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Why did the Obas of Benin participate in the slave trade?

This lesson adopts the classic enquiry approach. You drip-feeding clues and encourage students to refine their hypotheses as they go along.

The initial question is set up at the beginning of the lesson: why was it that, after centuries of essentially refusing to be part of the international slave trade, after 1700 the Obas of Benin seem to have had a change of heart?

Students come up with their initial ideas, before considering a range of clues and hopefully revising their original theory on the basis of additional evidence.

Finally,they are encouraged to prioritise causes/reasons, answering the big question in a careful and nuanced manner.

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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Resource 1: PDF
  • Resource 2:PDF

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