The present-day country of Benin combines three regions that had distinct political systems and ethnicities prior to French colonial control. Before 1700, there were a few important city-states along the coast and a largely inland Oyo kingdom of tribal areas, located mainly east of modern Benin, was the most important large-scale military force in the region. It regularly carried out raids and accurate tributes from coastal states and tribal areas. The situation changed in the 1600s and in the early 1700s as the kingdom of Daomi, consisting mostly of the Fon people, was founded on the Abomi Plateau and began to occupy areas along the coast. . By the year 1727, King Agaja of the Kingdom of Dahomey had conquered the coastal cities of Allada and Whydah, But it became a tributary of the Oyo Empire and did not attack the Oyo allied city-state of Porto-Novo directly. The rise of the Dahomey state, rivalry between the state and the city of Porto-Novo, and the continuing tribal politics of the northern region persisted into the colonial and post-colonial periods.
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The Dahomey Kingdom was known for its culture and traditions. Young boys were often attached to older soldiers and taught the military customs of the kingdom until they were old enough to join the army. The Dahomey was also famous for having an elite female military corps called ahosi, meaning the king’s wives, or mino, “our mothers” in the Fon language known as the Fongbi, and the European Dahomian Amazons. This emphasis on military readiness and achievement earned the Dahomey the nickname “Black Sparta” from European observers and 19th-century explorers such as Sir Richard Burton.
Transatlantic slave trade
The kings of Dahomey sold their prisoners of war into transatlantic slavery. They also had the custom of killing a prisoner of war in a ceremony known as the Annual Customs. By about 1750, the king of Dahomey was making a lot of money a year by selling African captives to European slave-traders. Although Dahomey’s leaders initially opposed the slave trade, it flourished for nearly three hundred years, beginning with a trade agreement with Portuguese traders in 1472. Due to this thriving trade, the region was named “Slave Coast”. The Court Protocol, which demanded that a portion of the prisoners of war be removed from the kingdom’s many battles, decreased the number of slaves exported from the region.
This decline was partly due to the Slave Trade Act 1807, after Britain banned the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1808, among other countries. This decline continued until 1885 when the last slave ship sailed off the coast of the modern-day Benin Republic in South America bound for Brazil, which had yet to abolish slavery. The capital’s name Porto-Novo is of Portuguese origin, meaning “New Port”. It was originally developed as a port for the slave trade.
By the mid-nineteenth century, Dahomey had begun to weaken and lose its status as a regional power. This enabled the French to take over the area in 1892. In 1899, the French included the land named French Dahomey which was within the larger French West Africa colonial territory. In 1958, France granted autonomy to the Republic of Dahomey, and full independence was granted on 1 August 1960, which is celebrated each year as Independence Day, a national holiday. The President who brought independence to the country was Hubert Maga.
Benin post-colonial period
For the next twelve years after 1960, ethnic conflict contributed to the period of unrest. There were several coups and regime changes dominated by Hubert Maga, Soro Epithee, Justin Ahomadebe and Omeil Darlin Jinsau; The first three represented a different region and ethnicity of the country. All three agreed to form a presidential council following violence in the 1970 elections. On 7 May 1972, the flag of the People’s Republic of Benin, Maga handed over power to Ahomdabe. On 26 October 1972, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Kereko won the ruling victory, becoming president and said that the country “will not burden itself by copying foreign ideology, and seeks neither capitalism, communism, nor socialism”. However, on 30 November 1974 he declared that the country was officially Marxist, under the control of the Council of Military Industry (CMR), Which nationalized the petroleum industry and banks. On 30 November 1975 he changed the name of the country to the People’s Republic of Benin.
The CMR was dissolved in 1979 and Kerreko arranged for show elections in which he was the only permitted candidate. Establishing ties with China, North Korea and Libya, he placed almost all business and economic activity under state control, drying up foreign investment in Benin. Kereko attempted to reorganize education, advancing his own work such as “poverty is not a fatalism”, resulting in a mass exodus of teachers as well as many other professionals. The regime financed itself to pick up nuclear waste, first from the Soviet Union and later from France.
In 1980, Kereko converted to Islam and changed his first name to Ahmed. He changed his name after claiming to be a Christian again. In 1989, riots broke out when the regime did not have enough funds to give to its military. The banking system collapsed. Eventually, Kereko renounced Marxism, and a convention forced Kereko to release political prisoners and arrange elections. Nationalism was replaced by Marxism-Leninism in the form of government. The name of the country was officially changed to the Republic of Benin on 1 March 1990 after the constitution of the newly formed government was completed. In the 1991 election, Kereko lost to Nicephore Soglo. Kereko returned to power after winning the 1996 vote. In 2001, a closely contested election resulted in Kerekou winning another term, after which his opponents claimed electoral irregularities.
In 1999, Kereco issued a national apology for his substantial role in the Atlantic slave trade. Kereko and former President Sogalo did not run in the 2006 elections, as both were barred by the constitution’s restrictions on the age and total terms of candidates. On 5 March 2006, an election was held which was deemed to be free and fair. This resulted in a rift between Yai Boni and Adrian Hongbediji. The runoff election was held on 19 March and was won by Bonnie, who took office on 6 April. The success of fair multi-party elections in Benin won international acclaim. Bonnie was re-elected in 2011, receiving 53.18% of the vote in the first round – to avoid a runoff election. He was the first president to win an election without a runoff since the restoration of democracy in 1991.
In the March 2016 presidential elections, in which Bonnie Yayi was barred by the constitution from running for a third term, businessman Patrice Talon defeated investment banker and former prime minister Lionel Zinsou in the second round with 65.37% of the vote. Talone was sworn in on 6 April 2016. Speaking on the same day that the Constitutional Court confirmed the results, Talone said he would “deal with constitutional reform first and foremost”, discussing his plan to limit the president to one term of five years. In order to counter the “decency”. He also said that he planned to reduce the size of the government from 28 to 16 members.
Some interesting facts about the country of Benin
The capital of this country is named Porto Novo.
Kotanau is the largest city of this country.
The main language of this country is French.
This country became independent from France on 1 August 1960.
This country is spread over 114763 square kilometers.
The population of this country is up to 10,872,298 as of the year 2016.
Talking about the GDP of this country, the GDP per capita here as of 2017 is $842.
This country is situated in the Africa section.
The economy of this country is dependent on happiness and regional trade.