How the Benin monarchy started and flourished

Last Updated on August 16, 2021 by MyGh.Online

The first king of the Benin kingdom was Eweka 1, son of the Yoruba prince Oranmiyan. Oranmiyan was sent by his father the Ooni of Ife to rule the Benin Kingdom from Igodomigodo.

His attempts to rule the kingdom did not go well, the Chiefs tried to sabotage him. In turn, he got upset and left Igodomigodo. While he was leaving, he called the land Ile Ibinu which means land of anger or vexation. Ibinu is now called Bini or Benin.

Different kings came and went after Eweka 1 but the most powerful king was Oba Ewuare the Great (1440 – 1473).

His reign was one of the greatest and the reason why the Benin Kingdom still stands tall today. He inspired dedication and loyalty in his subjects. He built massive walls around the kingdom and, art flourished during his reign.

The Benin kingdom is famous for its artwork. They had artists guilds. These artists made lifelike figures and masks from brass and bronze.

The people of Benin were powerful traders who were involved in different trading activities. They sold ivory, gold, palm oil and pepper to Portuguese and Dutch traders.

They were also actively involved in the slave trade by capturing people from neighboring cities and selling them to the Europeans.

In the 18th and 19th century, the kingdom was at its weakest because of civil wars among the people. At the same time, the British colonialists were attempting to invade the Benin Kingdom and make it part of their colony.

His son Aiguobasin Ovonramwem later worked with the colonial government as a chief from 1902. He was able to rebuild the kingdom, set up art guilds and commission new artwork in place of the ones stolen.

The Benin monarchy still exists today as one of the most flourishing and long-standing monarchies in the world.

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