Monday, May 21, 2012

Country Profiles: Benin

Benin is located in Africa. Benin was once the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century; it became a territory of France in 1872. With an area of 112,622 sq km, it is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

COUNTRY shares a border with Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo. It is mostly flat to undulating plains with some hills and low mountains.

People who live in Benin are called Beninese, which is also an adjective used to describe something from this country. It is estimated that by July 2012 there will be close to 9.6 million people in Benin. The ethnic groups that reside in Benin are mostly Fon, Adja, and Yoruba, with some Bariba, Peulh, Ottamari, Yoa-Lokpa, and Dendi. Though French is the official language, Fon, Yoruba, and tribal languages are also spoken there. Catholics make up approximately 27% of the population, while Muslim (24%), Vodoun (17%), and Protestant (10%) make up the rest of the population.

The country's official name is Republic of Benin. The capital is Porto-Novo, and the country is made up of 12 departments. Though Benin gained independence from France on August 1, 1960, a constitution was not adopted until December 2, 1960. The constitution can be found here through Constitution Finder. The current president is Thomas Yayi, and the Prime Minister is Pascal Koupaki. Information about the leaders of COUNTRY's government can be found here. The currency is the Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (abbreviated XOF), which stands at 473.7 XOF per USD as of 2011.

All of this information was gathered from the CIA World Factbook. For more information, check out these resources...

Benin, CIA World Factbook

Background Notes: Benin, U.S. Department of State

2010 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Benin, U.S. Department of State.

You can also check out the Country Studies tab on our Fed Docs libguide here for more resources on all of the countries.

Sonnet Ireland
Head of Federal Documents
Reference & Instruction Librarian
Subject Specialist: Legal Research, Political Science
Urban and Transportation Studies, Engineering

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