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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Kwarastatedrummers.jpg

Yoruba people (Yorùbá in Yoruba orthography) are one of the largest ethno-linguistic or ethnic groups in west Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language (Yoruba: èdèe Yorùbá; èdè). The Yoruba constitute around 30 million individuals throughout West Africa and are found predominantly in Nigeria with approximately 21 percent of its total population.

The Yoruba share borders with the Borgu (variously called Bariba and Borgawa) in the northwest, the Nupe (whom they often call, 'Tapa') and Ebira in the north, the Edo who are also known as Bini or Benin people (unrelated to the people of the 'Republic of Benin'), and the Ẹsan and Afemai to the southeast. The Igala and other related groups are found in the northeast, and the Egun, Fon, and other Gbe-speaking peoples in the southwest. While the majority of the Yoruba live in western Nigeria, there are also substantial indigenous Yoruba communities in the Republic of Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Puerto Rico, Ghana and Togo. (Read more...)

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Cotonoucathedral.jpg
Credit: Shubert Ciencia

The cathedral of Notre Dame des Apotres in Cotonou, Benin.

Did you know ...

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  • ... that former Beninese army Chief of Staff Alphonse Alley was known as "the wine, women and song officer"?


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In the news

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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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Mathieu Kérékou

Mathieu Kérékou, also known as Ahmed Kérékou, (born 2 September 1933) was President of Benin from 1972 to 1991 and again from 1996 to 2006. After seizing power in a military coup, he ruled the country for 17 years, for most of that time under an officially Marxist ideology, before he was stripped of his powers by the National Conference of 1990. He was defeated in the 1991 presidential election, but was returned to the presidency in the 1996 election and controversially re-elected in 2001.

Kérékou was born in 1933 in Kouarfa, in the north-west of the country. After having studied at military schools in Mali and Senegal, Kérékou served in the military. Following independence, from 1961 to 1963 he was an aide-de-camp to President Hubert Maga; following Maurice Kouandété's seizure of power in December 1967, Kérékou, who was his cousin, was made chairman of the Military Revolutionary Council. Maga made him a major, deputy chief of staff, and commander of the Ouidah paratroop unit.

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