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BIPOC Voices in the Victorian Periodical Press
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IN our Number for November last we mentioned the King of Dahomey was intending to attack Abbeokuta. Letters recently received from that city inform us that he was then within a few days' march, and that the Abbeokutans were preparing to defend themselves
The regular army of Gezo, the King of Dahomey, consists of 12,000 troops, of whom 5000 are female soldiers, called Amazons. We present a sketch of one of them.† The Amazon is dressed "in a blue and white striped cotton surtout, the stripes about one and a half inch wide, of stout native manufacture, without sleeves, leaving freedon for the arms. The skirt or tunic reaches as low as the kilt of the Highlanders. A pair of short trowsers is worn underneath, reaching two inches below the knees." A girdle, with a cartouch-box attached, tightens the dress around the waist. On the head is a skull-cap of white cotton, with devices of various kinds. The device of the regiment to which the soldier belongs is that of an alligator. They are all armed with long Danish guns, a short sword, and a sort of club. Many are the sufferings which the fierce soldiers of Gezo have inflicted on the surrounding nations.
Their usual mode of proceeding is by surprise. Having arrived during the night in the neighbourhood of the town which they intend to assault, they make a rush on it about two hours before daybreak. It is probably defended by "a broad close-growing fence of very dangerous prickly bush, about fifteen feet high." This the Amazons soon break through, although their feet are without shoes. The inhabitants, surprised in their sleep, are completely in their power. Such as resist are slain. "The others are tied around the neck with a small grass-rope, each soldier having that article, as well as a piece of chalk. Each soldier uses his own private mark on the back of as many slaves as he may capture, and also secures the scalps of as many as he murders in attack. After all is over, these slaves and scalps are presented to the King or Chief, who gives each soldier, according to the amount of his capture, a sum of cowries, as well as allows him to attach a cowry to the stock of his gun, which is reckoned an honourable distinction, and is given medals to civilized armies."*
The Amazons summon Gezo to the War.
The War Song of the Amazons.
The Native Christian's Prayer.
† By the kind permission of Messrs. Longman and Co. we copy this from Commander Forbes' recently published "Dahomey and the Dahomans." [back]
* Duncan's "Travels in Western Africa," vol. i. pp. 260, 261. [back]
†† His people call him, The Leopard, and Kok-pah-sah-kree, a peculiarly fierce eagle. [back]
Digital Publication Details
Title: “The Amazons”
Subtitle(s): “The Amazons Summon Gezo to the War” | “Gezo's Answer” | “The War Song of the Amazons” | “Abbeokuta's Resolution” | “The Native Christian's Prayer”
Creator(s): Anonymous; Anonymous
Publication date: (1851) 2022
Digital publishers: One More Voice, COVE
Critical encoding: Kenneth C. Crowell, Cassie Fletcher, Jocelyn Spoor, Adrian S. Wisnicki
One More Voice identifier: liv_026005
Cite (Chicago Author-Date): Anonymous, and Anonymous. (1851) 2022. “The Amazons.” Edited by Kenneth C. Crowell, Cassie Fletcher, and Jocelyn Spoor. In “BIPOC Voices,” One More Voice, solidarity edition; Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education (COVE). https://onemorevoice.org/html/bipoc-voices/digital-editions-amd/liv_026005_HTML.html.
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
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