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This article is about the kingdom from 1600 until 1900. For the republic from 1958–1975 (now known as Benin), see Republic of Dahomey.

Dahomey (/dəˈhmi/) was an African kingdom (located in the area of the present-day country of Benin) which lasted from about 1600 until 1894, when the last king Behanzin was defeated by the French and the country was annexed into the French colonial empire. Dahomey developed on the Abomey Plateau amongst the Fon people in the early 1600s and became a regional power in the 1700s by conquering key cities on the Atlantic coast. For much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Kingdom of Dahomey was a key regional state, eventually ending tributary status to the Oyo Empire. The Kingdom of Dahomey was an important regional power that had an organized domestic economy, significant international trade with European powers, a centralized administration, significant taxation systems, and an organized military. Notable in the kingdom were significant artwork, all-female military units known as the Dahomey Amazons, and elaborate religious practices of Vodun with the large festival of the Annual Customs of Dahomey.


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