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  • Cited by 6
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Rue, George Michael La 2016. Histories of Medicine and Healing in the Indian Ocean World.

    Furtado, Júnia Ferreira 2014. The eighteenth-century Luso-Brazilian journey to Dahomey: West Africa through a scientific lens. Atlantic Studies, Vol. 11, Issue. 2, p. 256.

    NORMAN, NEIL L. and KELLY, KENNETH G. 2004. Landscape Politics: The Serpent Ditch and the Rainbow in West Africa. American Anthropologist, Vol. 106, Issue. 1, p. 98.

    Eltis, David and Richardson, David 1997. West Africa and the transatlantic slave trade: New evidence of long‐run trends. Slavery & Abolition, Vol. 18, Issue. 1, p. 16.

    FERGUSON, R. BRIAN 1990. Blood of the Leviathan: Western contact and warfare in Amazonia. American Ethnologist, Vol. 17, Issue. 2, p. 237.

    Law, Robin 1987. Ideologies of royal power: the dissolution and reconstruction of political authority on the ‘Slave Coast’, 1680–1750. Africa, Vol. 57, Issue. 03, p. 321.


Dahomey and the Slave Trade: Reflections on the Historiography of the Rise of Dahomey

  • Robin Law (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2009

The rise of the kingdom of Dahomey coincided with the growth of the slave trade in the area, and consequently has often served as a case study of the impact of the slave trade upon African societies. The article reviews the historiography of the rise of Dahomey, in an attempt to clarify the relationship between the nature of the Dahomian state and its participation in the slave trade. It considers, and refutes, the view that the rulers of Dahomey had originally intended to bring the slave trade to an end. It examines the militaristic character of the Dahomian state, and suggests that this is best understood as a consequence of increased warfare stimulated by the overseas market for war captives. Finally, it examines and partially endorses those views which have presented the political centralization of Dahomey as a constructive response to the problems of order posed by slave-raiding.

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The Journal of African History
  • ISSN: 0021-8537
  • EISSN: 1469-5138
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-african-history
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