Facts about Benin

1 Feb 2023

Benin is a French-speaking West African nation. It is also the birthplace of the Vodun (or "voodoo") religion and home to the former Dahomey Kingdom from circa 1600-1900. The country has a long history with the slave trade. The official name of Benin is the Republic of Benin. Porto-Novo is the capital of Benin. French is the official language of Benin and the national currency of Benin is Franc CFA. Similarly, the largest city in Benin is Cotonou. Republique de Benin is the national name of a country. African Leopard is the national animal and Oystercatcher is the national bird of a country. Furthermore, the national sport of Benin is football and the national river of a country is the Mekrou. With these interesting facts about Benin, let's learn more about the history, culture, religion, people, industries, tourism, tradition, and many more.

Quick Facts about Benin

The official name of Benin: The Republic of Benin

Area: 1,14,763 square km

Population(2019): 11.73 million

Population density: 94.8 Square kilometers

GDP (PPP)(2019): $29.918 Billion

GDP Per Capita (nominal): $971

Continent: Africa

Capital: Porto-Novo

Language: French, Fon, Yoruba, Yom, Dendi, and 60 other languages

Official Languages: French

Largest by area: 100th largest country

Religion: Christianity: 52.2%, Islam: 24.6%, Traditional faiths: 17.9%, No religion: 5.2%, Other: 0.1%

Government: Unitary presidential republic

Currency: West African CFA franc (XOF)

Country Code: BEN

Calling Code: +229

Time Zone: UTC+1 (WAT)

29 Interesting Facts about Benin

1. Bordered country of Benin

Benin is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkin Faso, and Niger to the northwest.

2. Benin was formerly known as Dahomey

Benin was formerly known as Dahomey, one of the powerful kingdoms in Western Africa. And Benin is a key regional state of the kingdom in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 1946, Dahomey become an overseas territory of France and in 1958 it become self-governing within the French Community.

After gaining independence from France, the country changed its name to the Republic of Benin in 1975.

3. Benin become independent

Benin become independent from France on August 1, 1960.

4. Flag of Benin

The flag of Benin has three colors- Red, Yellow, and Green. The red color symbolizes the courage of the ancestors, the green colors stand for the hope of a new democracy and the Yellow color symbolizes the wealth of the nation.

These three colors represent the pan-Africanist movement and also bear the same color as Ethiopia's flag. This honors the oldest independent country in Africa.

5. The largest city in Benin

Cotonou is the largest city in Benin. Similarly, the country's only seaport and international airport are in Cotonou. Thus, Cotonou is also called the country's economic capital city.

Furthermore, Djougou, Parakou, and Porto-Nova are some big cities in Benin.

6. The capital region of Benin referred to as Slave Coast

The capital region of Benin and the area nearby the capital was referred to as the slave coast from as early as the 17th century. It is because, during the trans- Atlantic slave trade, a large number of slaves were shipped from this place to the new world like North America, South America, and Europe.

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

7. The place to sell Africans 

About 1750 AD, the kingdom of Dahomey (a part of Benin) was earning around $343,325 per year by selling Africans to the European Slave traders.

8. The southern part of Benin is an agriculture hub 

The southern part of Benin has heavy rainfall in the monsoon. So the southern part has highly fertile land compared to the other parts of the country. Similarly, the southern part also produces more vegetation due to heavy rainfall so that it looks always green.

9. The last ship of slaves 

The last ship of slaves departed from Dahomey for Brazil in 1885. After that, no Africans are selling from Dahomey to a new world.

10. French Colony in Benin

In between 1900-1958, the country of Benin was a French colony for 58 years. After the independence, the French colony shifted to France.

11. Main export items of Benin

Cotton is the main export item of Benin. Similarly, the economy of the country is also dependent on agriculture and regional trade.

12. First country from dictatorship to a multiparty democracy

Benin was the first country in the 1990s that end the dictatorship rule and shifted to the multiparty democracy.

13. Petrol is high in cost in Benin

The price of petrol, diesel is high in Benin so local people buy them illegally for cheap. Border countries have cheap petrol, and diesel prices compare to Benin. So local people illegally bring petrol from Nigeria and is sold in the country.

14. The capital was developed for the slave trade

The capital city, Porto Novo means "new port" in Portuguese. It was originally developed as a port for the slave trade from the 16th century to the late 19th century.

Benin's southern coast where the now capital lies is also known as the Slave Coast. Because the region's history was a departure point for Slaves during the Atlantic slave trade from the 16th century to the late 19th century.

15. High fertility rate

Benin has a high fertility rate compared to other west African countries. The fertility rate with approximately 5 children per woman.

16. High Young population

With a median age of just 18.8 years, Benin has one of the youngest populations in the world. Almost 65% of the country's population is under 25 years old.

17. Low Literacy rate

In Benin, the literacy rate is only 42.4% (2018). It is very much low and the neighboring country of Benin has a slightly higher literacy rate. Nigeria has 62.02 and Togo has 63.75%.

18. Forest cover most of the area of Benin

40% of the country's land area is under forest and 31.3% of it under agricultural area. Benin is also one of the west African countries that has a large area covered by the forest.

19. Country name Benin

Benin is named after the body of water on which it lies, which is the " Bright of Benin".

20. An Indigenous language is highly spoken in Benin

Fon, Yoruba, Bariba, Dendi are some indigenous languages that are highly spoken in Benin.

21. Popular foods of Benin

People generally eat Rice, Vegetables, and Meat in Benin. Food is prepared at least twice a day. Beef is more popular in the northern part of Benin and fish is highly eaten in the south part of Benin.

22. Pendjari National park is the home of lion

The Pendjari national park is listed in UNESCO. It is a transnational park of Benin, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria in West Africa is the home for the largest intact ecosystem in west Africa.

Furthermore, Pendjari national park is the home to elephants, West African lions, Hippopotamuses, buffalo, and various antelopes in west Africa.

Similarly, the royal palaces of Abomey are 12 palaces spread over 40 hectares area at the heart of the Abomey town in Benin, formerly the capital of the West African kingdom of Dahomey. The palaces were inscribed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985.

23. First elected president of Benin

Hubert Maga was elected as the first president of Benin.

24. Eating with the left hand is considered bad in Benin

In Benin culture, if anyone eats the foods with his/her left hand or offers another person something with their left hand then this is considered a bad manner.

Furthermore, upon entering or leaving an appointment, it is appropriate to shake the hand of each person is become a good manner in Benin.

25. Venice of Africa

The village of Ganvie, located on lake Nokoue in Benin has been called the "Venice of Africa" and it's the continent's unique floating village built on stilts. With a population of around 20,000 people, it's also one of the largest villages in the world.

The people of the area are highly engaged in farming, tourist guide, fishing, and fish farming.

26. High victim of AIDS

AIDS is one of the major concerns in the country and it is straining the health care system.

27. Temple of Pythons in Benin

Snakes are revere in Benin. They are an important religious symbol and are highly respected. It is considered that if any snake crosses one's path then it is a sign of good fortune. Similarly, there is the temple of pythons in Benin. In the temple ground, the dozen of royal pythons move freely. Furthermore, the local people treat snakes as ordinary guests if the snakes appear in their homes.

28. Two rainy and two dry seasons in Benin

There are two rainy and two dry seasons every year. The main rainy season start from April to July with a shorter less intense rainy period from late September to November.

Similarly, the main dry season is from December to April with a short cooler dry season from August to September.

These are some interesting facts about Benin.

Some other interesting facts about Benin

  • Benin is named after the body of water on which it lies- the Bight of Benin
  • The people of Benin are called Beninese.
  • Benin is about 325 km at its widest point.
  • In terms of area, Benin is smaller than Pennsylvania.
  • Benin has a 121 km long Coastline.
  • The median age of the people in Benin is 17.9 years.
  • Only 4.5% of the country's population uses the internet in Benin.
  • The crime rate in Benin is very low compared to other African countries.
  • Benin has one open-air market in every town in the country.
  • Packaged food items are mostly imported in Benin.
  • The University of Benin in Cotonou is the only post-secondary institution in the country.
  • The capital of Benin Porto-Novo is also known as Adjatche and Hogbonou.
  • Benin is famous the world over for carved wood masks.
  • Benin is also one of the most politically stable countries in West Africa.

These are some more interesting facts about Benin.

Fun Facts about Benin

  • The temperature of the country is extremely hot during the summers that why even though the temperature is nearly 20 degrees on plus people wear jackets.
  • People of Benin do not like to be clicking photos because they believe that a photograph can misuse their photo.

These are some fun facts about Benin.

In conclusion

In this article, we discuss facts about Benin. After reading this article you can get some more about Benin. If you have any queries regarding Benin facts then comment to us. We will try to enhance your queries. Furthermore, if you love this article and want to add somethings more facts about Benin, then also you can comment on us. We always want your support and love. Have a great time.

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