The Royal Palaces of Abomey are 12 palaces built at the heart of the Abomey town in Benin, formerly the capital of the West African Kingdom of Dahomey. The Kingdom was founded in 1625 by the Fon people who developed it into a powerful military and commercial empire, which dominated trade with Europeanslave traders on the Slave Coast until the late 19th century, to whom they sold their prisoners of war.
The opulent palaces built by the 12 rulers of the kingdom within the cloistered site of Abomey, functioned between 1695 and 1900, as the traditional cultural hub of the empire. The first ruler to initiate the building of palaces was King Houegbadja who had founded the city. The kingdom established itself as one of the most powerful of the western coast of Africa.
UNESCO had inscribed the palaces on the List of World Heritage Sites in Africa. Today, the palaces are no longer inhabited, but those of King Ghézo and King Glélé house the Historical Museum of Abomey, which illustrates the history of the kingdom and its symbolism through a desire for independence, resistance and fight against colonial occupation.
The site spread over 40 hectares and, at its peak, the royal palaces could accommodate 8000 people: this is a place with a great historical and cultural value, and the unique reminder of the Dahomey kingdom.