I. a country of West Africa, immediately west of Nigeria; pop. 8,791,800 (est. 2009); languages, French (official), West African languages; capital, Porto Novo. The country was conquered by the French in 1893 and became part of French West Africa. In 1960 it became fully independent.Former name (until 1975) Dahomey.
– origin name adopted in 1975, formerly used of an African kingdom powerful in the 14th–17th cents.