District Area: 79 km2
Leader: Léhady Vinagnon Soglo (Parti de la renaissance du Bénin)
Name and Etymology:
Kotonou means "by the river of death" in the Fon language.
Cotonou is Benin's largest city and a major transport hub for West Africa. It is a major port for trade from the land-locked countries of the Sahel as well as trade from Abidjan displaced by war. The city is also a center for the manufacture of palm oil, textiles, cement, petroleum products, and iron.
The city was founded in 1830 as a slaving port by the King of Dahomey and it came under French rule in 1878. Benin became independent from France in 1960; Cotonou became part of the People's Republic of Benin from 1975 through 1990. It is Benin's largest city and the seat of government, though not the capital.