World’s Strangest

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The Venice of Africa

Photo: Hugo!/Flickr

No, that’s not a photo of a flooded village. Rather, it’s of the city
of Ganvié in the Republic of Benin, which calls itself "The
Venice of Africa." Kuriositas has the details on the history of this
curious city:

At the beginning of the seventeenth century the country was called
Dahomey and was one of the most powerful states in West Africa. The
major ethnic and linguistic group was the Fon and they had made a deal
with the Portuguese. Rather than their own people being captured and
sold in to slavery they made a contract with the Portuguese to hunt
and sell tribes people from smaller ethnic groups.

The Fon warriors were numerous and powerful and there was little
other groups of people could do to defend themselves against this onslaught.
Then, someone among the Tofinu people came up with an idea. Their name
is lost to history but one wise person realized that they could take
advantage of the religious practices of their

The Fon were forbidden by their religion to advance upon and water
bound settlement. Any groups of people who lived on water were, by the
law of the Fon, safe. Lake Nokoué is simply immense. Ganvié
was established as a means to escape being sold in to a lifetime’s
slavery and shipped across the world in appalling conditions. No wonder
its name means the collectivity of those who found peace at last. The
alternative translation is the much more to the point We Survived.enemy.

– via Look
At This

Post Metadata

January 19th, 2012

Stranger to the World


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