Benin Kingdom

Types of Art

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History

The Benin Kingdom situated in southcentral Nigeria dates to approximately 900 A.D. The first, or Ogiso, dynasty lasted until 1170, at which time Yoruba rule was imposed from the city of Ife. Oranmiyan, the son of the Oni (king) of Ife, was sent to Benin City where he wed a Benin woman. She bore him a son, Eweka I, who became the first Benin Oba (king). Sometime during the 13th century, Iguegha, a caster, was brought from Ife to craft memorial heads of the Obas. Terracotta heads in collections have been dated to the late 15th or 16th century and were used by the Ogiso rulers on altars to their paternal ancestors. Benin art became well known to the West in 1897, after the British Punitive Expedition sacked the city of Benin and brought thousands of objects back to Europe as war booty. See also the related entry for modern-day Yoruba people. 

Economy

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Political Systems

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Religion

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Facts about Benin Kingdom

Location

Explore a map of the Benin Kingdom and their neighbors in south central Nigeria

Countries

Bénin, Nigeria

Languages

Edo (Kwa)

Population

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Neighboring Peoples

Nupe, Yoruba, Igbo, Igala