About Benin

History of Benin

Benin is home to ancient and brilliant civilizations which were built round kingdoms based on city-states.

The three main kingdoms (created by the Fon people) were those of Allada, founded during the 16th century, that of Abomey in 1625, and that of Porto-Novo, formerly known as Adjacé, then Hogbonou. These well structured political entities had functional urban centres. They developed a local trade chiefly based, as early as the 17th century, on the slave trade then on palm tree trade after slavery had been abolished in 1807. This slave-based economy facilitated along the coast (known as the «slave coast»), the establishment of trade posts controlled by the English, Danish, Portuguese and French.

1650: the English built a fort in Ouidah

1664: first establishment of missionaries in Juda (Ouidah), the Breton capuchins,

In 1704: France was allowed to build a port in Ouidah while in 1752, the Portuguese established in Hogbonou which they named Porto-Novo.

In 1863: the first French protectorate was established with the King of Porto-Novo who was in need of assistance to resist the ambitions of the king of Abomey and the attacks of the English established in Lagos. During the same year, Glèlè, King of Abomey, allowed the French to settle in Cotonou.

In 1882: the king of Porto-Novo signed a new protectorate agreement with France which sent a “French Resident” in charge of assisting the King.

In 1894, Dahomey was colonised by France, subsequent to the surrender of the King of Abomey. A Decree specified the denomination of the new territories “Colony of dahomey and its dependences”.

In 1904, Dahomey was incorporated to FWA (French Western Africa).

On 4 December 1958, the Republic was proclaimed and Dahomey became an independent State on 1st August 1960.

Then began a period of political turmoil marked by the succession of 6 military coups between 1960 and 1972, when the commander Mathieu Kérékou took the power.

On 30 November 1975, Dahomey took the denomination of “Popular Republic of Benin” (RPB) following the initiative of the military government headed by Colonel Kérékou.

In December 1989, after 17 years of Marxist regime, President Kérékou announced the renunciation of Marxism-Leninism under the pressure of the populations and the donors.

From 19 to 28 February 1990, was held under the chairmanship of de Souza, archbishop of Cotonou, the “Conference of the Vital Forces of the Nation" which established a transitional government headed by a Prime Minister, Mr. Nicéphore Soglo.

After the presidential elections of March 1991, organized in a multiparty system context, Nicéphore Soglo was elected President of the Republic with over 67% of the votes.

In 1996, presidential elections took place and brought anew the former President Mathieu Kérékou to the Presidency of the Republic and was easily reelected in March 2001.

Yayi BoniYayi Boni assumed office in 2006, and in 2011 was reelected to a second term.

From then on, Benin is taken as a model country in Sub-Saharan Africa for having successfully achieved a democratic transition without bloodshed and military coups.

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