A thread on the legendary all female Dahomey Amazons warriors of the Empire of Dahomey (Present day Republic Of Benin, not to be confused with the Great Benin Kingdom). The Amazon were known as Mino in the Fon language of Benin, which means "Our Mothers"
While most People today know of the Dahomey Amazons from their legendary battles with French troops & their Senegalese, Hausa & Yoruba allies who destroyed the Dahomey Empire in 1894, this was actually the final chapter in the 200 years blood soaked saga of the Mino.
The Mino were founded in the late 1600s by King Houegbadja of Dahomey, initially as a team of elephant hunters. At the time, elephant tusks was one of the most valuable commodities in all of Africa. Elephant hunting was precarious & required great skill & team coordination.
The Mino became so prolific in elephant hunting & weaponry that, in 1708, Queen Hangbe, the daughter of King Houegbadja, repurposed the Mino as her personal bodyguard. A role in which they served faithfully until the death of Queen Hangbe in 1711.
Queen Hangbe was succeeded by her younger brother Agaja. King Agaja was the first to deploy the Mino in battle against his enemies in 1727. At the time, the Kingdom of Ouidah, the birthplace of Voodoo, was the most powerful state in the region.
Ouidah control most trade routes & held a monopoly on the slave trade with Europeans. Many of the slaves traded to Europeans by Ouidah came from Dahomey, so King Agaja wanted revenge & a piece of the slave trade market, which had become the most lucrative business in West Africa
During the conquest Savi, the Capital of Ouidah, King Agaja ordered the Mino to dress up as the male soldiers & line up behind the male ranks in the battle formation. The Ouidah army was surprised to see such a large number of troops marching towards them.
Once the battle ensued, the Dahomey male troops at the frontline line pretended to be overwhelmed & faked a retreat. The Ouidah army then gave chase to finish off the Dahomey army. They were soon confronted by the wall of Mino warriors who were laying in wait.
The Mino were renowned for decapitating their opponents in the midst of combat, with just one swing of the sword. A skill they had developed & refined from hunting & chopping up though elephant meat. And so fell the entire Ouidah Army. Dahomey then annexed the Kingdom of Ouidah.
In 1774, King Agaja was succeeded by his youngest son Tegbesu "Bossa" Ahade. During the reign of Tegbesu, Dahomey became a wholly militarized society, which existed for the sole purpose of waging war. Tegbesu also repurposed the Mino as a Slave raiding force.
King Tegbesu greatly increased the numbers of Mino warriors & implemented new rules. The Mino were not to get married & were to remain virgins while they served in the Army. They also adopted a new red (for blood) uniform to distinguish them from the men.
They wore antelope horns on their heads as a symbol of rank & service. This gave them an even more terrifying appearance. During this period, their legendary reputation for bloodlust grew & spread far & wide, even reaching Europe & the Americas.
In one instance, after a Portuguese army was soundly defeated & expelled from Motapa (Zimbabwe) in Southern Africa, thousands of miles from Dahomey, Portuguese troops returned to Europe & lied to their king & public they were ambushed by a platoon of 6ft tall female Mino warriors
(Fun Fact: King Tegbesu is still venerated in Hatian Voodoo to this very day, as the Loa (spirit) Bossu Ashade.)
In 1764, the Mino added to their already legendary status when they confronted & soundly defeated an Asante (Ashanti) army which had attempted to capture Ouidah. The Ashanti at this time, were the most militaristic & most powerful nation in West Africa.
During this period, the Vodun religion had taken a stronghold across Dahomey. The Mino became Vodun practitioners & many also served as Vodun priestesses. They were reputed to possess magical powers, such as summoning lightning, becoming invisible & transforming into Panthers etc
The Mino also took an increased role in government, having the final say on matters of war. Despite all their success, Dahomey suffered great losses to the Neighboring Oyo empire of the Yoruba. After 7 attempts, you successfully invaded Dahomey & forced them to pay tribute.
This tribute was paid primarily in the form of slaves. As a result, many Fon People of Dahomey , including many of the Mino were carried away to the Americas, especially to the French colonies of Saint Domingue (Haiti) Martinique, & the Louisiana territories.
Even in the Americas, the Mino continued to impact the society. The Fon People brought with them the Voodoo religion to the Americas. Many of the enslaved Mino became powerful Voodoo priestesses in the Americas. Several Mino are also venerated as Loa in Haitian Voodoo.
The adoptive mother of Haitian revolutionary Jean Jacques Dessalines was Toya Montu, an enslaved Mino from Dahomey. She taught the young Dessalines about warfare & how to fight.
Back in Africa, the Oyo empire began to decline due to Fulani Jihads & slave raids. Dahomey saw an opportunity to reassert itself as a dominant power. King Ghezo of Dahomey declared all out war on Oyo. He tasked the Mino with wreaking havoc on the Yoruba.
In 1835, Oyo attempted one final invasion of Dahomey, but the Oyo army was soundly defeated. Oyo never regained it's prominence, & Dahomey became the top military power in the region. The Dahomey - Oyo wars still rank as some of the most devastating in Africa's history.
The Mino continued rain terror on the Yoruba. They captured several Yoruba cities, including the sacred city of Ketou, which was founded by princes from Ilé Ifé, the cradle of Yoruba civilization.
In one account of the battle, in a display their superior combat skills, several Mino Women dropped their swords, disarmed their opponents with their bare hands & used their opponents swords to gut & decapitate them.
Dahomey at this point was at her peak until 1892, when it was invaded by a combined Army of French, Senegalese, Hausa & Yoruba troops during the European conquest of Africa. Even after most of the Dahomey male soldiers surrendered, the Mino chose to fight to the death..
In 1894, King Behanzin, the last king of Dahomey surrendered to the French & went into exile to Martinique. The remaining Mino were disbanded & Dahomey was annexed by France an incorporated into the French colony of Benin. Thus concluded thr saga of the Dahomey Amazons
King Behanzin, the last King of Dahomey with his personal Mino Bodyguards.
Also check out this book for more info on the subject. I don't like the title, especially the "Black Sparta" part, but the research & info is thorough

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh
 

Keep Current with Great House

Great House Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

PDF

Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @xspotsdamark

14 Sep
In November of 1733 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean island of St John, led by an Akan princess named Breffu, rebelled against their Danish captors, seized control of the island & established an Akan Kingdom in the Caribbean, in one of longest slave revolts. Thread... Image
The rebellion was carried out primarily by enslaved Akan from the Akwamu Kingdom in the Gold Coast (Present day Ghana & Ivory Coast). It was masterminded by an Akan princess named Breffu, who was enslaved by Pieter Kroyer, a plantation owner from Denmark.
Breffu approached King June, another enslaved Akan royal from Akwam with her plan to massacre the slave owners & the Danish soldiers on station on the Island. Together they succeeded in rallying 150 Akan slaves to their cause. Many non Akan slaves refused to join the rebellion
Read 13 tweets
22 Jun
Not much is known of Pre-Colonial African metropolitan life. You seldom hear about city life & culture of the era. Historians Walter Rodney & Robin Walker show that Europeans destroyed over 100 major cities during the conquest of Africa. A thread on great Pre-Colonial cities.
1- Kilwa.

Renowned world traveler Ibn Battuta said of Kilwa: "Principal city on the coast the greater part of whose inhabitants are Zanj of very black complexion.”
"One of the most beautiful and well-constructed cities in the world, the whole of it is elegantly built”
Kilwa was a medieval African City-State in East Africa on the coast of what is now the nation of Tanzania. Kilwa was founded around the 9th century A.D & reached it's peak between the 13th & 15th century. At it's height, Kilwa was a major trade hub.
Read 27 tweets
1 Apr
A thread on the fascinating life of Queen Nzinga of the Mbundu people of Angola, one of the most badass women in history, also one of Africa's greatest rulers & a personal hero of mine. Image
Nzinga was born in 1583 in what is now the African nation of Angola. Her father Ngola Kia Samba was the king of the Ndongo kingdom, & her mother was one of his concubines. She had three younger Sisters & One younger Brother.
She was named Nzinga because she was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. In Mbundu culture, if a child survives such a birth, then that child is destined for greatness.
Read 21 tweets
23 Feb
Even though today the Zodiac/Horoscope is relegated to the realm of esoteric pseudoscience & paganism, Astrology is the foundational basis of most modern religious thought, especially the Judeo-Christian faith. Here's a thread about Astrolatry & why your religion is bullshit.
While some form of Astrolatry is present in almost every single prehistoric culture & continues to this day in some form, I'll focus primarily on Prehistoric African Astrolatry & it's influence on modern spiritual thought.
We can trace the origins of this branch of Astrolatry to the region of what is now the Sahara desert. Up until about 12,000 years ago, the Sahara was a lush, fertile & relatively populated Savannah. The exact causes of the desertification have not been conclusively determined.
Read 22 tweets
17 Feb
I think I just cracked an ancient mystery.

In 450 BC, Greek historian Herodotus interviewed the Egyptian Priest at Edfu about their origins, they told him about the Shemsu Hor, a lineage of Semi divine Horus Kings who came from up from the Nile around 5000BC & ruled as gods.
The Shemsu Hor were said to have taught the native Egyptians in various disciplines including astronomy, architecture, mathematics, agriculture etc. The Shemsu Hor were worshipped as Gods by the prehistoric Egyptians, but the priest insisted that they were real & mortal.
For hundreds of years, Egyptologists have dismissed the story of the Shemsu Hor as entirely mythical.
Read 9 tweets
18 Jan
How many People have heard of Imbangala? They were perhaps the most terrifying & at once fascinating People in Africa's illustrious history. Tragically, they were also unwittingly involved in the enslavement of almost half of all Africans trafficked by Europeans to the Americas. Image
To this day, not much is known of the origins of the Imbangala. They appeared mysteriously in Central Africa in the 17th century, founded the most powerful kingdom in Pre-Colonial Africa, wreaked havoc & terror for 2 centuries until their eventual annihilation by Queen Nzingha
They first appeared on the scene in 1500 & settled along the western banks of the Kongo river. It was the Bakongo people of the Great Kingdom of Kongo who named them "Bangala", meaning "River People". They soon became the fiercest nemesis of the Bakongo & later Queen Nzingha
Read 12 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!


This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!