Porto Novo is the official capital of Benin. The second largest city after Cotonou is Porto Novo, also known as “Hogbonou” and “Adjacé”. Located in the southeast of Benin, Porto Novo is one of the ports in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Benin parliament is in the official capital of Porto Novo. Cotonou, however, is the center of government along with most government ministries.
When did Porto Novo Become the Capital?
Porto Novo, the New Port in Portuguese, became the official capital of Benin in 1960. Porto-Novo is located at the entrance of the Gulf of Guinea, in the southeastern part of the country. Although it is the capital of the country, it is the country’s largest city Cotonou’due, and Porto Novo is the second largest city. Many national government operations take place in Cotonou, Benin’s economic center. However, Porto Novo is the country’s administrative and transport center.
The city of Porto Novo was founded in the late 16th century by the King of Allada, Te-Agdanlin. Soon the Portuguese merchants came to get slaves from Allada and neighboring Dahomey. In the 18th century, Porto Novo was a large West African slave port, operated by the locals, but supported by Portuguese merchants residing permanently in the city.
In 1860, the British were colonized in South Nigeria and in 1863 attacked Porto Novo. After the attack, the city accepted the presence of the French army to be protected against the British. In 1883, France added Porto Novo to the Dahomey colony. In 1900, Porto-Novo was the capital of the entire Dahomey colony. In 1960, the Dahomey colony gained independence from France. Fourteen years later in 1974, Dahomey became the People’s Republic of Benin after the military coup. Along with the independence from 1960, Porto Novo remained as the capital of Dahomey. In 1972, it continued to be the capital of the People’s Republic of Benin, which was established after the military coup.
Features of Porto Novo
According to 2019 estimates, Porto Novo has a population of 234,168. Porto Novo has an area of 110 square kilometers. The coastal zone is dominated by the Ecuadorian climate. In general, 2 main seasons can be mentioned. Rainy season takes place between March – June period and September – November. Other months are dry. The warm winds of Harmattan are effective between December and March. The hottest period of the year is February to April. Both cool and dry season is from November to February.
Adjogan music is a music genre exclusively for Porto Novo. An object called Alounloun, which is thought to be unique to the kingdom, is hit by a rod with metal rings on it. They do this to honor the old kings in the Roman Catholic church in the city. Palm oil, cotton and kapok are produced in the region around Porto Novo. In the 1990s, the oil discovered on the shores of the city became an important export commodity.
Benin played an important role in the development of the slave trade in Africa and became the birthplace of the voodoo arts. They are only a small part of the complex and rich history of the African nation.
Important Places to See in Porto Novo
Benin is a small country, but it has large cities. Museums, architectural structures and truly memorable markets await the discovery of travelers. Benin’s beauties include the Atlantic beaches decorated with palm trees, cheetah and elephants, national parks and gardens. The general judgments are that this place is not safe and that it has difficulty in terms of travel. But Benin’s ways and services are better than many African countries.
The Royal Palace of Porto-Novo, the Alexandre Sènou Adandé Ethnographic Museum, the Nature Botanical Garden and the Da Silva Museum are all nearby.