The Peoples Republic of Benin (former French colony that become the Republic of Dahomey), located on the south side of the West African bulge between Togo and Nigeria, has an area of 43,484 sq. mi. (112,622 sq. km.) and a population of 6.22 million. Capital: Porto-Novo. The principal industry of Benin, one of the poorest countries of West Africa, is the processing of palm oil products. Palm kernel oil, peanuts, cotton and coffee are exported. ,Puerto-Novo, on the Bright of Benin, was founded as a trading post by the Portuguese in the 17th century. At the time, Benin was composed of an aggregation of mutually suspicious tribes, the majority of which were tributary to the powerful northern Kingdom of Abomey. In 1863, the King of Porto-Novo petitioned France for protection from Abomey. The French subjugated other militant tribes as well, and in 1892 organized the area as a protectorate of France; in 1904 it was incorporated into French West Africa as the Territory of Dahomey. After the establishment of the Fifth French Republic, the Territory of Dahomey became an autonomous state within the French community. On Aug. 1, 1960, it became the fully independent Republic of Dahomey. In 1974, the republic began a transition to a socialist society with Marxism-Leninism as its revolutionary philosophy. On Nov. 30, 1975, the name of the Republic of Dahomey was changed to the Peoples Republic of Benin.,, ,Benin is a member of the ?Union Monetaire Quest-Africane? with other west African states.,, ,See also French West Africa, West African States.,, Ruler:,,, ,French to 1960,, Monetary System:,,, ,1 Franc = 100 Centimes,,