Located in West Africa, Benin's boundaries are the countries Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Niger and it has a short coastline along the Bight of Benin. It is a long, narrow country with a land area of 42,985 square miles. The Niger River runs along its northern border.
Originally called Dahomey, the country earned the nickname "the Slave Coast" since it was a country through which many slaves passed on their way to North and South American slave markets. The French claimed Dahomey as a colony until 1960. Fifteen years after gaining independence from France, the country's name changed to Benin.