Portal:Benin

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Benin (/bɛˈnn, bɪ-/ beh-NEEN, bih-; French: Bénin [benɛ̃]), officially the Republic of Benin (French: République du Bénin) and formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. The majority of its population lives on the small southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country's largest city and economic capital. Benin covers an area of 114,763 square kilometres (44,310 sq mi) and its population in 2016 was estimated to be approximately 10.87 million. Benin is a tropical nation, highly dependent on agriculture, with substantial employment and income arising from subsistence farming.

Official language of Benin is French. However, indigenous languages such as Fon and Yoruba are commonly spoken. The largest religious group in Benin is Roman Catholicism, followed closely by Islam, Vodun and Protestantism. Benin is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, La Francophonie, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, the African Petroleum Producers Association and the Niger Basin Authority.

From the 17th to the 19th century, the main political entities in the area were the Kingdom of Dahomey, along with the city-state of Porto-Novo, and a large area with many different tribes to the north. This region was referred to as the Slave Coast from as early as the 17th century due to the large number of slaves shipped to the New World during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. After slavery was abolished, France took over the country and renamed it French Dahomey. In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France. It has had a tumultuous history since then, with many different democratic governments, military coups, and military governments.

A Marxist–Leninist state called the People's Republic of Benin existed between 1975 and 1990. In 1991, it was replaced by the current multi-party Republic of Benin.

Selected article

Medaille du Dahomey Loi du 12 Novembre 1892.jpg

The Second Franco-Dahomean War, which raged from 1892 to 1894, was a major conflict between the French Third Republic, led by General Alfred-Amédée Dodds, and the Kingdom of Dahomey under King Béhanzin. The French emerged triumphant and incorporated Dahomey into their growing colonial territory of French West Africa.

In 1890, the Fon kingdom of Dahomey and the French Third Republic had gone to war in what was remembered as the First Franco-Dahomean War over the former's rights to certain territories, specifically those in the Ouémé Valley. The Fon ceased hostilities with the French after two military defeats, withdrawing their forces and signing a treaty conceding to all of France's demands. However, Dahomey remained a potent force in the area and quickly re-armed with modern weapons in anticipation of a second, decisive conflict. (Read more...)

Selected picture

Cotonoucathedral.jpg
Credit: Shubert Ciencia

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

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Wikinews Benin portal
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  • 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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Selected biography

Justin Ahomadégbé-Tomêtin (January 16, 1917 in Abomey – March 8, 2002 in Cotonou) was a Beninese politician most active when his country was known as Dahomey. He arose on a political scene where one's power was dictated by what region in Dahomey they lived. He served as president of the National Assembly of Dahomey from April 1959 to November 1960 and as prime minister of Benin from 1964 to 1965.

Ahomadégbé became President as part of a system that rotated the office between three leading political figures: Ahomadégbé, Hubert Maga, and Sourou-Migan Apithy. Maga peacefully handed power to Ahomadégbé on May 7, 1972. On October 26, 1972, he was overthrown in a coup d'état led by Mathieu Kérékou. All three remained under house arrest until 1981.

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