‘The Woman King’ Lies About Africa’s Slave Trade

‘The Woman King’ Lies About Africa’s Slave Trade. By Mike Cote.

The left needs these lies:

“The Woman King,” a new “historical action epic” starring Viola Davis, has been treated to laudatory reviews by the corporate press. It has been called “indelible and truly inspiring” in an ABC News review which features the subhead “Black women only — no white saviors need apply.” The Daily Beast labeled it “an absolute blast of a cinematic experience,” praising its “thick layers of history.”

Set in 1823 in the West African kingdom of Dahomey (modern Benin), the movie pits the innocent Dahomans, protected by the elite all-female Agojie army, against the evil Oyo Empire, which operates as a brutal arm of the European slave trade and wishes to force Dahomey into providing slaves. Dahomey is portrayed as a kingdom that only wishes for peace and autonomy, whose king, Ghezo (John Boyega), is looking for alternatives to the awful trade in which his tribe has been reluctantly forced to participate. Besides manfully defending the citizens and king of Dahomey, the Agojie, under their leader Nanisca (Davis), are also proponents of ending the slave trade and replacing it with the cultivation of palm oil. …

In the words of the Los Angeles Times, “The Woman King” is an “incredible true story” about “this amazing group of female soldiers who caused such an act of resistance that slavery paused for a time.”

The Reality:

The problem? Almost none of [the above] is true.

Not only does the movie massage the events of the past to fit a progressive narrative, it outright reverses the polarity of history entirely and makes heroic a kingdom that was, in reality, one of the biggest drivers of the slave trade. It only takes a brief look at the primary sources to completely debunk the entire plot of “The Woman King.” …

In reality, Ghezo was put in power by a coup supported heavily by Brazilian slave traders, one which transformed Dahomey into “the dreaded oppressor of neighboring nations.” The king who Ghezo deposed was, in actuality, the one who briefly attempted a switch to agriculture …

According to Frederick E. Forbes, a commander in the British Royal Navy who wrote of his visits to Ghezo’s Dahomey, the kingdom became extremely militaristic after the coup and actively attacked its neighbors …

Ghezo was called “a monarch whose whole existence depends on the slave trade, whose every exertion is to supply a larger number to the market of the preceding year.” One victim of this slave-raiding aggression was a nearby independent community of Igbo tribes, which was put under unprovoked Dahoman assault. The Bradford Observer of March 24, 1859 — noting the death of Ghezo, whom they label “a scourge of the human race” — has the details: “He attacked them, burnt their towns, carried off the choicest people, and when his own violence was unsuccessful, his intrigues introduced civil war, which completed their ruin.” …

These regular wars were undertaken purely for the capture of slaves and the expansion of Dahomey as a kingdom …

What of the film’s supposed focus on female empowerment? Well, the Agojie warriors — known to Europeans as Amazons — did exist and were a fearsome fighting force. … The Agojie were primarily slave raiders who carried out wars of conquest on Dahomey’s neighbors. Forbes describes them as “exceeding their male coadjutors in cruelty and all the stronger passions” and quotes them as chanting, “[we] will conquer or die!” The supposedly-progressive King Ghezo himself had “thousands of wives,” including many forcibly captured by the Agojie for his sexual enjoyment. To top this, human sacrifice was common …

Why do they do it?

This attitude of denial in the face of historical truth echoes the response by proponents of the 1619 Project, who flat-out refuse to accept the criticisms of that work’s factual basis. This proves that between progressives in academia, woke journalists in the corporate media, and Hollywood liberals, the left has a firm grasp on the levers of historical truth, with which they intend to promote their political ideology. …

Conservatives and historians could ask for no better example of this absurdity than a film that presents a genocidal, slave-raiding kingdom as beneficent defenders of freedom.

Africa was mostly colonized by the British while Britain was eliminating slavery around the world — just look at the dates. The reason is simple: most African tribes were addicted to slavery. The only way the British could stop them capturing, using, and selling slaves was to conquer them, then to rule the country.

How many cultures eliminated slavery, worldwide? Only one, and it’s the one the left hates.

hat-tip Stephen Neil