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The Owo Kingdom, 1019-1970

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This is a history of Owo from her inception to the 20th century. Tracing her origin to Ife, Owo, a city-state located in eastern Yorubaland, developed relationships with her non-Yoruba-speaking neighbour, the strong, expansionist Benin kingdom of the Edo people – in trade, culture and governance. ...Read more
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  • Description

This is a history of Owo from her inception to the 20th century. Tracing her origin to Ife, Owo, a city-state located in eastern Yorubaland, developed relationships with her non-Yoruba-speaking neighbour, the strong, expansionist Benin kingdom of the Edo people – in trade, culture and governance. While Benin's ownership of a coastal territory had positioned her to benefit from the coastal trade with Europeans (Portuguese) beginning from the 15th century and wealth from the trade and the acquisition of imported weapons of war (European guns) had transformed Benin into a formidable adversary, Owo strove for survival by entering into creative commercial and political arrangements with Benin. Over time, Owo-Benin relations attained some stability. Politically, Owo began to be impacted by the Benin system thereby creating a long history of endemic strife and internal instability – the effects of a marcher country. Although Owo's political life never fully recovered from the disruptions imported by her contacts with Benin, she never ceased to be a relatively prosperous and autonomous kingdom. The same trends continued under British rule and in the context of independent Nigeria.

 

Author: Oladipo Joseph Olugbadehan