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 and as of 2002 had a population of 223,552 people.
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, the city of Cotonou is not only larger but also more important, culturally and politically: Cotonou is the seat of government. 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.
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 neighboring 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.
Porto Novo had an estimated population of 234,168 in 2005.
- 1979: 133,168 (census)
- 1992: 179,138 (census)
- 2000: 210,400 (estimate)
- 2002: 223,552 (estimate)
- 2005: 234,168 (estimate)
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Anicet Adjamossi, footballer, was born here in 1985
- Kamarou Fassassi, politician was born here.
- Samuel Oshoffa who founded the Celestial Church of Christ was born here in 1905.
- Paulin Soumanou Vieyra, director and author
- Romuald Hazoume, artist
World Heritage Status
- ^ "Porto Novo." Atlas Monographique des Communes du Benin. URL accessed on January 5, 2010.
- ^ "Communes of Benin." Statoids. URL accessed on January 5, 2010.
- ^ Adjamossi profile, (in French)
- ^ 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. pp. 182. ISBN 978-0-299-22910-8. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=olMmvHsB-C4C&pg=PA54&dq=Samuel+Bilehou+Oshoffa&cd=1#v=onepage&q=Samuel%20Bilehou%20Oshoffa&f=false. Retrieved February 2010.
- ^ La ville de Porto-Novo : quartiers anciens et Palais Royal - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- Official Republic of Benin tourism site for Porto-Novo
- Official Benin government website information about Porto-Novo
- Images of the Central Mosque of Porto-Novo
- MSN Map
Template:Communes of Benin Template:Ouémé Departmentaf:Porto-Novo am:ፖርቶ ኖቮ ar:بورتو نوفو roa-rup:Porto-Novo frp:Pôrto-Novo ast:Porto-Novo az:Porto-Novo zh-min-nan:Porto-Novo be:Горад Порта-Нова be-x-old:Порта-Нова bo:པོར་ཊོ་-ནོ་བོ། bs:Porto-Novo br:Porto-Novo bg:Порто Ново ca:Porto-Novo cs:Porto Novo cy:Porto-Novo da:Porto-Novo de:Porto Novo et:Porto-Novo el:Πόρτο-Νόβο es:Porto-Novo eo:Porto-Novo eu:Porto-Novo fa:پورتو نووو hif:Porto-Novo fr:Porto-Novo fy:Porto-Novo gd:Porto-Novo gl:Porto Novo ko:포르토노보 hy:Պորտո Նովո hr:Porto-Novo io:Porto Novo id:Porto Novo is:Porto Novo it:Porto-Novo he:פורטו נובו jv:Porto-Novo ka:პორტო-ნოვო kw:Porto Novo sw:Porto Novo ht:Pòto-Novo ku:Porto Novo ky:Порто-Ново mrj:Порто-Ново la:Portus Novus lv:Portonovo lb:Porto Novo lt:Porto Novas lij:Pòrto Neuvo lmo:Porto-Novo hu:Porto Novo mk:Порто Ново mr:पोर्तो-नोव्हो nah:Porto Novo na:Porto Novo nl:Porto-Novo ja:ポルトノボ no:Porto Novo nn:Porto-Novo nov:Porto-Novo oc:Porto Novo pnb:پورٹو نووو pms:Porto-Novo pl:Porto-Novo pt:Porto-Novo (Benim) ro:Porto Novo ru:Порто-Ново simple:Porto-Novo sk:Porto-Novo so:Borto-Novo ckb:پۆرتۆ نۆڤۆ sr:Порто Ново sh:Porto-Novo fi:Porto-Novo sv:Porto-Novo tl:Porto-Novo tg:Порто-Ново tr:Porto-Novo udm:Порто-Ново uk:Порто-Ново vec:Porto-Novo vi:Porto-Novo vo:Porto-Novo war:Porto-Novo yo:Porto-Novo zh-yue:Porto-Novo zh:波多诺伏