Thursday 2 May 2024

Oyo's Empire, Not Benin's

Have you ever wondered why the Europeans disputed the existence of the Benin Empire? The lack of sufficient archaeological evidence led to doubts about Benin's claims of having an empire, especially regarding their alleged conquests. It turns out that many of the territories Benin claimed to have conquered were actually under the domain of the Oyo Empire.

Benin's assertions of conquering kingdoms like Dahomey, Togo, parts of Ghana, and regions in Nigeria including Lagos, Osun, and Ondo have been debunked. Archaeologists failed to uncover evidence supporting these claims, casting doubt on the existence of a Benin Empire. In contrast, there is tangible evidence of the Oyo Empire's existence. Not only were towns named in the Yoruba language, but inhabitants also spoke Yoruba and bore Yoruba names.

The historical records reveal that Oyo engaged in conflicts with Dahomey (modern-day Benin Republic), capturing a significant portion of its territory. Oyo also extended its influence into Togo and clashed with the Ashanti Empire. Descendants of Yoruba settlers from these conflicts can still be found in Ghana today. Lagos, often cited as under Benin's control, was actually part of the Oyo Empire. Benin is just a 4-local government city.

Even in the Warri Kingdom, British journals noted that the Urhobos adopted traditions and names from the Itsekiris, reflecting their historical subjugation. However, the same cannot be said for the so-called "Benin Empire," as substantial evidence supporting its claims is lacking.

Yoruba history is intact, and not mutilated with fallacy.

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