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Formerly known as Dahomey, Benin lies in West Africa, bordered by Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Its territory spans from the Gulf of Guinea to the Niger River. 

The Kingdom of Dahomey was established in 1925. Between 1889 and 1893, France took over the Territory of the Gulf of Benin. In 1894, Benin became a part of French West Africa as French Dahomey. In 1960, the territory achieved its independence from France, and in November 1975, it was renamed the People’ Republic of Benin. Later, it became the Republic of Benin in 1990. 

The West African CFA franc is the currency used in Benin as well as in seven other French West African states that make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union. While the currency is subdivided into 100 cents, no notes or coins in centime have ever been issued.

As early as 1855, the French Franc was already circulating in Benin, coexisting with the Maria Theresa Thalers and cowrie shells. In 1920, though currency from the Banque de France was allowed in French West African countries, some coins from the United Kingdom as well as Maria Theresa Thalers still circulated in Benin until the 1920s.

In 1948, aluminum coins in denominations of 1 and 2 were introduced, followed by 5, 10, and 25-franc aluminium-bronze coins in 1956, bearing the name “Afrique Occidentale Francaise”. 

In 1958, the Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (XOF) took over currency issuance. The establishment of the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU) in 1994 further solidified the region's monetary cooperation, with the BCEAO as its common central bank.

Coins have been introduced by Benin, such as those that commemorate the 2000 Summer Olympics, World Youth Day, World Cup, musicians and famous personalities, and the popular leaf-shaped Cannabis Sativa coin, but none have been issued for general circulation.

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