BENIN is a country in West Africa with a tiny Atlantic Ocean coastline on the south. It shares boundaries with four countries: Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo. Among the 42 ethnic groups are the Fon, Adja, Yoruba and Bariba. Six languages spoken include Fon, Yoruba and French. Contonu, although not the capital is the largest and most important city.
Present day Benin is on the site of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey (1600s - 1894). For a time, the modern country used the old name and therefore Benin appears on many older maps of the 20th century. The kingdom of Dahomey is famous for its palace art including metal work, and applique cloth hangings. These cloths are richly appliqued with symbols relating to their society.
Modern Benin is not to be confused with The Empire of Benin of the Edo People (1440-1897). That empire was situated in what is now modern Nigeria and was famous for its bronzes among other art work. (See: Nigeria)