Is ‘The Woman King’ Based On A True Story?

It will only be a matter of a few more days before The Woman King is released in theatres, and it is never too late to brush up on the real-life history that inspired this movie. This historical epic follows an all-female group of warriors in Dahomey, a West African kingdom, in the 1820s.

Viola Davis plays the role of General Nanisca in the film. According to a description provided by Deadline, Davis’ character must train a new generation of warriors to fight against enemies who “violated their honor, enslaved their people, and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for.” Without further ado, here is everything that we know about the real-life events that inspired the movie The Woman King:

Is ‘The Woman King’ Based On A True Story (3)
Is ‘The Woman King’ Based On A True Story (3)

Is The Woman King Based On A True Story?

The plot of The Woman King is said to be inspired by “strong” real-life occurrences, as was shown in the trailer. It is based on the Agojie, also known as the Amazons, an army of women that protected Dahomey, a West African Kingdom that existed from the 17th to the 19th century and is now present-day Benin.

This is similar to the description of the movie. It is not unusual for people to be ignorant of this piece of historical information. In point of fact, the leading woman in the production didn’t know much about it until after she was cast in the part.

Davis stated the following in an interview with Vanity Fair: “The only thing I knew, literally, was that there were women someplace in Africa who were called Amazons.” It is not the first time Hollywood has taken its cues for powerful female characters from this group of women.

Is ‘The Woman King’ Based On A True Story (3)
Is ‘The Woman King’ Based On A True Story (3)

According to BBC, the soldiers known as the Dora Milaje, who appear in Marvel’s Black Panther, were similarly motivated by the Agojie.

Was The Woman King’s General Nanisca Real?

The character of General Nanisca, played by Davis, is fictitious in the main. However, The Smithsonian Magazine mentioned that a French naval officer had seen a young recruit with the same name while he was on a visit and that the recruit was from France.

According to reports, she had “not yet killed anyone” before a prisoner was brought before her. After beheading the prisoner, she “squeezed the blood off her sword and consumed it.”

Is ‘The Woman King’ Based On A True Story (3)
Is ‘The Woman King’ Based On A True Story (3)

Since the officer stated that she had perished three months into the conflict, it is unknown if the real-life Nanisca actually made it to the rank of general. However, it is very plausible that Davis‘ character is inspired by the young recruit. On September 16, The Woman King will be released in theatres.

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