43 Important Facts About Benin

Last updated on March 3rd, 2020

Benin, officially the Republic of Benin and formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. The country has a long history with slave trade. Let’s learn more about it with these 43 important facts!

Facts about history of Benin

1. Benin is named after the body of water on which it lies – the ‘Bight of Benin’.

2. The people of Benin are called as Beninese.

3. Benin became independent from France on August 1, 1960.

4. The capital region of the country and the area nearby was referred as ‘Slave Coast’ from as early as the 17th century. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, a large number of slaves were shipped to the New World.

Flag of Benin

Flag of Benin
The National flag of Benin. Image credit – CIA

5. By about 1750, the Kingdom of Dahomey (a part of Benin) was earning an estimated £250,000 per year by selling Africans to the European slave-traders.

6. The last ship of slaves departed from Dahomey for Brazil in 1885.

7. The region was a French colony for 58 years between 1900 and 1958.

8. Benin was the first country in the 1990s to make the transition from a dictatorship to a multiparty democracy.

Benin view of a town
A view of a town in Benin. Image credit – RNW.org

Facts about its geography, languages spoken, economy and agriculture

9. The capital of Benin—Porto Novo—was developed as a port for the slave trade.

10. The country was named Benin on November 30, 1975. Earlier it was known as Dahomey.

11. Indigenous languages such as Fon and Yoruba are commonly spoken in Benin.

12. The country measures about 325 km (202 mi) at its widest point.

13. The W-Arly-Pendjari in Benin harbors the largest remaining population of lions in West Africa.

14. While cotton is the country’s main export item, the economy of the country is also dependent on agriculture and regional trade.

15. The country’s only seaport and international airport are in Cotonou, which is also the largest city in the country.

Agri cultural landscape at Grand Popo, Benin.
Agri cultural landscape at Grand Popo, Benin.

16. Soccer is the national sport of Benin.

17. The high prices of legal petrol forces the locals to buy it illegally for cheap. Petrol is illegally sourced from Nigeria and is sold in the country. Petrol stations are scarce in the country.

18. In terms of area, Benin is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania. Or it is above two third the Size of Portugal.

19. The country has a 121 km long coastline.

Benin on the map

20. 31.3% of the country’s land area is under agriculture while 40% of it is under forest.

21. The median age of the people in Benin is 17.9 years.

22. Benin has a high fertility rate with approximately 5 children per woman.

23. Benin has a literacy rate of 38.4%.

24. Almost 4.5% of the country’s population uses the internet.

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