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Benin's Information

Flag of Benin
Land Area 110,622 km2
Water Area 2,000 km2
Total Area 112,622km2 (#100)
Population 10,741,458 (#85)
Population Density 97.10/km2
Government Type Presidential Republic
GDP (PPP) $24.31 Billion
GDP Per Capita $2,200
Currency Franc (XOF)
More Information Benin
Largest Cities

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The country we refer to as Benin today was once the powerful Kingdom of Dahomey. It was eventually nicknamed the Slave Coast due to significant trafficking through Dahomey of Africans (against their will) to the Americas, specifically to the slave markets of Brazil and the Caribbean.

It was transformed into a French Colony in the late 1800s, before finally gaining its full independence from France in 1960. The country's current name (Benin) was adopted in 1975.

In the twelve years following their independence, ethnic strife caused a period of agitation, and subsequently, Benin witnessed a series of military coups, a mistaken association with Marxism, and the somewhat typical health and infrastructure problems indigenous to its neighbors, and most West African countries.

Mathieu Kerekou overthrew the ruling triumvirate in 1972, and forced himself into a presidential role, stating that Benin would not "burden itself by copying foreign ideology, and wants neither Capitalism, Communism, nor Socialism."

Riots broke out in 1989 after the banking system collapsed, and Kerekou was forced to arrange elections.

In the 1990's Benin became the first African country to successfully transition from a dictatorship to a pluralistic political system, and Prime Minister Nicephore Soglo secured a win in the presidential election, remaining in office until Kerekou returned to power in 1996.

Yayi Boni assumed office in 2006, following one of the first presidential elections considered to be free and fair, and in 2011 was reelected to a second term - becoming the first president to win without a subsequent runoff since 1991.

As a new democracy, the bright side is that Benin's economy is growing and tourism is on the increase, especially along the coastal areas, and in the wildlife national parks of the north.

Much of the interior population is still dependent on subsistence farming; growing beans, corn and yams. Important cash crops include cotton, cocoa and coffee.

This page was last updated on July 12, 2016.

Benin Trivia

Where is Benin?

The Republic of Benin is a small West African country. It covers an area of 44,310 sqm and is home to about 11 million people.

Fun Facts About Benin

What are the major ethnic groups of Benin?

The largest ethnic group in Benin is Fon/Dahomey which constitutes 39% of the total population. Yoruba makes up more than 18% of the population.The Adja ethnic group makes up 15% of the general country population. Other ethnic groups include Bariba, Fula (Fulani), Ottamari, and Lukpa.

Major Ethnic Groups Of Benin

What is the Biggest City in Benin?

Cotonou is the biggest city and seat of government of Benin while Porto-Novo is the second biggest city and capital of the country.

The Major Cities Of Benin

What Languages are Spoken in Benin?

French is Benin's official language, and about 50 indigenous languages are also spoken in the country.

What Languages are Spoken in Benin?

What are the religious beliefs in Benin?

Culturally diverse, Benin's people follow a diverse mix of Christian, Muslim, and West African traditional beliefs. 27% of the population identify with Roman Catholic Christianity, 24% with Islam, 17% with West African Vodun, and 16% with Protestantism and Other Forms of Non-Catholic Christianity.

Religious Beliefs In Benin

What is the Currency of Benin?

The official currency of Benin is the West African CFA franc.

What is the Currency of Benin?

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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