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Monday 18th February
Benin Facts
The highest point in Benin is Mount Sokbaro (658 m).

The Kingdom of Dahomey existed in present-day Benin before the arrival of Europeans.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore the coast of Benin.

Portuguese traders were followed by the French and the Dutch.

The coastal area of Benin became part of the West African "Slave Coast".

European countries traded in slaves until legislation prohibited the slave trade. Acts of Parliament were passed in European countries at different times.

The abolition of slave trading by France became effective in 1826 but slavery was not abolished in the French colonies until 1848.

The French colonized the region in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Conflict between France and the Kingdom of Dahomey led to the deportation of the King of Dahomey to Martinique.

The Kingdom of Dahomey came to an end in 1900.

Present-day Benin (Dahomey) became a French colony; later it formed part of French West Africa. French West Africa was founded in 1895. The Federation included Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea (French Guinea), Mali (French Sudan) and Senegal. Later members were Benin (Dahomey), Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) Mauritania and Niger. The Federation ended in 1958.

The status of Dahomey changed to an Overseas Territory of France in 1946.

Dahomey became self-governing within the French Community in 1958.

Dahomey achieved independence in 1960.

In 1975 Dahomey was renamed the People's Republic of Benin.

The country's name was changed to the Republic of Benin in 1990.

In December 2003 a Lebanese plane crashed after leaving Cotonou. One hundred and forty people died in the accident.

In early 2009 Benin announced the discovery of oil offshore near the Nigeria-Benin border.

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