A warrior woman makes sacrifices in order to follow her own path. She is not afraid to be fierce and to face the inner and outer obstacles that stand in her way.
I always knew that I would make a piece about the women of the Dahomey Kingdom, located in West Africa, now known as the Republic of Benin, in my Warrior Women series. After all, they have been called the fiercest and most feared women warriors in history. They have been known as Amazons. However, that is a misnomer taken from western history. In their own language they are N'Nomiton or "Our Mothers". They were an all-women military combat regiment that existed from 1600 to 1904. They were huntresses, riflewomen, reapers, archers, and gunners and the training they received was very intense. They were armed with machetes, spears, hatchets and muskets. They sat on war councils and were highly respected and even considered sacred. They made sacrifices to be a part of the Minon; they agreed to separate their families and remain celibate.
The woman in this photograph is a bit mysterious in that she wears the attire of the Minon but I couldn’t find any documentation about when the photo was taken. Regardless, it's clear that she has all the regality, strength, and unstoppable determination that represents the Dahomey Women Warriors.
In 2022, a majestic 98’ tall statue was erected in Benin to honor the women warriors of Dahomey. And this history was recently adapted to film with the release of the movie “The Woman King”.