Sites & cities that bear the name of Cotonou


Today in : Benin
First trace of activity : 1830 C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Kutonou, Kútɔ̀nú

Description : Cotonou (Fon: Kútɔ̀nú) is the economic center of Benin. Its official population count was 761,137 inhabitants in 2006; however, some estimates indicate its population to be as high as 2.4 million. The population in 1960 was only 70,000. The urban area continues to expand, notably toward the west. The city lies in the southeast of the country, between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Nokoué. In addition to being Benin's largest city, it is the seat of government, although Porto-Novo is the official capital. It is home to most of the country's government buildings and diplomatic services. The name "Cotonou" means "by the river of death" in the Fon language. At the beginning of the 19th century, Cotonou (then spelled "Kutonou") was a small fishing village, and is thought to have been formally founded by King Ghezo of Dahomey in 1830. It grew as a centre for the slave trade, and later palm oil and cotton. In 1851 the French Second Republic made a treaty with King Ghezo that allowed them to establish a trading post at Cotonou. During the reign of King Glele (1858–89), the territory was ceded to the Second French Empire by a treaty signed in 1878. In 1883, the French Navy occupied the city to prevent British conquest of the area. After Glele's death in 1889, King Béhanzin unsuccessfully tried to challenge the treaty. The town grew rapidly following the building of the harbour in 1908.

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