Law, Robin. The politics of commercial transition: factional conflict in Dahomey in the context of the ending of the Atlantic slave trade

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Title: The politics of commercial transition: factional conflict in Dahomey in the context of the ending of the Atlantic slave trade

Published in: The journal of African history -- Vol. 38, no. 2

Published By: The journal of African history -- Vol. 38, no. 2 Cambridge University Press. 1997. 213-233 p.

By line: By Robin Law

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2016. Computer File

Culture: Fon (FA18)

Subjects: Chief executive (643); Form and rules of government (642); Status, role, and prestige (554); Administrative agencies (647); Ingroup antagonisms (578); External relations (648); Slavery (567); External trade (439); Acculturation and culture contact (177); Inheritance (428); Political movements (668); Political parties (665);

Abstract: This article examines the background and significance of the royal succession crisis that occurred in Dahomey in 1858. It places the crisis in the wider context of widening divisions among members of the traditional political elite over two culturally and economically important issues. One involved heated controversies over the custom of sacrificing captured humans on the coronation and anniversary of kings. The other related to disagreements within the Dahomian ruling élite about how to respond to the decline of the Atlantic slave trade. Conservative elites wished for the continuity of both human sacrifice and slavery, claimed that discontinuing them would led to the demilitarization of Dahomey society. By contrast, progressive elites organizing themselves around the designated heir apparent Badahun (Glele) who sought to promote the legitimate trade of exporting palm oil as a substitute for slaves. The encirclement of the kingdom by British and French colonial forces led to the resolution of this controversy in favor of progressive elites.

Document Number: 12

Document ID: fa18-012

Document Type: Journal Article

Language: English

Note: Includes bibliographical references

Field Date: Not specified

Evaluation: Historian- 4,5

Analyst: Teferi Abate Adem

Coverage Date: 1800-1894

Coverage Place: Dahomey Kingdom (Benin since 1975)

LCSH: Fon (African people)

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