Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century. The territory became a French Colony in 1872 and achieved independence on 1 August 1960, as the Republic of Benin. Consequently, French is the official language in Benin; however, Fon and Yoruba are the most common vernaculars in the south and there are at least 6 major tribal languages in the North. The total area of Benin is 112,622 with a total population of 9,598,787. Benin’s natural resources include small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble and timber, but they also have agricultural products including cotton, corn and yams exporting some of these goods to countries such as India, China and Niger.

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