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Benin History Timeline

1500 - 1700

  • (1500s) Portuguese merchants and explorers arrived along the coast
  • (1620) King Dako of Abomey founded Kingdom of Dahomey
  • (1650) English built fort at Whydah
  • (1704) France given permission to construct port at Ouidah
  • (1752) Portuguese founded Porto-Novo (New Port), used it for slave trading
1800s
  • (1807) Britain passed Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, ended slave trade operating out of West Africa
  • (1851) France and Dahomey kings signed trade agreement
  • (1863) Porto-Novo became French Protectorate
  • (1863) French protectorates were established in Benin's main cities and ports
  • (1882) New agreement for Protectorate of France signed by ruler of the kingdom of Porto-Novo
  • (1885 - 1887) Portugal declared protectorate over Dahomey
  • (1889) King Behanzin, Abomey's last independent ruler, was defeated in war against French
  • (1892) France declared protectorate over the entire kingdom
  • (1890) French foreign legionnaires massacred army of Dahomey
  • (1892) King Behanzin of Dahomey led siege against French
  • (1894) King Behanzin surrendered to French
  • (1894) France established Colon of Dahomey and its dependencies
  • (1894) King Behanzin exiled to Martinique
1900s
  • (1904) Dahomey was incorporated into the federation of eight colonial territories in French West Africa
  • (1946) Dahomey became overseas territory of France
  • (1958) Dahomey became self-governing
  • (1960) Dahomey admitted to the United Nations
  • (1960) Parti Dahomeen de L'Unite won elections, Hubert Maga became country's first president
  • (1961) Dahomey seized Portuguese territory of Ajuda
  • (1963) President Maga deposed in coup led by Colonel Christophe Soglo, the army Chief of Staff
  • (1963) Dehomey joined IMF
  • (1964) Dahomey's government restructured, Sourou-Migan Apithy elected president
  • (1965) President Apithy forced to step down by General Soglo, provisional government formed
  • (1965) General Soglo assumed power
  • (1967) Lt. Col. Alphonse Alley replaced General Soglo following coup led by Major Maurice Kouandete
  • (1968) Dr. Emile-Derlin Zinsou nominated as president by military
  • (1969) President Zinsou deposed by Lt. Col. Kouandete
  • (1970) Presidential elections held, then abandoned
  • (1970) Presidential council formed consisting of Ahomadegbe, Apithy and Maga
1900s continued
  • (1970) Maga named to serve as president with two-year term
  • (1972) Ahomadegbe assumed presidency for two-year term
  • (1972) Presidential council members detained after Major Mathieu Kerekou seized power
  • (1973) Conseil National Revolutionnaire (CNR) created with representatives from across the country
  • (1975) Country renamed Republique Populaiare du Benin (People's Republic of Benin)
  • (1975) Parti de la Revolution Populaire du Benin (PRPB) became country's only legal political party
  • (1977) CNR established Loi Fondamentale (Basic Law) which restructured the government
  • (1979) Elections held to new Assemblee Nationale Revolutionnaire (ANR)
  • (1979) Comite Executif National (CEN) replaced CNR
  • (1980) ANR elected Kerekou as president
  • (1981) Former presidential council members released from detention
  • (1987) Mathieu Kerekou resigned from military
  • (1988) Two coups attempted against Mathieu Kerekou
  • (1989) President Kerekou reelected
  • (1989) Benin abolished Communism
  • (1989) Anti-government strikes and demonstrations were held
  • (1990) Constitution was nullified
  • (1990) President Kerekou's PRPB government was dissolved, multiparty democracy introduced
  • (1990) Implementation of reforms began
  • (1990) Benin became Republic of Benin
  • (1991) In legislative elections, no party won overall majority
  • (1991) President Kerekou lost election to Prime Minister Nicephore Dieudonne Soglo in country's first multiparty democratic general election
  • (1991) Benin became first African country to successfully convert from dictatorship to pluralistic political system
  • (1991) Former President Kerekou given immunity from prosecution over actions taken since 1972

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.