Benin, a French-speaking West African nation, is a birthplace of vodun (aka voodoo) and home to the Dahomey Kingdom, reigning from 1600-1900. In Abomey, Dahomey’s former capital, the Historical Museum occupies 2 royal palaces with bas-reliefs recounting the kingdom’s past and a throne mounted on human skulls. To the north, Pendjari National Park is a safari destination with elephants, hippos and lions.
Currency: West African CFA franc
Population: 10.32 million (2013) World Bank
President: Thomas Boni Yayi
Official language: French