• Mariella R


Have you ever wondered what life is like in a francophone country? In this series, you will explore a new location every week. Today, we'll take a look at Benin.


That's hello in Benin.

A Beninois village

Benin is the home of voodoo, which sees spirits in natural objects such as rocks and water. Voodoo came to the Americas with African slaves and the Hollywood movies turned it into something spooky. If you don't like snakes, better give the Python Temple in Ouidah a miss—they might curl one of the slithery reptiles around your neck. Benin is also famous for its lively music, which is sure to get your toes tapping. Lions, elephants, and crocodiles will also keep you hopping. From Lonely Planet's Not for Parents Travel Book.

Benin was originally the Abomey kingdom of the Dahomey peoples and was established in 1625. Dahomey's wooden masks, bronze statues, tapestries, and pottery are world renowned and emphasize the rich cultural life of the kingdom. In 1893, Dahomey was annexed by the French and incorporated into French West Africa in 1904. It became an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958, and on Aug. 1, 1960, Dahomey was granted its independence within the Community. From Infoplease.

Fast facts

Capital: Porto-Novo

Population: 11.49 million

Currency: West African CFA franc

Official language: French

Area: 112, 622 square kilometres

Fun facts

  • The people of Benin are known as Beninese or Beninois.

  • Despite being located in a turbulent region, Benin is among Africa’s most stable democracies.

  • It is a taboo to eat or greet someone using the left hand.

  • People wear winter jackets during summer to avoid extreme heat.

  • A rather large 31% of Benin’s land is made up of woodland.

From WorldAtlas and FactCity.

A Voodoo dance

Doesn't this make you want to visit Benin?!

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