The Dahomey Amazons, or Mino, were a Fon (a major West African ethnic and linguistic group in the country of Benin, and South West Nigeria) all – female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin), which lasted until the end of the 19th century. They were so named by Western observers and historians due to their similarity to the semi-mythical Amazons of ancient Anatolia and the Black Sea.
The Mino were recruited from among the Ahosi (“Ving‘s Wives“), of which there were often hundreds. They trained with intense physical exercise. Discipline was emphasized. In the latter period, they were armed with Winchester Rifles, clubs, and knives. Units were under female command. Captives who fell into the hands of the Amazons were often decapitated. The French Army lost several battles to them due to the female warriors skill in battle that was “the equal of every contemporary body of male elite soldiers from among the colonial powers.”
The last surviving Amazon of Dahomey died in 1979.