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Benin

Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century. The territory became a French Colony in 1872 and achieved independence on 1 August 1960, as the Republic of Benin. A succession of military governments ended in 1972 with the rise to power of Mathieu KEREKOU and the establishment of a government based on Marxist-Leninist principles. A move to representative government began in 1989. Two years later, free elections ushered in former Prime Minister Nicephore SOGLO as president, marking the first successful transfer of power in Africa from a dictatorship to a democracy. KEREKOU was returned to power by elections held in 1996 and 2001, though some irregularities were alleged. KEREKOU stepped down at the end of his second term in 2006 and was succeeded by Thomas YAYI Boni, a political outsider and independent.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 8,078,314 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Beninese (singular and plural)

Nationality (Adjective): Beninese (singular and plural)

Official Language(s): French

Major Languages Spoken: French, Yoruba

Map of Benin

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Republic of Benin

Country Name (short form): Benin

Country Name (local long form): Republique du Benin

Country Name (local short form): Benin

Name of Capital: Porto-Novo (official capital)

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Benin: Togo, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso

Land Area: 110620 sq km

Water Area: 2000 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Total Land Boundry: 1,989 km

Coastline: 121 km

National Holiday: National Day, 1 August (1960)

International Phone Code: 229

Currency Code: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)

Internet Country Code: .bj

US Embassy Location: Rue Caporal Bernard Anani, Cotonou

US Embassy Mailing Address: 01 B. P. 2012, Cotonou

 

Benin flag

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