Return to home AfricaNet: http://www.africanet.com/countries/benin.htm Yoruba masters created decorative masks,
headdresses, figures and other objects of art from this area and
(WSJ, 2/10/98, p.A16) 1471 The
Portuguese arrived in Ghana as intermediaries, bringing slaves and
other goods from Senegal and Benin in order to sell them to the
Asante and other local people.
(Econ, 2/24/07, p.73)
1600-1900 A succession of 12 kings ruled from
Abomey (Dahomey-Benin) and each one built a lavish palace.
(SFEC, 8/28/98, p.T4)
1717 Apr 26, Pirate Black Sam
Bellamy died along with 143 others when their ship, the Whydah, sank
off of Wellfleet, Cape Cod. 2 men on the Whydah survived as did 7
others aboard the Mary Anne, a smaller ship loaded with Madeira
wine. The slave ship Whydah had just been captured by Bellamy in
February as it left Ouidau, Benin, with a load of sugar and indigo
as well as chests of silver and gold. 6 or the 9 survivors were
later hanged for piracy in Boston. In 1984 the wreck of the ship was
discovered by Barry Clifford.
(WSJ, 9/12/07, p.D9)
1890 French foreign
legionnaires massacred the amazonian army of Dahomey (Benin).
(Econ, 12/18/04, p.62)
1892 Nov 16, King Behanzin of
Dahomey (now Benin), led soldiers against the French.
1946 Dahomey (later Benin)
became an Overseas Territory of France.
1958 Dec 4, A territorial
assembly declared Dahomey a republic.
(EWH, 1st ed., p.1172)
1960 Aug 1, Dahomey (Benin),
just west of Nigeria, became independent from France with Hubert
Maga as president (1960-1963). Porto Novo was made the capital.
(WUD, 1994, p.139)(PC, 1992, p.973)(EWH, 1st ed.,
1961 Aug 1, Dahomey (Benin)
seized the Portuguese territory of Ajuda.
(EWH, 1st ed., p.1172)
1963 Oct 27-1963 Oct 29, Col.
Christophe Soglo, chief of staff, assumed power as head of a 3-man
provisional government in Dahomey. Pres. Maga became premier
(EWH, 1st ed., p.1172)
1964 Jan, The government of
Dahomey was revamped and Sourou Migan Apithy became president
(EWH, 1st ed., p.1172)
1965 Christophe Soglo became
premier (1965-1967) of Dahomey for a 2nd time.
1967 Alphonse Alley became
premier (1967-1968) of Dahomey.
1968 Zinsou became premier
(1968-1969) of Dahomey.
1969 Paul-Emile de Souza
became premier (1969-1970) of Dahomey (later Benin).
1970 Hubert Maga became
premier (1970-1972) of Dahomey (later Benin).
1972 May 7, Justin
Ahomadegbe-Tometin (1917-2002) became president of Dahomey (later
Benin) as part of a system that rotated the office between three
leading political figures: Ahomadegbe, Hubert Maga, and Sourou-Migan
Apithy. He was overthrown on October 26.
1972 Oct 26, Major Mathieu
Kerekou (b.1933) took power in Dahomey (later Benin) in a coup and
proclaimed it a Marxist-Leninist state.
1974 Oct 26, Mathieu Kerekou
(b.1933) seized power in Dahomey (later Benin) and ruled until 1991.
He was elected president in 1996 and served until 2006.
1975 May 25, ECOWAS Treaty1 was
signed. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was
formed in Nigeria with 15 members that included: Benin, Cape Verde,
CŰte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali,
Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Upper Volta (later
1975 Dahomey was renamed as
Benin. From 1960-1975 Benin was called the Republic of Dahomey.
1990 Mar 1, Benin nullified its
1991 Feb 17, Benin held
elections for the National Assembly, its first multi-party election
since 1964. No party secured an overall majority. The largest
grouping was an alliance of the pro-Soglo parties.
1991 Mar 10, In Benin President
Kerekou was beaten by Nicephore Soglo (b.1934) in the first
multi-candidate presidential elections. A runoff on March 24 gave
Soglo 67.7% of the vote. Kerekou was granted immunity from
prosecution over actions taken since October 1972.
1991 Apr 4, In Benin Nicephore
Soglo (1991-1996) took office as president. He had defeated Mathieu
Kerekou in the countryís first free presidential elections. For the
first time in mainland Africa a leader let himself be ousted
1996 Jan 9, Beninís President
Nicephoro Soglo's government said that, in an effort to "correct an
injustice," it was formally recognizing voodoo as a religion. He
declared Jan 10th as a voodoo holiday.
1996 Mar 20, Mathieu Kerekou,
former Benin dictator, was elected over incumbent Nicephore Soglo.
(WSJ, 3/20/96, p.A-1)
1999 Apr 21, In Benin police
arrested Yacoubou Adam Fassassi, the Benin ambassador to the UN, for
alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
(SFC, 4/22/99, p.A15)
2000 Jun 23, The Cotonou
Agreement, a treaty between the European Union and the group of
African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP countries), was signed in
Cotonou, the largest city in Benin, by 79 ACP countries and the then
fifteen Member States of the EU. It entered into force in 2002 and
is the latest agreement in the history of ACP-EU Development
Cooperation. As of Dec 31, 2007, the Cotonou Agreement ceased to be
legal under the rules of the WTO.
(Econ, 5/28/05, p.78)(Econ, 1/5/08,
2001 Apr 14, As many as 250
suspected child slaves were returned to Benin after being stranded
for weeks on a ship with limited supplies.
(SSFC, 4/15/01, p.D1)
2001 Apr 15, Benin authorities
sought Staneslas Abatan and 2 collaborators believed to be
responsible for the child slave ship off the coast of the Gulf of
Guinea. It was reported that human cargo had been shipped from Benin
to Gabon on the ship MV Etireno over the past 5 years. The Etireno
was later reported to have been confused with another ship, which
was missing. The slave ship was later held to be a false alarm. 30
of the children on the ferry remained unclaimed after 3 days at
(SFC, 4/16/01, p.A8)(SFC, 4/17/01, p.A10)(SFC,
4/18/01, p.A13)(SFC, 4/21/01, p.A16)
2003 Jan 10, Benin's National
Voodoo Day drew about 12,000 people.
2003 May 3, In Cotonou, Benin,
16 people died in a late night concert stampede at the gates of the
nation's Friendship Stadium.
2003 Oct 15, Nigerian police
returned 74 child workers to Benin. As young as 4 years old, their
skin broken and palms callused from months of hauling granite, they
received food, clothes and medical care in the West African state of
Benin after being rescued from the traffickers who sold them into
heavy labor. On Sept. 27 authorities brought back 116 children who
had been put to work in the granite quarries of southwest Nigeria.
2003 Dec 25, A passenger plane
bound for Beirut crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from the
west African nation of Benin and at least 138 people, mostly
Lebanese, were killed. Some 35 people survived.
(AP, 12/25/03)(SFC, 12/26/03, p.A3)(AP, 12/27/03)
2004 Sep 15, Eight French
speaking African countries began retiring over 1 billion in decaying
currency with new CFA francs. Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau,
Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo had until Dec 31 to turn
in old bills for new ones.
(SFC, 9/15/04, p.C8)
2006 Mar 5, Benin held its 4th
presidential elections since multi-party democracy was introduced in
1990. A 2nd round would determine the winner.
(Econ, 3/18/06, p.50)
2006 May 24, In northern Benin
a tanker truck overturned and then exploded when people with
lanterns began siphoning gasoline. At least 35 people were killed.
2006 Nov 22, Police in the west
African state of Benin arrested two rebel leaders from the Central
African Republic (CAR), whose forces are waging a violent offensive
in their home country. The leader of the rebel Union of Democratic
Forces for Unity, Michel Am Non Droko Djotodia, and his spokesman
Abakar Sabone, were apprehended in Benin's capital, Cotonou, under
an international arrest warrant. In 2008 President Boni Yayi asked
for and obtained the lifting of the international arrest warrant"
for the two rebel leaders.
(AP, 11/25/06)(AFP, 2/19/08)
2007 Jan 1, Li Zhaoxing,
China's foreign minister, signed a string of accords in Benin as
part of a whistle-stop tour of seven African nations as Beijing
bolsters economic ties on the continent. From Benin Li flew to
Equatorial Guinea ahead of visits in the coming days to
Guinea-Bissau, Chad, the Central African Republic, Eritrea and
2007 Feb 8, Benin, Nigeria, and
Togo formed a new regional body aimed at fast-tracking the
integration of their economies. The body, known as the Co-Prosperity
Alliance Zone (COPAZ), was formally inaugurated following a
mini-summit of Nigeriaís President Olusegun Obasanjo, Beninís
President Boni Yayi and Togoís President Faure Gnassingbe.
2008 Feb 16, US President
George W. Bush in Benin, opening a five-country Africa tour,
stepped up pressure on Kenyan leaders to accept a power-sharing deal
to end their country's deadly political crisis.
2009 Feb 27, The UN Children's
Fund said 53 million children are being targeted by a mass
immunization drive against polio in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory
Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo. Some 844 polio cases were
reported in the 8 countries in 2008, 95% of them in Nigeria.
2009 Mar 12, In Benin American
Peace Corps volunteer Catherine Puzey was found dead in Badjoude.
She had earlier reported that a local Peace Corps hire was abusing
2009 In the Ivory Coast a
random poll of 10 underage girls in Toulepleu by aid group Save The
Children U.K. found that eight performed sexual acts for UN-Benin
peacekeepers on a regular basis in order to secure their most basic
needs. A 2010 diplomatic cable revealed that "Eight of the 10 said
they had ongoing sexual relationships with Beninese soldiers in
exchange for food or lodging," citing information shared with the
embassy by a protection officer.
2010 Jul 1, In Benin Investment
Consultancy and Computering Services.(ICC) was forced to close, and
more than a dozen of its employees were jailed. More than a hundred
thousand people lost their savings in a Ponzi scheme run by the
company that appeared to be publicly endorsed by the country's
President Boni Yayi. In August the government said that more than
130,000 people gave their savings to the company and altogether lost
more than $130 million.
2010 Oct 18, A UN official said
flooding in the West African nation of Benin has killed 43 people
and left nearly 100,000 homeless, citing numbers collected since the
beginning of October.
2010 Nov 1, The UN said
flooding in Benin has affected more than half a million people,
destroyed more than 300,000 acres of crops and killed 81,000
2010 Dec 25, Benin said three
West African presidents will fly to Ivory Coast to tell incumbent
leader Laurent Gbagbo to quit or face force, a sign of mounting
regional determination to force him out.
2010 Dec 28, West African
leaders Boni Yayi of Benin, Sierra Leone's Ernest Bai Koroma and
Pedro Pires of Cape Verde met with incumbent Ivory Coast leader
Laurent Gbagbo to deliver an ultimatum from the ECOWAS regional bloc
to step down or face removal by force. But Gbagbo's government
signaled he was unlikely to agree to cede power to Alassane
(Reuters, 12/28/10)(SFC, 12/29/10, p.A4)
2010 Beninís population was
about 8.7 million people. The average yearly income hovered at
2011 Mar 5, Benin's
presidential election, due to take place March 6, was postponed
until March 13. President Boni Yayi, first elected in 2006, faced 12
opposition candidates in his bid for a second term.
2011 Mar 13, Benin opened polls
for a twice-delayed presidential election after a last-minute
scramble to register hundreds of thousands of eligible voters left
off voter rolls. Pres. Boni Yayi sought a 2nd term against 13
candidates. Partial and unofficial results indicated President Boni
Yayi and his main challenger, Adrien Houngbedji, may be headed for a
run-off. On March 18 the country's electoral commission announced
that President Thomas Boni Yayi had received more than 53 percent of
the vote, giving him an absolute majority.
(AP, 3/13/11)(SFC, 3/14/11, p.A2)(AFP,
2011 Apr 30, Benin held
parliamentary elections. President Boni Yayi's allies won a majority
of seats in parliament following the polls.
2011 May 7, Pirates robbed the
chemical tanker MT Sea King and its 17 Filipino crewmen in the port
of Benin's main city, Cotonou. Four days later Christopher Cortez
Ceprado, a Filipino seafarer, was found dead on the ship.
2011 Jul 24, Pirates seized the
Rbd Anema e Core, an Italian tanker with a crew of 23, off Benin in
the Gulf of Guinea.
2011 Aug, Benin committed
itself to abolishing capital punishment permanently.
(Econ, 9/24/11, p.73)
2011 Sep 13, Benin President
Thomas Boni Yayi held talks in China with his counterpart Hu Jintao
on further Chinese investment in the West African nation.
2011 Sep 14, Armed pirates
raided a tanker off the West African coast and kidnapped 23 sailors,
62 nautical miles from Benin's capital of Cotonou, as the
Cyprus-flagged vessel tried to transfer its cargo of crude oil to a
Norwegian-registered ship. Analysts believed many of the pirates
come from Nigeria, where corrupt law enforcement allows criminality
to thrive. The tanker and crew were released on Oct 24 after the oil
(AP, 9/14/11)(AP, 9/24/11)
2011 Sep 20, Benin announced
that China has given it $34 million in loans and grants, part of
which will fund an anti-piracy patrol drive off the coast, where
hijackings have surged this year.
2011 Oct 2, Pirates armed with
automatic weapons fired upon and boarded a chemical tanker off Benin
before stealing cash, the latest in a wave of such attacks off West
2011 Nov 18, Pope Benedict XVI
arrived in Benin, marking his second visit to Africa in a heartland
of voodoo and warning against "unconditional submission" to the laws
of the market and finance.
2011 Nov 19, In Benin Pope
Benedict XVI called on Africa's leaders to stop depriving their
people of hope and to govern responsibly, just hours before he
planned to unveil an 87-page pastoral guide for the continent.
2011 Nov 20, In Benin Pope
Benedict XVI led tens of thousands of people in a panoply of African
tongues during a Mass in the national soccer stadium. He formally
delivered to Africa's bishops an 87-page document known as a
treatise. It applies church doctrine to address the continent's
ills, especially the wars and conflicts caused by ethnic divisions
and has been called a "papal road map" for Africa.
2011 Dec 10, Benin's justice
minister denounced the country's judiciary as one of the most
corrupt sectors in the country.
2012 Jan 29, Benin President
Thomas Boni Yayi was elected the African Union Chairman, taking over
the one-year post from Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema at the AU summit meeting in the Ethiopian capital.
2012 Feb 18, African leaders
began talks in Benin on insecurity in the Sahel region where fresh
violence in Mali has sparked what rights groups say is the area's
worst human rights crisis in 20 years.
2012 Jul 4, The International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda said Theoneste Bagosora, the most
high-profile detainee at the UN court for Rwanda, has been sent to
Mali to serve his sentence along with three other prisoners. Seven
other genocide suspects convicted by the court have been sent to
2012 Oct 21, In Benin the
doctor of Pres. Boni Yayi, Former Minister of Trade Moudjaidou
Soumanou and one of the president's nieces Zouberatou Kora were
arrested. The next day they were charged with conspiracy and
attempted murder in a failed plot to poison the president by
changing his medicine with something toxic.
2012 Dec 17, Benin officials
said at least 19 people drowned after a boat capsized on a river
near a village in the south.
2013 Feb 22, In Benin
businessman Johannes Dagnon and army commander Pamphile Zomahoun
were arrested. Preliminary investigations showed the two had tried
to stop President Boni Yayi from returning to Cotonou so they could
institute a military state.
2013 Mar 28, Ousted Central
African Republic President Francois Bozize requested exile in Benin
days after rebels invaded and overthrew his government of a decade.
2013 Aug 9, Benin President
Boni Yayi sacked his entire government "to breathe a new dynamic"
into the 26-member cabinet.
2013 Aug 23, In Benin
kidnappers snatched Mike Ozekhome, a Nigerian human rights lawyer.
He was held and tortured for 20 days before being released During
his abduction 4 policemen who tried to squash the kidnappersí
mission were killed in a gun battle.
(Econ, 9/14/13, p.57)(http://tinyurl.com/o4zfhll)
2013 Dec 1, Angelo Houssou, a
Benin judge who angered the president of the West African nation,
said he fled the country over the weekend and is seeking political
asylum in the United States.
2014 May 14, Benin's President
Thomas Boni Yayi pardoned prominent businessman and one-time ally
Patrice Talon, and his alleged accomplices, who were accused of
conspiring to poison him and preparing a coup in October, 2012.
2014 May 17, France and five
African countries (Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria)
declared war on the Boko Haram extremist Islamic sect. West African
leaders met in Paris to improve cooperation in the fight against
Boko Haram and other militant groups.
(Reuters, 5/17/14)(SSFC, 5/18/14, p.A5)
2014 Nov 25, Beninís country's
health minister said 9 people have died from Lassa fever, a viral
disease common in West Africa with symptoms similar to Ebola. Lassa
fever is in the same virus family as Ebola.
2014 Leonard Wantchekon founded
the African School of Economics in Abomey-Calavi, Benin. The aim was
to offer African students the highest standards of mathematics and
conomics teaching, ensuring they can compete with graduates
(Econ., 5/23/20, p.38)
2015 Jan 22, Beninís parliament
approved a new law that removes custodial sentences for offences
deemed offensive against the head of state, and regulates access to
2015 Apr 26, Benin held
elections. The party of President Thomas Boni Yayi won the
parliamentary elections with 33 seats out of 83 but failed to secure
an absolute majority. The Union Makes the Nation and the Democratic
Renewal Party secured 13 and 10 seats respectively.
(AFP, 5/1/15)(AFP, 5/4/15)
2015 Jun 18, Benin President
Thomas Boni Yayi appointed the head of one of Europe's biggest
capital investment funds as his new prime minister. Lionel Zinsou, a
dual French-Beninese national who has headed PAI Partners since
2009, will be in charge of economic development, evaluating public
policy and promoting good governance.
2015 Aug 1, Benin's Pres.
Thomas Boni Yayi vowed to contribute 800 troops to a regional force
intended to combat the Boko Haram group during a visit from Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari that coincided with Benin's independence
2015 Oct 14, Benin's
long-ruling former president Mathieu Kerekou (b.1933) died, leading
to a week of national mourning for the Marxist who seized power in a
1972 coup but later set off a new wave of African democracy.
2016 Mar 6, Benin held an
election to choose a successor to President Thomas Boni Yayi who is
stepping down after two terms, leaving 33 candidates to vie for
power in the small West African country. PM Lionel Zinsou (28.4%)
will face a run-off against businessman Patrice Talon (24.8%) in a
second round of presidential elections.
(Reuters, 3/6/16)(Reuters, 3/8/16)
2016 Mar 20, Benin held a
presidential runoff vote that put PM Lionel Zinsou against cotton
magnate Patrice Talon, who was once accused of trying to poison the
current president. The next day PM Lionel Zinsou conceded defeat to
Patrice Talon in a vote hailed as an example for democracy in
(AP, 3/20/16)(AFP, 3/21/16)
2016 Apr 6, In Benin
businessman Patrice Talon (57) was sworn in as the countryís new
president after winning last month's elections.
2016 Nov 29, Pirates hijacked
the Greek-flagged Saronic Breeze off the coast of Benin and sailed
the vessel to Nigeria before abandoning it near the southeastern oil
capital of Port Harcourt. A Russian captain and two crewmen were
2017 Feb 16, In Benin four
Christian priests from an anti-voodoo cult were arrested and charged
for their suspected role in five deaths during prayers held last
month in anticipation of the end of the world.
2017 Jun 22, In Benin over a
thousand people took to the streets of Benin's economic capital of
Cotonou to protest against President Patrice Talon amid growing
unease with his government's economic reforms.
2017 Oct 23, A Benin judicial
source said wealthy businessman and failed presidential candidate
Sebastien Ajavon is under investigation over an allegedly fraudulent
export deal. The alleged offences dated back to 2009 and could see
him jailed if charged and convicted. In October 2016, he was
arrested after 18 kg (40 pounds) of cocaine with a street value of
$16 million was found in a container destined for one of his
2018 Jan, The oil tanker MT
Barret went missing off the coast of Benin. Pirates released the
crew of 22, mostly Indians, within days after a ransom was paid.
(SFC, 2/6/18, p.A2)
2018 Feb 6, It was reported
that India is seeking the help of the navies of Benin and Nigeria to
find the Marine Express oil tanker that has gone missing in the Gulf
of Guinea with 22 Indian crew members.
(SFC, 2/6/18, p.A2)
2018 May 18, The Burkina Faso
military said 52 individuals were arrested in Burkina Faso, 42 in
Benin, 95 in Togo and 13 in Ghana last week in a joint anti-terror
and security operation in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin and Togo.
2018 Jun 28, Benin's
Constitutional Court banned the right to strike by workers in the
country's defence, security, justice and health sectors, sparking
concern among union officials and legal observers.
2018 Oct 4, Lawyers for Benin
tycoon and opposition politician Sebastien Ajavon discovered that
their client and three others were accused of "high-risk
international drug trafficking", which carries a prison term of
10-20 years. Ajavon launched his own political party in march and
has made known he wants to stand at the next election that is
expected in 2020.
2018 Oct 23, Nigeria's
President Muhammadu Buhari flew in by helicopter to cut the ribbon
at the new Seme-Krake Joint Border Post with his Beninese
counterpart Patrice Talon.
2018 Oct 30, In Germany
Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the G20 Compact with Africa meeting
saying it's critical "not only to talk about Africa but to talk with
Africa" about development needs and goals. So far 11 countries have
joined the program: Benin, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana,
Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.
2018 Dec 15, In Nigeria leaders
of countries in the Lake Chad region met to give fresh impetus to
their fight against Boko Haram. Benin, the Central African Republic,
Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria will hold a follow-up to a
November gathering in Chad to tackle a surge in Boko Haram attacks
in the restive region.
2019 Apr 28, The people of
Benin voted for a new parliament but without a single opposition
candidate to choose from. Voters were given the choice to select
their 83 members of parliament from two parties both allied to
President Patrice Talon. The country's main opposition parties were
effectively barred from fielding candidates by tough new eligibility
rules and asked their supporters to protest by boycotting the polls.
2019 May 1, In Benin two French
tourists went missing and were feared to have been kidnapped in the
Pendjari National Park. An African man, believed to have been their
driver, was found fatally shot two days later.
2019 May 2, In Benin hundreds
of protesters manning burning barricades defied police and soldiers,
after violence broke out following controversial parliamentary polls
held without a single opposition candidate.
2019 May 3, Troops in Benin
maintained a tight clamp on protests after two days of deadly
violence sparked by elections in which not a single opposition
candidate took part.
2019 May 10, In northern
Burkina Faso French special forces freed two French hostages, an
American and a South Korean in an overnight military raid in which
two French soldiers died. French tourists, identified as Patrick
Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas, had disappeared while on holiday
in the remote Pendjari National Park in Benin on May 1.
2019 Jun 22, Benin's former
president Thomas Boni Yayi left effective house arrest in the
country for health reasons and soon arrived in Togo. Protests first
erupted in Benin after April 28 parliamentary elections. Several
people have died in clashes with police who resorted to gunfire.
2019 Nov 6, In Benin Albert
Tevoedjre (b.1929), a political scientist and one of former UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's most trusted experts on social and
economic development strategies for Africa, died in Porto-Novo. His
1980 book "Poverty, Wealth of Mankind" was honored in France for its
work in macroeconomics.
2020 Mar 16, Benin, Liberia,
Somalia and Tanzania became the latest African countries to report
cases of coronavirus.
2020 Apr 19, Pirates off the
coast of Benin attacked the Tommi Ritscher container ship, a
Portugal-flagged vessel, and kidnapped its Bulgarian captain and
seven sailors. 11 other members of the crew were released.