1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. Benin

Benin History Timeline

Map of Benin atlantic ocean worldatlas.com graphicmaps.com nigeria niger burkina faso ghana togo large benin map
Locator Map of Benin Europe Middle East Africa Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean Mediterranean Sea Arabian Sea Indian Ocean Tropic of Capricorn Equator Prime Meridian graphicmaps.com worldatlas.com Tropic of Cancer Benin

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
  • (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
  • (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
  • (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

Latest by WorldAtlas