REPUBLIC OF BENIN
All You Need to Know
Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, is one of Africa's most stable democracies.
Benin's shore includes what used to be known as the Slave Coast, the departure point for captives to be shipped across the Atlantic.
Elements of the culture and religion brought by slaves from the area are still present in the Americas, including voodoo - which has made a comeback in Benin and is even celebrated at the country's annual Voodoo Day.
Cotonou is the largest city and economic centre of Benin. The city lies in the southeast of the country, between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Nokoué. In addition to being Benin's largest city, it is the seat of government, although Porto-Novo is the official capital. It is home to most of the country's government buildings and diplomatic services. The name "Cotonou" means "by the river of death" in the Fon language. At the beginning of the 19th century, Cotonou (then spelled "Kutonou") was a small fishing village, and is thought to have been formally founded by King Ghezo of Dahomey in 1830.