The growth of Dahomey coincided with the growth of the Atlantic slave trade, and it became known to Europeans as a major supplier of slaves.
Dahomey was a major center of the slave trade and conducted slaves raids of surrounding areas, brutally capturing and enslaving people. During the mid 1800s, the British sent multiple envoys To Dahomey to convince the head of state at the time - King Ghezo - to abolish the slave trade, but he refused. The British imposed a naval blockade on the ports of Dahomey in order to force them to end the slave trade from 1851 to 1852 and in January 1852, King Ghezo finally relented, signing a treaty with the British to end the export of slaves from Dahomey.
Received a rare A+ CinemaScore grade from audiences.
The film is based on the Kingdom of Dahomey, which was a West African kingdom located within present-day Benin that existed from approximately 1600 until 1904. The growth of Dahomey coincided with the growth of the Atlantic slave trade, and it became known to Europeans as a major supplier of slaves. As a highly militaristic kingdom constantly organised for warfare, it captured children, women, and men during wars and raids against neighboring societies, and sold them into the Atlantic slave trade in exchange for European goods such as rifles, gunpowder, fabrics, cowrie shells, tobacco, pipes, and alcohol. Other remaining captives became slaves in Dahomey, where they worked on royal plantations and were routinely mass executed in large-scale human sacrifices during the festival celebrations known as the Annual Customs of Dahomey.
Inspired by actual historical events, The Woman King takes place in 19th century West Africa, where an all-female army -- led by Davis's commanding general, Nanisca -- defends their ruler, King Ghezo (John Boyega), against a rival tribe intent on undermining his power. But Nanisca's steely resolve is tested by the arrival of a new warrior, Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), with whom she shares a personal history, as well as the responsibility of leading allies like Izogie (Lashana Lynch) and Amenza (Sheila Atim) into battles from which they may not return.
In the film, Nanisca confronts Ghezo about the immorality of selling black slaves to the Portuguese and suggests trading in palm oil production instead. While this conversation is fictional, it is based on the historic fact that the Agojie favored trading palm oil with the Europeans between 1840 to 1870. Whether they considered it immoral is unclear, especially given their history of participating in slave raids. Slavery in Dahomey persisted after the British Empire stopped Dahomey from continuing in the Atlantic slave trade. The British Empire's Royal Navy successfully blockaded Dahomey's slave-trading in the 1840s, which led to Dahomey's two political parties becoming polarized about what to trade.
The Viola Davis-led action epic " The Woman King " easily conquered the North American box office in its first weekend in theaters, against a crowded market of new releases. The film, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, surpassed expectations and earned $19 million in ticket sales, according to estimates from Sony on Sunday.
The fictional white Portuguese-speaking slave trader Santo Ferreira is at first welcomed by King Ghezo but fails to maintain in good standing with him. According to "History vs. Hollywood", the character was "possibly loosely inspired" by Francisco Félix de Sousa, a Brazilian slave trader who in actuality helped Ghezo gain power.
The Woman King" was released by Sony and TriStar in 3,765 locations and carries a reported production budget of $50 million, which was co-financed by eOne. The film, about the Agojie, the all-female army of the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa in the 1800s, got glowing reviews after its debut at the Toronto Film Festival. It currently boasts a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And theatrical audiences seem just as enthusiastic, giving it a rare A+ CinemaScore suggesting that word of mouth will be strong in the coming weeks.
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