Benin History

Elements of the Neolithic periodthey were tracked down in 1956 and 1958 by the Davies mission in northern Benin, a country located in Africa according to Topschoolsoflaw. The existence of a Neolithic industry is testified by the discovery – also in the north of the country (Atakora, Somba, Savalou, Alibori) – of polished stone axes and other tools. Oral traditions handed down by peoples of the southwestern regions state that the adja people would have settled around the century. XII or XIII along the banks of the Mono, where the center of Tado once stood. Subsequently an adja (or agia) group would have founded the city of Allada (or Ardra) further away, future capital of the homonymous kingdom. At the beginning of the century. XVII the three sons of King Akpadi formed the kingdoms of Adjatché and Kerelou Abomey with new conquests. The latter will have the most fortunate and lasting developments in the sec. XVII and XVIII. In 1818 the king of Abomey, Adandoza, Yoruba). Ghezo was able to establish valid foundations for collaboration with Europeans and to carry out a courageous and enlightened economic reconversion, replacing the nefarious pillar of the trade with the more edifying one of the cultivation of oil palm. The first European reconnaissance of the Benin coast dates back to the Portuguese João de Santarem and Pedro de Escobar (1471-73). Portugal, however, soon entered into a struggle, along all the coasts of the Gulf of Guinea, with the English, Dutch and French also engaged in the exercise of the slave trade that lasted until the beginning of the century. XIX. France founded a trading post in Ouidah in 1704 which, abandoned in 1797, was reactivated by the Portuguese for the collection and embarkation of slaves bound for Brazil. In 1843 M. Brue, agent of the Regis trading company of Marseilles, established the first contacts with King Ghezo in Abomey. A treaty with France emerged on 1 July 1851, which ten years later established its protectorate over Porto-Novo. In 1868 King Glèlè (1858-1889), who succeeded Ghezo, ceded Cotonou to the French; but later the relations worsened and, when in 1890 he was succeeded by his son Béhanzin, the conflict degenerated into open conflict and the king was exiled to Martinique. The new king Agoliagbo signed the acceptance of the French protectorate. In the following years France, through conventions with Germany (1897) and Great Britain (1898), delimited the borders of Dahomey et Dépendances. In 1904 the colony assumed – within the framework of the French West African Federation – a definitive political-administrative structure. With the Constitution of 1946 that gave life to the French Union, Dahomey acquired, like the other French colonies, the status of an overseas territory and, with the “Loi Cadre” of 1956, obtained internal autonomy in the context of French Community. Established as an autonomous Republic on 4 December 1958 (Republic of Dahomey), the country gave itself its own Constitution on 15 February 1959. On 30 May of the same year it joined the Council of the Entente together with the Ivory Coast and Niger and the Upper Volta (today Burkina).

Finally, on 1 August 1960, Dahomey achieved full independence and adopted a new Constitution (26 November 1960). The life of the new state was however troubled by recurrent political crises: in October 1963 the government of President Hubert Maga it was overthrown by a military coup that brought General Nicéphore Soglo to power, in turn deposed in December 1967 by paratroopers led by major Kouandété and Kérékou. These arranged a return to civilian government by establishing a Presidential Council on 7 May 1970 formed by the triumvirate Maga, Apithy, Ahomadégbé, but in 1972 a military coup allowed Mathieu Kérékou to become head of state. In 1975, Kérékou proclaimed the adoption of the Marxist-Leninist path and gave the Republic of Dahomey the current name of the People’s Republic of Benin. In 1979 the National Assembly was elected on the basis of a single list of candidates, which in 1980 chose Kérékou himself as President of the Republic. The long parenthesis of the regime established by Kérékou, with the help of the Party of the People’s Revolution (PRPB), entered into crisis at the end of the 1980s, although still in 1989 the president was confirmed in office by the Revolutionary National Assembly. A clear indication of the intolerance towards the spread of corruption had already been the attempted coup carried out in 1988 by a group of officers. The situation worsened at the end of 1989 when, following a wide protest that led to the paralysis of the administration, schools and universities, the PRPB was forced to renounce the communist ideology and to start a process of liberalization.

In the early 1990s a Conference of the Living Forces of the Nation, while keeping Kérékou in office, appointed Soglo (already in power from 1963 to 1967) prime minister, repealed the old Constitution, dissolved the Revolutionary National Assembly and established a High Council of the Republic. This, assuming the functions of the provisional legislative assembly, launched a new democratic constitution which was approved by referendum (December 1990). The general elections, held in March 1991, confirmed the turning point and Soglo, the winner, replaced the old dictator in the position of head of state. Decisions, above all the economic ones of President Soglo were however vigorously challenged and unfounded accusations of nepotism were brought against him, so much so that the 1996 elections saw him defeated against Kérékou who was again elected president of the Republic. However, the economic choices contested by his predecessor were now inevitable and Kérékou too was forced to make unpopular decisions in this field. In February 1998, the malaise of the population resulted in a harsh protest against the government, which was forced to redefine the public spending program. Kérékou and Soglo also ran for elections in 2001: Soglo, however, accusing the other side of electoral fraud, withdrew, handing over the victory to the incumbent president. In March 2006 Kérékou concluded his second and last term as president of Benin and with it also his career as leader of the country which lasted approx. 33 years. New president was elected Yayi Boni.

Benin History

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