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
Kankan is the largest city in Guinea in land area, the third largest in population, with a population of 193,830 people as of 2014. The city is lying about 345 miles east of Conakry; the population of the city is from the Mande ethnic group. Kankan serves as largest city of Kankan Prefecture and Kankan Region. Kankan was founded by the Mandingo people in the 17th century, after which it became an important trading centre for kola nuts, the capital of the Baté Empire; the population of the city is predominantly from the Mandinka ethnic group and their language is spoken throughout the city. The French explorer René Caillié spent a month in Kankan in 1827 on his journey from Boké, in present-day Guinea, to Djenné and Timbuktu in Mali, he arrived with a caravan transporting kola nuts. He described the visit in his book Travels through Central Africa to Timbuctoo; the town had a population of 6,000 inhabitants and was an important commercial centre with a market held three times a week. Instead of having a surrounding mud wall, the town was defended by a quickset hedge.
The chief of the town refused Caillié permission to travel along the river to the north as the town of Kankan was fighting for control of the Bouré gold producing area around Siguiri and the Tinkisso River. Instead Caillié left the town heading east in the direction of Minignan in the Ivory Coast; the town was conquered by Samory Touré in 1881 and occupied by the French in 1891. Right bay: Diallo Aguibou Guila Kankan has a tropical savanna climate; the town is known for its religious scholars and its mango trees. It is home to the Kankan Airport, it is between a fourteen- and eighteen-hour drive from Conakry, due to the poor condition of the road. It has one of the oldest mosques in West Africa; the Mandingo cultural site Gberedou/Hamana is located about 40 km to the northeast. Kankan is the terminus of the lightduty narrow gauge railway from Conakry; the N1 highway connects the city with Nzerekore in the south. In addition, the town is served by Kankan Airport
Souleymane Kante or Solomana Kante was a Guinean writer and inventor of the N'Ko alphabet for the Manding languages of Africa. N'Ko means "I say" in all Manding languages. Kante created N'Ko in 1949 after a night of deep meditation, in response to what he felt were beliefs that Africans were a "cultureless people", since there was, prior to this time, no indigenous African writing system for his language. N'ko came first into use in Kankan, Guinea as a Maninka alphabet and was disseminated from there into other Manding-speaking parts of West Africa. Conrad, David C.. "Reconstructing Oral Tradition: Souleymane Kanté’s Approach to Writing Mande History". Mande Studies 3, 147–200. Kaba, Diaka Laye. "Souleymane Kanté: l’inventeur de l’alphabet N’ko". L’Educateur: Trimestriel Pédagogique des Enseignants de Guinée 11–12, 33 Kanté, Bourama. "Souvenir de Kanté Souleymane". Somoya Sila: Journal Culturel de l'Association ICRA-N'KO 19. Kanté, Souleymane. "Alphabet de la langue N’ko: ‘N’ko sebesun’." In Méthode pratique d’écriture N’ko.
Kankan, reprinted by Mamady Keita, Siguiri. Vydrine, Valentin, ed.. "Lettres de Souleymane Kanté et Maurice Houis". Mande Studies 3, 133–146
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standardized representation of the sounds of spoken language; the IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, speech-language pathologists, actors, constructed language creators and translators. The IPA is designed to represent only those qualities of speech that are part of oral language: phones, phonemes and the separation of words and syllables. To represent additional qualities of speech, such as tooth gnashing and sounds made with a cleft lip and cleft palate, an extended set of symbols, the extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet, may be used. IPA symbols are composed of one or more elements of two basic types and diacritics. For example, the sound of the English letter ⟨t⟩ may be transcribed in IPA with a single letter, or with a letter plus diacritics, depending on how precise one wishes to be.
Slashes are used to signal broad or phonemic transcription. Letters or diacritics are added, removed or modified by the International Phonetic Association; as of the most recent change in 2005, there are 107 letters, 52 diacritics and four prosodic marks in the IPA. These are shown in the current IPA chart, posted below in this article and at the website of the IPA. In 1886, a group of French and British language teachers, led by the French linguist Paul Passy, formed what would come to be known from 1897 onwards as the International Phonetic Association, their original alphabet was based on a spelling reform for English known as the Romic alphabet, but in order to make it usable for other languages, the values of the symbols were allowed to vary from language to language. For example, the sound was represented with the letter ⟨c⟩ in English, but with the digraph ⟨ch⟩ in French. However, in 1888, the alphabet was revised so as to be uniform across languages, thus providing the base for all future revisions.
The idea of making the IPA was first suggested by Otto Jespersen in a letter to Paul Passy. It was developed by Alexander John Ellis, Henry Sweet, Daniel Jones, Passy. Since its creation, the IPA has undergone a number of revisions. After revisions and expansions from the 1890s to the 1940s, the IPA remained unchanged until the Kiel Convention in 1989. A minor revision took place in 1993 with the addition of four letters for mid central vowels and the removal of letters for voiceless implosives; the alphabet was last revised in May 2005 with the addition of a letter for a labiodental flap. Apart from the addition and removal of symbols, changes to the IPA have consisted of renaming symbols and categories and in modifying typefaces. Extensions to the International Phonetic Alphabet for speech pathology were created in 1990 and adopted by the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association in 1994; the general principle of the IPA is to provide one letter for each distinctive sound, although this practice is not followed if the sound itself is complex.
This means that: It does not use combinations of letters to represent single sounds, the way English does with ⟨sh⟩, ⟨th⟩ and ⟨ng⟩, or single letters to represent multiple sounds the way ⟨x⟩ represents /ks/ or /ɡz/ in English. There are no letters that have context-dependent sound values, as do "hard" and "soft" ⟨c⟩ or ⟨g⟩ in several European languages; the IPA does not have separate letters for two sounds if no known language makes a distinction between them, a property known as "selectiveness". Among the symbols of the IPA, 107 letters represent consonants and vowels, 31 diacritics are used to modify these, 19 additional signs indicate suprasegmental qualities such as length, tone and intonation; these are organized into a chart. The letters chosen for the IPA are meant to harmonize with the Latin alphabet. For this reason, most letters modifications thereof; some letters are neither: for example, the letter denoting the glottal stop, ⟨ʔ⟩, has the form of a dotless question mark, derives from an apostrophe.
A few letters, such as that of the voiced pharyngeal fricative, ⟨ʕ⟩, were inspired by other writing systems. Despite its preference for harmonizing with the Latin script, the International Phonetic Association has admitted other letters. For example, before 1989, the IPA letters for click consonants were ⟨ʘ⟩, ⟨ʇ⟩, ⟨ʗ⟩, ⟨ʖ⟩, all of which were derived either from existing IPA letters, or from Latin and Greek letters. However, except for ⟨ʘ⟩, none of these letters were used among Khoisanists or Bantuists, as a result they were replaced by the more widespread symbols ⟨ʘ⟩, ⟨ǀ⟩, ⟨ǃ⟩, ⟨ǂ⟩, ⟨ǁ⟩ at the IPA Kiel Convention in 1989. Although the IPA diacritics are featural, there is little systemicity in the letter forms. A retroflex articulation is indicated with a right-swinging tail, as in ⟨ɖ ʂ ɳ⟩, implosion by a top hook, ⟨ɓ ɗ ɠ⟩, but other pseudo-featural elements are due to haphazard derivation and coincidence. For example, all nasal consonants but uvular ⟨ɴ⟩ are based on the form ⟨n⟩: ⟨m ɱ n ɳ ɲ ŋ⟩.
However, the similarity between ⟨m⟩ and ⟨n⟩ is a historical accident. Some of the new letters were ordinary Latin letters tu
Mali the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa, a region geologically identified with the West African Craton. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres; the population of Mali is 18 million. Its capital is Bamako; the sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on mining; some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, salt. Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa.
In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan joined with Senegal in 1959. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. In January 2012, an armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, in which Tuareg rebels took control of a territory in the north, in April declared the secession of a new state, Azawad; the conflict was complicated by a military coup that took place in March and fighting between Tuareg and rebels. In response to territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013. A month Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second-round run-off held on 11 August, legislative elections were held on 24 November and 15 December 2013.
The name Mali is taken from the name of the Mali Empire. The name was derived from the Mandinka or Bambara word mali, meaning "hippopotamus", but it came to mean "the place where the king lives"; the word carries the connotation of strength. Guinean writer Djibril Niane suggests in Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali that it is not impossible that Mali was the name given to one of the capitals of the emperors. 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta reported that the capital of the Mali Empire was called Mali. One Mandinka tradition tells that the legendary first emperor Sundiata Keita changed himself into a hippopotamus upon his death in the Sankarani River, that it's possible to find villages in the area of this river, termed "old Mali", which have Mali for a name; this name could have been that of a city. In old Mali, there is one village called Malika which means "New Mali."Another theory suggests that Mali is a Fulani pronunciation of the name of the Mande peoples. It is suggested that a sound shift led to the change, whereby in Fulani the alveolar segment /nd/ shifts to /l/ and the terminal vowel denasalises and raises, thus "Manden" shifts to /Mali/.
Mali was once part of three famed West African empires which controlled trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt and other precious commodities. These Sahelian kingdoms had rigid ethnic identities; the earliest of these empires was the Ghana Empire, dominated by the Soninke, a Mande-speaking people. The empire expanded throughout West Africa from the 8th century until 1078, when it was conquered by the Almoravids; the Mali Empire formed on the upper Niger River, reached the height of power in the 14th century. Under the Mali Empire, the ancient cities of Djenné and Timbuktu were centers of both trade and Islamic learning; the empire declined as a result of internal intrigue being supplanted by the Songhai Empire. The Songhai people originated in current northwestern Nigeria; the Songhai had long been a major power in West Africa subject to the Mali Empire's rule. In the late 14th century, the Songhai gained independence from the Mali Empire and expanded subsuming the entire eastern portion of the Mali Empire.
The Songhai Empire's eventual collapse was the result of a Moroccan invasion in 1591, under the command of Judar Pasha. The fall of the Songhai Empire marked the end of the region's role as a trading crossroads. Following the establishment of sea routes by the European powers, the trans-Saharan trade routes lost significance. One of the worst famines in the region's recorded history occurred in the 18th century. According to John Iliffe, "The worst crises were in the 1680s, when famine extended from the Senegambian coast to the Upper Nile and'many sold themselves for slaves, only to get a sustenance', in 1738–1756, when West Africa's greatest recorded subsistence crisis, due to drought and locusts killed half the population of Timbuktu." Mali fell under the control of France during the late 19th century. By 1905, most of the area was under firm French control as a part of French Sudan. In early 1959, French Sudan and Senegal united to become the Mali Federation; the Mali Federation gained independence from France on 20 June 1960.
Senegal withdrew from the federation in August 1960, which allowed the Sudanes
A writing system is any conventional method of visually representing verbal communication. While both writing and speech are useful in conveying messages, writing differs in being a reliable form of information storage and transfer; the processes of encoding and decoding writing systems involve shared understanding between writers and readers of the meaning behind the sets of characters that make up a script. Writing is recorded onto a durable medium, such as paper or electronic storage, although non-durable methods may be used, such as writing on a computer display, on a blackboard, in sand, or by skywriting; the general attributes of writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies. Any particular system can have attributes of more than one category. In the alphabetic category, there is a standard set of letters of consonants and vowels that encode based on the general principle that the letters represent speech sounds. In a syllabary, each symbol correlates to a syllable or mora.
In a logography, each character represents morpheme, or other semantic units. Other categories include abjads, which differ from alphabets in that vowels are not indicated, abugidas or alphasyllabaries, with each character representing a consonant–vowel pairing. Alphabets use a set of 20-to-35 symbols to express a language, whereas syllabaries can have 80-to-100, logographies can have several hundreds of symbols. Most systems will have an ordering of its symbol elements so that groups of them can be coded into larger clusters like words or acronyms, giving rise to many more possibilities in meanings than the symbols can convey by themselves. Systems will enable the stringing together of these smaller groupings in order to enable a full expression of the language; the reading step expressed orally. A special set of symbols known as punctuation is used to aid in structure and organization of many writing systems and can be used to help capture nuances and variations in the message's meaning that are communicated verbally by cues in timing, accent, inflection or intonation.
A writing system will typically have a method for formatting recorded messages that follows the spoken version's rules like its grammar and syntax so that the reader will have the meaning of the intended message preserved. Writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, which used pictograms and other mnemonic symbols. Proto-writing lacked the ability to express a full range of thoughts and ideas; the invention of writing systems, which dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age in the late Neolithic Era of the late 4th millennium BC, enabled the accurate durable recording of human history in a manner, not prone to the same types of error to which oral history is vulnerable. Soon after, writing provided a reliable form of long distance communication. With the advent of publishing, it provided the medium for an early form of mass communication; the creation of a new alphabetic writing system for a language with an existing logographic writing system is called alphabetization, as when the People's Republic of China studied the prospect of alphabetizing the Chinese languages with Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, numbers, although the most common instance of it, converting to Latin script, is called romanization.
Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that a writing system is always associated with at least one spoken language. In contrast, visual representations such as drawings and non-verbal items on maps, such as contour lines, are not language-related; some symbols on information signs, such as the symbols for male and female, are not language related, but can grow to become part of language if they are used in conjunction with other language elements. Some other symbols, such as numerals and the ampersand, are not directly linked to any specific language, but are used in writing and thus must be considered part of writing systems; every human community possesses language, which many regard as an innate and defining condition of humanity. However, the development of writing systems, the process by which they have supplanted traditional oral systems of communication, have been sporadic and slow. Once established, writing systems change more than their spoken counterparts.
Thus they preserve features and expressions which are no longer current in the spoken language. One of the great benefits of writing systems is that they can preserve a permanent record of information expressed in a language. All writing systems require: at least one set of defined base elements or symbols, individually termed signs and collectively called a script. In the examination of individual scripts, the study of writing systems has developed along independent lines. Thus, the terminology employed differs somewhat from field to field; the generic term text refers to an instance of writte
Guinea the Republic of Guinea, is a west-coastal country in West Africa. Known as French Guinea, the modern country is sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry in order to distinguish it from other countries with "Guinea" in the name and the eponymous region, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. Guinea has an area of 245,860 square kilometres; the sovereign state of Guinea is a republic with a president, directly elected by the people and is head of state and head of government. The unicameral Guinean National Assembly is the legislative body of the country, its members are directly elected by the people; the judicial branch is led by the Guinea Supreme Court, the highest and final court of appeal in the country. The country is named after the Guinea region. Guinea is a traditional name for the region of Africa, it ends at the Sahel. The English term Guinea comes directly from the Portuguese word Guiné, which emerged in the mid-15th century to refer to the lands inhabited by the Guineus, a generic term for the black African peoples below the Senegal River, as opposed to the'tawny' Zenaga Berbers, above it, whom they called Azenegues or Moors.
Guinea is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing 85 percent of the population. Guinea's people belong to twenty-four ethnic groups. French, the official language of Guinea, is the main language of communication in schools, in government administration, the media, but more than twenty-four indigenous languages are spoken. Guinea's economy is dependent on agriculture and mineral production, it is the world's second largest producer of bauxite, has rich deposits of diamonds and gold. The country was at the core of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Human rights in Guinea remain a controversial issue. In 2011 the United States government claimed that torture by security forces, abuse of women and children were ongoing abuses of human rights; the land, now Guinea belonged to a series of African empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958. From independence until the presidential election of 2010, Guinea was governed by a number of autocratic rulers.
For the origin of the name "Guinea" see Guinea § Etymology. What is now Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires; the earliest, the Ghana Empire, grew on trade but fell after repeated incursions of the Almoravids. It was in this period; the Sosso kingdom flourished in the resulting void but the Mali Empire came to prominence when Soundiata Kéïta defeated the Sosso ruler Soumangourou Kanté at the Battle of Kirina in c. 1235. The Mali Empire was ruled by Mansa, the most famous being Kankou Moussa, who made a famous hajj to Mecca in 1324. Shortly after his reign the Mali Empire began to decline and was supplanted by its vassal states in the 15th century; the most successful of these was the Songhai Empire, which expanded its power from about 1460 and surpassed the Mali Empire in both territory and wealth. It continued to prosper until a civil war over succession followed the death of Askia Daoud in 1582; the weakened empire fell to invaders from Morocco at the Battle of Tondibi just three years later.
The Moroccans proved unable to rule the kingdom however, it split into many small kingdoms. After the fall of the major West African empires, various kingdoms existed in. Fulani Muslims migrated to Futa Jallon in Central Guinea and established an Islamic state from 1735 to 1898 with a written constitution and alternate rulers; the Wassoulou or Wassulu empire was a short-lived empire, led by Samori Toure in the predominantly Malinké area of what is now upper Guinea and southwestern Mali. It moved to Ivory Coast before being conquered by the French; the slave trade came to the coastal region of Guinea with European traders in the 16th century. Slaves were exported to work elsewhere in the triangular trade. Guinea's colonial period began with French military penetration into the area in the mid-19th century. French domination was assured by the defeat in 1898 of the armies of Samori Touré, Mansa of the Ouassoulou state and leader of Malinké descent, which gave France control of what today is Guinea and adjacent areas.
France negotiated Guinea's present boundaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the British for Sierra Leone, the Portuguese for their Guinea colony, Liberia. Under the French, the country formed the Territory of Guinea within French West Africa, administered by a governor general resident in Dakar. Lieutenant governors administered the individual colonies, including Guinea. In 1958, the French Fourth Republic collapsed due to political instability and its failures in dealing with its colonies Indochina and Algeria; the founding of a Fifth Republic was supported by the French people, while French President Charles de Gaulle made it clear on 8 August 1958 that France's colonies were to be given a stark choice between more autonomy in a new French Community or immediate independence in the referendum to be held on 28 September 1958. The other colonies chose the former but Guinea—under the leadership of Ahmed Sékou Touré whose Democratic Party of Guinea had won 56 of 60 seats in 1957 territorial elections — voted overwhelmingly for independence.
The French withdrew and