Show Notes: The Palaces of Abomey

Tracy Wilson

A wall of one of the palaces of Abomey. Photo by Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola/LightRocket via Getty Images

The idea for today's episode came from a Tumblr post, which described an African kingdom that built a series of earthen palaces, with each successive king constructing a new one in the visual and architectural style as the ones that came before. These palaces were described as being full of ceremonial meaning, with the later ones covered in bas relief sculptures that detailed the history of the Kingdom of Dahomey.

What the post left out was that the kingdom's wealth came largely from the transatlantic slave trade. Today we're talking about both parts of the story: the palaces, and the slave trade that funded them.

We talk about a monument to the slave trade in Benin. You can see the monument in this video, and this UNESCO gallery has many pictures of the palaces themselves.

We found multiple, contradictory pronunciations from reputable sources for most of the proper names in this episode. Consequently our pronunciations are certainly imperfect.

Listener mail is from Dan, who tells a funny story about mispronouncing things.

For more knowledge: How Human Trafficking Works

Episode link: Dahomey and the Royal Palaces of Abomey

My research:

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