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Tuesday 24th October
Benin Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Benin is in Western Africa. It is bordered by the Bight of Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.

Porto-Novo is the official capital; Cotonou is the seat of government.

The terrain consists of coastal plain, flat to undulating plain, some hills and low mountains. Major rivers are the Couffo, Mono, Niger and Oueme.

The climate of Benin is tropical; it is semi-arid in the north.

Environment
Protected areas in Benin include the Pendjari National Park and the W Region Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO-MAB transboundary biosphere reserve. The Reserve is shared by Benin, Burkino Faso and Niger.

Animals in Benin are antelopes, buffaloes, crocodiles, elephants, hippopotamuses, monkeys and warthogs.

Architecture
Modern and Colonial architecture can be found in Porto-Novo and Cotonou.

Remains of indigenous architecture are preserved in Benin's World Heritage site, the Royal Palaces of Abomey. Palaces in the forty hectare site were built by successive rulers of the Kingdom of Dahomey from 1625 to 1900.

Population
The population of Benin was estimated at 8,791,840 in 2009.

Languages
French is the official language. Other languages include Fon and Yoruba.

Religion
A number of the people follow indigenous beliefs such as Voodoo. Over forty percent of the people are Christian and over twenty-four percent are Muslim.

Food
Maize and rice are staple foods in the south of Benin, whereas yams, millet and sorghum are eaten more frequently in the north of the country.

Fish is plentiful in the south; beef is more common in the north. Chicken is also eaten.

Palm oil, groundnuts and tomatoes are often used in cooking. Local vegetables are aubergines, beans, cabbages, carrots, cassava, cucumbers, leeks, okra, onions, parsnips, peppers, plantains and pumpkins.

Fruits include bananas, guavas, lemons, limes, mangoes, melons, oranges, papayas and pineapples.

Mineral water and soft drinks are available. Beer and palm wine are produced locally.

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