I posted a review for ForexEnvy about a year ago on their website, and I checked it day by day. They never posted the review. I gave ForexEnvy a 1-star review because they are scammers, and it's impossible to earn money from them. submitted by
I based my buying decisions on ForexPeaceArmy, until I realized that they don't publish all your reviews. They're biased as hell. When I contacted them about it, they never replied.
I just wrote down my thoughts on the album after three full listens, and several more of some of the songs individually. Keep in mind, these are just my opinions, so in traditional internal fashion, you should read them as objective fact /s.
(But seriously, I would love to discuss this stuff so feel free to challenge my opinions)
Overall thoughts: It is a solid rock and roll album. There aren’t any bad songs on the album, and GVF is developing their sound nicely. As a whole, I like it a bit more than From the Fires.
Track by Track:
Age of Man - an amazing opener to the album, slowly building on itself to open the door to the album. And even as a stand-alone song, it’s damn good.
The Cold Wind - Definitely a good hard rock song, it feels incredibly reminiscent of the first few Rush albums (Self-Titled to Caress of Steel)
When the Curtain Falls - probably the heaviest song on the album, it was definitely the best choice to be the first promotional single, with its hard hitting riff, and screeching-high vocals.
Watching Over - This is a highlight on the album. It is very much an instance of GVF really showing their own sound, instead of just being more like Led Zeppelin with a new coat of paint. I love the weird sitar-esque sound of the guitar solos, and the lyrics are great.
Lover, Leaver - Greta Van Fleet is often compared to Led Zeppelin, and this song kinda shows why. I still love to listen to it. Not sure whether I like more it with or without the extension from ...(Taker, Believer). Your thoughts on this?
You’re The One - I rate this song with a “meh/10.” this is the only song on the album that I will be skipping upon future listens. It’s not terrible just, meh.
The New Day - Very 70s. Just, in general. Not a bad song, but not as good as some of the others. It’s
Mountain of the Sun - This song is great. It’s fun, has some awesome guitar work, and I don’t think it’s possible to listen to it and not smile, and want to dance. It’s just a feel-good song.
Brave New World - a very interesting song with some really good lyrics and vocals. It’s probably the most creative guitar line in the album. It very much feels like a closer as well
Anthem- a perfect closing track (technically) for this album. As opposed to the band’s previous double EP, From the Fires, which finished on a hard hitting, triumphant note with Black Smoke Rising, Anthem is a soft, mostly acoustic, thoughtful ending. Which works for the themes of the album.
Final thoughts: Anthem of the Peaceful Army is definitely a great addition to the band’s growing discography. After hearing From the Fires, I was really looking forward to seeing the direction that they would go next. They sound much less like a Led Zeppelin cover band this time around, and have really started to develop their own sound very well. My favorite songs on the album are Age of Man, Watching Over and Mountain of the Sun. I can only think of two complaints that I can make about the album. The first would have to be about the guitar solos (and to a certain extent, a lot of the guitar work on the album) - they’re pretty much all the same thing - a blues-y pentatonic scale in one position, which after a few bars, moves up several frets. It’s repetitive, but the solo works really well in all the songs. The other is about the order of the songs. I think that there could be a better way to order the songs so all the most similar songs aren’t right next to each other.
How I would order the tracks:
- Age of Man
- The Cold Wind
- The New Day
- Watching Over
- Brave New World
- When the Curtain Falls
- You’re The One
- Mountain of the Sun
- Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)*
*i think the full version works much better with this order than the single edit.
Once again, I look forward to seeing where they go next.
Greta Van Fleet: Anthem of the Peaceful Army - 8̶/̶1̶0̶ 6.6/10
What do you think of my review? Discuss
Edit: as I listen more, my opinion has unfortunately declined a bit. I don’t dislike it now, but I don’t see it as stellar as I did.
Introduction submitted by
Previously I reviewed The Woman King's trailer
. In this post I'm reviewing the actual movie, which departed in some ways from both the trailer and the original marketing.
The movie opens with this narration.
The African Kingdom of Dahomey is at a crossroads. A new king, Ghezo, has just taken power. Their enemy, the Oyo Empire, has joined forces with the Mahi people to raid Dahomey villages and sell their captives to European slavers, an evil trade that has pulled both nations into a vicious circle. The powerful Oyo have new guns and horses, but the young king has his own fearsome weapon: an elite force of female soldiers, the Agojie, led by a general, Nanisca. Now, these warriors are all that stand between the Oyo and Dahomey’s annihilation.
This is the narrative which the entire movie seeks to support. However, despite the movie’s marketing insisting on its historical accuracy, despite the movie’s writers, director, and producers making statements such as “We didn’t want to shy away from the truth”, that they “Worked really hard to ground it in what we felt would be the reality of this history”, and saying they consulted historians to ensure the movie’s accuracy, this very narrative which opens the movie is wildly inaccurate.
"The director did a deep dive into research about Dahomey and the Agojie alongside production designer Akin McKenzie before reaching out to historical consultant Leonard Wantchekon, who is directly related to a member of the Agojie.", Sonaiya Kelley, “The Truth behind ‘The Woman King’: Crew Responds to Claims of Historical Revisionism,” Los Angeles Times, 28 September 2022
The entire movie commits the very same kind of whitewashing and historical revisionism as previous movies such as Gods and Generals and Birth of a Nation. This review covers these topics.
- The movie depicts Dahomey as having abolished slavery before any European nation, when in fact by 1823 when the movie is set several European nations had abolished slavery at least in their own territory and some in their colonial territories, while slavery was not abolished in Dahomey until the nation was defeated by France in the Second Franco-Dahomean War, which concluded in 1894. [edited in response to comments below]
- Dahomey’s Minon (“Amazons”) were enthusiastic slave raiders.
- Dahomey’s king Ghezo opposed the abolition of slavery.
- Dahomey used slaves to produce palm oil.
For a video version of this review, go here
. The movie depicts Dahomey as having abolished slavery before any European nation, when in fact by 1823 when the movie is set several European nations had abolished slavery at least in their own territory and some in their colonial territories, while slavery was not abolished in Dahomey until the nation was defeated by France in the Second Franco-Dahomean War, which concluded in 1894 [title edited in response to comments below]
Historically, these events are taking place no later than 1823, the year of the Dahomey rebellion against the Oyo empire. Although the movie monolithically
 depicts Europeans as enthusiastic slave traders and some of Dahomey’s elites as opponents of slavery, in reality the facts were the other way around.
The British had already outlawed the Atlantic slave trade in 1807, and created the West Africa Squadron, a collection of British Navy warships, to enforce the ban in Africa. However, slavery in the British colonies was not abolished until 1833. In 1819 the US Navy also made some, admittedly weak efforts to prevent the Atlantic slave trade. In contrast, Dahomey was doing nothing but supporting the slave trade as much as possible, and actively opposing European attempts at abolition.
In 1815 Portugal agreed to stop all slave trading north of the equator, though it continued to ship slaves from West Africa to Brazil, and France abolished the slave trade in 1815, though it didn’t outlaw slavery in its colonies until 1848. Spain agreed to cease slave trading north of the equator in 1818, and south of the equator by 1820, and in 1826 Brazil agreed to stop slave trading north of the equator.
These anti-slavery efforts of the European powers were very slow in coming, very slow to implement, and very imperfectly enforced. However, they were considerably more of an effort at the abolition of slavery than anything Dahomey had ever done in its entire history.
In 1823, when the movie’s conversation between Ghezo and his advisors took place, Dahomey was still an enthusiastic participant in the slave trade, the Minon were conducting slave raids, and Ghezo was strongly opposed to ending the slave trade. European nations on the other hand had already started abolishing slavery years before. Yet the conversation between Ghezo and his advisors makes the Dahomey look like the enlightened abolitionists, and the Europeans the backwards and barbarous defenders of slavery. This is a reversal of the facts, and a deliberate whitewashing of history.
In the movie, main character Nanisca says “The white man has brought immorality here. They will not stop until the whole of Africa is theirs to enslave”. This is sheer anachronism. Firstly it explicitly places the blame for slavery entirely on Europeans, representing slavery as an external evil brought to Africa by white men. In turn this implies slavery was not practiced in Africa prior to European contact.
Secondly it represents Nanisca as having a conception of “the whole of Africa”, which would have been completely alien to her. Thirdly it represents her as believing that the Europeans aimed to enslave all of Africa, which they never intended to do, and in fact never tried.
At the end of the movie, Ghezo says “The Europeans and the Americans have seen if you want to hold a people in chains, one must first convince they are meant to be bound. We joined them in becoming our own oppressors, but no more. No more. We are a warrior people, and there is power in our mind. In our unity. In our culture. If we understand that power, we will be limitless. My people, this is the vision I will lead. It is a vision that we share”. This is all totally anachronistic. Ghezo went on to pursue the slave trade for decades until forced to stop by the French. Dahomey’s Minon (“Amazons”) were enthusiastic slave raiders
To its credit, the movie does show Dahomey involved in the slave trade. At 12:15, 12:29-30, we see slaves with their hands tied and heads bowed, being kept in the part of the palace where the MInon are training. At 12:47-51, Nawi is told “Some of the men who raided our village. The rest will be sold, in Ouyida”. The port of Ouyida was a major hub for the slave trade, and Dahomey is estimated to have sold at least one million slaves through this port over a couple of centuries.
However, in this scene the only people identified as slaves are bad people, described as “men who raided our village”. There is no mention of the fact that the Dahomey Minon, or “Amazons”, were used by Dahomey as slave raiders to capture men, women, and children from Dahomey’s neighbors, to use as slaves for Dahomey’s domestic slave market, or sell them as slaves to Europeans, or use them as human sacrifices in Dahomey’s annual ritual in honor of the king, in which slaves, criminals, and captives of war were beheaded to celebrate Dahomey’s monarch.
Later Ghezo is discussing politics with his advisors. At 16:32 one of his advisors notes “Dahomey has prospered in the peace”, to which Nansica replies “The slave trade is the reason we prosper, but at what price? It is a poison slowly killing us, and the Europeans know this. They come to our land for their human cargo”.
This is historical revisionism, placing modern sentiments in the mouth of a historical figure. There is no evidence anyone in Dahomey was thinking this way at the time that the movie’s events are set, around 1823. It is true that the slave trade was the reason why Dahomey prospered, but there is no indication that Ghezo or any of his advisors thought that this was a bad thing, certainly not a poison killing the nation. Note also how Nanisca calls the slaves “their human cargo”, as if the Europeans are responsible for the African slave trade. She doesn’t say “They come to our land for the humans we have enslaved and turned into cargo to sell so we can profit from them”.
Another advisor interjects “They’ve come to trade, we sell them what they want”. Nanisca responds “But why do we sell our captives? For weapons? To capture more people, to sell for more weapons?”. Well yes, that’s exactly what Dahomey were actually doing. However, Izogie, one of the Minon, agrees with Nanisca, saying “It is a dark circle with no end. This is not the way”. Again, this is just wishful thinking, making historical people say things which are acceptable to a modern audience, and attempting to present the Minon as opponents of the slave trade. In reality they were not only slave raiders, they were enthusiastic supporters of the slave trade, and regularly urged Ghezo to continue it.
When Nanisca asks “why do we sell our captives”, it sounds like the Dahomey are just selling their prisoners of war, whereas in fact many of their captives were not prisoners of war, but civilians caught by the Dahomey specifically to sell as slaves. As to why they sold them, it was to make money, buy guns, and expand the Dahomey Empire even further. Other slaves were captured by the Dahomey to use as sources of agricultural labor, a point which will become particularly important when we look at what the movie has to say about Dahomey’s involvement in the palm oil trade.
Notably, the movie never provides the slaves of the Dahomey with a voice, or any agency. We are never permitted to hear their perspective, see them opposing their own slavery, or see them resisting or escaping. They are silenced and stripped of agency. Dahomey’s king Ghezo opposed the abolition of slavery
At 43:02, the villain Santo Ferriera is introduced. He is represented as a Portuguese slave trader who helped King Ghezo seize the throne in a coup. This villain is based on the real-life historical figure of Francisco Félix de Sousa, a Brazilian slave trader who was extremely influential in West Africa, who certainly did enable Ghezo’s ascension to the throne through a coup, and who was his reliable ally and major slave trading partner.
In the movie, Ferriera uses a fort in Ouidah as his base. This is fort, Forte de São João Baptista de Ajudá, was originally bult by the Portuguese to support their slave trade. However, by the time of the movie it was no longer occupied by the Portuguese, due to European anti-slavery efforts. It was an abandoned shell in 1823. Although de Souza, the historical figure on whom the movie’s character Ferreira is based, did take possession of it in the 1820s, he did not use it as a base for his own slavery operations, and it remained abandoned.
Around this time in the movie Nanisca says to Ghezo “Let's not be an empire that sells its people. Let us be an empire who loves its people”. Ghezo says “My brothers sold our own, I will never do that”. Nanisca says “Even if they are not Dahomey, they are still our people”. There are a couple of problems here.
The first is that Ghezo certainly did sell his own. In fact by this very stage of the movie, he had already done it. Historian Ana Lucia Araujo explains that when Ghezo’s his coup succeeded, and he seized the throne in 1818, “he punished his half-brother’s family members by selling them into slavery outside the kingdom’s borders”.
Not only that, but Araujo also says that by 1825 Ghezo had become unpopular among his own people “for selling Dahomean subjects”. So he literally was selling some of his very own people, Dahomey citizens, into slavery.
The other problem is that Nanisca’s statement that even African people who are not Dahomey are “still our people”, is anachronistic pan-Africanism. During this time there was no sense of a united African people with a shared identity. There were hundreds of ethnic groups, each with their own distinct identity, language, and culture, who not only differentiated themselves from each other but did not see each other as united by any single shared identity. They did not think of themselves or others as Africans, and they certainly did not see themselves as sharing any kind of kinship, either literal or figurative.
On this point, Kenyan historian Ali AlʾAmin Mazrui wrote, somewhat controversially, “it remains one of the great ironies of modern African history that it took European colonialism to remind Africans that they were Africans”.
Later in the movie Ghezo speaks with Santo, who comments “So you wish to sell palm oil”. Ghezo replies “I wish for my people to prosper, as those of your land do”. Santo says “Ghezo, the people in my lands prosper because of the slave trade, and this very same trade has made you rich, as rich as the king of England. If you stop the trade, you will be nothing”. He adds that the slave traders will “take their business elsewhere”, to which Ghezo replies “The business of selling Africans?”.
Again, there are a couple of problems here. Firstly this is more anachronistic pan-Africanism. In reality Ghezo did not think of people as “Africans”. Note also the careful framing of the business of selling Africans as something Europeans do, not something that African kingdoms do. This is particularly ironic given that Dahomey itself was in the business of selling slaves.
Secondly, if Feirreia is supposed to be Portuguese it is very odd that he is referring to his people enjoying the wealth of the slave trade, and does not mention Portugal had already outlawed slave trading above the equator. This is further evidence that Feirreia is based on de Souza, the Brazilian, since Brazil had yet to outlaw the slave trade in any region.
The movie consistently represents Feirreira as the powerful and predatory European slave trader, and Gezo as the weak and submissive local ruler who is reluctantly compelled to participate in a trade from which he cannot escape. In reality Ghezo held all the power, and participated in the slave trade deliberately, because it made him very powerful and wealthy.
Since an anti-slave trade party did emerge within Dahomey in the middle of the nineteenth century, supported by a group of wealthy merchants who had invested heavily in the palm oil trade, Araujo says “historians have perceived Gezo’s reign as a period of transition from the illegal slave trade to the legitimate trade of palm oil”. However, she disputes this, observing “in the early years of his reign, Gezo continued to contend that the slave trade was a central part of the kingdom’s revenue”.
In fact, Araujo observes, under Ghezo the total number of slaves sold from his port at Ouidah was even larger than under the previous king of Dahomey, and “the annual averages of slave exports were very similar”.
One of Ghezo’s most infamous statements, made in 1849 not only declared his unwavering determination to maintain the slave trade, but also insisted that it was essential to his people’s culture and economy. The statement, part of which has been much quoted since the release of The Woman King, reveals just how dedicated Ghezo was to preserving slavery. Ghezo said “I and my army are ready, at all times, to fight the queen's enemies, and do any thing the English government may ask of me, except to give up the slave-trade. No other trade is known to my people”. He also explicitly rejected palm oil and other forms of income as substitutes.
Ghezo insisted on slavery as a perfectly respectable tradition of his people, explaining “The slave-trade has been the ruling principle of my people. It is the source of their glory and wealth. Their songs celebrate their victories, and the mother lulls the child to sleep with notes of triumph over an enemy reduced to slavery”.
It would be anachronistic to place this actual statement in the movie, given that Ghezo didn’t make it until around 25 years after the date of the movie’s events. However, it is misleading at best, and dishonest at worst, for the movie to represent Ghezo as merely a reluctant participant in the slave trade, only selling slaves because a Portuguese trader told him to. The fact that Ghezo is portrayed consistently as a fearful pawn of European powers is completely inaccurate. In reality Ghezo felt absolutely no concern about completely rejecting the requests of even the British government, despite their anti-slavery naval blockade.
Ghezo’s depiction in the movie is symptomatic of one of its key problems; in this movie Dahomeans only do bad things because other people force them to. Ghezo only sells slaves because a Portuguese trader tells him he has to, and Dahomey’s warriors only capture slaves because the Oyo empire requires them to.
Not only is this historically inaccurate, it’s a deliberate attempt to absolve them of responsibility for their actions. It is also completely undermined later when Ghezo and his people decide to just stop doing what other people tell them to, which they could have simply done in the first place. Dahomey used slaves to produce palm oil
At 17:11 Nanisca says “We have other things to sell; corn, palm oil, we can double our harvest”, adding “I want Dahomey to survive”. Ghezo agrees reluctantly to pay the tribute, promising it will be the last time, and comments “As for the palm oil, Nanisca, show me, show me how much you can produce and we will see”.
Again, this is historical fabrication. At this time in Dahomey’s history there was no domestic push to abolish the slave trade and replace it with palm oil sales. In fact as we’ll see later, it wasn’t until at around 20 years later that the British pressured a reluctant King Ghezo to stop selling slaves and sell palm oil instead. We’ll also learn more about another unfortunate fact the movie doesn’t reveal; Dahomey’s domestic palm oil industry also used slavery.
At 50:40 Workers are seen farming palms for palm oil. Nanisca says “This field alone produces thousands of barrels of palm oil. If we harvest many fields each year, we will have a continuous supply to trade”. Ghezo replies “I never saw a path before Nanisca, but look at this, now I do”. Nanisca responds “Vision is seeing what others do not”.
As mentioned previously, this is completely inaccurate. Neither Ghezo nor his advisors were attempting to transition from selling slaves to selling palm oil at this point in time. Dahomey didn’t even start producing palm oil in export quantities until the 1840s, and only then as a result of intense pressure by the British, who were trying to persuade Ghezo to end his involvement in the slave trade.
But there’s more. When advocates for palm oil did emerge in Dahomey, Ghezo was not one of them. In fact he directly opposed a shift in economy from slavery to palm oil. In 1848 he wrote a letter to Queen Victoria explicitly requesting that he be permitted to maintain his monopoly on the West African slave trade, and even asking the queen to prevent European traders visiting the ports of his rivals, explaining that he was concerned the trade was making them wealthy and enabling them to resist his authority.
Not only that, he actively tried to suppress the palm oil trade of his neighbors. In this same letter requested the British remove all palm oil factories from neighboring regions, so that instead merchants would buy products from his own port at Ouidah, including of course slaves, explaining directly that this would increase his tax revenue. He also asked that the queen “send him some good Tower guns and blunderbusses, and plenty of them”, so that he could make war on his neighbors.
In his 2020 article The Bight of Benin: Dahomey and the Dominance of Export Slavery, Angus Dalrymple-Smith explains that Ghezo actively rejected switching to the palm oil trade, writing “the state instead focused its efforts on military campaigns and reviving the slave trade”.
By the 1830s, British efforts to shut down the slave trade were starting to interfere with Dahomey’s profits. In response, Dalrymple-Smith notes, “the Dahomeans responded by developing more elaborate strategies to avoid the British blockade”. Ghezo was determined to preserve his kingdom’s main source of power and revenue, regardless of efforts to stop him.
During the 1840s Ghezo went so far as to send Queen Victoria a letter explaining that it was impossible for him to end the slave trade and replace it with the palm oil industry, firstly, he said, because it was in conflict with his people’s culture, and secondly, he said, because he would lose money. He wrote “At present my people are a warlike people and unaccustomed to agricultural pursuits. I should not be enabled to keep up my revenue were I at once to stop the slave trade”.
Ghezo’s claim that he coud not create a palm oil industry to replace the slave trade because his people were “accustomed to agricultural pursuits”, was very obviously a complete fabrication and an empty excuse to defend his perpetuation of the slave trade. In case there is any doubt about this, it is demonstrated indisputably by the fact that Ghezo eventually realised he could earn money from both the slave trade and the palm oil trade at the same time.
Consequently, Ghezo made a law requiring all palm oil plantations to pay him a special tax in the form of a percentage of the oil they produced, and also “declared the palm a sacred tree which it was forbidden to cut down”. This particularly shrewd act of ecological conservation ensured the tree would be preserved for economic exploitation.
Now we must return to another awkward fact about Dahomehy’s palm plantations. Despite the movie’s heavy emphasis on Dahomey’s development of the palm oil industry as a replacement for the slave trade, it completely omits to mention the fact that Dahomey’s plantations used slaves. Although many of the farms were privately owned by Dahomey citizens, they used many slaves in their workforce. Not only that, but Ghezo permitted the Brazilian slave trader de Souza to operate his own palm oil plantations using slave labor.
First Ghezo made money from de Souza by selling him the slaves, then he made more money from de Souza by taking a percentage of the oil from de Souza’s plantations, and selling it to increase the royal income. Ghezo was effectively profiting from the slave trade twice over; firstly by continuing to sell slaves, and secondly by taxing palm oil plantations which used slave labor. This particular stroke of economic genius is never mentioned in The Woman King.
As if that wasn’t enough, in 1841 Ghezo also permitted the French Régis company to continue its clandestine involvement in the slave trade, and set up its own palm oil plantations using slaves. Ghezo earned large sums of money by taxing the palm oil production of de Souza and the Regis company, so he was literally profiting from their exploitation of the slaves they purchased from Dahomey and other enslavers.
However, Ghezo didn’t stop there. Not content with earning money from the foreign slave traders by selling them slaves to work in their plantations and then taking a cut of their palm oil production, he also set up his own plantations, which of course also used slave labor. This led to an even greater use of slaves in Dahomey than ever before.
Soumoni writes that the loss of Dahomey’s access to the broader slave trade, especially the American slave market,“made for a more widespread exploitation of slave labour in the King's own palm plantations and in those of other royal dignitaries”. He attributes this directly to Ghezo’s actions, writing “the big palm oil boom in Dahomey was subsequent to the setting up of the Regis factory in which enterprise both Ghezo and de Souza played decisive roles”.
Historian Patrick Manning explains that as a result of Ghezo’s desire to earn money from palm oil as well as slavery, “The slave-labor sector also expanded to meet the demand for palm products, probably at a greater rate than the commodity exchange sector”. He explains how the Dahomey monarchy, warlords, officials, and merchants, all became involved in establishing plantations, not only in Dahomey’s territory but also “around the major Yoruba cities”.
These plantations often used Yoruba people as slaves. Having defeated the Yoruba kingdom and freed themselves from its system of tribute, Dahomey promptly turned around and enslaved the Yoruba. Although Dahomey’s palm oil plantations did use enslaved Dahomey people themselves, Dalrymple-Smith writes “foreign slaves were usually preferred, as their labor could be more intensively exploited than slaves who shared a common cultural/linguistic heritage with their masters”.
He adds “male Yoruba slaves were among the first to be used to increase palm oil production, despite their unwillingness to be involved in what was considered ‘female work’”. He also explains that although this practice began in the 1840s, it was not widespread until the following decade.
Naturally the Yoruba did not appreciate being enslaved in this way, and in 1855 there was a Yoruba slave revolt in the Dahomey city of Abhomey. However, it was quickly suppressed. Manning writes that this revolt “provides an indication of the scale of slavery and the severity of exploitation at that time”.
The historical facts completely contradict The Woman King’s narrative. Ghezo was never convinced to replace slavery with palm oil production, since, as Dalrymple-Smith writes, “For the Dahomean monarchy and its elite supporters, palm oil was far less profitable than slave trading”. Even though the production of palm oil used slaves, the process of producing and transporting the oil was labor and time intensive, making it much more lucrative and time efficient to simply sell the slaves in the first place.
Consequently, Dalrymple-Smith observes “from the seventeenth to the middle of the nineteenth century it was never in the interests of the elites to stimulate a non-slave export trade”. Again, this completely contradicts The Woman King’s presentation of Ghezo as a reluctant participant in the slave trade who was searching for an alternative source of revenue to replace it.
Dalrymple-Smith further writes that Dahomey’s dedication to the slave trade “was strengthened by the development of an elite ideology that glorified war and opposed any other trade except in slaves”, adding that “This was strong enough to survive into the nineteenth century in spite of the general decline of the transatlantic slave trade”.
This arrangement of effectively profiting twice over from the slave trade, firstly by selling slaves and secondly by using slave labor to produce palm oil, was so lucrative that many of Dahomey’s elites continued to resist ending slavery even as the transatlantic slave trade was dying out. Not only that, but after Ghezo’s death, according to Dalrymple-Smith, Glele, the next king of Dahomey “attempted to re-orientate the state back towards a slave raiding model”.
So, far from the palm oil industry being the method by which Ghezo ended and replaced the slave trade, as The Woman King represents, instead it was a method by which Ghezo added to his already lucrative income from the slave trade, by exploiting not only his own palm oil slave laborers, but the slave laborers on the plantations of domestic and foreign palm oil producers. Once more we find the actual historical facts are radically different from the way they are presented in The Woman King. Conclusion
The movie's director, Gina Prince-Blythewood, has attempted to defend the movie against charges of historical revisionism
, insisting on its accuracy. In a later post, I'll address her comments.
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