658 m, Mont Tanekas 641 m.
Climate: Tropical, average temperatures between 24 and 31 C. Humid in south; semiarid in north.
Population: 9.9 million (2013)
Ethnic groups: 42 ethnic groups, most important being Fon, Adja, Yoruba, and Bariba.
Religions: Indigenous beliefs (animist) 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 20%.
Languages: French (official), Fon and Yoruba in the south; Nagot, Bariba and Dendi in the north.
Literacy: Total population 39%; men 53%, women 25%.
Natural resources: Small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber.
Agriculture products: Cotton, corn, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts, livestock (2001)
Industries: Textiles, food processing, construction materials, cement (2001)
Exports – commodities: cotton, cashews, shea butter, textiles, palm products, seafood
Exports partners: China 25%, India 23.5%, Lebanon 18.7%, Niger 4.3%, Nigeria 4% (2012)
Imports – commodities: foodstuffs, capital goods, petroleum products
Imports partners: China 37.2%, US 8.9%, India 6.7%, France 5.6%, Malaysia 5.3% (2012)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)
Shared Borders with: Nigeria, Niger, Togo, Ghana.