Portal:Benin

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Benin (bi-NIN), officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north; its short coastline to the south leads to the Bight of Benin.

Its size is just over 110000 km2 with a population of almost 8,500,000. Its capital is the Yoruba founded city of Porto-Novo but the seat of government is the Fon city of Cotonou.

A democratic government between 1960 and 1972 was followed by a self-proclaimed "Marxist-Leninist" dictatorship between 1972 and 1991, which was highly repressive and led to economic collapse. Multiparty elections have taken place since 1991. About a third of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day. Main income sources are subsistence agriculture and cotton.

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Dahomey amazon1.jpg

The Dahomey Amazons or Mino were a Fon all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin) which lasted until the end of the 19th century. They were so named by Western observers and historians due to their similarity to the semi-mythical Amazons of ancient Anatolia. King Houegbadja (who ruled from 1645 to 1685), the third King of Dahomey, is said to have originally started the group which would become the Amazons as a corps of elephant hunters called the gbeto. During the 18th century, the king had some of his wives trained as royal bodyguards.

Houegbadja's son King Agadja (ruling from 1708 to 1732) developed the female bodyguard into a militia and successfully used them in Dahomey's defeat of the neighbouring kingdom of Savi in 1727. European merchants recorded their presence, as well as similar female warriors amongst the Ashanti. For the next hundred years or so, they gained reputation as fearless warriors. Though they fought rarely, they usually acquitted themselves well in battle. (Read more...)

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Koussoukoingou2.jpg
Credit: Jacques Taberlet

The village of Koussoukoingou in the Atakora Department of north-western Benin.

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Wikinews Benin portal
  • September 25: 2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development looks at women's issues in India
  • June 29: African Olympians and Paralympians prepare for their London odyssey
  • March 21: Boni Yayi confirmed as winner of 2011 Benin presidental election
  • November 29: Pope Benedict XVI to visit Benin in 2011
  • March 7: Polio vaccination campaign targets 85 million African children
  • February 19: Bush starts off Africa trip in Benin
  • July 2: United Nations passes Declaration on human cloning

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Hountondji front.jpg

Paulin Hountondji (b.1942) is a Beninese philosopher and politician. He was educated at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, graduating in 1966, and taking his doctorate in 1970 (his thesis was on Edmund Husserl). After two years teaching in France and in the Congo Republic, he accepted a post at the National University of Benin in Cotonou, where he still teaches as Professor of Philosophy.

His academic career was interrupted, however, by a period spent in politics. Having been a prominent critic of the military dictatorship that had ruled his country, Hountondji became involved in Benin's return to democracy (in 1992), and served in the government as Minister of Education and Minister for Culture and Communications until his resignation and return to the University in 1994.

He is currently director of the African Centre for Advanced Studies in Porto-Novo and is serving as the Bingham Professor of Humanities from 1 August 2008 to 31 December 2008 at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, United States.

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