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Photographer's Note

Home to some 30000 people, Ganvie is entirely built in the middle of a lake and is only accessible by boat.

There are two fascinating pieces of history that I have been told about Ganvie.

1) Back a couple hundred years ago during the slave trade, one of the more powerful groups (the Abomeyians) in present day Benin waged war against their weaker neighbours. They were able to sell off their captures to the Europeans in return for items (canons, for instance) which brought them more power and prestige. The Abomeyians, however, lived in land and did not know how to swim. So, a cleaver King from one of the weaker groups decided to move his city onto the water ... the result is before your eyes.

2) The story of how Ganvie was built is equally incredible. Apparently this cleaver King also had considerable magical power. He transformed himself into a crocodile so he could command the other crocodiles to bring bits of wood and thatch to the site that would become Ganvie.

albertopiubello, rjb874, AdrienneClaire has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Caleb Ficner (kwekwekan) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 127 W: 10 N: 168] (1028)
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