The Mino, Women Warriors of the Kingdom of Dahomey
The Kingdom of Dahomey was a small but powerful realm in East Africa located in what is now the present day country of Benin. A very militaristic society, the Dahomey became a regional power by conquering the many tribes and cities that neighbored it on the Atlantic coast. One of the reasons for Dahomey’s great successes was a well organized and professional standing army, something rare among the disorganized tribes and peoples of Africa. One of the most interesting curiosities of the Dahomey Army was an elite corps of soldiers called the Mino, who were considered the best of the best among the Dahomey.
What made the Mino so unique was that it was a unit made entirely of women. Known as the “Dahomey Amazons” to Europeans, the Mino recruited unmarried women who were often virgins. They were trained to be tough, disciplined, and fearless. Often they were unstoppable, and even well equipped European forces such as the French suffered terrible defeats at their hands. Being captured by the Mino was most unfortunate, as Mino women tended to decapitate captured enemies. According to the account of Jean Bayol, a French officer who visited Dahomey,
“I watched as a teenage recruit, a girl named Nanisca who had not yet killed anyone, was tested. Brought before a young prisoner who sat bound in a basket, she walked jauntily up to him, swung her sword three times with both hands, then calmly cut the last flesh that attached the head to the trunk… She then squeezed the blood off her weapon and swallowed it.”
Along with their ferocity and skill, the Mino were also successful because they were equipped with the best weaponry in all of Africa. This included firearms, often acquired from Europeans by trading captured prisoners to European slavers. Along with clubs, knives, machetes and spears the typical Mino warrior was armed with a flintlock musket. By the late 19th century the Dahomey had even managed to acquire a number of Winchester repeating rifles with ammunition. At the height of their power, the Mino numbered 4,000 - 6,000 women, about 1/3rd of the Dahomey Army.
In 1890 the Dahomey picked a fight with an enemy they could not conquer; France. The French declared war after the Dahomey attacked a city that was the protectorate of the French. They decapitated the French governor of the city and forced his wife to roll her husbands severed head in a French flag. At first the Mino won several victories against the French, who were unprepared to fire on women or stand up to their ferocity. According to accounts from the Battle of Kotonou, at one point a Mino warrior who had been deprived of her weapon killed a man by biting him on the throat. Despite such ferocity French superiority of arms took its toll, as the French were well armed with modern repeating rifles, machine guns, and cannon. By 1894 the French had defeated and conquered the Kingdom of Dahomey, turning it into a puppet state called the Republic of Dahomey, later renamed Benin. The Mino were the last Dahomey to surrender, being reduced to only 50 women out of an original 4,000. Interestingly, most of the last Mino warriors emigrated to the United States, where they were hired by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The last Mino warrior was identified as a very elderly woman living in Benin named Nawi, who died in 1978 aged over 100.
African religion was suppressed, often brutally, in the United States, more so than anywhere in the African Diaspora. Despite the ridicule it received from Hollywood and an ignorant media, which still uses terms like “voodoo economics,” the Hoodoo people of the South were able to sustain the faith. Today, African Religion has reemerged in the United States stronger than ever, with followers, students and writers, who are influenced by this powerful force, no longer finding it necessary to camouflage the “Saints,” from the Santeria people in Miami, to the Ghedecelebrants in Brooklyn, to the upscale women in Berkeley who dance to Yemanja….
Ishmael Reed (via hoodoo-seed)
"The United States Government is offering you a piece of land of your own."
"We have our own land."
"No, it’s not yours. It’s the US Government’s."
— S1E6, “Pride, Pomp and Circumstance”
while at a very familiar cliff. Eyes swelling with frustration. I beg the universe to bring me crystal clarity around what it is that I “DO”. What business am i in? Why do i get so emotional and confused trying to figure it out? I’ve grown tired of feeling like a failure for not knowing.After a day of reflection I remember that there is a lot in me. I’m not much of an average anything. So the definition what my business is no less complex. So Im staring with everything so that I can translate into market speak. (Detox moves emotions)
From my own heart and mind:
A TRUTH: we are co-creating the world as we want it. The “we” in this case are both those with progressive minds and ideas as well as those with less than progressive minds and ideas (often driven by fear) the universe is begging for balance that’s the science of the Aquarian age. It’s the age of knowing transitioning from believing (Pisces) the real life struggle in-between is often your karmic journey: your highest self is hard at work creating a reality for you to make a conscious choice to take responsibility and make fearless choices to realize your truth. Be patent with yourself and others. The dark side of being one who knows is being arrogant and over zealous. Learn your lessons an hold space for others to do the same. Stay spiritually hydrated/grounded. Water always finds its own level and its those who resist that law and live in fear of expansion/hydration that to often drown normalizing there resistance to change and calling it the “last days” as if they can pinpoint the first… Ok, I trust you get my drift…. ONE -erwin thomas
From the heart and mind of Shontina Vernon:
To my beloved men (brothers, uncles, cousins, lovers, friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike) ——— One of the greatest gifts of my visit to Cuba was seeing men who could weep openly. Who could hold one another in a warm embrace without having their masculinity questioned. This balance of the feminine in them left me speechless. I hadn’t even known how much I missed it. Seeing and hearing their expressions of love toward each other warmed me. I wept, at their weeping – for me, for us…for America and its politics fueled by a culture of aggression. I wept for the softness we are all so in need of. Women need to see it in you. It is your portal to us. You need to see it in yourselves. It is a gateway to your humanity – to something compassionate and yielding. Your misdirected anger at women and their bodies, your incessant conquering o’er the land spring from this – your inability to see that you cannot build an entire manhood on strength and force. It is incomplete and one-sided. And it robs all of us from some of the very best you have to offer. You are missed; the whole of you. When women finally stand in solidarity and say no more, it will not be because we are separatists or feminists or any -ists. It will be because we love you, and because we have found our strength. The time is upon us all to strike the balance. ox, me
…….BALANCE IS A BEAUTIFUL THING…………
Caught in a beautiful black-out. Quiet enough to hear my thoughts, breaths and heartbeat. Beautiful