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Benin History Timeline

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Benin's Information

Flag of Benin
Land Area 110,622 km2
Water Area 2,000 km2
Total Area 112,622 km2
Population 10,741,458
Population Density 95.38 / km2
Government Type Presidential Republic
GDP (PPP) $24.31 Billion
GDP Per Capita $2,200
Currency Franc (XOF)
Largest Cities
  • Cotonou (780,000)
  • Abomey-Calavi (385,755)
  • Djougou (237,040)
  • Porto-Novo (234,168)
  • Parakou (163,753)
  • Bohicon (125,092)
  • Kandi (109,701)
  • Lokossa (86,971)
  • Ouidah (83,503)
  • Abomey (82,154)

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

1900s continued

  • (1992) President Soglo's wife formed Parti de la Renaissance du Benin
  • (1995) Following legislative elections, Parti de la Renaissance du Benin formed new government
  • (1996) President Soglo's government formally recognized voodoo as a religion, in effort to "correct an injustice"
  • (1996) After intervention by constitutional court, Mathieu Kerekou won presidential election
  • (1997) Labor unions criticized government's liberalization of the economy
  • (1997) January 10 legalized as voodoo holiday
  • (1999) New government formed with representatives of 10 parties in legislative elections
2000s
  • (2001) President Kerekou reelected in presidential elections
  • (2002) Benin joined Community of Sahel-Saharan States
  • (2002) First local elections held in over 10 years
  • (2003) Parties in support of President Kerekou won majority of elective seats in legislative elections
  • (2003) Lebanese charter plane crashed after take-off from Cotonou, over 140 killed; French investigators discovered plane was overloaded
  • (2004) Benin, Nigeria agreed to redraw border
  • (2005) U.S. telecommunications firm fined for bribery for funneling millions of dollars into President Kerekou's election campaign in 2001
  • (2005) River islands along disputed Benin, Niger border were awarded to Niger by International Court of Justice
  • (2006) Independent and Former West African Development Bank Director, Yogi Boni, won run-off vote in presidential elections; President Kerekou was barred from election under constitutional age limits
  • (2006) World Bank, African Development Bank approved debt relief for several countries, including Benin
  • (2007) In elections, President Yayi's coalition won control of parliament
  • (2007) China's foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing, signed accords in Benin as Beijing bolstered economic ties on the African continent
  • (2007) Benin, Nigeria, Togo formed Co-Prosperity Alliance Zone (COPAZ) to fast-track integration of their economies
  • (2008) In local elections, parties allied with President Yayi won majority of local council seats
  • (2009) Oil was discovered offshore near Seme on the Nigeria-Benin border
  • (2009) European Union (EU) banned all of Benin's air carriers from flying to EU in safety blacklist
  • (2010) Benin celebrated 50 years of independence
  • (2010) Investment Consultancy and Computering Service forced to close, more than a dozen employees arrested; more than 100,000 people lost life savings in Ponzi scheme run by the company, which appeared to be endorsed by President Yayi
2000s continued
  • (2010) Flooding killed 43, left over 100,000 homeless
  • (2010) Flooding killed 43, left over 100,000 homeless
  • (2011) President Yayi faced 12 opposition candidates in bid for second term
  • (2011) President Yayi won reelection
  • (2011) President Yayi's main challenger, Adrien Houngbedji, alleged widespread fraud during elections
  • (2011) President Yayi's party and allies regained control of parliament in elections
  • (2011) Pirates robbed chemical tanker and 17 Filipino crewmen in port of Cotonou
  • (2011) Pirates seized Italian tanker, 23 crew members off Benin's coast in Gulf of Guinea
  • (2011) London's marine insurance market added Benin to area of high risk due to escalation of pirate attacks
  • (2011) Death penalty was abolished
  • (2011) Pirates raided Cyprus-flagged vessel transferring crude oil to Norwegian-registered ship, 23 sailor kidnapped
  • (2011) China gave Benin $34 million in loans and grants, some to use for funding of anti-piracy patrols off the coast
  • (2011) Pope Benedict visited Benin
  • (2011) Justice Minister denounced country's judiciary as one of the most corrupt sectors in country
  • (2012) U.S. citizen kidnapped in Benin
  • (2012) President Yayi elected chairman of African Union for one year
  • (2012) Three people, including the president's niece, his personal physician and an ex-minister, were arrested over alleged plot to poison President Yayi

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