Benin Week Kick-Off

Good Monday Morning!

I am so excited to kick off Benin Week here on Out and About Africa! Throughout this entire week, you will learn about various artists, musicians, and photographers hailing from this West African nation. You will also get to see some of the things I'm loving out of Benin as well as glance at one of the most unique places I've seen recently.

To get this rolling, here are a 7 quick facts about Benin:
  1. On the map, this country looks really small, especially in comparison with some of it's bigger neighbors (Nigeria for example). At approximately 43K sq miles, it's a little bigger than the state of Virginia
  2. Under the French colonial rule and even a little after, it was known as Dahomey. It didn't become the People's Republic of Benin until 1975, fifteen years after gaining independence.
  3. Pre-colonial days, the Kingdom of Dahomey was a popular location in the slave slaving business and remnants of this history remain throughout the country.
  4. Voudou still remains a top practiced (and recognized) religion right up there with Christianity and Islam.
  5. Benin City and Benin...two completely different places. Benin City is in Nigeria and was the key city under the Benin Empire. I know...slightly confusing!
  6. While Cotonou is the biggest city, Porto Novo is actually the capital. As you may have guessed, Porto Novo was named by the Portuguese before the French took over.
  7. Many Afro-Brazilians migrated back to Porto Novo after emanicipation and there are strong Brazilian and Portuguese influences in the architecture and food of the city.

{Photos from Ferdinand Reus, E.B. Sylvester}

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