Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Mon, 08.01.1960

Benin gains Independence from France

*On this date in 1960 The Republic of Dahomey (Benin) became independent of France.

In the words of the historian Martin Meredith, the young country "was encumbered with every imaginable difficulty: a small strip of territory jutting inland from the coast, it was crowded, insolvent and beset by tribal divisions, huge debts, unemployment, frequent strikes and an unending struggle for power between three rival political leaders".  By the middle of the nineteenth century, Dahomey had begun to weaken and lose its status as the regional power. This enabled the French to take over the area in 1892. In 1899, the French included the land called French Dahomey within the larger French West Africa colonial region.  

The country was renamed the People’s Republic of Benin in 1975.  Benin combines three areas which had distinctly different political systems and ethnicities prior to French colonial control.   In 1958, France granted autonomy to the Republic of Dahomey, and full independence two years later, which is celebrated each year as Independence Day, a national holiday.  The president who led the country to independence was Hubert Maga. 


New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

Barren cross-ties of penny-whistle twigs Mating and parting as the wind Beats the rhythm of sad songs With black shafts once hung in gold Basket-weave tears of ancestral black Fall in arcs as the... AFFIRMATION by Helene Armstead Johnson.
Read More