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He was King of Dahomey, in present-day Benin, from 1818 until 1858. Ghezo replaced his brother Adandozan (who ruled from 1797 to 1818) as king through a coup with the assistance of the Brazilian slave trader Francisco Félix de Sousa.
He suffered a British blockade of the ports of Dahomey in order to stop the Atlantic slave trade. He also dealt with significant domestic dissent and pressure from the British to end the slave trade.