First the British who had been a major purchaser of slaves began taking an

First the british who had been a major purchaser of

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First, the British who had been a major purchaser of slaves began taking an active stance in abolishing the slave trade in the 1830s. They sent multiple diplomatic parties to Ghezo to try to convince him to end Dahomey's participation in the trade, all of these were rebuffed with Ghezo worried of the political consequences of ending such trade. [2] Second, the city of Abeokuta was founded in 1825 and rose to prominence as a safe haven for people to be safe from the slave raids
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by Dahomey. In 1844, Dahomey and Abeokuta went to war and Abeokuta was victorious. Other violence in the early 1850s further cemented Abeokuta's challenge to Dahomey's economic control in the region. [7] Internally, the pressure resulted in a number of changes. Ghezo rejected British requests for ending the slave trade, but at the same time began expanded significantly the palm oil trade as an economic alternative. [2] Politically, the debate became centered around two political factions: the Elephant and the Fly. The Elephant, connected with Ghezo, high-profile political leaders, and the creole slave traders like the family of De Sousa, pushed for continued activity in the slave trade and resistance to British pressure. The Fly faction, in contrast, was a loose collection of palm oil producers and some chieftains, which supported accommodation with Abeokuta and the British in order to expand palm oil trade. [7] At the policy and war debates held at the Annual Customs these two factions held a number of tense discussions about the future of the Kingdom of Dahomey. [7] In 1851-1852, the British imposed a naval blockade on the ports of Dahomey in order to force them to end the slave trade. In January 1852, Ghezo accepted a treaty with the British ending the export of slaves from Dahomey. [2] In the same year and the following one, Ghezo suspended large-scale military campaigns and human sacrifice in the kingdom. However political pressure contributed to the resumption of slave trading and large scale military action in 1857 and 1858. [2] Ghezo was assassinated by a sniper associated with Abeokuta and large scale warfare between the two states resumed in 1864. [7] This one ended again in the favor of Abeokuta and the result was that the slave trade could not be significantly reestablished to its 1850 level. The power of slave traders in the empire decreased and the palm oil trade became a more significant part of the economy. [7] European colonization (1880-1900) [ edit ] Further information: First Franco-Dahomean War and Second Franco-Dahomean War Statue of Behanzin in Abomey Dahomey's control of key coastal cities continued and made the area a crucial location in the European scramble for Africa . [9] In 1878, the Kingdom of Dahomey agreed to the French making the city of Cotonou into a protectorate; although taxation of the King of Dahomey was to remain in effect. In 1883, the French received similar concessions over Porto-Novo , a traditional rival of Dahomey along the coast. [9] In 1889, King Glele died and his son Béhanzin came to power and immediately became quite hostile to the French in negotiations. Béhanzin renounced the treaty with France providing them with the city of Cotonou and began raiding the possessions. The hostility hit a high point when Béhanzin began conducting slave raids in French protectorates along the coast, namely Grand-Popo , in 1891.
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  • Spring '19
  • Jane White

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