Below is one of the treaties signed between the French and the King of Dahomey, Béhanzin. This treaty was signed a few months after one of Béhanzin‘s unanswered letters to the French president , and two (2) years prior to King Béhanzin‘s defeat by the French, whose kingdom then came under Protectorate of the French Republic on 3 December 1892. Translated to English by Dr. Y. on http://www.afrolegends.com
3 October 1890
Agreement between France and the Dahomey
In order to prevent the return of misunderstandings which have brought between France and the Dahomey a state of hostility prejudicial to the two countries’ interests, –
The king’s messengers
Cussugan – acting as Yeroghan*
Zizidoque – cabécère†
Zououhoucon – cabecere†
Aïnadou – Treasurer of Gore
Designated by his Majesty the King Béhanzin Ahy Djéré
Ship Captain de Montesquiou Fezensac [Bertrand de Montesquiou-Fézensac] commanding the cruiser Le Roland – artillery Captain Decoeur, designated by Rear Admiral Cavelier de Cuverville [>Jules de Cuverville] Commander-in-chief of the land and sea forces acting as governor of the gulf of Benin, acting on behalf of the French government.
Have jointly agreed on the following arrangement which leaves intact all past treaties or conventions agreed upon between France and the Dahomey.
The King of Dahomey agrees to respect the French Protectorate of the Kingdom of Porto Novo, and to abstain from all incursions on the territories forming part of that Protectorate.
He recognizes the right of France to occupy Kotonou indefinitely.
France engages to take such action, on the King of Porto Novo, as to prevent any legitimate cause of complaint being made in future by the King of Dahomey.
By way of compensation for the occupation of Kotonou, France will pay an annual sum, which will in no case exceed 20,000 francs (in gold or silver).
The blockade will be lifted and the present arrangement will take effect from the day of the exchange of signatures. However this arrangement will become final only after it has been submitted for ratification to the French government.
Made in Whydah on the third of October eighteen hundred and ninety.
*someone who governs a city on behalf of the King – a governor
† a sort of nobleman from court
3 thoughts on “French Colonial Treaties: In Dahomey 03 Oct 1890 between France and Behanzin”
Thanks for translating this letter. It certainly helps to know about this part of Beninese history.
Yes… Some of these treaties explain why some lands today in our countries are still occupied… and more
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Exactly and one can see the ramifications of neo-colonialism.