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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Anti-Slave Trade Theme in Dahoman History: An Examination of the Evidence
Author:Ross, David
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic term:Benin
Subjects:slave trade
Dahomey polity
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3171609
Abstract:In the 1960s Isaac A. Akinjogbin published a series of works in which he gave an account of a long-lived Dahoman anti-slave trade tradition. Dahomey was, he claims, founded ca. 1620 by a group of 'highly principled and far-seeing' Aja in the Abomey area. These Aja founded the kingdom so as to be able to wage war effectively against those of their countrymen who traded in slaves. Akinjog- bin believed that the Dahomans spent about ninety years making war on their slave trading neighbors. It was only in 1730 that the European slavers and their African allies were able to force the Dahomans to abandon their anti-slave trade campaign and to begin trading in slaves themselves. Akin-jogbin's claim has been taken up and extended by John C. Yoder. Yoder accepts that Dahoman politics were dominated after 1818 by a military pro-slave trade clique headed by Gezo (1818-1858). Between them Akinjogbin and Yoder have presented a revolutionary interpretation of Dahoman history. This interpretation suggests that anti-slave trade sentiment formed a powerful force in pre-colonial Dahoman political life and that European pressure and intervention prevented progressive, liberal Dahomans from moulding their nation's destiny. Notes.