Warfare and society in the Kingdom of Dahomey: 1818-1894
Maroukis, Thomas C.
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The Kingdom of Dahomey was engaged in a war nearly every year between 1818 and 1894. This study analyzes the motivations and functions of such warfare. The wars began after Gheazo became king. He came to power as a result of a coup d'etat. In order to protect his rule he established a centralized administration by creating a dual political structure of parallel male and female officials. As part of this process, the regular army was expanded and several thousand women became soldiers who fought along side the men. These are Dahomey's unique features: female administrative officers, and female soldiers. The primary functions of the army and the motivations behind the annual wars were political and institutional. Secondary, but almost of equal significance 'were economic motivations, i.e., to acquire slaves to sell to the Europeans on the coast, or for use on Dahomian plantations.
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