Benin

Benin

Benin, is a country in Western Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north; its short coastline to the south leads to the Bight of Benin. Its capital is the Yoruba founded city of Porto Novo, but the seat of government is the Fon city of Cotonou. Benin was known as Dahomey until 1975. The African kingdom of was formed out of a mixture of various local ethnic groups on the Abomey plain. Dahomey had a strict military culture aimed at securing and eventually expanding the borders of the small kingdom. Boys were often apprenticed to older soldiers at a young age, and learned about the kingdom's military customs until they were old enough to join the navy. Dahomey was also famous for instituting an elite female soldier corps, known by many Europeans as the Dahomean Amazons. This emphasis on military preparation and achievement earned Dahomey the nickname of "black Sparta" from European observers. By the middle of the nineteenth century, Dahomey started to lose its status as the regional power. This enabled the French to take over the area in 1892. In 1960 Benin achieved full independence from France.

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Benin