The Batammariba are a population of West Africa, their number is estimated in about 176,000 people, of whom 140,000 live in Benin and the rest lives in Togo.
The group living in Benin is identified by the name of the Somba, while the Tongolese group is known as the Tamberma; the two groups originally belonged to the same population and thus exhibit very similar characteristics, differing only for a particular feature.
The Somba, unlike the Tamberma, have scarification on the whole face, very light and elegant; the same geometric patterns of scraping are reported on the plastering of the houses.
Batammariba means "those who know how to build", and in fact these people are famous for the traditional houses they build and resembling European miniature medieval castles; in fact they are real homes fortified with towers and thick walls.
The Batammariba arrived in the territories they currently occupy by migrating from the North, from the current Burkina Faso, and in the new lands they had to deal with the riding warriors, the Bariba.
For defense reasons they took refuge in the mountain range of Atakora, a difficult territory, and built their clay castles here.
Their fort houses allowed the Batammariba to withstand the assaults of neighboring populations and especially the raids of the slave-makers of the mighty kingdom of Dahomey who sought to make them prisoners to be sold to the Europeans; finally, the German colonialists also protected the Batammariba.
Also thanks to their fortified buildings, the Batammariba did not suffer from outside influences, nor from other African populations nor from the Europeans, and this allowed them to preserve their traditions to these days.
Only the French were able to modify their customs in part, before their arrival, the Batammariba did not wear any type of dress, men only wore a pencil case to protect their genitals, derived from a pumpkin; while the French imposed on them to wear garments in European style.
The Batammariba are a population of farmers and breeders, the wealth of a family is measured according to the size of the herd owned.
Livestock is important not only from a more economically viable point of view, but also for other purposes such as funerals and gifts, but also for sacrifices.
The Batammariba cultivate several cereals that are the basis of their diet, such as sorghum, millet and corn; they are also skilled hunters and bats are considered a real delicacy.
The Batammariba are an animist population, they believe in a solar divinity called Kuiye and a goddess of land and subsoil called Butan; they build ancient ancestral shrines to protect their homes and disseminate the village, houses, and fields of fetishes and amulets.
Another fundamental element in the Batammariba culture are the elaborate funeral rituals and initiation ceremonies.
Social organization is rather straightforward and is based on clans and a hierarchy dictated by the age class, older people are respected and listened to, they reject any form of centralized power, and do not recognize inheritance of positions.