Abomey was founded in the 17th century as the capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey (1600–1904), on the site of the former village of Kana. Traditional legends state that the town was founded by Do-Aklin, a son of the king of Allada who ventured north to found his own kingdom; the name is thought to come from Danhomé, meaning 'belly of Dan', Dan been the original chief of the village. Dahomey expanded rapidly in the 1700s, absorbing many of the surrounding kingdoms, and growing rich from the slave trade. After several attempts the French conquered the kingdom on 16 November 1892, prompting King Béhanzin to torch the city and flee northward. Thereafter the town declined in importance, a process hastened when the French built the new administrative centre of Bohicon immediately to the east. Today, the city is of less importance, but is still popular with tourists and as a centre for crafts.
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