The Republic of Benin is a country in West Africa, previously known as Dahomey. It is bordered by Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Niger. The country's total population is 10.8 million people. The capital city is Porto Novo and the official language is French.

The country has a long history with slave trade. From the 17th to the 19th century, the main political entities in the area were the Kingdom of Dahomey, along with the city-state of Porto-Novo, and a large area with many different tribes to the north. In the 17th century, slaves were shipped from Benin to the New World. Benin was a French colony between 1900 and 1958. In 1958, France granted autonomy to the Republic of Dahomey, and full independence on 1 August 1960. Benin was the first country in the 1990s to make the transition from a dictatorship to a multiparty democracy.

The National Order of Benin is the highest title and was established in 1975. It is conferred upon individuals in recognition of exceptional service to the nation and its citizens.


“Republic of Dahomey-Republic of Benin Order & Medal.” Gentleman’s Military Interest Club. Published on April 22, 2011.

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