Mauritius the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The main Island of Mauritius is located about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent; the Republic of Mauritius includes the islands of Rodrigues, Agalega and St. Brandon; the capital and largest city Port Louis is located on the main island of Mauritius. In 1598, the Dutch took possession of Mauritius, they abandoned Mauritius in 1710 and the French took control of the island in 1715, renaming it Isle de France. France ceded Mauritius including all its dependencies to the United Kingdom through the Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 May 1814 and in which Réunion was returned to France; the British colony of Mauritius consisted of the main island of Mauritius along with Rodrigues, Agalega, St Brandon and the Chagos Archipelago, while the Seychelles became a separate colony in 1906. The sovereignty of Tromelin is disputed between Mauritius and France as some of the islands such as St. Brandon, Chagos and Tromelin were not mentioned in the Treaty of Paris.
In 1965, three years prior to the independence of Mauritius, the UK split the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian territory, the islands of Aldabra and Desroches from the Seychelles, to form the British Indian Ocean Territory. The UK forcibly expelled the archipelago's local population and leased its largest island, Diego Garcia, to the United States; the UK has restricted access to the Chagos Archipelago. The sovereignty of the Chagos is disputed between Mauritius and the UK. In February 2019, in an advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice on this dispute, the ICJ ordered the UK to hand back the Chagos Islands to Mauritius as as possible; the people of Mauritius are multiethnic and multilingual. The island's government is modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system, Mauritius is ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom; the Human Development Index of Mauritius is one of the highest in Africa. Mauritius is ranked as the most competitive and one of the most developed economies in the African region.
The main pillars of the Mauritian economy are manufacturing, financial services and information and communications technology. Mauritius is a welfare state. Along with the other Mascarene Islands, Mauritius is known for its varied flora and fauna, with many species endemic to the island; the island was the only known home of the dodo, along with several other avian species, was made extinct by human activities shortly after the island's settlement. The first historical evidence of the existence of an island now known as Mauritius is on a map produced by the Italian cartographer Alberto Cantino in 1502. From this, it appears that Mauritius was first named Dina Arobi around 975 by Arab sailors, the first people to visit the island. In 1507, Portuguese sailors visited the uninhabited island; the island appears with a Portuguese name Cirne on early Portuguese maps from the name of a ship in the 1507 expedition. Another Portuguese sailor, Dom Pedro Mascarenhas, gave the name Mascarenes to the Archipelago.
In 1598, a Dutch squadron under Admiral Wybrand van Warwyck landed at Grand Port and named the island Mauritius, in honour of Prince Maurice van Nassau, stadholder of the Dutch Republic. The island became a French colony and was renamed Isle de France. On 3 December 1810, the French surrendered the island to Great Britain during the Napoleonic Wars. Under British rule, the island's name reverted to Mauritius. Mauritius is commonly known as Maurice and Île Maurice in French, Moris in Mauritian Creole; the island of Mauritius was uninhabited before its first recorded visit during the Middle Ages by Arab sailors, who named it Dina Arobi. In 1507, Portuguese sailors came to the uninhabited island and established a visiting base. Diogo Fernandes Pereira, a Portuguese navigator, was the first European known to land in Mauritius, he named the island "Ilha do Cirne". The Portuguese did not stay. In 1598 a Dutch squadron under Admiral Wybrand van Warwyck landed at Grand Port and named the island "Mauritius" after Prince Maurice of Nassau of the Dutch Republic.
The Dutch inhabited the island in 1638, from which they exploited ebony trees and introduced sugar cane, domestic animals and deer. It was from here; the first Dutch settlement lasted twenty years. Several attempts were subsequently made, but the settlements never developed enough to produce dividends, causing the Dutch to abandon Mauritius in 1710. France, which controlled neighbouring Île Bourbon, took control of Mauritius in 1715 and renamed it Isle de France. In 1723, the Code Noir was established to categorise one group of human beings as "goods", in order for the owner of these goods to be able to obtain insurance money and compensation in case of loss of his "goods"; the 1735 arrival of French governor Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais coincided with development of a prosperous economy based on sugar production. Mahé de La Bourdonnais established Port Louis as a shipbuilding centre. Under his governorship, numerous buildings were erected, a number of which are sti
Vatican City Vatican City State, is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. Established with the Lateran Treaty, it is distinct from yet under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the Holy See. With an area of 44 hectares, a population of about 1,000, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population; the Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state ruled by the pope who is, religiously speaking, the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the popes from Avignon in 1377, they have resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere; the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, is the primate episcopal see of the Catholic Church, with 1.3 billion Catholics around the world distributed in the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches.
The independent Vatican City-state, on the other hand, came into existence in 11 February 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States, which had encompassed much of central Italy. Within the Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, they feature some of sculptures. The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and souvenirs, fees for admission to museums, sales of publications; the name Vatican City was first used in the Lateran Treaty, signed on 11 February 1929, which established the modern city-state. The name is taken from the geographic location of the state. "Vatican" is derived from the name of an Etruscan settlement, Vatica or Vaticum meaning garden, located in the general area the Romans called vaticanus ager, "Vatican territory". The official Italian name of the city is Città del Vaticano or, more formally, Stato della Città del Vaticano, meaning "Vatican City State".
Although the Holy See and the Catholic Church use Ecclesiastical Latin in official documents, the Vatican City uses Italian. The Latin name is Status Civitatis Vaticanæ; the name "Vatican" was in use in the time of the Roman Republic for a marshy area on the west bank of the Tiber across from the city of Rome. Under the Roman Empire, many villas were constructed there, after Agrippina the Elder drained the area and laid out her gardens in the early 1st century AD. In AD 40, her son, Emperor Caligula built in her gardens a circus for charioteers, completed by Nero, the Circus Gaii et Neronis called the Circus of Nero. Before the arrival of Christianity, it is supposed that this uninhabited part of Rome had long been considered sacred, or at least not available for habitation. A shrine dedicated to the Phrygian goddess Cybele and her consort Attis remained active long after the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter was built nearby; the low quality of Vatican water after the reclamation of the area, was commented on by the poet Martial.
Tacitus wrote, that in AD 69, the Year of the Four Emperors, when the northern army that brought Vitellius to power arrived in Rome, "a large proportion camped in the unhealthy districts of the Vatican, which resulted in many deaths among the common soldiery. The Vatican Obelisk was taken by Caligula from Heliopolis in Egypt to decorate the spina of his circus and is thus its last visible remnant; this area became the site of martyrdom of many Christians after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. Ancient tradition holds. Opposite the circus was a cemetery separated by the Via Cornelia. Funeral monuments and mausoleums and small tombs as well as altars to pagan gods of all kinds of polytheistic religions were constructed lasting until before the construction of the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter's in the first half of the 4th century. Remains of this ancient necropolis were brought to light sporadically during renovations by various popes throughout the centuries, increasing in frequency during the Renaissance until it was systematically excavated by orders of Pope Pius XII from 1939 to 1941.
The Constantinian basilica was built in 326 over what was believed to be the tomb of Saint Peter, buried in that cemetery. From on, the area became more populated in connection with activity at the basilica. A palace was constructed nearby as early as the 5th century during the pontificate of Pope Symmachus. Popes came to have a secular role as governors of regions near Rome, they ruled the Papal States, which covered a large portion of the Italian peninsula, for more than a thousand years until the mid-19th century, when all the territory belonging to the papacy was seized by the newly created Kingdom of Italy. For most of this time the popes did not live at the Vatican; the Lateran Palace, on the opposite side
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the Pope’s name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular Churches and provides the central organization for the Church to advance its objectives; the structure and organization of responsibilities within the Curia are at present regulated by the apostolic constitution Pastor bonus, issued by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988, which Pope Francis has decided to revise. Other bodies that play an administrative or consulting role in Church affairs are sometimes mistakenly identified with the Curia, such as the Synod of Bishops and regional conferences of bishops. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote in 2015 that "the Synod of Bishops is not a part of the Roman Curia in the strict sense: it is the expression of the collegiality of bishops in communion with the Pope and under his direction.
The Roman Curia instead aids the Pope in the exercise of his primacy over all the Churches." Curia in medieval and Latin usage means "court" in the sense of "royal court" rather than "court of law". The Roman Curia is sometimes anglicized as the Court of Rome, as in the 1534 Act of Parliament that forbade appeals to it from England, it assists the Pope in carrying out his functions. The Roman Curia can be loosely compared to cabinets in governments of countries with a Western form of governance, but only the Second Section of the Secretariat of State, known as the Section for Relations with States, the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and the Congregation for Catholic Education, can be directly compared with specific ministries of a civil government, it is normal for every Latin Catholic diocese to have its own curia for its administration. For the Diocese of Rome, these functions are not handled by the Roman Curia, but by the Vicariate General of His Holiness for the City of Rome, as provided by the apostolic constitution Ecclesia in Urbe.
The Vicar General of Rome, traditionally a cardinal, his deputy the vicegerent, who holds the personal title of archbishop, supervise the governance of the diocese by reference to the Pope himself, but with no more dependence on the Roman Curia, as such, than other Catholic dioceses throughout the world. A distinct office, the Vicar General for Vatican City, administers the portion of the Diocese of Rome in Vatican City; until there still existed hereditary officers of the Roman Curia, holding titles denominating functions that had ceased to be a reality when the Papal States were lost to the papacy. A reorganization, ordered by Pope Pius X, was incorporated into the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Further steps toward reorganization were begun by Pope Paul VI in the 1960s. Among the goals of this curial reform were the modernization of procedures and the internationalization of the curial staff; these reforms are reflected in the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The offices of the Vatican City State are not part of the Roman Curia, composed only of offices of the Holy See.
The following organs or charges, according to the official website of the Holy See, comprise the Curia. All members of the Curia except the Cardinal Camerlengo and the Major Penitentiary resign their office after a papal death or resignation. See sede vacante. Sr. Luzia Premoli, superior general of the Combonian Missionary Sisters, was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 2014, becoming the first woman to be appointed a member of a Vatican congregation; the principal departments of the Roman Curia are called dicasteries. The most recent comprehensive constitution of the church, Pastor bonus, provides this definition: "By the word "dicasteries" are understood the Secretariat of State, Tribunals and Offices"; those remain the five principal categories of departments, with the noteworthy change in that there is now more than a single Secretariat. Two new departments announced to begin functioning on 1 August 2016 and 1 January 2017 have been identified only as dicasteries–Dicastery for the Laity and Life and Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Both are headed by a prefect. The Secretariat of State is the oldest dicastery in the Roman Curia, the government of the Roman Catholic Church, it is headed by the Secretary of State, since 15 October 2013 by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, responsible for all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See. The Secretariat is divided into two sections, the Section for General Affairs and the Section for Relations with States, known as the First Section and Second Section, respectively; the Secretariat of State was created in the 15th century and is now the department of the curia most involved in coordinating the Holy See's activities. Matters not within the competence of another dicastery are dealt with by the Secretariat of State; the Secretariat for the Economy was established by Pope Francis in 2014, with the Australian Cardinal George Pell the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, as its Cardinal Prefect. Pell's appointment was terminated on 12 December 2018. Two departments of the Roman Curia established by Pope Francis in 2016 have been identified as "dicasteries" rather than as one of the traditional department types.
A third dicastery was named on 23 June 2018. Pope Francis announced on 15 August 2016 the creation of the Dicastery for the Laity and Life, effective 1 September 2016, it took over the responsibilities of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family. As its first Prefect, Francis named Bishop Kevin Farrell
Mexico the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States. Covering 2,000,000 square kilometres, the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity, the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Puebla, Tijuana and León. Pre-Columbian Mexico dates to about 8000 BC and is identified as one of five cradles of civilization and was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec and Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its politically powerful base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, administered as the viceroyalty of New Spain.
Three centuries the territory became a nation state following its recognition in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. The post-independence period was tumultuous, characterized by economic inequality and many contrasting political changes; the Mexican–American War led to a territorial cession of the extant northern territories to the United States. The Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires, the Porfiriato occurred in the 19th century; the Porfiriato was ended by the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country's current political system as a federal, democratic republic. Mexico has the 11th largest by purchasing power parity; the Mexican economy is linked to those of its 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement partners the United States. In 1994, Mexico became the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is classified as an upper-middle income country by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country by several analysts.
The country is considered both a regional power and a middle power, is identified as an emerging global power. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world for number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mexico is an ecologically megadiverse country, ranking fourth in the world for its biodiversity. Mexico receives a huge number of tourists every year: in 2018, it was the sixth most-visited country in the world, with 39 million international arrivals. Mexico is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G8+5, the G20, the Uniting for Consensus group of the UN, the Pacific Alliance trade bloc. Mēxihco is the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely the Valley of Mexico and surrounding territories, with its people being known as the Mexica, it is believed to be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym for the Aztec Triple Alliance as a result, although it could have been the other way around.
In the colonial era, back when Mexico was called New Spain this territory became the Intendency of Mexico and after New Spain achieved independence from the Spanish Empire it came to be known as the State of Mexico with the new country being named after its capital: the City of Mexico, which itself was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Traditionally, the name Tenochtitlan was thought to come from Nahuatl tetl and nōchtli and is thought to mean "Among the prickly pears rocks". However, one attestation in the late 16th-century manuscript known as "the Bancroft dialogues" suggests the second vowel was short, so that the true etymology remains uncertain; the suffix -co is the Nahuatl locative, making the word a place name. Beyond that, the etymology is uncertain, it has been suggested that it is derived from Mextli or Mēxihtli, a secret name for the god of war and patron of the Mexica, Huitzilopochtli, in which case Mēxihco means "place where Huitzilopochtli lives".
Another hypothesis suggests that Mēxihco derives from a portmanteau of the Nahuatl words for "moon" and navel. This meaning might refer to Tenochtitlan's position in the middle of Lake Texcoco; the system of interconnected lakes, of which Texcoco formed the center, had the form of a rabbit, which the Mesoamericans pareidolically associated with the moon rabbit. Still another hypothesis suggests that the word is derived from Mēctli, the name of the goddess of maguey; the name of the city-state was transliterated to Spanish as México with the phonetic value of the letter x in Medieval Spanish, which represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative. This sound, as well as the voiced postalveolar fricative, represented by a j, evolved into a voiceless velar fricative during the 16th century; this led to the use of the variant Méjico in many publications in Spanish, most notably in Spain, whereas in Mexico and most other Spanish–speaking countries, México was the preferred spelling. In recent years, the Real Academia Española, which regulates the Spanish l
Colombia the Republic of Colombia, is a sovereign state situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America. Colombia shares a border to the northwest with Panama, to the east with Venezuela and Brazil and to the south with Ecuador and Peru, it shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Colombia is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogota. Colombia has been inhabited by various indigenous peoples since 12,000 BCE, including the Muisca and the Tairona, along with the Inca Empire that expanded to the southwest of the country; the Spanish arrived in 1499 and by the mid-16th century conquered and colonized much of the region, establishing the New Kingdom of Granada, with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital. Independence from Spain was achieved in 1819, but by 1830 the "Gran Colombia" Federation was dissolved, with what is now Colombia and Panama emerging as the Republic of New Granada.
The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation, the United States of Colombia, before the Republic of Colombia was declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903. Beginning in the 1960s, the country suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict and rampant political violence, both of which escalated in the 1990s. Since 2005, there has been significant improvement in security and rule of law. Colombia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world, with its rich cultural heritage reflecting influences by indigenous peoples, European settlement, forced African migration, immigration from Europe and the Middle East. Urban centres are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains and the Caribbean coast. Colombia is among the world's 17 megadiverse countries, the most densely biodiverse per square kilometer. Colombia is a middle power and regional actor in Latin America, it is part of the CIVETS group of six leading emerging markets and a member of the UN, the WTO, the OAS, the Pacific Alliance, other international organizations.
Colombia's diversified economy is the fourth largest in Latin America, with macroeconomic stability and favorable long-term growth prospects. The name "Colombia" is derived from the last name of Christopher Columbus, it was conceived by the Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda as a reference to all the New World, but to those portions under Spanish rule. The name was adopted by the Republic of Colombia of 1819, formed from the territories of the old Viceroyalty of New Granada; when Venezuela and Cundinamarca came to exist as independent states, the former Department of Cundinamarca adopted the name "Republic of New Granada". New Granada changed its name in 1858 to the Granadine Confederation. In 1863 the name was again changed, this time to United States of Colombia, before adopting its present name – the Republic of Colombia – in 1886. To refer to this country, the Colombian government uses the terms Colombia and República de Colombia. Owing to its location, the present territory of Colombia was a corridor of early human migration from Mesoamerica and the Caribbean to the Andes and Amazon basin.
The oldest archaeological finds are from the Pubenza and El Totumo sites in the Magdalena Valley 100 kilometres southwest of Bogotá. These sites date from the Paleoindian period. At Puerto Hormiga and other sites, traces from the Archaic Period have been found. Vestiges indicate that there was early occupation in the regions of El Abra and Tequendama in Cundinamarca; the oldest pottery discovered in the Americas, found at San Jacinto, dates to 5000–4000 BCE. Indigenous people inhabited the territory, now Colombia by 12,500 BCE. Nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes at the El Abra, Tibitó and Tequendama sites near present-day Bogotá traded with one another and with other cultures from the Magdalena River Valley. Between 5000 and 1000 BCE, hunter-gatherer tribes transitioned to agrarian societies. Beginning in the 1st millennium BCE, groups of Amerindians including the Muisca, Zenú, Tairona developed the political system of cacicazgos with a pyramidal structure of power headed by caciques; the Muisca inhabited the area of what is now the Departments of Boyacá and Cundinamarca high plateau where they formed the Muisca Confederation.
They farmed maize, potato and cotton, traded gold, blankets, ceramic handicrafts and rock salt with neighboring nations. The Tairona inhabited northern Colombia in the isolated mountain range of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; the Quimbaya inhabited regions of the Cauca River Valley between the Western and Central Ranges of the Colombian Andes. Most of the Amerindians practiced agriculture and the social structure of each indigenous community was different; some groups of indigenous people such as the Caribs lived in a state of permanent war, but others had less bellicose attitudes. The Incas expanded their empire onto the southwest part of the country. Alonso de Ojeda reached the Guajira Peninsula in 1499. Spanish explorers, led by Rodrigo de Bastidas, made the first exploration
Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2, it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan; the island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago. The island is dominated by a maritime climate with quite narrow temperature differences between seasons. Politically, Great Britain is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutes most of its territory. Most of England and Wales are on the island; the term "Great Britain" is used to include the whole of England and Wales including their component adjoining islands. A single Kingdom of Great Britain resulted from the union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland by the 1707 Acts of Union.
In 1801, Great Britain united with the neighbouring Kingdom of Ireland, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, renamed the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" after the Irish Free State seceded in 1922. The archipelago has been referred to by a single name for over 2000 years: the term'British Isles' derives from terms used by classical geographers to describe this island group. By 50 BC Greek geographers were using equivalents of Prettanikē as a collective name for the British Isles. However, with the Roman conquest of Britain the Latin term Britannia was used for the island of Great Britain, Roman-occupied Britain south of Caledonia; the earliest known name for Great Britain is Albion or insula Albionum, from either the Latin albus meaning "white" or the "island of the Albiones". The oldest mention of terms related to Great Britain was by Aristotle, or by Pseudo-Aristotle, in his text On the Universe, Vol. III. To quote his works, "There are two large islands in it, called the British Isles and Ierne".
Pliny the Elder in his Natural History records of Great Britain: "Its former name was Albion. Old French Bretaigne and Middle English Bretayne, Breteyne; the French form replaced the Old English Breoton, Bryten, Breten. Britannia was used by the Romans from the 1st century BC for the British Isles taken together, it is derived from the travel writings of the Pytheas around 320 BC, which described various islands in the North Atlantic as far north as Thule. Marcian of Heraclea, in his Periplus maris exteri, described the island group as αἱ Πρεττανικαὶ νῆσοι; the peoples of these islands of Prettanike were called the Priteni or Pretani. Priteni is the source of the Welsh language term Prydain, which has the same source as the Goidelic term Cruithne used to refer to the early Brythonic-speaking inhabitants of Ireland; the latter were called Picts or Caledonians by the Romans. Greek historians Diodorus of Sicily and Strabo preserved variants of Prettanike from the work of Greek explorer Pytheas of Massalia, who travelled from his home in Hellenistic southern Gaul to Britain in the 4th century BC.
The term used by Pytheas may derive from a Celtic word meaning "the painted ones" or "the tattooed folk" in reference to body decorations. The Greco-Egyptian scientist Ptolemy referred to the larger island as great Britain and to Ireland as little Britain in his work Almagest. In his work, Geography, he gave the islands the names Alwion and Mona, suggesting these may have been the names of the individual islands not known to him at the time of writing Almagest; the name Albion appears to have fallen out of use sometime after the Roman conquest of Britain, after which Britain became the more commonplace name for the island. After the Anglo-Saxon period, Britain was used as a historical term only. Geoffrey of Monmouth in his pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae refers to the island as Britannia major, to distinguish it from Britannia minor, the continental region which approximates to modern Brittany, settled in the fifth and sixth centuries by migrants from Britain; the term Great Britain was first used in 1474, in the instrument drawing up the proposal for a marriage between Cecily the daughter of Edward IV of England, James the son of James III of Scotland, which described it as "this Nobill Isle, callit Gret Britanee".
It was used again in 1604, when King James VI and I styled himself "King of Great Brittaine and Ireland". Great Britain refers geographically to the island of Great Britain, it is often used to refer politically to the whole of England and Wales, including their smaller off shore islands. While it is sometimes used to refer to the whole of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, this is not correct. Britain can refer to either all island
Benin the Republic of Benin and Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso and Niger to the north; the majority of its population lives on the small southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country's largest city and economic capital. Benin covers an area of 114,763 square kilometres and its population in 2016 was estimated to be 10.87 million. Benin is a tropical nation dependent on agriculture. Benin is a big exporter of palm oil; the substantial employment and income arise from subsistence farming. The official language of Benin is French. However, indigenous languages such as Fon and Yoruba are spoken; the largest religious group in Benin is Roman Catholicism, followed by Islam and Protestantism. Benin is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, La Francophonie, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, the African Petroleum Producers Association and the Niger Basin Authority.
From the 17th to the 19th century, the main political entities in the area were the Kingdom of Dahomey, along with the city-state of Porto-Novo, a large area with many different nations to the north. This region was referred to as the Slave Coast from as early as the 17th century due to the large number of enslaved people who were shipped to the New World during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. After enslavement was abolished, France renamed it French Dahomey. In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France; the sovereign state has had a tumultuous history since with many different democratic governments, military coups, military governments. A Marxist–Leninist state called the People's Republic of Benin existed between 1975 and 1990. In 1991, it was replaced by the current multi-party Republic of Benin. During the colonial period and at independence, the country was known as Dahomey. On 30 November 1975, it was renamed to Benin, after the body of water on which the country lies—the Bight of Benin.
This had been named by Europeans after the Benin Empire in present-day Nigeria. The country of Benin has no connection to Benin City in modern Nigeria, nor to the Benin bronzes; the form "Benin" is the result of a Portuguese corruption of the city of Ubinu. The new name, was chosen for its neutrality. Dahomey was the name of the former Fon Kingdom of Dahomey, limited to most of the southern third of the present country and therefore did not represent Porto-Novo, central Benin, the multi-ethnic northwestern sector Atakora, nor the Bariba Kingdom of Borgu, which covered the northeastern district; the current country of Benin combines three areas which had distinctly different political systems and ethnicities prior to French colonial control. Before 1700, there were a few important city-states along the coast and a mass of tribal regions inland; the Oyo Empire, located to the east of modern Benin, was the most significant large-scale military force in the region. It conducted raids and exacted tribute from the coastal kingdoms and the tribal regions.
The situation changed in the 1600s and early 1700s as the Kingdom of Dahomey, consisting of Fon people, was founded on the Abomey plateau and began taking over areas along the coast. By 1727, king Agaja of the Kingdom of Dahomey had conquered the coastal cities of Allada and Whydah, but it had become a tributary of the Oyo empire and did not directly attack the Oyo allied city-state of Porto-Novo; the rise of the kingdom of Dahomey, the rivalry between the kingdom and the city of Porto-Novo, the continued tribal politics of the northern region, persisted into the colonial and post-colonial periods. The Dahomey Kingdom was known for its culture and traditions. Young boys were apprenticed to older soldiers, taught the kingdom's military customs until they were old enough to join the army. Dahomey was famous for instituting an elite female soldier corps, called Ahosi, i.e. the king's wives, or Mino, "our mothers" in the Fon language Fongbe, known by many Europeans as the Dahomean Amazons. This emphasis on military preparation and achievement earned Dahomey the nickname of "black Sparta" from European observers and 19th-century explorers such as Sir Richard Burton.
The kings of Dahomey sold their war captives into transatlantic slavery. They had a practice of killing war captives in a ceremony known as the Annual Customs. By about 1750, the King of Dahomey was earning an estimated £250,000 per year by selling African captives to European slave-traders. Though the leaders of Dahomey appear to have resisted the slave trade, it flourished in the region of Dahomey for three hundred years, beginning in 1472 with a trade agreement with Portuguese merchants; the area was named the "Slave Coast" because of this flourishing trade. Court protocols, which demanded that a portion of war captives from the kingdom's many battles be decapitated, decreased the number of enslaved people exported from the area; the number went from 102,000 people per decade in the 1780s to 24,000 per decade by the 1860s. The decline was due to the Slave Trade Act 1807 banning the trans-Atlantic slave trade by Britain and the United States following in