From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - 05/2014
Benin (French: Bénin, formerly Dahomey), officially the Republic of Benin (French: République du Bénin), is a country in West Africa.
It is bordered by Togo to the west, by Nigeria to the east and by Burkina Faso and Niger to the north.
A majority of the population live on its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northern most tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean.
The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country's largest city and economic capital.
Benin covers an area of approximately 115,000 square kilometers (42,000 sq mi), with a population of approximately 9.98 million.
Benin is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture, with substantial employment and income arising from subsistence farming.
The official language of Benin is French. However, indigenous languages such as Fon and Yoruba are commonly spoken.
The largest religious group in Benin is Roman Catholicism, followed closely by Islam, Vodun and Protestantism.
Benin is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, La Francophonie, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, the African Petroleum Producers Association and the Niger Basin Authority.
From the 17th to the 19th century, the main political entities in the area were the Kingdom of Dahomey along with the city-state of Porto-Novo and a large area with many different tribes to the north.
This region was referred to as the Slave Coast from as early as the 17th century due to the large number of slaves shipped to the New World during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
After slavery was abolished, France took over the country and renamed it French Dahomey.
In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France, and had a tumultuous period with many different democratic governments, many military coups and military governments.
A Marxist-Leninist state called the People's Republic of Benin existed between 1972 and 1990. In 1991, it was replaced by the current multi-party Republic of Benin.
Republic of Benin / République du Bénin (French)
Motto: "Fraternité, Justice, Travail" (French) / "Fraternity, Justice, Labour"
Anthem: L'Aube Nouvelle (French) / The Dawn of a New Day
Capital: Porto-Novoa (6°28′N 2°36′E)
Largest city: Cotonou
Official languages: French
Ethnic groups (2002):
• 39.2% Fon
• 15.2% Adja
• 12.3% Yoruba
• 9.2% Bariba
• 7.0% Fula
• 6.1% Ottamari
• 4.0% Yoa/Lokpa
• 2.5% Dendi
• 1.6% other
• 2.9% unspecified
Demonym: Beninese / Beninois
Government: Presidential republic
President: Yayi Boni
Legislature: National Assembly
Independence from France: August 1, 1960
• Total: 114,763 km2 (101st) - 43,484 sq mi
• Water (%): 0.02%
Population: July 2013 estimate 10,323,000 (85th) - 2013 census 9,983,884
Density: 78.1/km2 (120th) - 202.2/sq mi
GDP (PPP): 2012 estimate Total $15.586 billion - Per capita $1,666
Currency: West African CFA franc (XOF)
Time zone: WAT (UTC+1) - Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +229
ISO 3166 code: BJ
Internet TLD: .bj