French Dahomey

French Dahomey was a French colony and part of French West Africa from 1894 to 1958.[1] After World War II, by the establishment of the French Fourth Republic in 1947, Dahomey became part of the French Union with an increased autonomy. On 4 October 1958 the French Fifth Republic was established and the French Union became the French Community. The colony became the self-governing Republic of Dahomey within the Community, and two years later on 1 August 1960, it gained full independence (and changed its name to Benin in 1975).

Colony of Dahomey and Dependencies
Colonie du Dahomey et dépendances
Anthem: La Marseillaise
Dark green: French Dahomey
Lime: Rest of French West Africa
Dark gray: Other French possessions
Darkest gray: French Republic
StatusFrench colony
Common languagesFrench (official)
Bariba, Fon, Yoruba
 French West Africa
 French Union
4 September 1947
 French Community
4 December 1958
1 August 1960
CurrencyFrench West African franc
CFA franc
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Dahomey
Republic of Dahomey
Today part ofBenin


Kingdom of Dahomey

The Kingdom of Dahomey existed in the region from the 17th to 19th centuries.[2]


The French takeover and colonization of the Kingdom of Dahomey began in 1872. The First Franco-Dahomean War in 1890 further weakened it. The Second Franco-Dahomean War resulted in it becoming a French protectorate in 1894.[3]

A decree dated 22 June 1894 created the Colonie de Dahomey et dépendances ('Colony of Dahomey and Dependencies'), which was to be incorporated into French West Africa in 1904.[2]

Under the French, a port was constructed at Cotonou, and railroads were built. School facilities were expanded by Roman Catholic missions. In 1946, Dahomey became an overseas territory, part of the French Union, with its own parliament and representation in the French national assembly.[4]

On 4 December 1958, it became the Republic of Dahomey (République du Dahomey), self-governing within the French Community.


On 1 August 1960, the Republic of Dahomey gained full independence from France.

The republic's first president was Hubert Maga, who had been the Prime Minister during the overseas territory's last year under French rule.[5]

See also

  • List of the colonial governors of French Dahomey
  • Kingdom of Dahomey (c. 1600−1904)
  • French West Africa


  1. Mills, Ian (13 September 2017). "French Colonies – Benin (formerly Dahomey)". Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  2. "HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BENIN". Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  3. "French Colonial Conquest of Dahomey in 1892 | HistoryNet". 5 September 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  4. "The History of the Kingdom of Dahomey". Black History Month 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  5. kästle, klaus. "History of Benin (formerly Dahomey)". Retrieved 13 September 2017.

Further reading

  • Chafer, Tony (2002). The End of Empire in French West Africa: France's Successful Decolonization. Berg. ISBN 1-85973-557-6.

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