The Royal Palaces of Abomey are 12 palaces spread over a 40 hectares (99 acres) area at the heart of the Abomey town in Benin, formerly the capital of the West African Kingdom of Dahomey. The Kingdom was founded in 1625 by the Fon people who developed it into a powerful military and commercial empire, which dominated trade with European slave traders on the Slave Coast until the late 19th century, to whom they sold their prisoners of war. At its peak the palaces could accommodate for up to 8000 people.
The King's palace included a two-story building known as the "cowrie house" or akuehue. The opulent palaces built by the 12 rulers of the kingdom within the cloistered site of Abomey, functioned between 1695 and 1900, as the traditional cultural hub of the empire. The first ruler to initiate the building of palaces was King Houegbadja who had founded the city.