Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Benin, a country, city, and river on the W. coast of Africa. The Portuguese first visited this region towards the end of the 15th century, and for some years carried on a trade in slaves. At present the name applies only to the area comprised between the Niger to the E., Dahomey to the W.. and the Yoruba tribes to the N., and within these limits are many independent chiefs. The country is fertile, being watered by the Lower Niger, and produces palm oil, rice, maize, cotton, sugar, and tobacco. The population is rather dense, and their manners and customs are similar to those of Ashanti. Benin, the capital, is on the river of the same name, about 73 miles from its mouth. It covers a large space, but has a decayed and deserted aspect. The river, called by the natives Uwoko Jakri, and by the Portuguese Rio Formoso, is the western branch of the Niger. It was the scene of a massacre of some British subjects in 1897, which was followed by a punitive expedition and the submission of the king.