Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua (1830? – 1860s?), originally from the village of Djougou in present-day Benin, was captured and exported to the Brazilian state of Pernambuco in the first half of the nineteenth century. “Slave narratives” about bonded life in colonial Brazil are indeed rare, and thus Mahommah’s account takes on added significance. Ultimately, he was able to travel from Brazil to New York, Haiti, and finally Canada, where he related his account less than a decade after he was exported from his homeland.
The rise and expansion of Dahomey since the mid-seventeenth century coheres with the rise of transatlantic slaving and the extensive availability of firearms. On several occasions, however, the Yoruba-controlled Oyo state would reinforce its hegemony over Dahomey’s foreign affairs throughout the eighteenth century.