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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Neglected Account of the Dahomian Conquest of Whydah (1727): The 'Relation de la Guerre de Juda' of the Sieur Ringard of Nantes
Author:Law, Robin R.ISNI
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic term:Benin
Subjects:Dahomey polity
historical sources
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3171865
Abstract:The best known contemporary account of the Dahomian conquest of Whydah (1727), on which recent historians have largely depended, is that of the English trader William Snelgrave, originally published in 1734. This article presents the text of a detailed eyewitness account of the war of 1727, which appears to have been hitherto wholly neglected. It is a brief manuscript entitled 'Relation de la guerre de Juda (i.e. Whydah)', by a French trader, the Sieur Ringard of the ship 'Le Mars' of Nantes, preserved in the County Record Office, Hertford. Ringard's account is intrinsically more credible, as well as being closer to the events than Snelgrave's. It contains a much more detailed account of the first stage of the campaign, which incidentally refutes Snelgrave's assertion that the Whydah authorities took no action to defend their northern provinces. It also refutes Snelgrave's assertion that the Whydahs remained confident of their security until the Dahomians' unexpected crossing of the river. It would appear that in Snelgrave's account, though recorded only about four weeks after the war, events had already been mythologized. Notes, ref.