Benin: Ouidah – Fort Joao Batista

This Portuguese fort in Ouidah, built in 1680, saw perhaps the heaviest flow of slave trade by Portuguese to Brazil. The fort is rather simple compared to the more fortress like castles in Ghana – it’s a perfect square with four towers at the corners and several buildings inside the perimeter. An interesting fact about this fort is that after the abolition of slave trade, the Portuguese retained the fort while the rest of present day Benin (then Dahomey) became French. Until 1961, this tiny fort was the world’s smallest recognized political unit with a total population of 5 and a territory of 1 sq km. When Dahomey gave Portugal an ultimatum to surrender the fort, the Portuguese tried unsuccessfully to burn it but were kicked out to Nigeria.