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The Precolonial State in West Africa
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Book description

This volume incorporates historical, ethnographic, art historical, and archaeological sources to examine the relationship between the production of space and political order in the West African Kingdom of Dahomey during the tumultuous Atlantic Era. Dahomey, situated in the modern Republic of Bénin, emerged in this period as one of the principal agents in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and an exemplar of West African state formation. Drawing from eight years of ethnohistorical and archaeological fieldwork in the Republic of Bénin, the central thesis of this volume is that Dahomean kings used spatial tactics to project power and mitigate dissent across their territories. J. Cameron Monroe argues that these tactics enabled kings to economically exploit their subjects and to promote a sense of the historical and natural inevitability of royal power.

Reviews

'A groundbreaking study of state formation along the West African coast during the period of European contact.'

S. MacEachern Source: Choice

'The Precolonial State is an accessible and interesting book and adds considerably to our understanding of Dahomey … Monroe’s statement of the problems and assertion of solutions are sure to transform how the kingdom is discussed in the future.'

John K. Thornton Source: International Journal of African Historical Studies

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