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 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
- Gates, Henry Louis Jr. "The Future of Slavery's Past." New York Times. 7/29/2001. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/29/opinion/the-future-of-slavery-s-past.html
- Piqué, Francesca and Leslie H. Rainer. "History Told on Walls: Bas-Reliefs on the Royal Palaces of Abomey." The Getty Conservation Institute. http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/newsletters/11_1/feature1.html
- Piqué, Francesca and Leslie H. Rainer. "Palace Sculptures of Abomey: History Told on Walls." The Getty Conservation Institute and the J. Paul Getty Museum. 1999.
- UNESCO World Heritage Center. "The Palaces of Abomey." http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/323
- UNESCO: Royal Palaces of Abomey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XinLxUEcYbU
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