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Benin Facts for Kids

Benin Facts for Kids

  • Benin is a country in West Africa.
  • Its official name is the Republic of Benin.
  • Benin was once Dahomey.
  • The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo.
  • The largest city in Benin is Cotonou.
  • The seat of the government is in Cotonou.
  • Most people live on the small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin.
  • The official language in Benin is French.
  • People also speak Fon and Yoruba.
  • Most people in Benin stick to their native religious beliefs. Other people are Christian and Muslim.
  • The total population of Benin is almost 11.6 million.
  • People in Benin are Beninese or Beninois.
  • Benin’s government is a Multiparty Democracy.
  • The President of Benin is Patrice Talon.
  • The Prime Minister of Benin is Lionel Zinsou.
  • Benin has a National Assembly. Benin gained independence from France on August 1, 1960.
  • Benin’s education system was not always free.
  • Benin has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. It is close to 40%. Only about 25% of women in Benin are literate.
  • The total area of Benin is 112,622 square kilometers (43,484 square miles).
  • Benin is the 100th largest country in the world. It is a little smaller than the state of Pennsylvania.
  • Benin measures about 325 kilometers (202 miles) at its widest point. Benin’s coastline is 121 kilometers long.
  • Benin sits between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer.
  • Benin has Togo to the west.
  • On its north are Niger and Burkina Faso.
  • Nigeria borders Benin on the east.
  • On the south is the Bight of Benin.
  • The Bight of Benin is part of the Gulf of Guinea. It is the Slave Coast.
  • The highest point in Benin is Mont Sokbaro at 658 meters (2,159 feet).
  • Its lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean at 0 meters.
  • The climate in Benin is tropical.
  • The weather is hot.
  • It is humid in the south and semiarid in the north.
  • Benin has two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.
  • The main rainy season is from April to late July.
  • The shorter and weaker rainy season is from late September to November.
  • The main dry season is from December to April.
  • The shorter and cooler dry season is from late July to early September.
  • Benin’s coastal area gets about 1300 millimeters (51 inches) each year.
  • Benin has 12 departments. It is then divided into 77 communes. The 12 departments are: Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Donga, Kouffo, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou
  • The currency in Benin is the West African CFA franc (XOF).
  • The major industries in Benin are textiles, food processing, construction materials, and cement.
  • Benin products include cotton, corn, tapioca, yams, beans, palm oil, and peanuts.
  • Benin also raises livestock.
  • The natural resources of Benin are timber, marble, limestone, and offshore oil deposits.
  • Benin’s major exports are cotton, crude oil, palm products, and cocoa. Benin’s main imports are petroleum products, capital goods, and food items.
  • Benin was a French colony for 58 years from 1900 to 1958. France took the country after slavery was abolished. They named it French Dahomey.
  • Benin was the first country to go from being a dictatorship to multiparty democracy in 1990.
  • Benin’s capital Porto-Novo was a port for the slave trade in the 16th century. The last ship to transport slaves left Benin for Brazil in 1885.
  • The country became Benin on November 30, 1975, after the Bight of Benin. Earlier it was Dahomey.
  • The National Parks in Benin has the largest population of lions in West Africa.
  • The national sport of Benin is soccer (football).
  • Benin has a high fertility rate. The average is 5 children per woman.
  • The red color on Benin’s flag stands for courage. The yellow symbolizes wealth. The green symbolizes hope and revival.
  • The first elected president of Benin was Hubert Maga.
  • A typical meal in Benin has rice, vegetables, and meat or fish.
  • People in Benin do not like photographs. They believe a photo casts a spell or curse.
  • Benin is famous around the world for its carved wooden masks.
  • The Temple of Pythons is in Benin. It has 50 Royal Pythons. The Temple measures 130 square feet.
  • The Beninese believe it is polite to shake the hands of everyone in the room when leaving or entering.
  • Benin is the birthplace of Voodoo. It is an official state religion. Almost 17% of the population practices Voodoo.
  • Benin is one of Africa’s most stable democracies. It remains underdeveloped. Corruption is a widespread problem.