• This photograph was taken in Fort de France on the French island of Martinique around 1902. It shows the former King Béhanzin (1844-1906) of Dahomey (present-day Benin), who was banished to the Caribbean territory in 1894. The Kingdom of Dahomey, with its capital at Abomey, was founded in the 17th century. French colonial expansion into west Africa in the late 19th century and French efforts to suppress the slave trade led to conflict between France and the kingdom. In 1892, the kingdom was defeated in a war with France and the country organized as the French Protectorate of Dahomey. Béhanzin was exiled and spent the remainder of his life in Martinique and Algeria. Dahomey became independent in 1960 and changed its name to Benin in 1975. The photograph is a stereo card or stereograph, a popular medium used around the turn of the 20th century to create the illusion of depth through the juxtaposition of two flat images. Two photographs are placed side-by-side and viewed through an instrument called a stereoscope. Each eye focuses on one image, creating a sense of three-dimensionality.

Date Created

Publication Information

  • Underwood and Underwood


Title in Original Language

  • King Bihuazin [i.e. Béhanzin] of Dahomey, and His Two Wives- French Government Prisoner in Martinique, Fort de France


Time Period


Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

  • 1 photographic print on stereo card : stereograph