History of West Africa French Colony

Kingdom of Dahomey

The Kingdom of Dahomey (Danhome), existed from ca. 1620 until 1901. Early in the 18th century it was subjugated by the Kingdom of Oyo; in 1818, Dahomey threw off the yoke of Oyo rule. It's capital was Abomey. The population of the kingdom consisted mainly of Ewe (Fon).
In 1724 respectively 1727, Dahomey conquered the Portuguese and French coastal trading forts of Allada and Whydah. Dahomey used to trade African slaves for European weapons. A peculiarity noted by European visitors was a female royal bodyguard, the 'Dahomey Amazons'.
After Haiti gained it's independence in 1804, the Haitian Emperor hired a palace guard of (male) Dahomeans.
In 1863, the French declared a protectorate over Porto Novo, in 1889 they occupied Cotonou, The practice of slave trading/slave raiding and of human sacrifice in Dahomey was criticized by the French. In 1892, France declared a protectorate over the entire kingdom. In 1892-1894 the kingdom was conquered; King Behanzin was deposed and exiled to Martinique, the French installed a puppet king, Goutchilli. Capital Abomey had been burnt in 1892. The kingdom was abolished in 1901.
In the 1880es, the size of the kingdom was estimated at 10,000 square km, the population estimates ranged between 15,000 and 90,000 (Meyers).

The Kings of Dahomey, by Jeffrey Naus
Dahomey, from Catholic Encyclopedia
History of Benin, from African Cultures, on Dahomey-Benin, and from Infoplease
History of Kingdom of Danhome, from Abomey Museum
Abomey, from Infoplease
Chronology of Portuguese Possessions in Africa 1415-1800, by Marco Ramerini, scroll down for Benin : Ajuda/Whydah and Joaquin/Godomey
Royal Palaces of Abomey, from unesco.org; Palace Sculptures of Abomey, from Getty Conservation Institute, publication announcement; Joseph Langanfin, representative of the royal family of Abomey, from Tamarin; Images from Abomey, from Bullis School
Armed Conflict Events Data : Dahomey 1800-1999, from OnWar.com; list of wars 1818-1892 of the Kingdom of Dahomey
Article Abomey, from Nation Master, has list of kings
Behanzin, from Black History Pages
Agoli-Agbo, from Fact Index
Article Dodds, Alfred Amedee, from Salmonsen's Konversationsleksikon (1915-1930), in Danish
Behanzin ou la resistance, posted by Patrice Kangni, in French
DOCUMENTS Flag of Kingdom of Dahomey, from FOTW
Article Dahomey, from EB 1911
Article Dahome, P.1 (415), P.2 (416), P.3 (417), from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1888-1890 edition, in German
Percival Christopher Wren, Here are Ladies, account on the 1892/1893 French expedition against Dahomey, from Stepsons of France
Medaille du Dahomey, from Military Photos, comment in French
Farewell address of Behanin, to the Dahomey people (1893), posted by Patrice Kangni, in French
List of rulers of Danhome, from World Statesmen
REFERENCE M'Baye Gueye and A. Adu Boahen, Dahomey, pp.127-129; in A. du Boahen (ed.), Unesco General History of Africa Vol.VII : Africa under Colonial Domination 1880-1935, Paris etc. 1985
Article Dahomey, in : Statesman's Year Book 1895 pp.320-321 [G]
Article : Dahomey, in : International Year Book 1898 p.255 [G]
Article : Africa, in : The American Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events 1864 pp.1-2 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on September 1st 2007

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