The African Kingdom of Dahomey (modern day Benin) lasted from about 1600-1900. In 1729, an all-female militia organized and became a respected force within the kingdom. Eventually, the militia became so highly respected that King Ghezo, king of Dahomey from 1797 to 1818, ordered all of the families in the kingdom to send their daughters in to be considered to join the militia. Only the fittest and strongest women were chosen.
In the 1890’s, the group of highly-trained, and heavily-armed military Dahomean military women engaged in a brutal battle against the French, in what came to be known as the First Franco-Dahomean War. These women were known as the “Amazones.”
French street artist YZ Yseult pays homage to the Amazones of Dahomey in this street art series, as seen on the streets of Senegal.
Images via Brooklyn Street Art.