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___ Benin History Timeline


The history of Benin is a succession of several kingdoms, it was the seat of Dahomey, one of the great medieval African kingdoms.

The three main kingdoms (created by the Fon) were that of Allada, founded in the 16th century, it was the most powerful kingdom in Ajaland before it fell to the armies of Dahomey (Abomey). The Kingdom of Abomey was founded in 1625 and that of Porto-Novo probably founded in the late 16th century, then called Adjacé then Hogbonou.

1650: The English built a fort at Ouidah (Whydah).

1664: Foundation of the first Christian mission to Juda (Ouidah) by Breton Capuchins.

1704: France received permission to construct a port at Ouidah.

1752: The Portuguese moved to Hogbonou and founded Porto-Novo, the "New Port" was developed as a port for the flourishing slave trade.

1863: The first French protectorate was established with the King of Porto-Novo seeking help against the claims of the King of Abomey and the attacks of the English, based in Lagos, Nigeria. The same year, Glélé, the King of Abomey, allows the French to settle in Cotonou.

1882: The ruler of the kingdom of Porto-Novo signed a new agreement with the protectorate of France.

1885 - 1887 Portugal declares a protectorate over Dahomey (with no effect).

1889: In the war against the French, King Behanzin (Kondo, the shark), son of King Glélé and Abomey's last independent ruler was defeated.

1892: France declared a protectorate over the entire kingdom. Dahomey was conquered in a campaign lasting from 1892 to 1894.

1894: Dahomey is colonized by France after the surrender of the King of Abomey. France establishes the "Colony of Dahomey and its dependencies. King Behanzin was exiled to Martinique.

1904: Dahomey was incorporated into French West Africa (in French: Afrique occidentale française, AOF, a federation of eight French colonial territories in Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan (now Mali), French Guinea (now Guinea), Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), Dahomey (now Benin) and Niger.).

1946: Dahomey becomes an overseas territory of France.

On 4 December 1958, the Republic was proclaimed and Dahomey becomes an independent state on 1 August 1960 and is admitted to the UN. Elections were won by the Parti Dahomeen de L'Unite. Party leader Hubert Maga becomes the country's first president.

1963: Dahomey experienced a period of political instability marked by the succession of 6 coups between 1963 and 1972, when Major Mathieu Kerekou seizes power.

1975: Dahomey is renamed to the People's Republic of Benin. (in French: République populaire du Bénin; RPB) by the military government headed by Major Mathieu Kerekou.

In December 1989, after 17 years of Marxism-Leninism, Marxist President Kerekou announced the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism under the pressure of the street.

1990: the country becomes the Republic of Benin.

1991: President Kerekou is beaten by Nicephore Soglo in the first multi-candidate presidential elections. Nicéphore Soglo was elected President of the Republic with over 67% of the votes cast.

1996: presidential elections are held, following accusations of irregularities in the elections, the constitutional court announces that Kerekou has received the majority of valid votes cast.

Source: Benin's government website (in French) and others (see below).

Related pages:

 Zoomable map/satellite view of Benin
 Political Map of Benin
 Administrative Map of Benin

 Benin Country Profile

 Map of Africa

External Links:
Archives Nationale du Benin
The not well maintained page provides some general informations on Benin and offers collections, publications and some photos. (in French)

Abomey Historical Museum
History and kings of the Danhomè (Dahomey) kingdom.

BBC-Timeline: Benin
BBC Country Profile: Benin historical timeline.

Benin History
Benin's government website articel about the History of Benin (in French).

Chronologie des principaux événements politiques au Bénin
Chronology of major political events in Benin.

La route de l'esclave - The Slave Route
An UNESCO documentation about four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. (pdf format)

Musée du quai Branly: Behanzin, King of Abomey
About Behanzin's kingship of Abomey.

The World at War
Historical Timelineof DAHOMEY 1486 - 1960.

Wikipedia: History of Benin
Wikipedia article about the modern nation of Benin, which encompasses the former French colony of Dahomey.
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