Hogbonou, Hogbonu, Adjacé, Adjase, Adjatchê
|City and commune|
Ouando Market, Porto-Novo
|• Mayor||Moukaram Océni|
|• City and commune||110 km2 (40 sq mi)|
|• Metro||110 km2 (40 sq mi)|
|Elevation||38 m (125 ft)|
|• City and commune||267,191|
|• Density||2,400/km2 (6,300/sq mi)|
Porto-Novo (also known as Hogbonou or Hogbonu by the Aja people, and Adjacé or Adjase or Adjatchê by the Yorubas) 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 (42 sq mi) 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, where the national legislature sits, the larger city of Cotonou is the seat of government, where most of the government buildings are situated and government departments operate. 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.
Historically, Porto-Novo was created as a port of the West African Kingdom of Little Ardra,, called Ardres by the French, or Arda,. The Kingdom itself had spawn from the nearby kingdom of Allada, or Great Ardra. According to oral tradition, Little Ardra was founded by the younger brother of a then-king of Great Ardra (Allada), which was centered around the current day town of Allada, after their father died. Historical records from 1765 state that, at the time, the current day territory of Benin was under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Dahomey, to whom were vassals the King of Great Ardra (current day Allada), in the hinterland, while the coastline was split between the Kings of Juida (present day Ouidah) to the west and Little Ardra to the east - confirming the location of then Kingdom of Little Ardra as that of present day Porto-Novo's.
The current name of Porto-Novo is of Portuguese origin, meaning "New Port". The city was originally developed, with Portuguese auspices, from the small settlement of Little Ardra, as a port for 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 neighbouring Kingdom of Dahomey 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)
Geography and climate
|Climate data for Porto Novo|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||27
|Precipitation mm (inches)||23
- 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. The palace and the surrounding district was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on October 31, 1996 in the Cultural category.
- 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 Gazetteer". Archived from the original on February 9, 2013.
- "Porto Novo". Atlas Monographique des Communes du Benin. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
- "Communes of Benin". Statoids. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
- "Weatherbase". Weatherbase. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
- La ville de Porto-Novo : quartiers anciens et Palais Royal - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- 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. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-299-22910-8. Retrieved February 2010.
- Sappho Charney (1996). "Porto Novo (Oueme, Benin)". In Noelle Watson. International Dictionary of Historic Places: Middle East and Africa. UK: Routledge. p. 588+. ISBN 1884964036.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Porto-Novo.|
- 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