"At the beginning of the seventeenth century the country was called Dahomey and was one of the most powerful states in West Africa. The major ethnic and linguistic group was the Fon and they had made a deal with the Portuguese. Rather than their own people being captured and sold in to slavery they made a contract with the Portuguese to hunt and sell tribes people from smaller ethnic groups.
The Fon warriors were numerous and powerful and there was little other groups of people could do to defend themselves against this onslaught. Then, someone among the Tofinu people came up with an idea. Their name is lost to history but one wise person realized that they could take advantage of the religious practices of their enemy.
The Fon were forbidden by their religion to advance upon and water bound settlement. Any groups of people who lived on water were, by the law of the Fon, safe. Lake Nokoué is simply immense. Ganvié was established as a means to escape being sold in to a lifetime’s slavery and shipped across the world in appalling conditions. No wonder its name means the collectivity of those who found peace at last. The alternative translation is the much more to the point We Survived."http://www.kuriositas.com/2011/12/ganvie-lake-city-of-africa.html