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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32 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. Before the existent of oranmiyan, the bini empire has had a dynasty known as [IGODOMIGODO] and the rulers were called [OGISO`S] which in benin language means ´king of the sky.

  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

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