The Benin Republic, formerly known as Dahomey, recently erected a massive statue in honor of one of its most important historical figures, Tassi Hangbé. The statue was built to honor Tassi Hangbé for her bravery in commanding the famous all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey, which existed until 1904.
The Benin Republic chose the statue specifically to serve as a historical monument as well as a tourist attraction.
The massive statue, made of bronze, is said to stand 30 meters tall. Surprisingly, its presence is now expected to characterize the Benin Republic on a national, regional, and international scale.
Queen Tassi Hangbé was renowned for her bravery and military prowess. She was the only woman to reign as Queen of Dahomey in the 18th century, taking advantage of her combat skills and mastery of several traditional weapons. Unfortunately, many people believe she is less well-known than her counterparts in other countries or continents.
Queen Hangbé, King Akaba’s twin sister, ascended to the throne immediately after her brother’s death and reigned from 1708 to 1711. The history of her reign as ruler is possibly one of deception and bravery. According to one version of her rise to power, on the eve of a fierce battle, Tassi Hangbé dressed up in the military uniform of her deceased brother.
While masquerading as her brother, she became fiercely known as a battlefield victor. This immediately made her popular among her tribesmen, and she eventually ascended to the throne.
Queen Hangbé was known for her bravery as well as her leadership. She worked hard to raise an army of trained women, skilled in the art of combat, capable of defeating the region’s most powerful armies. She also formed a group of women who were trained in “trades and skills” that were previously thought to be reserved for men only.
Although her reign was brief, she left a legacy that continues to this day.