|Porto Novo is linked with roads linking to Pombas and Ribeira Grande and also to Topo da Coroa and the island's west coast and a small road to Tarrafal de Monte Trigo. The city was once called Carvoeiros, and it gradually became the largest urban settlement of the island, and has the main harbor of the island for commercial exchanges. Adjogan music is endemic to Porto-Novo. The style of music is played on an alounloun; a stick with metallic rings attached which jingle in time with the beating of the stick. The alounloun is said to descend from the staff of office of King Te-Agdanlin. The music is played to honor the King and his ministers. The music is also played in the city's Roman Catholic churches, but the royal bird crest has been replaced with a cross. Porto-Novo has a cement factory.
The city is home to a branch of the Banque Internationale du Bénin, a major bank in Benin, and the Ouando Market. Porto-Novo was once a tributary of the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo and there continues to be a sizable Yoruba community in Porto Novo today. The city's name is of Portuguese origin, meaning "New Port." It was originally developed as a port for the slave trade. In 1863, the British, who were active in nearby Nigeria, bombarded the city, which persuaded the Kingdom of Porto-Novo to accept French protection. The neighboring Kingdom of Abomey objected to French involvement in the region and war broke out between the two states. In 1883, Porto-Novo was incorporated into the French "colony of Dahomey and its dependencies." In 1900, it became Dahomey's capital city. Like in other parts of the world, Airlines have started offering the returners of the Olympics, cheap flight to Porto-Novo. People try to get a cheap flight to Porto-
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