Monday 13 May 2024


The Walls of Benin, one of Africa's ancient architectural marvels, were destroyed by the British in 1897 during what has become known as the Punitive Expedition. This shocking act destroyed more than a thousand years of Benin history and some of the earliest evidence of rich African civilisations.

The walls were constructed between 800-1400 AD and when completed they have considered the world's largest earthworks carried out before the mechanical era. The walls were originally built to enclose the royal precinct of the King or “Oba” from the surrounding area. They were significant and on top of being artwork were constructed to play various roles such as protecting the people in the village from outsiders.

The walls are a testament to the development of urbanization and the upswing of state societies in Sub-Saharan Africa, a period of growth that lasted from the 7th century to the 14th century. The Edo people of Benin have always been revered as trailblazers and skilled workers who were also noted to have created magnificent bronze sculptures, ivory and wood carvings amongst others from as early as the 7th century. Their creations were so spectacular that they were looted mainly by the British and even after lots of resistance, they are still displayed in museums across Europe and America.

This is considered the only photo of the wall..

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