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Is The Woman King Based on a True Story?

The Woman King

The Woman King

The historical drama 2022 film, “The Woman King,” is currently playing in theatres and has received majorly positive reviews from viewers. The film is set in the 1820s and follows the Agojie which is the unit having all-female warriors that fortified the West African empire of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries. 

It stars Viola Davis who plays a general involved in training the next generation of warriors so that they can battle with their rivals. The film also stars Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, John Boyega, Adrienne Warren, Jayme Lawson, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Masali Baduza, Angélique Kidjo, Jimmy Odukoya, Thando Dlomo, Jordan Bolger, Zozibini Tunzi, Makgotso M and Siv Ngesi.

The film was written by Dana Stevens and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. It is adapted from the lead character that is played by Viola Davis. The movie is adapted from a real-life historic figure, General Nanisca.

Therefore, those wondering if “The Woman King” is based on a true story, YES! The film is inspired by actual historical events. Read the full article below to learn more about these events.

Though Davis’ character of General Nanisca is fictional, perhaps inspired by the fact. As per Smithsonian Magazine, a French naval officer penned about a teenage hire into the woman army, Nanisca who “walked jauntily up to [a prisoner bound in a basket], swung her sword three times with both hands, then calmly cut the last flesh that attached the head to the trunk,” according to the French officer. He also penned that “she then squeezed the blood off her weapon and swallowed it.”

Nanisca allegedly died in a fight after three months. Furthermore, the Smithsonian recalls Nawi’s story as well.

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King Ghezo Reigned from 1818 Until 1858

The Woman King Movie

The character of King Ghezo played by John Boyega is also inspired by a historical figure. As per a report from BBC Travel, Ghezo was involved in forming the group titled after the Greek mythological Amazons into his army during his rule of the Kingdom of Dahomey, of which Abomey was the capital. Dahomey was a West African kingdom that remained from 1625 until 1894. 

It can be discovered in today’s Benin on the coast between Nigeria and Togo on the African continent. Furthermore, it has also been claimed by BBC Travel that the then capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey, Abomey, is a fast-growing city in southern Benin now.

The Agojie Links With the Dahomey Amazons and a Group of Female Hunters Called Gbeto

A theory links the Dahomey soldiers to regiments present in seventeenth-century companies of female soldiers named Gbeto. These groups have also been claimed to be hired by the several wives of the King. It emphasizes Sylvia Serbin’s “The Women Soldiers of Dahomey,” claiming that the warriors’ categorization and names were adapted from a woman’s weapons proficiency and her designated unit.

Armed women were always around the King in public and personal life. Nearly four thousand women who started training as teenagers became part of the Dahomey military ranks towards the end of the nineteenth century. 

So, it is now clear with the facts above that “The Woman King” is based on a true story. We will keep you posted with more such news. Until then stay tuned. Don’t forget to follow for more updates. 

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