Public Execution, Whydah (Ouidah), Dahomey, 1725

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This record was last updated on 18 Jan 2011

Image Reference

Jean Baptiste Labat, Voyage du chevalier Des Marchais en Guinée . . .fait en 1725, 1726, & 1727 (Amsterdam, 1731), vol. 2, facing p. 66. (Copy in Library Company of Philadelphia)

"If a man is surprised with a wife of the King, it costs the life of both of them, nothing can save them. . . . If the man and the woman are taken, the King pronounces the sentence of death on the spot... " (pp. 65-66; our translation). Labat proceeds to give a detailed description of the execution of the adulterous couple. A reversed image was later published In Thomas Astley (ed.), A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels (London, 1745-47; vol. 3, plate 2, facing p. 38) with the caption, "Punishment of one of ye King of Whidah's wives and her Gallant," and an English version of the description in Labat ( see Astley, p. 38).