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Undefeated Ladies


The Dahomey Amazons or Mino were a Fon all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey(present Benin) which lasted until the end of the 19th century. They were so named by Western observers and historians due to their similarity to the semi-mythical Amazons.

The Amazon army corps, made up of female warriors, is said to have been established by King Agadja (1708-1740). His father, King Houégbadja, had already created a detachment of “elephant huntresses” (gbeto) who were also bodyguards. But Agadja developed the female bodyguard into a militia. The group of female warriors was referred to as Mino, meaning “Our Mothers” in the Fon language, by the male army of Dahomey.

E. Chaudoin in "Three months in captivity in Dahomey" describes them as follows in 1891:

"There they are, 4,000 warriors, the 4,000 black virgins of Dahomey, the monarch’s bodyguard, motionless in their war garments, with gun and knife in hand, ready to leap forward at the master’s signal.

Old or young, ugly or beautiful, they are wonderful to look at. They are as well built as the male warriors and their attitude is just as disciplined and correct, lined up as though against a rope”.

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Las Amazonas de Dahomey o Mino fueron un regimiento militar Fon exclusivamente femenino del Reino de Dahomey (actual Benin) que duró hasta el final del siglo XIX. Fueron llamadas de esta forma por los observadores e historiadores europeos debido a su similitud con las semi-míticas Amazonas. 

El cuerpo armado de las Amazonas, constituido sólo por mujeres, se cree fue establecido por el Rey Agadja (1708-1740). Su padre, King Houégbadja, había creado un destacamento de cazadoras de elefantes (gbeto) que también eran guardaespaldas. Pero Agadja las convirtió en una milicia. El grupo de guerreras era llamado Mino, que significa “nuestras madres” en la lengua Fon, por el ejército masculino de Dahomey.

E. Chaudoin en "Tres meses cautivo en Dahomey" las describe de la siguiente manera en 1891:

"Ahí estaban, 4,000 guerreras, las 4,000 vírgenes negras de Dahomey, las guardaespaldas del monarca, quietas en sus ropas de guerras, con arma y cuchillo en mano, preparadas para saltar a la señal del jefe.

Viejas o jóvenes, feas o hermosas, era maravilloso mirarlas. Eran tan fornidas como los guerreros y su actitud tan disciplinada y correcta, alineadas como si estuvieran contra una cuerda.”

Links of interest / Links de interés:

http://epa-prema.net/abomeyGB/resources/amazons.htm

http://www.badassoftheweek.com/dahomey.html

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/history/2011/09/dahomeys-women-warriors/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahomey_Amazons

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reino_de_Dahomey

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"Sin comunidad no hay liberación, sólo existe el armisticio más vulnerable y temporal entre un individuo y su opresión. Pero la comunidad no debe significar dejar a un costado nuestras diferencias, ni la patética pretensión de que estas diferencias no existen.”
Audre Lorde





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