The royal architecture of Danhomé (current Benin)

The legendary Behanzin, a prominent resistant against the colonial invasion. He was the last king of independant Danhomey
The legendary Behanzin, a prominent resistant against the colonial invasion. He was the last king of independant Danhomey

The kingdom of Danhomey (current Benin), was founded by the Fon people in the 59th century of the African era (17th century of the Christian era). It became along the imperial time a powerful kingdom of West Africa. The Fon have this way built a complex of palace in the capital Abomey. The city became the social and political headquarters of the kingdom.

The African spirituality, through the principles of the primordial Ancestor, locally called Vodun (Voodoo), played a primordial role in the technical rise of the Fons. Abomey was also the religious capital of Danhomey. The wall were decorated of low sculpted relieves that represented the military victories and the history of the Fon people. We know that France invoked the Beninese cannibalism in order to impose colonization, at the end of the war against king Behanzin, who fought greatly. The colonizers photographed the palace of Abomey after the war that destroyed the country. Let’s then contemplate by ourselves what the ‘cannibals’ were able to do.

You can see the elaborated sculptures
You can see the elaborated sculptures
The palace of king Ghezo, grandfather of Behanzin
The palace of king Ghezo, grandfather of Behanzin
People in front of ruins
People in front of ruins
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Ruins of the reception room of the kings

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Behanzin’s house destroyed by the canons
Behanzin’s house destroyed by the canons
There was probably a caste of builders of palace, like everywhere else in Africa (black owned territories). Let’s remind that Africa has never been slave driver
There was probably a caste of builders of palace, like everywhere else in Africa (black owned territories). Let’s remind that Africa has never been slave driver

palais de behanzin 5palais behanzin 2

Left : Throne of Behanzin in the Museum of Quai Branly in France Right : Representations in the palace of Behanzin
Left : Throne of Behanzin in the Museum of Quai Branly in France
Right : Representations in the palace of Behanzin

Hotep !

By : Lisapo ya Kama

Associated source : Getty Conservation Institute

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