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1380413.  Wed Apr 28, 2021 2:33 pm Reply with quote

No thread yet on this nation so I'll think I'll start one.

The Republic of Benin was the world's shortest-lived state - independent for no more than 12 hours in 1967.

It all started when the Igbo people separated from Nigeria to form Biafra as they felt that they could no longer co-exist with the federal government.

The mid-western part of Nigeria wished to stay neutral as it was home to both Igbo and non-Igbo people. However, Biafra invaded and occupied the region only weeks after the beginning of the war. Dr. Albert Okonkwo was appointed leader of the region and promptly started broadcasting Biafra's propaganda. Non-Igbo people in the area soon protested at developments.

Nigerian federal forces started invading the Mid-Western region, and Okonkwo feared that the non-Igbo population might side with them and overthrow him. He needed to act quickly in order to stay in power, so he and his ministers chose a desperate course of action: on September 20th of 1967, they declared the Republic of Benin, named after the Nigerian coastal city of Benin.

The Republic of Benin was supposed to be a country of its own, separate from both Nigeria and Biafra. Still, Okonkwo and his officials declared that the newly founded country would assist Biafran separatists in their military actions. Also, the Republic of Benin was immediately supposed to apply for UN membership in order to gain international recognition.

Okonkwo’s plan failed a little more than 12 hours after the Republic of Benin was officially declared: on the morning of September 21st, the Nigerian federal army aided by British forces entered Benin City and overthrew the newly established republic.

1380423.  Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:59 pm Reply with quote

I take it that's a different state to, y'know, the Republic of Benin then?



1380428.  Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:51 pm Reply with quote

Yes, it was geographically sited on the former territory of the ancient Kingdom of Benin. The modern Republic is named after that kingdom, but is sited on the territory of the old Kingdom of Dahomey.

Not sure where that article got "coastal city of Benin" from. It's 50 miles inland.

1380429.  Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:55 pm Reply with quote


The Benin to which duglas refers had its brief existence in 1967. It was named after its capital, Benin City.

The country now known as Benin adopted that name in 1975, having gained its independence in 1960 as Dahomey. The name Dahomey was racially sensitive, and then President Kérékou - one of those African Presidents who liked to boast about getting 99.8876% of the vote in elections in which he was the only candidate - dropped it when he declared the country Marxist.

Both Benin City and the current country of Benin take their name from the Kingdom of Benin, which existed for about seven hundred pre-colonial years. All of that kingdom was in what is now Nigeria; so none of present day Benin was in olden days Benin.

1380462.  Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:01 am Reply with quote

Several countries in that region are named after kingdoms that were in different places, such as Ghana and Mauritania as well.


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