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Brief history
The port of Ouidah is known for its role in the slave trade during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. We can say that the 18th century, about 25,000 slaves were shipped annually from Ouidah in the Americas across the Atlantic. Originally, however, Ouidah (formerly Glexwe) was a small village in a small kingdom of Xweda, whose people survive by the means agriculture, hunting and fishing in coastal lagoons away from the dangers of the sea and tides. The first meeting between native of Ouidah and Europeans took place during the 16th century, around 1580, according to some historians. Although the slave trade began soon in the Benin Bay, it was not until the late 17th century that European traders began to buy slaves in the kingdom of Xweda, establishing forts and trading posts in the city of Glexwe.


Human Trafficking provides prosperity to the kingdom until its military invasion in 1727 by the kingdom of Dahomey. Citizens are killed, captured, scattered and trade with Europeans passed to the Danxomeans. Despite periodic uprisings and constant Xweda warriors harassment, the city remains under the control of Danxomeans until the colonization by France. The town of Ouidah is famous for the regularity and intensity of the slave trade, the radiation of voodou worship and resounding echo that it has given outside the African continent.

By the middle of the 18th century, the population of Ouidah reached 10,000 inhabitants, while the economy is at its peak. Between 1818 and 1821, Mr. Francisco Felix de Souza, known by the Danxomeans as Chacha, installed himself at Ouidah.
The latter lived in Ouidah until his death in 1849, after having taken root and fortune. The many descendants of Chacha have kept a strong influence in Ouidah society.

England and France, among others, will play a decisive role in the refusal of slavery practice. Officially banned, trafficking continues unofficially in new conditions in the 19th century, marked by four events: the illegal trafficking, the return home of some black slaves taken in Brazil, the emergence of colored slave traders and the palm oil.
When back in Benin, especially in Ouidah, the Creoles Brazilian imposed themselves at Ouidah, Porto-Novo Agoue or by festival and carnival, the development of small businesses and Afro-Brazilian architecture.

The kingdom of Dahomey (including Ouidah) will be conquered by the French en1892. In 1960, the colonial Dahomey achieved independence in the domain of the authority transfer as for the breakup with the French metropolis. As everyone knows, Ouidah is one of the most important centers of religion voodou in Benin and probably worldwide. In 1992, the city hosted the first World Festival dedicated to art and culture voodou. Moreover, the celebration of the National Day of voodoo and traditions on January 10, always have a special character in Ouidah.
 

 

With financial support from GTZ GmbH under the PDDC Programm

 
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