ahosi

The Mino, or “Our Mothers”, were an all-female military regiment of the Dahomey Kingdom in western Africa during the 17th to 19th centuries. They were initially established as a royal bodyguard armed with muskets. They were later developed into a fully-fledged militia who were deployed in Dahomey’s war against the neighbouring kingdom of Savi in 1727.

The Mino came to be a semi-sacred order, recruited from foreign captives, Dahomian free women and the king’s own wives. Subject to intense physical training and armed with Danish guns, the Mino developed a reputation as disciplined but ferocious fighters who beheaded their enemies on the battlefield.

By the mid-19th century the regiment numbered in the thousands and made up a third of the Dahomey army. In 1890 the Mino were deployed in the First Franco-Dahomean War. The French sustained heavy losses to the Mino and French Foreign Legionnaires later wrote of the “incredible courage and audacity” of the ‘Dahomey Amazons’.

Despite this, Dahomey’s forces were ultimately crushed by the French use of machine guns, cannons and cavalry. The last Mino is believed to have been a woman named Nawi who died in 1979.

[Read more about the Mino]

The #Ahosi (the kings wives) They often attacked at the break of dawn—a mass of fearless warriors, bearing down upon the unfortunate village, giving no quarter to the terrified victims who were certain to meet a painful death.

Their weapons? 3 ft. machetes, flintlock rifles and when the trade allowed it, Winchester rifles. Their teeth were filed to sharp points, and they were skilled in hand combat. Their training was even more vicious, forcing them to climb and run over 2in. thorns without flinching, and they gave captured enemy combatants arms so that they could clobber them senseless, their version of live fire training. Their battle standard was a macabre array of the skins and bones from past conquests, and people who ran away from battle were hunted down, dragged by their hair, and over the next four days, had their ears and fingers chopped off, eyes gouged out, and later decapitated.

Such were the gruesome tales coming from a special warrior unit in the Kingdom of Dahomey, a West African state that exerted much influence around West Africa’s Slave Coast from the 17th to the 19th Century, their expansion stymied by France’s colonial aspirations.

This warrior unit was not exceptional because it disposed its enemies with a lot of violence; it was so because it was an all-female unit.

At some point, the female warriors of #Dahomey were called, used to serve as the king’s bodyguards, as they could be allowed within the precincts of the palace at night, something which only men who sought summary execution would dare. By law, these women, who were also called #mino (“our mothers”), were nominally married to the king, so no man was allowed to approach them; merely touching them could lead to execution. #didyouknow #warriors #truthblackfriday

“Lanwit” inspired by the beauty, resilience and power of the women who played a part in the Haitian Revolution that was won victoriously in 1804. Channeling today’s conscious, active and intelligent Haitian women as well as those of the past, and even farther, to our African warrior ancestors, the #Ahosi of #Dahomey. My history is your history.
Know your worth, celebrate tour beauty, and just ROCK❤

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NatiRel Bourdeau or ayitinati