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Richard Burton, visiting Dahomey in 1862, sees some 2500 women setting off as if for battle.But in fact battle is what they are trained to avoid. In a dawn raid the intention is to capture everyone, with minimum loss of life, for the slave markets on the coast.A French protectorate is established in part of the kingdom in 1892.

The slave trade is the king's major source of revenue, and the classic Dahomey tactic is surprise. The only occasion on which Dahomey is profligate with life, again mesmerizing European observers, is on the death of the king.

When still a few days away from an enemy town, the invading army abandons the established tracks and melts into the jungle. In a custom practised also in the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and China, large numbers of people (said to be about 500 in a funeral ceremony in 1791) are sacrificed to provide the ruler with wives and attendants in the next world.

Twice yearly there is a smaller number of sacrifices, usually of prisoners of war, to make up any deficiencies which may have developed in the dead king's retinue.

The customs of Dahomey greatly offend the sensibilities of many 19th-century Europeans, in particular those trying to abolish the slave trade.

Power changes hands in no fewer than six military coups between 19.

In the last of these coups, in 1972, control of the state is seized by Major Mathieu Kérékou.It enables mobile users to choose who knows where they are and when, giving them full control of their desired privacy.) and formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa.Pursuing a communist policy, he introduces a measure of stability in the nation's life.As if to write a line under the past he changes the name of the republic in 1975 from Dahomey to Benin.(The historic Benin lies to the east, in Nigeria, but Dahomey's coastline is on the Bight of Benin.) Kérékou proves a rarity among politicians, a communist leader capable of relinquishing power.


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