Dahomey Amazon Warriors

The Dahomey Amazons are the only documented all-female official front-line combat arms military unit in modern history. Tough, uber-intense asskicking women single-mindedly devoted to hardening themselves into ruthless instruments of battlefield destruction, these machete-wielding, musket-slinging lady terminators were rightly-feared throughout Western Africa for over250 years, not only for their fanatical devotion to battle, but for their utter refusal to back down or retreat from any fight unless expressly ordered to do so by their king. If you were some poor conscript militia soldier hanging out around your barracks and you saw these women suddenly start charging out of the woods in your direction, screaming their war chants with their muskets barking fire and their signature double-edged two-foot-long machetes brandished threateningly over their heads, you had one fleeting moment to overcome your crippling panic and defend yourself. Because if you failed to kill them – and I mean if you failed to kill every single last one of them, some murderous warrior was going to club you unconscious with a musket butt, drag you back to her capital, chop off your head with one swing of her machete, boil the skin off of your decapitated face, and then use your skull to decorate the royal palace.

Read more:  http://www.badassoftheweek.com/dahomey.html

The Fon women’s army had three main wings: the right and left wings, and the elite center wing or Fanti.  Each of these wings had five subgroups: the artillery women, the elephant huntresses, the musket-bearing frontline group, the razor women, and the archers.  They served in battles in conjunction with male troops.

– See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/gah/amazons-ahosi-dahomey#sthash.gCFpidrE.dpuf

Dahomey Amazon horn (1884.28.4)

This powder container of cow horn and leather belonged to a woman warrior in the 1860s. The Dahomey kingdom was founded in the 1600s in what is now the Republic of Benin. For two hundred years the king employed ashosi, female personal bodyguards and elite warriors known in Europe as ‘Dahomey Amazons’, after the female warriors of Greek mythology. Their specialty was hand-to-hand combat and in addition to their swords and firearms they were taught to use their teeth and nails as weapons. They were fearsome, brave and disciplined, renowned for decapitating their male enemies. Numbering 6,000 at their peak, they were eventually wiped out by French firepower in 1892 and the last surviving veteran died in the 1970s.

Read more: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/firearm-338/index.html

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