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GREAT BENIN KINGDOM, BIGHT OF BENIN, BENIN RIVER, BENIN INFLUENCE TO DAHOMEY EVERY WHERE YOU LOOK ON ANCIENT MAP OF AFRICA...
Dahomey and the Dahomans; being the journals of two missions to the King of Dahomey, and residence at his capital, in the year 1849 and 1850 by Forbes, Frederick Edwyn (1851)
Dahomey and its neighbours - Abeah-Keutah, Lagos, and Benin
If we turn to the East, we find the extensive provinces of Yorihbah looked upon with cupidity, and marked out for devastation, slavery, and murder ; whilst already the populous city of Abeah-Keutah, the abiding place of many hundreds of Christians, and the seat of missionary enterprise in the Bight of Benin, is marked out as the scene of the approaching slave-hunt.
The fall of this noble and nearly Christian city demands our deepest attention.
Standing on a river, which reaches the sea at Lagos, through the Lagoons, it would, were Lagos open to legal trade, soon become the central emporium of commerce from Yorihbah, Bornou, and all the other countries neighbouring on the banks of the Niger.
Lagos itself is a most important position as a trading port from its connection with all the countries of Guinea.
It is at present notorious as one of the greatest slave depots in Africa, and for many reasons likely to remain so. The King of Lagos was a slave himself, and, as an usurper, is entirely in the hands of his patrons, the slave merchants who placed him on the throne.
On the west side the Lagoons may be said to join the Volta, although in the dry season, at a little distance from the town of Godomey (fifteen miles from Whydah), a sandy neck divides the Lagoons of Lagos and Whydah.
Emptying into these Lagoons are several navigable rivers, connecting Lagos with the Benin, and the whole delta of the Niger.
The importance of putting a stop to the slave trade in Lagos cannot be exaggerated.
A fort on the present position occupied by the slave barracoons, would prevent any transportation from the many slave nations in the interior of Benin, the King of which place now partially supplies the Lagos trade.
On this question, together with family jealousies, Benin is divided into two separate states, Benin and Warree ; and is likely, from the increase of legal trade in the Benin rivers and the quarrels of the royal family, to be yet again divided.
It is long since the royal family of Benin, becoming too numerous and burthensome to the state, first divided ; and one portion, crossing the river, settled at Warree, dependent and tributary to the parent state.
When the Portuguese settled in the river, great inconveniences were felt by duties being levied by both governments.
At their instance the Warree family threw off the yoke, and declared that state independent of Benin, and masters of the river and trade, which she now holds.
The Warree family becoming numerous, one of the younger branches founded a city on the Jakpa creek (connecting Lagos and the Benin river) ; and the King of Warree having died, and his throne being disputed, the Jakpa people, under their Chief, Jibuffu, held neutral, and will, if they have not already, declare themselves independent of the new sovereign of Warree.
Notwithstanding the Benin river is ostensibly open to legal trade, it is also traded through by the slave-merchants of Lagos.
* map from 6th edition of The Church Missionary Atlas published by Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, in 1879
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