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Porto-Novo

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Porto-Novo

Porto-Novo
Hogbonu, Ajase
City and commune
Ouando Market, Porto-Novo
Ouando Market, Porto-Novo
Porto-Novo is located in Benin
Porto-Novo
Porto-Novo
Location of Porto-Novo in Benin
Coordinates:
Country  Benin
Department Ouémé
Established 16th century
Government
 • Mayor Moukaram Océni
Area
 • City and commune 110 km2 (40 sq mi)
 • Metro 110 km2 (40 sq mi)
Elevation 38 m (125 ft)
Population (2009)[1]
 • City and commune 267,191
 • Density 2,400/km2 (6,300/sq mi)
Website Official website
Parliament building of Benin in Porto-Novo

Porto-Novo (also known as Hogbonou and Adjacé) is the official capital of the West African nation of Benin, and was the capital of French Dahomey. The commune covers an area of 110 square kilometres (42 sq mi) and as of 2002 had a population of 223,552 people.[2][3]

Porto-Novo is a port on an inlet of the Gulf of Guinea, in the southeastern portion of the country. It is Benin's second-largest city, and although Porto-Novo is the official capital, where the national legislature sits, the larger city of Cotonou is the seat of government, where most of the government buildings are situated and government departments operate. The region around Porto-Novo produces palm oil, cotton and kapok. Petroleum was discovered off the coast of the city in the 1990s, and has become an important export.

History

Porto-Novo was once a tributary of the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo and there continues to be a sizable Yoruba community in Porto Novo today. The city's name is of Portuguese origin, meaning "New Port." It was originally developed as a port for the slave trade.

In 1863, the British, who were active in nearby Nigeria, bombarded the city, which persuaded the Kingdom of Porto-Novo to accept French protection. The neighbouring Kingdom of Abomey objected to French involvement in the region and war broke out between the two states. In 1883, Porto-Novo was incorporated into the French "colony of Dahomey and its dependencies." In 1900, it became Dahomey's capital city.

The kings of Porto-Novo continued to rule in the city, both officially and unofficially, until the death of the last king, Alohinto Gbeffa, in 1976. From 1908, the king held the title of Chef supérieur.

Many Afro-Brazilians settled in Porto-Novo following their return to Africa after emancipation in Brazil. Brazilian architecture and foods are important to the city's cultural life.

Demographics

Porto Novo had an estimated population of 234,168 in 2005.

Population trend:

  • 1979: 133,168 (census)
  • 1992: 179,138 (census)
  • 2000: 210,400 (estimate)
  • 2002: 223,552 (estimate)
  • 2005: 234,168 (estimate)

Geography and climate

Climate data for Porto Novo
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) 27
(81)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
27
(81)
26
(79)
25
(77)
25
(77)
25
(77)
26
(79)
27
(81)
27
(81)
26
(79)
Precipitation mm (inches) 23
(0.91)
34
(1.34)
86
(3.39)
127
(5)
215
(8.46)
370
(14.57)
129
(5.08)
44
(1.73)
89
(3.5)
140
(5.51)
52
(2.05)
16
(0.63)
1,326
(52.2)
Source: [4]

Administrative divisions

Landmarks

Mosque in Porto-Novo
  • The Porto Novo Museum of Ethnography contains a large collection of Yoruba masks, as well as items on the history of the city and of Benin.
  • King Toffa's Palace (also known as the Musée Honmé and the Royal Palace), now a museum, shows what life was like for African royalty. The palace and the surrounding district was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on October 31, 1996 in the Cultural category.[5]
  • Jardin Place Jean Bayol is a large plaza which contains a statue of the first King of Porto-Novo.
  • The da Silva Museum is a museum of Benin history. It shows what life was like for the returning Afro-Brazilians
  • The palais de Gouverneur (governor's palace) is the home of the national legislature.

Other sites of interest include a Brazilian-style church, which is now a mosque, and the Institute of Higher Studies of Benin. The Stade Municipale and the Stade Charles de Gaulle are the largest football stadiums in the city.

Adjogan

Adjogan music is endemic to Porto-Novo. The style of music is played on an alounloun, a stick with metallic rings attached which jingle in time with the beating of the stick. The alounloun is said to descend from the staff of office of King Te-Agdanlin. The music is played to honor the King and his ministers. The music is also played in the city's Roman Catholic churches, but the royal bird crest has been replaced with a cross.

Notable people

Economy

Porto-Novo has a cement factory. The city is home to a branch of the Banque Internationale du Bénin, a major bank in Benin, and the Ouando Market.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "World Gazetteer". Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Porto Novo". Atlas Monographique des Communes du Benin. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Communes of Benin". Statoids. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Weatherbase". Weatherbase. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ La ville de Porto-Novo : quartiers anciens et Palais Royal - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  6. ^ Adjamossi profile, (in French)
  7. ^ Crumbly, Deidre Helen (2008). Spirit, Structure, and Flesh: Gendered Experiences in African Instituted Churches Among the Yoruba of Nigeria p. 54 on. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 182.  

Further reading

External links

  • Official Republic of Benin tourism site for Porto-Novo
  • Official Benin government website information about Porto-Novo
  • porto-novo.biz
  • Images of the Central Mosque of Porto-Novo
  • Adjogan
  • MSN Map
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