Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today Western and North
central Nigeria. Established in the 15th century, the Oyo
to become one of the largest West African states. It rose through the
outstanding organizational and administrative skills of the Yoruba
people, wealth gained from trade and its powerful cavalry. The Oyo
Empire was the most politically important state in the region from the
mid-17th to the late 18th century, holding sway not
only over most of the other kingdoms in Yorubaland, but also over
nearby African states, notably the Fon
Kingdom of Dahomey
Kingdom of Dahomey in the
modern Republic of
Benin to the west.
1 Mythical origins
2 Early period (14th century–1535)
2.2 The Nupe occupation
3 Imperial period (1608–1800)
3.1 Reconquest and expansion
3.3 Political structure
Alaafin of Oyo
18.104.22.168 Selection of the Alaafin
22.214.171.124 The Ilari
3.3.2 The Councils
126.96.36.199 Oyo Mesi
188.8.131.52 The Ogboni
184.108.40.206 The Eso
220.127.116.11 Metropolitan Army
18.104.22.168 Tributary Army
4.1 Loss of the
4.2 The Dahomey Revolt
4.3 The Fulani Jihad
4.4 Ago d'Oyo
4.5 Final demise
5 See also
8 External links
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The origins of the Oyo
Empire lie with
Oranyan (also known as
Oranmiyan), the last prince of the Yoruba Kingdom of Ile-
Oranyan made an agreement with his brother to launch a punitive raid
on their northern neighbors for insulting their father Oduduwa, the
first Ooni of Ife. On the way to the battle, the brothers quarreled
and the army split up. Oranyan's force was too small to make a
successful attack, so he wandered the southern shore until reaching
Bussa. There the local chief entertained him and provided a large
snake with a magic charm attached to its throat.
The chief instructed
Oranyan to follow the snake until it stopped
somewhere for seven days and disappeared into the ground. Oranyan
followed the advice and founded Oyo where the serpent stopped. The
site is remembered as Ajaka.
Oranyan made Oyo his new kingdom and
became the first "oba" (meaning 'king' or 'ruler' in the Yoruba
language) with the title of "
Alaafin of Oyo" (Alaafin) means 'owner of
the palace' in Yoruba. He left all his treasures in
Ife and allowed
another king to rule there.
At a time, Oyo-ile was at war with the Bariba of
Borgu who wanted to
subjugate the new City still under construction. Orangun Ajagunla of
Ila, Oranmiyan's elder brother stormed in with his men to assist. Not
long after the war was won, Oranmiyan welcomed a son Ajuwon Ajaka,
much later Arabambi was born by the woman from Tapa (Nupe), It is
believed that the name "Sango" was given by his maternal grandfather
or He adopted it from the local name for the God of Thunder, Either
way the royal family was devoted to The Spirits of Thunder(Jakuta) and
Early period (14th century–1535)
A Survey of Old Oyo Palace Compound
Oranyan, the first oba (king) of Oyo, was succeeded by Oba Ajaka,
Alaafin of Oyo.
Ajaka was deposed, because he lacked Yoruba military
virtue and allowed his sub-chiefs too much independence. Leadership
was then conferred upon Ajaka's brother, Shango, who was later defined
as the deity of thunder and lightning.
Ajaka was restored after
Ajaka returned to the throne thoroughly more warlike
and oppressive. His successor, Kori, managed to conquer the rest of
what later historians would refer to as metropolitan Oyo.
The heart of metropolitan Oyo was its capital at
Oyo-Ile (also known
as Oyo Katunga or Old Oyo or Oyo-oro). The two most important
Oyo-Ile were the 'Afin,' or palace of the Oba, and his
market. The palace was at the center of the city close to the Oba's
market called 'Oja-Oba'. Around the capital was a tall earthen wall
for defense with 17 gates. The importance of the two large structures
(the palace and the Oja Oba) signified the importance of the king in
The Nupe occupation
Oyo had grown into a formidable inland power by the end of the 14th
century. For over a century, the Yoruba state had expanded at the
expense of its neighbors. During the reign of Onigbogi, Oyo suffered
military defeats at the hands of the Nupe led by Tsoede. Sometime
around 1535, the Nupe occupied Oyo and forced its ruling dynasty to
take refuge in the kingdom of Borgu. The Nupe sacked the capital,
destroying Oyo as a regional power until the early 17th century.
Imperial period (1608–1800)
The Yoruba of Oyo went through an interregnum of 80 years as an exiled
dynasty after its defeat by the Nupe. They re-established Oyo as more
centralized and expansive than ever. The people created a government
that established its power over a vast empire. During the 17th
century, Oyo began a long stretch of growth, becoming a major
empire. Oyo never encompassed all Yoruba-speaking people, but it
was the most populous kingdom in Yoruba history.
Reconquest and expansion
Empire and surrounding states, c. 1625.
The key to Yoruba rebuilding of Oyo was a stronger military and a more
centralized government. Taking a cue from their Nupe enemies (whom
they called "Tapa"), the Yoruba rearmed with armor and cavalry. Oba
Alaafin of Oyo, succeeded in regaining Oyo's original
territory from the Nupe. A new capital, Oyo-Igboho, was
constructed, and the original became known as Old Oyo. The next
oba, Eguguojo, conquered nearly all of Yorubaland. After this, Oba
Orompoto led attacks to obliterate the Nupe to ensure Oyo was never
threatened by them again. During the reign of Oba, Ajiboyede, he
held the first Bere festival, an event to celebrate peace in the
kingdom. Celebrated regularly, it would retain much significance among
the Yoruba long after the fall of Oyo.
Under his successor, Abipa, the Yoruba repopulated
Oyo-Ile and rebuilt
the original capital. Despite a failed attempt to conquer the Benin
Empire sometime between 1578 and 1608, Oyo continued to expand. The
Yoruba allowed autonomy to the southeast of metropolitan Oyo, where
the non-Yoruba areas could act as a buffer between Oyo and Imperial
Benin. By the end of the 16th century, the Ewe and Aja states of
Benin were paying tribute to Oyo.
The reinvigorated Oyo
Empire began raiding southward as early as
1682. By the end of its military expansion, Oyo's borders would
reach to the coast some 320 kilometres (200 mi) southwest of its
capital. It met little serious opposition until the early 18th
century. In 1728, the Oyo
Empire invaded the
Kingdom of Dahomey
Kingdom of Dahomey in a
major campaign of its cavalry. Dahomey warriors, on the other
hand, had no cavalry but many firearms. Their gunshots scared the Oyo
cavalry horses and prevented their charging. Dahomey's army also
built fortifications such as trenches, which forced the Oyo army to
fight as infantry. The battle lasted four days, but the Yoruba
were eventually victorious after reinforcements arrived. Dahomey
was forced to pay tribute to Oyo. The Yoruba invaded Dahomey seven
times before finally subjugating the small kingdom in 1748.
With its cavalry, Oyo campaigned successfully in conquest and
suppression over great distances. The Oyo army was able to attack
defensive fortifications, but it was harder to supply an army, and
they withdrew when supplies ran out. The Oyo did not use guns in
its major conquests. The military waited until the 19th century to
adopt them. In 1764, a joint Akan(Akyem)-Dahomey-Oyo force
defeated an Asante army. The alliance victory defined borders
between the neighboring states. Oyo led a successful campaign into
Mahi territory north of Dahomey in the late 18th century. The
Yoruba also used the forces of their tributaries; for instance, they
accomplished a 1784 naval blockade of Badagri with an
At the beginning, the people were concentrated in metropolitan Oyo.
With imperial expansion, Oyo reorganized to better manage its vast
holdings within and outside of Yorubaland. It was divided into four
layers defined by relation to the core of the empire. These layers
were Metropolitan Oyo, southern Yorubaland, the
Egbado Corridor and
Metropolitan Oyo corresponded, more or less, to the Oyo state prior to
the Nupe invasion. This was the hub of the empire, where the
Yoruba spoke the Oyo dialect. Metropolitan Oyo was divided into
six provinces, with three on the west side of the
Ogun River and three
to the river's east. Each province was supervised by a governor
appointed directly by the
Alaafin of Oyo.
The second layer of the empire was composed of the towns closest to
Oyo-Ile, which were recognized as brothers. This area was south of
metropolitan Oyo, and its Yoruba inhabitants spoke different dialects
from that of Oyo. These tributary states were led by their own
rulers, titled Obas, who were confirmed by the
Alaafin of Oyo.
The empire's third layer was the
Egbado Corridor southwest of
Yorubaland. This area was inhabited by the Egba and Egbado, and
guaranteed Oyo's trade with the coast. The Egba and
were allowed, like their Yoruba counterparts, to rule themselves. They
were, however, supervised by Ajele. These were agents appointed by
Alaafin of Oyo to oversee his interest and monitor commerce. The
lead representative of Oyo in the corridor was the Olu, ruler of the
town of Ilaro.
Ajaland was the last layer added to the empire. It was the most
restive and distant, and kept in line with threats of expeditions
against it. This territory extended from the non-Yoruba areas west
Egbado Corridor far into Ewe controlled territory in modern
Togo. This area, like all tributary states, was allowed a fair
degree of autonomy as along as taxes were paid, the orders from Oyo
were strictly followed, and access to local markets was provided to
Oyo merchants. The Oyo often demanded tribute in slaves. The
tributary sometimes made war on other peoples to capture slaves for
this. Oyo punished disobedience by wholesale slaughter of the
community, as it accomplished in
Allada in 1698.
Empire developed a highly sophisticated political structure to
govern its territorial domains. Scholars have not determined how much
of this structure existed prior to the Nupe invasion. Some of Oyo's
institutions are clearly derivative of early accomplishments in Ife.
After reemerging from exile in the early 17th century, Oyo took on a
noticeably more militant character. The influence of an aggressive
Yoruba culture is exemplified in the standards placed on the oba
(king) and the roles of his council.
Alaafin of Oyo
The oba (meaning 'king' in the Yoruba language) at Oyo, who was
referred to as the
Alaafin of Oyo (
Alaafin means 'owner of the palace'
in Yoruba), was the head of the empire and supreme overlord of the
people. He was responsible for keeping tributaries safe from
attack, settling internal quarrels between sub-rulers, and mediating
between those sub-rulers and their people. The
Alaafin of Oyo was
also expected to give his subordinates honors and presents. In
return, all sub-rulers had to pay homage to the Oba and renew their
allegiance at annual ceremonies. The most important of these was
the Bere festival, marking the acclamation of successful rule by the
Alaafin. After the Bere festival, peace in
Yorubaland was supposed
to last for three years. The king could not be disposed but could
be asked to commit suicide if he is no more wanted. This is done by
sending Bashorun (The warrior) to present an empty calabash or a dish
of parrot's egg to him and pass a sentence of rejection such as (Awon
Eniyan Koo) meaning the people rejects you and also the gods reject
you, by tradition,the
Alaafin must poison himself and die.
Selection of the Alaafin
Empire was not a hereditary monarchy, nor an absolute one.
The Oyo Mesi selected the Alaafin. He was not always directly related
to his predecessor, although he did have to be descended from Oranyan
(also known as Oranmiyan), a son of
Oduduwa (also known as Odudua,
Odua ) and to hail from the Ona Isokun ward (which is one of the three
royal wards). At the beginning of the Oyo Empire, usually the
Alaafin's oldest son succeeded his father to the throne. But, this
sometimes led to the oldest son, i.e. the first-born prince, the
Aremo, hastening the death of his father. Independently of the
possible succession, the Aremo was quite powerful in his own right.
For instance, by custom the
Alaafin abstained from leaving the palace,
except during the important festivals, which in practice curtailed his
power. By contrast, the Aremo often left the palace. This led noted
historian S. Johnson to observe: "The father is the king of the
palace, and the son the King for the general public". The two
councils which checked the
Alaafin had a tendency to select a weak
Alaafin after the reign of a strong one to keep the office from
becoming too powerful.
Alaafin of Oyo appointed certain religious and government
officials, who were usually eunuchs. These officials were known as
the ilari or half-heads, because of the custom of shaving half of
their heads and applying what was believed to be a magical substance
into it. The hundreds of Ilari were divided evenly among the
sexes. Junior members of the Ilari did menial tasks, while seniors
acted as guards or sometimes messengers to the other world via
sacrifice. Their titles related to the king, such as oba l'olu
("the king is supreme") or madarikan ("do not oppose him"). They
carried red and green fans as credentials of their status.
All sub-courts of Oyo had Ilari who acted as both spies and
taxmen. Oyo appointed these to visit and sometimes reside in
Dahomey and the
Egbado Corridor to collect taxes and spy on Dahomey's
military successes, so that the
Alaafin of Oyo could get his cut.
Similar officials had existed in Ife, as attested by terracotta art
Alaafin of Oyo was supreme overlord of the people, he was
not without checks on his power. The Oyo Mesi and the Yoruba Earth
cult known as
Ogboni kept the Oba's power in check. The Oyo Mesi
spoke for the politicians while The
Ogboni spoke for the people backed
by the power of religion. The power of the
Alaafin of Oyo in
relation to the Oyo Mesi and
Ogboni depended on his personal character
and political shrewdness.
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The Oyo Mesi were seven principal councilors of the state. They
constituted the Electoral Council and possessed legislative powers,
similar to today's United States Congress. Led by the Bashorun, acting
as prime minister, and ran by the Agbaakin, Samu, Alapini, Laguna,
Akiniku and Ashipa. They represented the voice of the nation and had
the chief responsibility of protecting the interests of the empire.
Alaafin was required to take counsel with them whenever any
important matter affecting the state occurs. Each man had a state
duty to perform at court every morning and afternoon. Each mesi had a
deputy whom they would send to the
Alaafin if his absence was
unavoidable. The Oyo Mesi developed as a check on the Alaafin's power,
Alaafin from being an autocrat; the Oyo Mesi compelled
many Afaafin to commit suicide during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The head of the council of Oyo Mesi, the Bashorun, consulted the Ifa
oracle for approval from the gods. New alaafins of Oyo were seen as
appointed by the gods. They were regarded as Ekeji Orisa, meaning
"companion of the gods." The Bashorun had final say on the nomination
of the new Alaafin, his power rivaling the king himself. For example,
the Bashorun orchestrated many religious festivals; in addition to
being commander-in-chief of the army, which gave him considerable
independent religious authority.
Chief among the responsibilities of the Bashorun was the all important
festival of Orun. This religious divination, held every year, was to
determine if the members of the Mesi still held favor with the
Alaafin. If the council decided on the disapproval of the Alaafin, the
Bashorun presented the
Alaafin with an empty calabash, or parrot's egg
as a sign that he must commit suicide. This was the only way to remove
Alaafin because he could not be legally deposed. Once given the
parrot's egg, the Bashorun would proclaim, "the gods reject you, the
people reject you, the earth rejects you." The Alaafin, his eldest
son, and the Samu, his personal counselor and a member of the Oyo
Mesi, the Asamu, all had to commit suicide in order to renew the
government all together. The process and suicide ceremony took place
during the Orun festival.
The Oyo Mesi does not enjoy an absolute power or influence, and while
the Oyo Mesi may wield political influence, the
Ogboni represented the
popular opinion backed by the authority of religion, and therefore the
view of the Oyo Mesi could be moderated by the Ogboni. And most
interestingly, there are checks and balances on the power of the
Alafin and the Oyo Mesi and thus no one is arrogated absolute power.
Ogboni was a very powerful secret society composed of freemen
noted for their age, wisdom and importance in religious and political
affairs. Its members enjoyed immense power over the common people
due to their religious station. A testament to how widespread the
institution was is the fact that there were
Ogboni councils at nearly
all sub-courts within Yorubaland. Aside from their duties in
respect to the worship of the earth, they were responsible for judging
any case dealing with the spilling of blood. The leader of the
Ogboni, the Oluwo, had the unqualified right of direct access to the
Alaafin of Oyo on any matter.
There was a high degree of professionalism in the army of the Oyo
Empire. Its military success was due in large part to its cavalry
as well as the leadership and courage of Oyo officers and
warriors. Because its main geographic focus was north of the
forest, Oyo enjoyed easier farming and thus a steady growth in
population. This contributed to Oyo's ability to consistently
field a large force. There was also an entrenched military culture in
Oyo where victory was obligatory and defeat carried the duty of
committing suicide. This do-or-die policy no doubt contributed to
the military aggressiveness of Oyo's generals.
Empire was the only Yoruba state to adopt cavalry; it did so
because most of its territory was in the northern savannah. The
origin of the cavalry is disputed; however, the Nupe,
Borgu and Hausa
in neighboring territories also used cavalry and may have had the same
historical source. Oyo was able to purchase horses from the north
and maintain them in metropolitan Oyo because of partial freedom from
the tsetse fly.
Cavalry was the long arm of the Oyo Empire. Late
16th and 17th century expeditions were composed entirely of
cavalry. There were drawbacks to this. Oyo could not maintain its
cavalry army in the south but could raid at will.
Cavalry in highly developed societies such as Oyo was divided into
light and heavy. Heavy cavalry on larger imported horses was armed
with heavy thrusting lances or spears and also with swords. Light
cavalry on smaller indigenous ponies was armed with throwing spears or
Infantry in the region around the Oyo
Empire was uniform in both armor
and armament. All infantry in the region carried shields, swords and
lances of one type or another. Shields were four feet tall and two
feet wide and made of elephant or ox hide. A 3-foot-long
(0.91 m) heavy sword was the main armament for close combat.
The Yoruba and their neighbors used triple barbed javelins which could
be thrown accurately from about 30 paces.
The Oyo Empire, like many empires before it, used both local and
tributary forces to expand its domains. The structure of the Oyo
military prior to its imperial period was simple and closer aligned to
the central government in metropolitan Oyo. This may have been fine in
the 15th century when Oyo controlled only its heartland. But to make
and maintain farther conquest, the structure underwent several
Oyo maintained a semi-standing army of specialist cavalry soldiers
called the Eso or Esho. These were 70 junior war chiefs who were
nominated by the Oyo Mesi and confirmed by the
Alaafin of Oyo. The
Eso were appointed for their military skill without regard to heritage
and were led by the Are-Ona-Kakanfo.
After Oyo's return from exile, the post of Are-Ona-Kakanfo was
established as the supreme military commander. He was required to
live in a frontier province of great importance to keep an eye on the
enemy and to keep him from usurping the government. During Oyo's
imperial period, the Are-Ona-Kakanfo personally commanded the army in
the field on all campaigns.
Since the Are-Ona-Kakanfo could not reside near the capital,
arrangements had to be made for the latter's protection in case of
emergency. Forces inside metropolitan Oyo were commanded by the
Bashorun, leading member of the Oyo Mesi. As stated earlier,
Metropolitan Oyo was divided into six provinces divided evenly by a
river. Provincial forces were thus grouped into two armies, under the
Onikoyi and the Okere for the east and west side of the river
respectively. Lesser war chiefs were known as Balogun, a title
carried on by the soldiers of Oyo's successor state, Ibadan.
Tributary leaders and provincial governors were responsible for
collecting tribute and contributing troops under local generalship to
the imperial army in times of emergency. Occasionally, tributary
leaders would be ordered to attack neighbors even without the backing
of the main imperial army. These forces were often utilized in
Oyo's distant campaigns on the coast or against other states.
Oyo became the southern emporium of the Trans-Saharan trade. Exchanges
were made in salt, leather, horses, kola nuts, ivory, cloth and
slaves. The Yoruba of metropolitan Oyo were also highly skilled in
craft making and iron work. Aside from taxes on trade products
coming in and out of the empire, Oyo also became wealthy off the taxes
imposed on its tributaries. Taxes on the kingdom of Dahomey alone
brought in an amount estimated at 638 thousand dollars a year.
Empire and surrounding states c. 1700.
By 1680, the Oyo
Empire spanned over 150,000 square kilometers. It
reached the height of its power in the 18th century. And despite
its violent creation, it was held together by mutual
self-interest. The government was able to provide unity for a vast
area through a combination of local autonomy and imperial
Unlike the great savannah empires, of which Oyo may not be called a
successor since it was a successor of Ife, there was little if any
Muslim influence in the empire. It is known that at least some
Muslim officials were kept in Metropolitan Oyo, and men capable of
writing and calculating in
Arabic were reported by French traders in
Many believe the decline of the Oyo empire had started as early as
1754 with the dynastic intrigues and palace coups sponsored by the Oyo
Prime Minister Bashorun Gaha. Gaha, in his quest for absolute power,
conspired with the Oyo Mesi and probably to some extent the
force four successive Alaafins to commit ritual suicide after they had
been presented with the symbolic parrot's egg. Between June and
October 1754 alone, two Alaafins had been forced to commit suicide by
Gaha. Because of this,
Alaafin Awonbijou spent 130 days on the
Alaafin Labisi only spent 17 days on the throne Gaha's
treachery was not ended until 1774 during the reign of Alaafin
Abiodun, the fifth
Alaafin he served with. Gaha was subsequently
executed by Abiodun but the instability that had been brought about by
these intrigues had further weakened and impoverished Oyo.
Alaafin Abiodun during his reign had also conducted failed campaigns
Borgu in 1783 and Nupe in 1789, losing the equivalent
of 11 and 13 Generals and their men respectively. Abiodun was
subsequently murdered by his own son Awole who subsequently ascended
his father's throne.
The events that led to the secession of
Ilorin began in 1793. Ilorin
was a war camp headed by the Are-Ona Kakanfo Afonja. Afonja took cause
with Awole when the latter had commanded him to attack Alaafin
Abiodun's maternal home, Iwere-ile. Afonja being bound by an oath and
also desirous not to fall under a curse from a previous
to the effect that any Aare Ona Kakanfo who attacked Iwere-Ile (his
paternal home) was to die miserably; this order Afonja ignored.
Further cause was also given in 1795 when Awole again asked Afonja to
attack the market town of Apomu which was a part of Ile-Ife. All
Alaafins, due to the Yoruba belief that
Ife was the spiritual home of
the Yorubas, were made to swear an oath never to attack Ife.
Afonja carried out Awole's order and sacked Apomu but on the return of
the army from Apomu Afonja marched on the capital
Oyo-Ile (which was a
taboo), and demanded that Awole abdicate. Awole eventually
committed ritual suicide.
After the death of Awole there was a scramble for the throne by
numerous contenders; some were reported to have spent less than six
months on the throne; there was also a period of interregnum of almost
twenty years where the various factions could not agree on a candidate
for the throne. This period of vacuum led to the rise of powerful
military and regional commanders like Adegun, the Onikoyi and others
like the Otun to the Are-Ona Kakanfo, called Solagberu, and also Shehu
Alimi, who was the leader of a growing Muslim population in Oyo. These
new powers had lost regard for the office of the
Alaafin due to the
various political wranglings and the lack of a central authority at
the time; this situation eventually led up to Afonja seceding Ilorin
from Oyo in 1817 with the help of Oyo Muslims. In 1823, after Afonja
had been killed by his allies, Shehu Alimi and Solagberu (Solagberu
was also later killed by Alimi's son),
Ilorin became part of the
Sokoto Caliphate. By the time Captain Hugh Clapperton visited
Oyo-Ile in 1825 during the reign of
Alaafin Majotu, the empire was
already in a state of decline. Clapperton's party recorded passing
numerous Oyo villages burned by the Fulani (Ilorin) while Majotu had
also sought the help of the English king and the Oba of
putting down the
Ilorin rebellion. Clapperton also noticed a shortage
of horses, even though the Oyo were renowned as a great cavalry force;
this might have something to do with the fact that most of the
empire's soldiers and hence cavalry were stationed at
Ilorin under the
command of Afonja and later on Alimi's successors.
Ilorin then besieged Offa and started raiding, burning and pillaging
villages in Oyo, eventually destroying the capital
Loss of the
As Oyo tore itself apart via political intrigue, its vassals began
taking advantage of the situation to press for independence. The Egba,
under the leadership of Lishabi, massacred the Ilari stationed in
their area and drove off an Oyo punitive force.
The Dahomey Revolt
In 1823 Dahomey was reported to have raided villages that were under
the protection of Oyo for slaves due to the high demand for them. Oyo
immediately demanded a huge tribute from King Gezo for the
unauthorized incursion, to which Gezo dispatched his Brazilian agent,
Francisco Félix de Sousa, to the
Alaafin at Oyo to make peace. The
peace talks eventually broke down and Oyo attacked Dahomey. The
Oyo army was decisively defeated, ending Oyo's hegemony over
Dahomey. After gaining its independence, Dahomey began raiding the
The Fulani Jihad
After Awole's rejection, Afonja, now master of Illorin, invited an
itinerant Fulani scholar of Islam called Alim al-Salih into his ranks.
By doing this, he hoped to secure the support of Yoruba Muslims and
volunteers from the Hausa-Fulani north in keeping
Torn by internal struggle, Oyo could not defend itself against the
Oyo-Ile was razed by the
Fulani Empire in 1835 and the Oyo
Empire collapsed in 1836. To this day, the Illorin traditional
ruler is an emir, whereas in the rest of Yoruba towns the kings are
called oba or baale (Baale or Baba Onile meaning "father of the land"
or "lord of the land").
After the destruction of Oyo-Ile, the capital was moved further south,
to Ago d'Oyo. Oba Atiba sought to preserve what remained of Oyo by
Ibadan the duty of protecting the capital from the Ilorin
in the north and northeast. He also attempted to get the Ijaye to
protect Oyo from the west against the Dahomeans. The center of
Yoruba power moved further south to Ibadan, a Yoruba war camp settled
by Oyo commanders in 1830.
Alaafin Oyo circa 1910
Atiba's gambit failed, and Oyo never regained its prominence in the
region. Oba Atiba otherwise called Atiba Atobatele died in 1859; His
son Adeyemi I and the 3rd
Alaafin to rule in the present Oyo died in
1905. See List of rulers of the Yoruba state of Oyo. During the
colonial period, the Yorubas were one of the most urbanized (living in
city-like areas) groups in Africa. About 22% of the population lived
in large areas with population exceeding 100,000 and over 50% lived in
cities made up of 25,000 or more people. The index of urbanization in
1950 was close to that of the United States, excluding Ilorin. The
Yoruba continue to be the most urbanised African ethnic group today.
Old Oyo linked cities such as Ibadan, Osogbo, and Ogbomoso, which were
some of the major cities that flourished after the collapse.
Oyotunji African Village
Rulers of the Yoruba state of Oyo
History of Nigeria
^ a b Thornton 1998, p. 104.
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^ a b c d e f g h Stride & Ifeka p. 292
^ a b c Oliver & Atmore 2001, p. 89.
^ a b Thornton 1999, p. 77.
^ Alpern 1998, p. 37.
^ a b c d e f g h Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 296.
^ a b c d Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 293.
^ a b c d e f g h Thornton 1999, p. 79.
^ a b c Smith 1989, p. 122.
^ a b c d e f Smith 1989, p. 48.
^ Thornton 1999, p. 82.
^ a b Thornton 1999, p. 86.
^ Alpern 1998, p. 165.
^ a b Thornton 1999, p. 97.
^ Thornton 1999, p. 88.
^ a b c d e f Oliver & Atmore 2001, p. 95.
^ a b c d e f g Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 297.
^ Alpern 1998, p. 34.
^ a b c d e f Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 298.
^ Fasanya, Akin (2004).
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^ Church Missionary Society, G.31 A.2/1888-9, Letter of S. Johnson to
the Rev. J.B. Wood, 8 November 1887, as cited by Law R., The Oyo
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^ a b c d e f g Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 300.
^ a b c d e f Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 299.
^ a b c d e Smith 1989, p. 12.
^ a b Smith 1989, p. 10.
^ a b c Afolayan, Funso. (2000) "Kingdoms of West Africa", Africa Vol.
1 ed. by Tony Falola, p. 173.
^ a b c d e Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 301.
^ Law 1975, pp. 1–15.
^ a b c Stride & Ifeka 1971, p. 302.
^ Why Nations Fail: The origins of power, prosperity and poverty. p.
254. Acemoglu, Daron; Robinson, James A. 2012. ISBN 9780307719218
^ Smith 1989, p. 50.
^ a b Thornton 1999, p. 80.
^ a b Smith 1989, p. 56.
^ a b c Smith 1989, p. 53.
^ Smith 1989, p. 57.
^ a b Smith 1989, p. 20.
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Cape Coast Castle, 30 Nov. 1754". Public Records Office, London
^ (PRO: T.70/1545). "Letter of Lionel Abson, Governor of the English
fort at Whydah, 26 Sept. 1783" Public Records Office, London
^ Dalzel, Archibald. "The History of Dahomy, An Inland Kingdom of
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^ Bowdich, Edward (1966). Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee
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^ a b Clapperton, Hugh (1829). Journal of a second expedition into the
interior of Africa: from the bight of
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Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Eastern Ganga dynasty
ancient great powers
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