Mahi People



The Mahi are an ethnic group living in Togo and Benin.

In Benin they live north of Abomey, from the Togo border on the west to the Zou River on the east, and south to Cové between the Zou and Ouemé rivers, north of the Dassa hills.

They speak a Twi language and are part of the Ewe cluster of peoples.

The Mahi group totals 473,500 in 2 countries. The Mahi of Benin bare numbering 412,000 (, 2024)

Mahi People



The Mahi identity was formed in the 16th century as a result of the expansionism of the Kingdom of Dahomy. Small clans of different cultures who lived in the corridor between Ouemé river and Dassa hills, unified to resist attacks from Dahomy, and the Mahi people were formed.

The Mahi established their own kingdom, Fitta, toward the end of the 18th century, and were a target of the slave trade before French colonization at the end of the 19th century. Because of the slave-trade to the Americas, Mahi influence can be found in Afro-Brazilian religions.


Historically, the Mahi emerged from a fusión of Adja and Nagot peoples and founded the Savalou Kingdom. The Mahi, who have traditionally been slaves to the Fon people, are concentrated in Togo in the Atakpamé región, arriving in 1854 after having migrated there from the Aliada and Savalou regions of what was then the King­dom of Dahomey. In Benin, they are concentrated north of Abomey between the Ouémé River and the Dassa hills. The Mahi maintain allegiance to the Savalou royal family.