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Abomey
—  Commune and city  —
Abomey is located in Benin
Abomey
Location in Benin
Coordinates: 7°11′8″N 1°59′17″E / 7.18556°N 1.98806°E / 7.18556; 1.98806
Country  Benin
Department Zou Department
Area
 - Total 54.8 sq mi (142 km2)
Elevation 725 ft (221 m)
Population (2002)
 - Total 78,341
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)

Abomey is a city in the Zou Department of Benin, formerly the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey. The kingdom was established about 1625. The commune covers an area of 142 square kilometres and as of 2002 had a population of 78,341 people.[1][2]

Contents

The Royal Palaces of Abomey

The royal palaces of Abomey are a group of earthen structures built by the Fon people between the mid-17th and late 19th Centuries. One of the most famous and historically significant traditional sites in West Africa, the palaces form one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The town was surrounded by a mud wall with a circumference estimated at six miles (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911), pierced by six gates, and protected by a ditch five feet deep, filled with a dense growth of prickly acacia, the usual defence of West African strongholds. Within the walls were villages separated by fields, several royal palaces, a market-place and a large square containing the barracks. In November 1892, Behanzin, the last independent reigning king of Dahomey, being defeated by French colonial forces, set fire to Abomey and fled northward. The French colonial administration rebuilt the town and connected it with the coast by a railroad.

Royal Palaces of Abomey*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
State Party  Benin
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Reference 323
Region** Africa
Inscription history
Inscription 1985  (9th Session)
Endangered 1985-2007
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

When UNESCO designated the royal palaces of Abomey as a World Heritage Site in 1985 it stated

From 1625 to 1900 twelve kings succeeded one another at the head of the powerful Kingdom of Abomey. With the exception of King Akaba, who used a separate enclosure, they each had their palaces built within the same cob-wall area, in keeping with previous palaces as regards the use of space and materials. The royal palaces of Abomey are a unique reminder of this vanished kingdom.

From 1993, 50 of the 56 bas-reliefs that formerly decorated the walls of King Glèlè (now termed the 'Salle des Bijoux') have been located and replaced on the rebuilt structure. The bas-reliefs carry an iconographic program expressing the history and power of the Fon people.

Today, the city is of less importance, but is still popular with tourists and as a centre for crafts.

Threats

As reported by UNESCO World Heritage News, the Royal Palaces of Abomey suffered from a fire on January 21, 2009, "which destroyed several buildings."[3] The fire was the most recent disaster which has plagued the site, coming after a powerful tornado damaged the site in 1984.[4]

Demographics

Year Population[5]
1860s 24 000
1979 38 412
1992 65 725
2002 77 997
2008 (estimate) 87 344

Gallery

References

External links

Coordinates: 7°11′8″N 1°59′17″E / 7.18556°N 1.98806°E / 7.18556; 1.98806

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Africa : West Africa : Benin : Abomey
Contents

A former capital of Benin.

See

Royal Palaces are on the UNESCO World Heritage List

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ABOMEY, capital of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey, West Africa, now included in the French colony of the same name. It is 70 m. N. by rail of the seaport of Kotonu, and has a population of about 15,000. Abomey is built on a rolling plain, 800 ft. above sea-level, terminating in short bluffs to the N.W., where it is bounded by a long depression. The town was surrounded by a mud wall, pierced by six gates, and was further protected by a ditch 5 ft. deep, filled with a dense growth of prickly acacia, the usual defence of West African strongholds. Within the walls, which had a circumference of six miles, were villages separated by fields, several royal palaces, a market-place and a large square containing the barracks. In November 1892, Behanzin, the king of Dahomey, being defeated by the French, set fire to Abomey and fled northward. Under French administration the town has been rebuilt, placed (1905) in railway communication with the coast, and given an ample water supply by the sinking of artesian wells.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Proper noun

Singular
Abomey

Plural
-

Abomey

  1. A major city in southern Benin.

French

Proper noun

Abomey

  1. Abomey
  2. (dated) Dahomey

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