Following the First Franco-Dahomean War, a very short period peace followed where the belligerents involved bolstered their numbers and weapons. This was especially true for Dahomey which had upgraded its weaponry en masse. This time Dahomey had the latest rifles, machine guns, and even cannons.
Neither side trusted the other to uphold the treaty and as it would happen, the Second Franco-Dahomean would be just around the corner.
The War Renewed
The Fon were back to raiding two years after the treaty was signed. Porto-Novo sent an official to look into the attacks and this official, Resident Victor Ballot was attacked as well. France made its complaints clear to Benhanzin, king of Dahomey. The hostility was a violation of their treaty, of course. As expected, Benhanzin disregarded French concerns, prompting the Second Franco-Dahomean War.
This conflict took place in several major battles. In the Battle of Dogba on September 19, the Fon attacked the French and were aggressive in their attempts to run the force into the ground. Efforts would prove unsuccessful as the Fonexperienced heavy losses and eventually halted their attack following several hours.
The same was repeated a month later on October 4 at Poguessa. The Fon walked away minus 200 soldiers while it was reported that France only had a little over 40 dead. Two days later in the village Adegon, the Fon experienced another loss totaling over 500. It was this battle that Dahomey’s royal court viewed the war as a lost cause.
The Final Battle
A week before the final conflict of the Second Franco-Dahomean War, the battle was intense at Cotopa. Things became so dire for the Fon that the fight turned to close quarters with the bladed, slashing weapons of Dahomey meeting French bayonets. The Dahomey Amazons who had picked their battles during the war were also in attendance and were said to be the most fierce of combatants.
The effort would be for naught as the November battle at Cana would reveal. Behanzin headed out to the field and had mostly slaves and convicts numbering 1,500 bolstered heavily by Amazons. Fighting ended on November 4, two days after the Battle of Cana began.
An attempt at a truce fell through with the French heading toward Abomey to claim it. Behanzin would raze the capital before fleeing north. His attempt to rebuild the army and the Amazons would fail. The French would announce the more pliable Agolo-agbo as the King of Dahomey.
Finally, on January 15, 1894, Behanzin would hand himself over to the French. His life was spared and he was banished to Martinique and later Algeria. He passed in December 1910.