Recognition was made that Benin has suffered greatly by having lost so many of its ultimate resource, its own people, called "the absent ones."
Another sign of the relative genialness of Benin is the fact that, unlike the situation next door in Nigeria, adherents of various religions that are otherwise often at odds tend to coexist easily.
Thousands of Beninese workers have migrated steadily to that country and Gabon for employment in the oil fields.
Benin is also slowly gaining a reputation for stability and adherence to democratic processes.
The Bight of Benin is an extension of the Gulf of Guinea, which is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Republic of Benin is a sliver of a country in West Africa, the shape of which has been compared to a raised arm and fist or to a flaming torch.
The nation takes its name from the bight, which refers in turn to the ancient African kingdom, the Benin Empire, that dominated much of southern Nigeria until the arrival of the colonizing powers.
France remains the major destination of Beninese goods, followed by Brazil.
Machinery, foodstuffs, and textiles are Benin's principal imports.
Benin (usually pronounced "beh-NIHN" in English) inhabits a part of the continent called the Dahomey Gap, which is a somewhat dry area between the rain forests of Central Africa and of those farther west.
Dahomey was renamed as Benin in 1975 to signal the shift in direction the country was taking and to utilize what was in effect a neutral name belonging to no particular ethnic group.
The open-air markets found in every sizable town are where most Beninese shop for everyday articles, including manufactured goods, as well as food.
That kingdom did not actually incorporate any of modern-day Benin.
Beninese are said to be characterized by their wry humor in the face of adversity.
The economy of Benin remains underdeveloped and dependent on agriculture, which engages about half the country's population and exists mainly at the subsistence level.
Benin's size is roughly similar to that of Pennsylvania.
Congressmen and governmental representatives from other African countries attended and witnessed Benin's lament of its Slave Coast legacy, particularly the considerable profit that tribal chiefs made by selling their own people into servitude.