General issues: French colony 1892-1899, Peoples republic 1975-1990, Republic 1990-Present
Country name on general issues: Benin
Currency: 1 Franc = 100 Centimes 1892-1899, 1 (CFA) Franc = 100 Centimes 1975-Present
Population: 482 000 in 1900, 10 160 000 in 2014
Political history Benin
Benin is located in western Africa. In the middle of the 19th century current Benin consists of a number of smaller kingdoms and one larger kingdom, the kingdom of Dahomey. Between 1850 and 1885, the French settle on a number of locations on the coast – Cotonou, Grand-Pipo, Ouidah and Porto Novo. To be able to do so, they sign treaties with the kingdom of Dahomey and the kingdom of Porto Novo. In 1886, the French join these settlements to form the Établissements du Golfe de Benin. In 1892, the Établissements are annexed by France as a French colony. In 1894, the French sign a treaty of protection with the kingdom of Dahomey. Nonetheless, in the same year the French possessions – including the kingdom of Dahomey – are joined to form the colony of Dahomey. The northern part of Benin is colonized by the French in subsequent years. In 1899, Dahomey joins French West Africa, the federation of French colonies in western Africa formed in 1895.
Dahomey becomes a French overseas territory in 1946, gains self government in 1958 and full independence in 1960 as the republic of Dahomey. From 1960, Dahomey knows many changes of power. In 1972, a coup d’etat turns the country into a communist/Marxist state with a de facto one party system.
The name of the country is changed to that of the peoples republic of Benin in 1975. Benin is derived from the Bight of Benin which has a neutral association, where Dahomey is derived from the kingdom of Dahomey and as such suggests the predominance of one of the population groups in a multi ethnic country. The strict Marxist economic policy creates problems that, in 1990, are reason for economic and political reforms. Benin becomes a republic with a multi party system. Since 1990, Benin has known political stability. Economically Benin largely depends on agriculture.
Postal history Benin
The first stamps used in Benin are, from 1888, the general issues for the French colonies in Porto Novo. From 1892, stamps are issued for the Établissments du Golfe de Benin. When, in 1899, Dahomey is formed these are superseded by the issues for Dahomey. From 1944 until 1960, the issues for French West Africa are used. Dahomey resumes to issue stamps in 1960. In 1975, these are superseded by the issues of Benin.