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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:On the Trail of the Bush King: A Dahomean Lesson in the Use of Evidence
Author:Bay, Edna G.
Year:1979
Periodical:History in Africa
Volume:6
Pages:1-15
Language:English
Geographic term:Benin
Subjects:Fon
myths (form)
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3171738
Abstract:The so-called Bush King of Dahomey illustrates the problems inherent in a less than rigorous use of historical sources. A being whose checkered career can be traced through the nineteenth and twentieth century literature, the Bush King as such was unknown and remains unknown to the Fon of Dahomy. The present paper surveys the nature of the Bush monarch as outlined in the major primary and secondary sources, and discusses the two rationales, economic and ideological, offered for its existence. In conclusion, an alternative explanation for the institution is suggested, based on contemporary oral data interpreted in the nineteenth century travellers' observations. Notes.
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