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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mid-Nineteenth Century Dahomey: Recent Views vs. Contemporary Evidence
Author:Ross, David
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic term:Benin
Dahomey polity
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3171725
Abstract:Three mid-nineteenth century English travellers, F.E. Forbes, R.F. Burton and J.A. Skertchly, published books which contain detailed descriptions of the way in which the Dahoman state was then organized. The three authors' works, when taken together, form the most coherent, best researched, precolonial account of the Dahoman kingdom. Dahomey's more recent historians, while purporting to rely on Forbes', Barton's, and Skertchly's evidence, have nevertheless advanced arguments which are incompatible with that evidence. The three authors believed that Dahomey was an Abomey area slave-raiding community, whereas the kingdom's new historians claim that Dahomey was a European-like nation state. They have, it appears, while searching for their new interpretations, lost sight of their source material. As a means of drawing attention back to these sources an analysis of Forbes' Barton's, and Skertchly's testimony is presented. - Notes.