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Guide to Benin ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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The Republic of Benin is the former Republic of Dahomey. Dahomey was called after the historic kingdom of Dahomey or Abomey, conquered by the French in 1892-94. Benin became a self governing republic within the French Community in December 1958 and an independent state on 1 August 1960. The major ethnic groups residing in the country are the Fon, Yoruba, Adja, Bariba, Aizo, Somba, and Fulani. Roughly forty percent of the population are Fon. Some sixty-five percent of the population follow traditional animist beliefs. In 1997 there were 1,240,000 Roman Catholics in Benin and 700,000 Moslems, and 6% other.

The population was 4,915,555 in the census of February 1992, rising to 6,101,000 at mid-1998 (according to official estimates). The population of Cotonou, the political capital and major port, was listed at 536,827 in the 1992 census, and that of Porto-Novo, the official capital, was 179,138.

The official language of Benin is French. There are five basic language groups and numerous subgroups spoken in the country. However, almost half of the population speak Fon.[1]


Getting started with Benin research

Benin, officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in Western Africa, formerly known as Dahomey (until 1975) or Dahomania. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. The name Dahomey was changed in 1975 to The People’s Republic of Benin, named after the body of water on which the country lies, the Bight of Benin. This name was picked due to its neutrality, since the current political boundaries of Benin encompass over fifty distinct linguistic groups and nearly as many individual ethnic groups. Read more...


12 departments: Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique, Borgou, Collines, Kouffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Oueme, Plateau, Zou

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  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Benin,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2001.



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  • This page was last modified on 10 November 2015, at 23:30.
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