The country of Benin, officially known as the Republic of Benin is a Western African country that has for its neighbors the countries of Nigeria in the east, Togo in the west and Burkina Faso in the north. The official language of this African country is French; however, regional languages such as Yoruba and Fon are spoken commonly over the country. Benin gained its independence from France on August 1, 1960. Although the country’s capital is Porto-Novo, the seat of the government is located in the country’s largest city Cotonou. The people of the country or the Beninese are a lot who largely depend on the success of agriculture in the country. The country’s economy too depends a lot on the income arising from the success of its ‘subsistence farming’. Roman Catholics make for the largest group in Benin. The Muslims, Vodun and Christians make for almost the rest of Benin’s population. Go ahead and read on to know more on the African country of Benin.
Image: By MVN [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Interesting And Fun Facts About Benin
- Benin is located in Western Africa, between Nigeria and Togo and borders the Bight of Benin.
- In terms of geographical area, Benin is smaller than the state of Pennsylvania.
- Benin has tropical climate with hot and humid weather prevailing throughout the year. The country is mostly flat but also has a sprinkling of a few hills and mountains.
- The motto of Benin, ‘Fraternité, Justice, Travail’, in French literally translates to ‘Fraternity, Justice and Labor’.
- ‘L'Aube Nouvelle’ is the anthem of the country of Benin. The anthem is sung in French and literally translates to ‘The Dawn of a New Day’.
- Benin at present is a multiparty democracy and functions under the leadership of President Yayi Boni.
- Over the last three decades, Benin has traversed from being a socialist economy to a free market system. The country now relies on the foreign exchange from the export of cotton. In terms of contribution, cotton pumps revenue into the Benin economy like no other single economic activity does.
- The city of Cotonou in Benin enjoys the distinction of being the largest city in the country.
- Did you know that Angelique Kidjo, the African singer who popularized African music in Europe and the United States of America hailed from Benin? She was a Grammy-Award singer who was most noted for her songs, ‘Batonga’, ‘We We’, and ‘Lombo’ being key examples.
- The official currency of the country of Benin is the West African CFA franc (XOF).
- Tomas Boni Yayi, the President of the country of Benin, is one of Africa’s most respected leaders for the simple fact that under his leadership the country transformed to the democratic state that it is now.
- The city of Ouidah in Benin, spelt Whydah in history books written in English, is also known as the ‘Museum City’ because of its rich colonial history. Whydah was once the stronghold of the British, French, and Danish.
- On September 20, 1960, Benin became a member of the United Nations. Benin also served as a member of United Nations Security Council between 1976 and 1977.
- Although French is the official language of Benin, more than half the country’s population speaks Fon and Yoruba. Also, other than French, English makes for one of the two languages that are compulsorily taught in secondary schools.
- Benin’s National Flag was hoisted on August 1, 1960, the day on which Benin gained independence from France. Green, red and yellow make for the colors of Benin’s National Flag.
- The demonym for the country of Benin is Beninese or Beninois, in other words, the people of Benin are known as Beninese or Beninois.
- Porto-Novo, the capital city of Benin, is also known as the ‘City with three names’. This is basically because the city, apart from being known as Porto-Novo, is also known as Adjatche and Hogbonou.