PRE-COLONIAL RELATIONS AMONG THE YORUBAS’ IN NIGERIA

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PRE-COLONIAL RELATIONS AMONG THE YORUBAS’ IN NIGERIA

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Certification ii
Dedication iii
Acknowledgement iv
Table of Contents v
CHAPTER ONE
Introduction 1
CHAPTER TWO:
Historical Background of the Yorubas 15
CHAPTER THREE
Pre-Colonial Political Relations Among the Yorubas 33
CHAPTER FOUR
Pre-Colonial Social Relations Among the Yorubas 59
CHAPTER FIVE
Pre-Colonial Economic Relations among the Yorubas 70
CHAPTER SIX
Conclusion 86
Bibliography 90

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

The Yoruba stretch on the West from around the area of Badagry to Warri and Inland until they almost reach the Niger around latitude 9oN. Indeed, certain parts of the Niger formed the boundary between it and Nupe. Around latitude 5oN, they spread Westwards cutting across the whole of Dahomey and reaching into the East of Togo. From the coast, the country rises gradually from low-lying swampy regions with thick undergrowth to forest belt and finally semi or derived Savannah, which in Port Novo (Ajase) reaches almost to the coast. The weather is fairly stable, with two clearly defined seasons in the year, the rainy season and the dry season. The Yoruba must be one of the largest homogenous groups among Africans. Those of them living in Nigeria are currently numbered around fifteen million, when those in Dahomey and Togo are added, they are more.1

The Yorubas are composed of several clans of which the chief are the Oyos, the Egbas, the Ifes and the Ijebus, while others of less importance are the Owus, the Ijeshas, the Ekitis and the Ondos. The inhabitants of Lagos, the chief town of Nigeria are also of Yoruba origin.2

As far as it is known, the Yoruba didn’t in the past come under one centralized political authority. Rather, they existed (and still exist) in different groups and organized themselves, in the pre-colonial period, in separate kingdoms of varying levels of centralization and degrees of autonomy. However, they were bound together as a people by a number of factors. Firstly, in their tradition of origin, common descent from Oduduwa, a mythical personage who they regarded as their eponymous ancestor, secondly the ruling dynasties of most of their kingdoms derive origin and the provenance of their beaded crown and symbol of authority from Ile-Ife popularly acclaimed as the citadel of Yoruba culture and civilization and also a centre of dispersal of the Yoruba race. Thirdly, they share a common language which is widely understood by the different groups of people and recognizably the same despite dialectical difference. The Yoruba share a common cultural trait which makes them form a distinct cultural group in Nigeria.

 

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PRE-COLONIAL RELATIONS AMONG THE YORUBAS’ IN NIGERIA

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