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State

Capital

Benin

Porto Novo

fr. Dahomey

Currency unit

CFA franc

Connections

Democracy

Francophonie

West Africa

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

History

Dahomey was a kingdom derived from the wealth of supplying the slave trade through the port of Ouiadah. Many of the slaves from there went to Brazil, but several European states had "castles" - slaves depots there.

It was notorious in the early 19th century for its corps of female warriors and the brutal despotism of its kings. The kingdom was formed by the Fon people of the interior who wished to take part in the trade and they reached the sea in 1724.

As the French colony of Dahomey other African peoples were added to make a larger state, so that like Nigeria it has a North-South axis.

The name changed from Dahomey as the result of a coup which tried to set up a Marxist-Leninist regime and wished to reflect the fact that the country included more than the original kingdom.

(But Benin is a city in Nigeria and is also the subject of the rhyme that goes "Beware, beware of the Bight of Benin, where few come out though many go in" - "the white man's grave" ).

As well as the Fon there are Yorubas, found mainly in Nigeria.

Is it a neo-colony of France?

Languages

Niger-Congo family

Kwa group

Yoruba

Gun

Fon

Official

French

Others

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

Politics

Formerly a one party state (People's Republic) imitating former communist eastern Europe, but not so rigorously.

Multi-party elections were held in March 1991 following the abandonment of Marxism. They resulted in the election of a former World Bank official as President and the defeat of the former Marxist president.

France has influence, as in much of west Africa.

On 20 March 1996 elections the former dictator was returned to power in a disputed election.

March 2006 elections are being called without the two politicians who have dominated since independence.

Interesting reading

Sir Richard Burton as British Consul to West Africa visited Dahomey and wrote up his experiences

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

Economics

Nicephore Soglo introduced World Bank conditions causing unemployment and inflation. Those who suffered booted him out of power, but presumably his successor will have to continue and not to return to Marxism.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

Green/Ecology

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

Human Rights

Climate effects

Last revised 17/1/07


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