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EDU Africa is privileged to operate in 16 regions across the African continent. Among these regions lies the West African nation of Benin. In this blog post, we will shine the spotlight on this remarkable country and tell you why it is an ideal location for your transformative learning journey.

Benin, officially known as the Republic of Benin, borders Nigeria to the east, Togo to the west, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its official capital is Porto-Novo while Cotonou is its largest city. Covering an area of 44,310 square miles, and with a population of 13,7 million people, most of the country’s inhabitants live along the Bight of Benin, a small coastal zone. The most common languages spoken in Benin are French, Fon, Yom, and Yoruba. With a warm tropical climate, the country relies on agriculture and subsistence farming as the primary sources of income and employment. Benin has a rich cultural heritage and a complex societal evolution that has been woven into its history like a tapestry.

Once known as the Kingdom of Dahomey from the 17th to 19th century, the area gained recognition as the Slave Coast due to the transatlantic slave trade. In 1892, the region was colonized by the French who renamed it the French Dahomey, after slavery was banned. In 1958, the French granted Benin autonomy, and on August 1st, 1960, the region became a democratic republic, with Hubert Maga serving as its president. Benin’s democracy lasted 12 years before a Marxist dictatorship governed it from 1972 to 1990. 

In 1975, the country’s name was changed to the People’s Republic of Benin after the body of water on its coast. Benin became the first African country to successfully transition from a dictatorship to a democracy in 1991. Today, it is one of the most politically stable countries in West Africa and is working to overcome the consequences of its past.

Benin has a rich cultural heritage that stems from its diverse ethnic groups that have made significant contributions to the country’s eclectic culture. This culture is closely linked to the Vodun or Voodoo religion, which is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Benin is the birthplace of Vodun, and various Vodun temples and ceremonies can be observed in several places throughout the country.

The complex history of slavery and colonialism is apparent in the architecture and landscape of the country, particularly in the Afro-Brazilian architecture found in the major cities. There is a growing movement to preserve historical structures that was initially started by citizens but has since gained support and momentum from the government.

Here are some of the sites and activities students may engage with during their transformative learning journeys in Benin: 

  • Porto Novo Botanical Gardens
  • Porto Novo Market Day
  • Royal Palace of King Tofa I (Musée Honmè)
  • The Door of No Return
  • The School of African Heritage
  • The Temple of Pythons
  • Villa Karo Cultural Center
  • Zinzou Foundation

For more information about programs in Benin, contact us at info@edu-africa.com

 

References

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13037572

https://www.africa.com/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-benin/



Benin: A Journey of Culture and Discovery

EDU Africa is privileged to operate in 16 regions across the African continent. Among these regions lies the West African nation of Benin. In this blog post, we will shine the spotlight on this remarkable country and tell you why it is an ideal location for your transformative learning journey.

Benin, officially known as the Republic of Benin, borders Nigeria to the east, Togo to the west, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its official capital is Porto-Novo while Cotonou is its largest city. Covering an area of 44,310 square miles, and with a population of 13,7 million people, most of the country’s inhabitants live along the Bight of Benin, a small coastal zone. The most common languages spoken in Benin are French, Fon, Yom, and Yoruba. With a warm tropical climate, the country relies on agriculture and subsistence farming as the primary sources of income and employment. Benin has a rich cultural heritage and a complex societal evolution that has been woven into its history like a tapestry.

Once known as the Kingdom of Dahomey from the 17th to 19th century, the area gained recognition as the Slave Coast due to the transatlantic slave trade. In 1892, the region was colonized by the French who renamed it the French Dahomey, after slavery was banned. In 1958, the French granted Benin autonomy, and on August 1st, 1960, the region became a democratic republic, with Hubert Maga serving as its president. Benin’s democracy lasted 12 years before a Marxist dictatorship governed it from 1972 to 1990. 

In 1975, the country’s name was changed to the People’s Republic of Benin after the body of water on its coast. Benin became the first African country to successfully transition from a dictatorship to a democracy in 1991. Today, it is one of the most politically stable countries in West Africa and is working to overcome the consequences of its past.

Benin has a rich cultural heritage that stems from its diverse ethnic groups that have made significant contributions to the country’s eclectic culture. This culture is closely linked to the Vodun or Voodoo religion, which is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Benin is the birthplace of Vodun, and various Vodun temples and ceremonies can be observed in several places throughout the country.

The complex history of slavery and colonialism is apparent in the architecture and landscape of the country, particularly in the Afro-Brazilian architecture found in the major cities. There is a growing movement to preserve historical structures that was initially started by citizens but has since gained support and momentum from the government.

Here are some of the sites and activities students may engage with during their transformative learning journeys in Benin: 

  • Porto Novo Botanical Gardens
  • Porto Novo Market Day
  • Royal Palace of King Tofa I (Musée Honmè)
  • The Door of No Return
  • The School of African Heritage
  • The Temple of Pythons
  • Villa Karo Cultural Center
  • Zinzou Foundation

For more information about programs in Benin, contact us at info@edu-africa.com

 

References

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13037572

https://www.africa.com/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-benin/