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Benin Independence Day

by Vishal Kumar

August 1st is celebrated as Benin Independence Day. It is celebrated with speeches, a national anthem, flag hoisting, etc., and is a holiday.

When is the Independence Day of the Republic of Benin?

The Republic of Benin, located in West Africa, celebrates its Independence Day on August 1 to commemorate its freedom from France in 1960.

How is Independence Day celebrated in Benin?

Independence Day is a national holiday in Benin. Celebrations on this day take place on a grand scale throughout the country. National leaders deliver speeches reflecting on past and present glories, the national flag is hoisted, and the national anthem is sung in government offices, schools, colleges, and other public institutions.

What is the historic significance of the Independence Day of Benin?

Benin was founded in 1625 and was ruled as the Kingdom of Dahomey till the 19th century when it came under French control and became French Dahomey.

With exposure to Europe, the Kingdom of Dahomey began expanding. Soon the Portuguese, French, and Dutch established their trading posts along the coast and traded in enslaved people and weapons. Around the time when the slave trade ended in 1848, the French had gained dominance over most of the kingdom through the treaties signed with the King of Abomey. This helped establish French protectorates in the main cities and ports. The French faced some resistance from King Behanzin but the king was eventually defeated and deported to Martinique.

Dahomey became a French protectorate in 1892 and was absorbed into French West Africa in 1904. In 1948, Dahomey was granted two senators in the French parliament, and an elected Territorial Assembly with some control over the budget by the French constitution. Finally, in 1958, Dahomey became a self-governing entity, and on August 1, 1960, it gained complete independence from French rule. The country was renamed Benin in 1975, as the name was neutral and inclusive of the various ethnic groups of the country.

What does the national flag of Benin represent?

The National flag of Benin was initially adopted on November 16, 1959, but was discontinued in 1975, and then reintroduced on August 1, 1990, after the Marxist government was removed from power.

On the hoist side, the flag features a vertical green band, and on the other side, it features a yellow horizontal band on top of a red horizontal band. These yellow and red stripes are equal in size.

The flag, like many other African countries, has the conventional Pan-African colors. While green represents hope and revival, red stands for the strength displayed by the forefathers, and yellow epitomizes the prosperity of the country.

Who wrote the national anthem of Benin?

L’Aube Nouvelle, which means “The Dawn of a New Day,” the national anthem of Benin, was composed by Gilbert Jean Dagnon. It was adopted in 1960 when Benin gained its independence from France.

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