Dahomey: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government in the country of Dahomey.



Location--In the "hump" of West Africa, with a 70-mi. coastline along the Gulf of Guinea. To the north, Niger; to the west, Togo; to the east, Nigeria; to the northwest, Upper Volta.

How Created--The ancient Kingdom of Dahomey was already centuries old when the Portuguese landed there in the 16th century. Today's borders are the result of late-19th-century rivalry between Britain and France.

Size--43,483 sq. mi. (112,620 sq. km.).

Population--3 million: Fon, 32.1%; Adja, 8.3%; Bariba, 6.6%; Yoruba, 6%; Aizo, 3.5%; Somba, 3.4%; Fulani, 2.6%; over 35 other groups, 37.5%. 64.8% Animist, 13.6% Muslim, 12.3% Roman Catholic, 2.5% Protestant, 6.8% other.

Who Rules--Political activity is banned and the constitution has been suspended ever since the military came to power.

Who REALLY Rules--France. Dahomey lacks the resources to build an independent and modern nation. France picks up the tab on road building, education, and communications, providing a subsidy to support the national development program and to help balance the budget. France buys about 75% of Dahomey's exports.

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