Benin, a French-speaking West African nation, is a birthplace of the vodun (or “voodoo”) religion and home to the former Dahomey Kingdom from circa 1600–1900. In Abomey, Dahomey's former capital, the Historical Museum occupies two royal palaces with bas-reliefs recounting the kingdom’s past and a throne mounted on human skulls. To the north, Pendjari National Park offers safaris with elephants, hippos and lions. Benin City has long been famous for its “bronzes”—actually brass work, some of which is said to date from the 13th century—and for its ivory and wood carvings. Its museum (1960) has a notable collection of some of the kingdom's early pieces. ... Benin City is the site of the University of Benin (1970).