Benin, officially the Republic of Benin (French: République du Bénin) and previously Dahomey, is a nation in West Africa. It is bounded on the west by Togo, on the east by Nigeria, and on the north by Burkina Faso and Niger. The bulk of the population lives along its tiny southern coastline on the Bight of Benin, which is part of the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean’s northernmost tropical region. Benin’s capital is Porto-Novo, although the country’s seat of government is in Cotonou, the country’s main city and economic center. Benin has a land area of 114,763 square kilometers and a population of roughly 10.88 million people in 2015. Benin is a tropical, Sub-Saharan African country that is heavily reliant on agriculture, with subsistence farming providing significant employment and revenue.
Benin’s official language is French. Indigenous languages such as Fon and Yoruba, on the other hand, are widely spoken. Roman Catholicism is the largest religious organization in Benin, followed by Islam, Vodun, and Protestantism. Benin is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, La Francophonie, the Sahel-Sahel Community, the African Petroleum Producers Association, and the Niger Basin Authority.
From the 17th to the 19th centuries, the primary political entities in the area were the Kingdom of Dahomey, the city-state of Porto-Novo, and a wide territory to the north with numerous distinct tribes. Because of the high number of slaves carried to the New World during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, this region was dubbed the Slave Coast as early as the 17th century. Following the abolition of slavery, France took over the nation and renamed it French Dahomey. Dahomey obtained complete independence from France in 1960 and went through a turbulent era with numerous different democratic administrations, military coups, and military regimes.
Between 1975 to 1990, the People’s Republic of Benin was a Marxist–Leninist state. It was succeeded in 1991 by the present multi-party Republic of Benin.