THE GREAT BINI EMPIRE: AN AFRICAN LEGACY

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The history of the great Benin Empire as a nation is the record of a state that was established 2300yrs before any contact was made with European inferior nation. The great Benin Empire made remarkable achievements in those pre-European years, in art, science, administration, technology, political organization, architectures, astronomy, town-planning e.t.c.

When the great Benin empire reached the zeniths of its power, it extended its boundaries and exercised power over all the west African lands bordering the entire stretch of the bight of Benin, from the mouth of the river Volta in the west and eastward to the present day Congo and to the delta of river Niger in the east e.g. Ghana, Republic of Benin, both across the borders of modern Nigeria. Onitsha on the Niger and many other cities such as Asaba, Agbor, Isele-Uku, Warri, Idah e.t.c. Many of these states and other cities owe their corporate existence to the ancient Benin Empire. The influence of the great Benin Empire was said to have even extended to the present day Sierra Leone in the west.

The legendary fame of the Great Benin empire was such that the name Benin had many meanings, e.g. there was Benin-city and Benin empire, Benin river close to the new Benin (Warri) and there is the bight of Benin and the Benin district comprising of Sapele and Warri. Beyond the Gulf of Benin, the great Benin Empire’s legendary fame was indeed wide spread. Several European states heard about the empires might and civilized attitudes, many sought for it.

That a vast stretch of the West African coastline bears the name ” BIGHT OF BENIN” is no accident of history. Even until these day, it quite evident and amazing how the cultural influence of the ancient Benin empire remains strong till today. An independent republic of former Dahomey in 1975 decided to change its name to the republic of Benin as a way of reconnecting its roots to Africa’s once glorious kingdom.

The republic of Togo on the other hand named some of her prestigious institutions after the great Benin empire e.g. Universite du Benin, Togo hotel du Benin e.t.c. President Gnassingbe Eyadema during his 1974 visit to Benin City openly stated that the Togolese people originated from the ancient Benin Empire. His open declaration was cardinal in the sense that it ended the historical dilemma that clouded the ancient Benin and present day Benin speaking Yoruba influence on many West African nations. The Political & Spiritual Purpose of the Holy Land nations.

Today, the people of Onitsha across the Niger, the Isekiris, Urobos, Isian and Ijaws just to mention but a few all proudly trace their venerated royal lineages to the ancient Benin empire.

Lourenco Pinto, who captained a Portuguese ship that brought the so-called missionaries to Warri the ancient port of Benin in 1619, sent the below deposition to the Sacra Congregazione the instance of father Montelcone. ” All the city of this African Empire are organized, large and harmonious. The streets run straight and as far as the eyes can see. The houses are large; especially those of the king, which is richly decorated and has, fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious.”

Before that period, the great Benin Empire had built a unique defensive wall around its principal cities. The magnitude and complexity of this great wall has qualified it to be entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the greatest earth moving work ever constructed by man. With an estimated total length in excess of 20.000km, the great Benin wall is the longest running military defensive network ever built by man.

Isn’t it ironic that the people that once made up this ancient prestigious kingdom are now grouped along minority lines in the modern day Nigeria. No thanks to the British dubious invasion and subsequent amalgamation of over 200 ethnic nationalities that now make up one Nigeria.

Isn’ t it sad that the name of this over 3000yrs old empire does not even appear on Nigeria map these days, instead towns like Ogbomosho and Lagos originally named Eko which was founded by Benin military leaders now represent the glory of Nigeria’s ancient cities.

The marginalization and the dubious miss-interpretation of the great Benin Empire’s history have to end. It is time for African scholars and historians to engage in the challenging and vital task of re-constructing Africa’s unifying history. During this process, every element of all ancient African empires should be given due respect and honor, without exhibiting the contemporary tribalist and colonial mentality/education that is tearing African apart.

Fellow Africans, let us not forget that Africa is the past, the present and certainly the future.

“THE GREAT BENIN EMPIRE;
A LEGACY OF AFRICAN CIVILIZATION” By: Nosakhare & AGHAZE Both are African historians/scholars at the University of Benin .

http://www.edofolks.com/html/pub75.htm


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30 thoughts on “THE GREAT BINI EMPIRE: AN AFRICAN LEGACY”

  1. Dear Editor,
    I am really impressed by the above pieces on the History of Bini Empire.
    In addition to the submission, I think the writer was economical with words on the origin of the Yoruba along side the Bini Empire and later the Kingdom. In a nutshell, the Yoruba people were under the Bini Empire throughout its reign. They only gained their independence when the news of stopage of slavery got to african around 1800. In spite of the freedom, the basic institutions were still maintajned such as Eko Akate.
    Furthermore, the Yoruba extractions were named the aries of army who guards and protect the Great Wall of Bini Kingdom you refered to.

  2. Hi author
    I think the author wrote it well, because that was exactly how it was.The benin emerge as a result of a prince from IFE called ORANMIYAN(the youngest son of ODUDUWA(the father of th YORUBA’s)the first king in ILEIFE whom it origin is traced to.

    1. Hi Oluwaseyi,
      I beg to disagree with you on your erroneous belief that Benin emerged as a result of a prince from Ife. This is so not true because ODUDUWA (agreeably referred to as the father of the Yoruba nation) was Bini Prince himself! He never dropped from the sky as some yoruba Myth has it!

    2. You must be Crazy. Oduduwa who’s name was Izoduwa in Benin was a Prince who left Bini due to conspiracy of being killed and as a crowned Prince after the death of his father. Because of his glory he could not be lost and wandered off Benin to the west and the prophesy came to the Yorubas that he will be found in the bush. How can you believe that Oduduwa came from the sky? Olodo

      The only people originally called king of skies are the Benin people not Yorubas. You Yorubas have to go learn proper history because you guys are lost.

      Today you came from Oduduwa, tomorrow you came from Mecca and next tomorrow you came from Sudan. Your history is already corrupted please don’t spoil Bini great history.

      Benin came from their own land who’s ancient fathers were Egypt/Black Isrealites. Even since we came to Benin we started Nigeria of today.

      We are not part of Yoruba. That is an insult to the Gods of the land. We are a tribe of our own and recorded as the Greatest Kingdom in Nigeria and One of the most powerful kingdoms in Africa.

      Yorubas be careful. Don’t dare insult us by trying to put us under Ife. Read your history. Izoduwa who Yoruba called Oduduwa gave birth to Ife. Ife is a child of Izoduwa and Benin Existed thousands of years before Izoduwa which you Yorubas call Oduduwa. So you guys should be very careful.

      Only Great Benin was recorded in History in London, Europe and all over the world. Why did the British fight Benin if you Yorubas were the most powerful? Why did they not steal your art work ? Why was Benin the ones they were jealous of ? Why was it Benin land they wanted ? Even till today why did they keep Benin historic work in their museum? Even Benin Queen mothers (IDIA) head art work is in the museum and they said it’s worth millions of pounds ? Have you asked yourself these questions ? If you Yorubas were the head why did they come for Benin ? These questions already answered itself.

      You Yorubas better bow your heads down to authorities and don’t be cowards. Benin is the head of Nigeria and the greatest kingdom in Nigeria. That was why the British tried to destroyed their culture, killed hundred of thousands of Benin Peope forced colonization upon Benins and almagamated the country with the Northerners to suppress the tribe and have power to the North.

      That is why Northerners of Nigeria misbehave because the British asked them to fight the south and make sure all southerners especially Benin Peope never get their power back. Because Benin refused to bow to a white and and stood their ground as Black Power.

      No matter what power will come back to the Peope when the time comes. No one can take the glory of God’s land permanently. A time is coming every thing will fall into place and Benin will rise and rule again!!!

      1. We must be careful not to be overly aggressive. Name calling will not do any good. Using words like “…you must be crazy” or “olodo” does not augur well with intellectual maturity. Look at the issues dispassionately. Do not get carried away with sentiment.

        Am not a student of history; just reading it for pleasure. Some details about the Benin Empire are badly explained. For example, the link between Ekaladerhan (Oduduwa?), Oranmiyon and the Yoruba Empires. Even the piece by Wikipedia was at pain trying to flesh it out. The saving grace was Naiwu Osahon’s publication. I was with the opinion that Benin Empire predates those of the Yorubas until I came across this: http://www.gamji.com/article4000/news4738.htm

        This guy claims that heads of late Obas of Benin were buried at Ile Ife. This is an extraordinary claim, which I never heard of before. Is this factual? If so, is it still in practice? This is what he says: “Why is it necessary to bury the head of any late Oba of Benin at Ile Ife?”

        I don’t know this guy but I think he is asking some pertinent questions. I still believe Benin Empire to be the oldest. But am still going to pay attention to this guy until the questions he is asking are answered. Until then, lets watch this space, sorry, website.

        By the way, am not a Yoruba man.

      2. Thank you! The Yorubas in my opinion are among the mixed multitudes that left Egypt with Israel or they are the Amalekites or Ijebusites that YehVhe warn Israel to totally destroy their generation hence their existence is bent on terrorizing Israel. They are betrayed and smart at stealing the glory of the Benin Empire. See them today how they betray Nigeria with Fullanis. Unless you’re a Yoruba speaking person doing business with a Yoruba will always lead to betrayal. Marry a Yoruba woman I sorry for you.

  3. Weldone to you Nosakhare and Aghaze for the good work you are doing. I would like to join forces with you and other like minds to see how we can begin to right the great injustice that was done to the “Great Bini Kingdom” by British Colonialists hundreds of years ago and shut the yorubas ( very few of them I must acknowledge) up once and for all!
    I make bold to say that they are very few who continue to doubt or refuse to accept the fact that the Yoruba nation originated from Benin because I was once privileged to be taught the history of ODUDUWA by two erudite and world reknowned Law Professors of Criminology, who both happen to be yorubas.

    1. you re soso wat re u trying to say oduduwa gave birth to seven children he did nt gave birth to ile-ife point of correction u re trying to turn it tribe issue which is nt mean 2 b like dat

  4. Let us look at this side of the Bini Empire once more, before the coming of the colonians into The Great Bini Empire, some sets of roles and way of identity has already been established/introduced. One of this role was that any force personnel being him or her must be given a mark in his face which shows his rank any where he may go. The tribal marks on the faces of the Yorubas, Nupe, and many more were not just for fun. It is a symbol of their rank.

  5. Gentlemen and Ladys. My name is k. Omolade, I am half YORUBA half BINI. So sorry. I am not trying to take side here, the truth of the matter is that the Yorubas came from Bini.

  6. Bini, Birni ; these two names might have the same meaning which is”fortress” regarding the common past of west african identity: the oral tradition talked about a fratricid war after Namuradu(Nimrod) death which scattered original middle eastern population

  7. Yoruba did not come from bini,so u pple should stop trying to twist history.and which influence does bini ave benin republic or sierra leone compared to yorubas,u guys should not flatter urself.the bini has no infkluence in ogbomoso.except in ondo state and in lagos.fools

    1. @Someone, it shows and clear that you dont know anything about history.. instead of defending what you dont know why dont you get make research or go through the right history of the bini and the yoruba?

  8. BIN EMPIRE IS NOT BENIN REPUBLIC, BENIN REPUBLIC IS ANCIENT DAHOMEY HOME OF BIBLICAL DAN. ODUDUWA WAS A KING IN BINI BUT RETURNED TO ILE IFE BECAUSE THEY PEOPLE WERE VERY ANGRY TRIBE HENCE THE NAME ILE IBINU (LAND OF VEXATION). ANCIENT BENIN KINDOM IS NOT ILE IBINU

  9. The word “Yoruba” means “them that pay homage to the Oba” in Bini language.
    Oduduwa was a Bini heir/prince that escaped to Ife when his life was threatened during some palace intrigues. He met some indigenes in the place he called Ife & became their leader.
    Around Ife were other towns and peoples like the Oyo, etc. All these people at some point in time swore allegiance or paid homage to the Bini King and so were all referred to as Yoruba.
    At some point the Bini elders wanted Oduduwa to return & claim his throne. Oduduwa refused and sent his son, Oranmiyan in his place.
    That is the history passed orally by my ancestors in Togo. I belong to a royal family there.

  10. I have no doubt there are factories in Uselu, Sakpomba, Oba market, Ekenwa etc where you sit down and idly manufacture history.
    1) Igodomigodo of your Ogiso era was no more than a hamlet.
    2) before Oranmiyan and his descendant kings, Igodomigodo was locked in the obscurity of the forest.
    3) recall, that Benin was no more than a kingdom when Oyo empire reigned. Benin only grabbed what Oyo empire left behind after its fall, check your history.
    4) leave market square history and let’s look at the DNA mapping of tribes in Africa for you to see the futility of your attempt by the tail to wag the dog. Latest report put the Yorubas as one of the most ancient people together with the Bantus, originating from Southern part of Africa( scientific findings, not your canoe, water and snail crown bullshit).
    5) Ekalerdahan probably ended up in the belly of the leopard. I read somewhere Ekalerdahan found Ife. This is intellectual Summersault, research laziness, idle market talk. The writer is ignorant of pre Oduduwa Ife? Ife Oyelagbo, of which Obatala was the king when Oduduwa arrived. Igbo, as Ife was called had existed for centuries prior to Oduduwa. The writer is ignorant of what made large part of Ugbo people to migrate from Ife to present day Igbokoda, Ilaje in Ondo.
    The Ugbo people came from the first Ife, Ife Odaye which was destroyed by flood around the Benue confluence region, which remains one of the oldest human civilization together with the lake chad civilization. It is from this same civilization the igodomigodo came from. Binis are product of intermarriage between the old EFA people of Benue confluence civilization and others; it was a mixture of different people, Bini was never one tribe even if it appears as one today.
    6) the Ijaws arrived in that geographical area before igodomigodo was established, which explains why Ijaw quarters, Uzama, is the oldest quarters in Benin.
    7 why do you think Oranmiyan ( according to your claim, the son of Ekalerdahan) did not rule as your 32nd Ogiso? Why the new nomenclature, the first Oba of Benin?
    8) Yoruba is a global race, a focal point in the study of the history of the Blackman for which the Bini rewriting of history is an insignificant event.
    9) A bigger display of ignorance is the Nupe mentioned in the write up. For your enlightenment, Nupe predates both Ife and Benin by so many centuries. The kingdoms up there are much older as West Africa was the last place to be populated by humans in Africa.

  11. Great job by the authors Nasokhare & Aghaze. In addition, history has it that the Bini people as a race are as old as the world itself. Just as the Bible has the account of creation, so also the Bini people has their account of how the world and existence of man came to be (creation). The great Bini empire today started as group of people (Binis) living together. When they began to increase in population and spread, then came the need for leadership. It all started as the oldest man in the villages/hamlet becoming the head (Odionwere) of the place. But as the villages occupied by the Bini people continue to increase in number, there arose the need for them to a common leader. Initially, the oldest among the Odionweres was choosing but sooner or later it was discovered that they were usually very old and weak and cannot function as a leader. So came the decision to choose someone who is young, strong and has leadership qualities to lead them. Among the elders forum was choosing someone “Okaiko” to lead. This system eventually gave rise to the selection of the first king (Ogiso). By history, 31 Ogisos rule the Bini Kingdom the last of which was ogiso Oghodo. He was the father of Prince Ikaladerhan who was exiled from the kingdom due to Esangho manipulations and fate landed him in Ife where he was warmly received. The first word he pronounced after the reception party organized in his honour was “Idoduwa” meaning ( I have reached my destined place) in Bini language which eventually became his name by the people of Ife (Yorubas) and later corrupted as ODUDUWA. Because of his ought never to return back to the Bini Kingdom when he was living, after he became king (leader) of the Yorubas and there was succession / leadership tussle in Bini Kingdom and he was traced and located by a search party lead by chief Oliya, he decided to send his son Oranmiyan. He only spend few months in Bini before he left with annoyance because he was not accepted by the Bini people into the palace. But, before his exit, he impregnated the daughter of Ogie Egor who later gave birth to a son. Born and brought up in Bini soil and culture, he was generally accepted and preferred to ascend the throne of his ancestors. That was how he became the OBA EWEKA the 1st. And consequently the new Era of Obaship in Bini Kingdom.

    From the above, it can only be said that the Yorubas and the Edos(binis) have been in existence as a people and doing things in their own ways before the connections brought about by the advent of ODUDUWA.
    Surely, ODUDUWA was not the first yoruba man that lived. Also, no living being has ever fell from the sky not even Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammed.

    Of a truth, ODUDUWA came from somewhere to Ile Ife and we the binis believed that he is our exiled prince Ikaladerhan. The Yorubas should continue to research his origin but I believe one day, they will agree with the history as told by the Bini people.

  12. The Bini Empire was very great and from what I know, The Yorubas originated from Oduduwa whom the Yorubas claim to have fallen from the sky. A story which I believed was forged. Oduduwa was actually a runaway prince from Bini called Ikaladerhan or something like that. He was the son of the last Ogiso and later sent his own son Oranmiyan to rule after he was begged by Bini Elders to return and rule the people. Even the Present Oba of Benin had proclaimed this history while he was prince but it was not accepted by the Yorubas who still stuck to their weird beliefs that he came from heaven, sometimes they even say he came from the East on a chain or something like that

  13. please i need help with this question:
    Discuss the early history and development of Bini Kingdom upto 1800

    is a presentation i need help

  14. I am Alakufo Olasumbo, I am pretty apologize to Benin ppl but as a matter of fact, you ppl re-write history and I will gladly appreciate you Benin ppl shld not put us under any tribes or race around the world because we oduduwa have been existing even Benin. Further to my response, I will gladly invites you Benin ppl to look at your culture and take a look at Yoruba culture and you will see the difference we Yoruba are more classically different from Benin ppl and if izoduwa or Ekalerdahan was a Benin prince, at least there should be a little slightly different of culture, dress, altitude and so more that will look like Benin but I guess and clearly see none but look at Benin culture, dress, altitude, you will discover we Yoruba has enough traces in Benin.
    Another point of interest, a prince from Benin who claim to be a king Ooni of Ife should at least invites and initiate few of their ppl from Benin but none to dominate ife but none and no trace. Please, you Benin ppl should not claim what did not belong to you and we are ready for ODUDUWA REPUBLIC so you ppl shld evacuate now before I open my eyes. Lol…

  15. Yoruba we not agree, Oduduwa the yoruba said is founder of yoruba nation was a prince of Benin Kingdom “oduduwa is the son of Ekaladaran” NO one have ever descend from heaven not even Jesus christ, it is time we should put pride outside doing the coronation October 2016 is a good evidence to all Nigerians that the Benins as they said were really great.
    If the white men can keep the Memories why can’t we do the same

    1. Do not say no one ever do something. No one never come down from heaven. Never say that.
      if jesus can descend back to heaven
      if Elijah can descend to heaven with wirlwind
      If Enoch can ascend up to heaven with Fire
      If God can make these possible and you people believe it
      it is possible for God to make it possible for Oduduwa to descend from heaven to earth also.

      Thanks

  16. It is funny, some of the pictures of Artifacts stolen from the Egyptian tombs and temples by the whites in Egypt has the same similarities with those stolen from Benin.

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