Without a doubt, the Dora Milaje, which translates to "adored ones" in Wakandan, are the stars of Marvel's Black Panther. The fierce female warriors serve as the bodyguards of King T'Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, and have received praise for being the feminist, ass-kicking shero's we all deserve. But what if we told you that the inspiration behind their characters could be traced all the way back to the 18th century?
Over the weekend, Twitter user @True_kwu tweeted that the Dora Milaje are "based partially" off of the Dahomey "Amazons," who were once considered "the most feared women in the world." Face2FaceAfrica was the first to connect the striking similarities between the Dora Milaje and the Dahomey warriors, explaining:
"In the 1800s, there was an all-female army in modern-day Benin that pledged a similar loyalty to the throne. They were known as the Dahomey Warriors and were praised for their bravery and strength by local leaders and European colonizers alike who encountered them."
The Dahomey warriors were reportedly assembled by King Agaja, who was the ruler of Dahomey — now known as Benin, a country in West Africa — at the time. The women, considered "wives" of the king, were also known as the "N'Nonmiton" and protected the king at all costs until the colonization of Dahomey in the late 19th century. And that's not even the most interesting fact known about them.
Fun story about the Dahomey (Amazon) Ahosi.— Tunde Leye (@tundeleye) February 18, 2018
When the French defeated the Dahomey, they took some of the Dahomey Ahosi to their tents as spoils of war.
At night when they were spent, the women would wake up and bite their throats off. The French stopped taking Dahomey women https://t.co/OJ4urNT73E
Insane, right? Well, if you saw Black Panther, then you know it's not that far off from what the badass women in the Dora Milaje are willing to do for T'Challa when push comes to shove. Although the film's director, Ryan Coogler, said he pulled inspiration for the Dora Milaje from the "incredibly strong black women" in his own life, including his mother, aunts, and his wife, it's hard not to draw parallels between the Dahomey warriors and the female fighters in Black Panther.