In 1998, Benin was a small West African country located between Togo and Nigeria. It had a population of around 5 million people and its capital was Porto-Novo. The official language of Benin was French but many other local languages were also spoken. The economy of Benin was largely based on subsistence farming, with some exports of cotton, cashews, and palm oil to neighboring countries. The government was a semi-presidential republic, with a president as the head of state and an elected prime minister as the head of government. In 1998, the President was Mathieu Kerekou and the Prime Minister was Nicephore Soglo. Benin had recently held its first democratic elections in 1991 after decades of military rule, and although the country still faced many challenges such as poverty, corruption and inadequate infrastructure, there were signs that progress was being made towards a more prosperous future. See dentistrymyth for Benin in the year of 2015.
Benin. According to Countryaah, the capital of Benin is Porto-Novo. Prime Minister Adrien Houngbédji resigned in early May. In the middle of the month, President Mathieu Kérékou appointed a new government in which he demolished the Prime Minister’s post. However, new finance, foreign and home ministers were appointed.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does BEN stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Benin.
Porto Novo, however, remained blocked; reinforcements were requested, and the maritime blockade of the coast was proclaimed to prevent smuggling. In response, King Behanzin attacked Porto Novo at the head of 8000 warriors and Amazons. On April 20 there was a bloody battle in Atchoupa, but not decisive, as Behanzin kept the investment of Porto Novo. Nonetheless, the French government, reluctant to continue military action, entered into new negotiations, which led to the equivocal convention of October 3, 1890 under which Behanzin recognized the occupation of Cotonou in exchange for an annual allowance of 20,000 francs. But as soon as the blockade was lifted, Behanzin used these sums to procure weapons and ammunition and in the summer of 1891 he invaded the French possession again.
Behanzin had about 12,000 warriors including the Amazons, a kind of royal guard made up of very valiant women in war. The body of operations of col. D0dds, gradually formed in Porto Novo, included 3,500 men at the beginning of September, of which about 1,500 Europeans.
With the forces removed from the garrisons of Grand Popo-Cotonou and Porto Novo, about 2000 men remained available as mobile forces, with whom 3 columns were formed, followed by a convoy with food for five days for the entire expeditionary force. Goal of the expedition: Abomey, capital of Dahomey. The col. Dodds chose as a supply line that of the Ouémé river, up to Tohuè, to use the river, navigable for the gunboats, as a communication line and as a tactical support. After mock demonstrations from Aguè and Ouidah, he moved to the left bank of the river on Dogba, where the expedition was concentrated between 14 and 18 September. On 19 September 4000 indigenous people, under the command of a brother of Behanzin, after having passed the Ouémé 25 km. north of Dogba, they surprised the French camp from the east by repelling the outposts; but the big one resisted and repelled with fire the assailant counterattacked him in turn, driving him back; the French had 16 men out of action; the enemies 400. The expedition advanced as far as Gbedè, where on 2 October it passed on the right bank; then continuing north towards the enemy, deployed astride the Ouemè between Poguessa and Tohuè, the 4th was attacked in the middle of the bush: after two hours of fighting the attack was repelled with the help of the gunboats flanking the expedition from the river.
In this action the French; they lost 41 men and the enemy 200. In the days following the expedition, leaving Ouémé, he marched in the direction of Abomey; on the 13th the entrenched camp of Akpa was conquered, but the enemy attacked several times in the following days, forcing the French to stop at Akpa waiting for reinforcements and supplies. Only on October 26, having received two companies in reinforcement and reorganizing the operating body, the Dodds marched on Kotopa, which was captured on 27, then on Kana, the holy city of Dahomey, which fell after tenacious resistance on November 6. On the 17th the French finally entered Abomey, which they found set on fire. Behanzin had fled north; the col. Dodds, promoted to general, proclaimed the king and Dahomey to lapse under the French protectorate; the new territory was militarily organized into 3 regions, then gradually pacified. Behanzin, having given himself up to the countryside after having tried in vain approaches to peace, infested the region between Abomey and Ouémé with his gangs; during the whole of 1893 he was hunted down: and finally surrounded by numerous flying columns and abandoned by the last partisans, on 25 January 1894 he surrendered to Ajego; he was deported to Martinique.
Thus ended the de facto independence of Dahomey. France later endeavored to overtake the other European powers in the occupation of the hinterland in order to merge the Dahomey with the French Sūdān.
The delimitation of the borders with Togo and Nigeria was established by the conventions of 1897 and 1898 respectively made by France with Germany and England. After the World War, by virtue of a Franco-English agreement of 1919, the eastern part of Togo was placed under the French mandate. Administratively, Dahomey, after being an autonomous French colony for a long time, became part (1895) of French West Africa and is still governed by a lieutenant governor dependent on the governor general residing in Dakar (see French West Africa).