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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Dahomean Middleman System, 1727-c.1818
Author:Ross, David
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Benin
Subjects:slave trade
Dahomey polity
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/182190
Abstract:From c. 1720 until 1727 much slave buying by Europeans on the West African coast was concentrated in Savi, the capital of a small Aja State called Whydah. When the Dahomeans overran Savi in 1727 they stopped the inland slave suppliers from travelling to the coast, prevented the local Hueda from going inland to collect slaves, and insisted that the Europeans bought slaves only from Dahomean dealers. The Dahomean middleman policy did not at first operate satisfactorily. Dahomey prospered as a middleman State only between c. 1748 and c. 1770. The Dahomeans appear to have introduced their middleman policy in an attempt to ensure that they would continue to profit from slave trading even after they had ceased to be able to take large numbers of captives themselves. Although the policy was by no means a complete success, it was important in that it seems to have led the Dahomeans to begin placing garrisons in the territories they ravaged. It appears, in fact, to have been the pursuit of their middleman goals that led them to begin creating the 19th-century 'greater' Dahomean State. Notes, ref.