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Discover >>Forts

The Dutch Fort

The Dutch Fort settled on the coast of DAHOMEY (today’s BENIN) after the Portuguese towards 1671. The former built their fort not far away from the English. Most of the time, the Dutch, in order to avoid dealing with the “YOVOGAN” (the King’s representative) would ask the English to act on their behalf as far as their business is concerned. In short, they didn’t spend much time here and eventually abandoned the fort when slavery was abolished in 1772. Nowadays, there is nearly anything. Everything being washed away owing to the urbanization program. A road has divided it into two parts: one part became the catholic primary school “Notre Dame des Apôtres” and the second part, the Iron workshop called “FAMEC” not far from the “Temple des Pythons” (The Python’s Temple).


After the war of religions in the early seventeenth century, France began to search for new economic opportunities to replace inefficient trade of gold and pepper. The 1rst November 1669, the Commissioner discovered ELBEE OUIDAH where the French will build in 1671 ROYAL FORT OF ST LOUIS GREGOY. This very soon became an important seat of trade of the Gulf of Guinea through the slave trade, it enriched differently France and Dahomey. Following the abolition of slavery by some European countries and under foreign pressure, France abandoned the fort from February 4, 1794. After a fire in 1908, the colonial administration closed the gap around it. In the 1950s, some buildings were constructed on its site that also houses today a green space and a monument to the dead.


The Portuguese built the first fort in Ouidah in 1482 but will be hunted by the Dutch. In 1721, the Portuguese then built the second fort called Fort San JOA BAPTISTA OF AJUDA. This became in the Gulf of Guinea an important seat of trade, including the slave trade. Abandoned in 1841 by owners because of the abolition of slavery, the French priests from the African Mission in Lyon, occupied between 1861 and 1865 before the Portuguese came back to take possession. Despite the French colonization (1894 - 1960, the fort remained under the administrative authority of Portugal. At independence, it was returned to Dahomey, but the resident set fire before leaving. Benin restored it and turned it into a museum from 1967.


This commercial building built in the early twentieth century and influenced by the Afro-Brazilian style extends over part of the British FORT WILLIAM. They would initially installed SAVI before moving here in 1671 to be closer to the ocean. This fort was used to trade on the Gulf of Guinea. With the abolition of slavery in 1770 by England, it became unprofitable. Thus, the British sold it in 1807 to some German merchants who set up a factory from which they will be deported at the end of First World War. Incorporated by the English trader John Walkden he will manage inside various marketing and hardware stores, until 1963.


With financial support from GTZ GmbH under the PDDC Programm

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