10th January

1929 The Adventures of Tintin first published

Benin Traditional Day:

Benin was formerly called the Dahomey Kingdom. The Dahomey people, men and women, were very good at fighting wars and the king of this realm made a lot (like, a lot) of money selling their prisoners of war into slavery in Europe. Any they didn’t sell were decapitated.

But the slave trade was banned by a lot of countries in the 19th century, and the Dahomey power was diminished until France saw their opportunity in 1892 and popped in to take over. They gained independence again in 1960.

In the ’70s their leader, Kérékou, decided Dahomey was going to be Marxist and called The People’s Republic of Benin (the country’s river) and nationalised oil and banks, and then nearly all businesses, so foreign investment dried up.

Kérékou accepted nuclear waste to try and prop up the economy. In 1990 the country stopped being Marxist as it clearly wasn’t working, and Kérékou was defeated in the next elections and stepped down – a first for a black African president.

Benin is famous for its bronze plaques that decorated the royal palace until Britain stole them all.

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