National Economy, Ethnic relation and history, Religion, Ethnic cultural differences, Government and leadership. Republic of Benin initially known as Dahomey was an African kingdom in the present-day Republic of Benin which lasted from 1600 until 1900. Republic of Benin History and Culture Information and Travel Guide. Vacation package Book. Dahomey developed on the Abomey Plateau in the early 1600s and became a regional power in the 1700s by conquering key cities on the Atlantic coast. For much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Kingdom of Dahomey was a key regional state, eventually ending tributary status to the Oyo empire and being a major location for the Atlantic slave trade, possibly supplying up to 20% of the slaves to Europe and the Americas. In 1894, the kingdom became part of French West Africa as part of the territory of French Dahomey (which also included Porto-Novo and a large area to the north of Dahomey). French rule lased until 1960 when the independent country took the name Republic of Dahomey, to be changed to Benin in 1975.