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Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) - Politics - Nairaland

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Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by petesunday: 3:11pm On Mar 19, 2015
I am writing this article because I want Yoruba people to be more aware of their history. I will divide the article into three parts because of the lenght.

Part 1: Introduction and the early kings

Early medieval explorers of central and northern Africa made contact with the Yoruba at the height of the Oyo empire when the kingdom’s domain extended from the River Niger on the East, to the shores of the Volta in the West, including the lands of the Ashanti, Dahomey, Egbado and Benin peoples, down to the coast in Lagos and Porto Novo in present day Benin Republic. Thus, in ancient European archives (Webster’s gazette for instance), the country is called its Hausa name ‘Yoruba’, with its capital in Katunga (old Oyo) and its population estimated to be about 2million.
Contrary to the assumption of many, the Yoruba have a well documented history, dating from the earliest times of the Oyo empire, to the modern day. In ancient times, the Yoruba had not developed writing. The history is kept by certain historians, kept at Oyo under the king. These historians handed down history through generations via their family lineage until the collapse of the Oyo empire.
The following is the chronicles of the kings of the Oyo empire from the earliest times to the present day.

1. Oranmiyan
Oranmiyan was the first king and the founder of the Oyo empire. He was the grandson of Oduduwa, the first Yoruba king. Oranmiyan was a very brave and warlike king. He was said to have headed his brothers (other Yoruba kings) on an abortive expedition to the east to avenge the death of their great-grandfather. After quarrelling at a place called Igangan, the brothers dispersed and Oranmiyan went ahead to found the city of Oyo known as Oyo Alaafin. There are two accounts of his death. Some say he went further East, leaving his son, Ajaka in charge of Oyo, and stopping at a town called Oko, from where he could not proceed and so, died and was buried there. The second account seems more plausible. It says that Oranmiyan left for Ile-Ife, the land of his grandfather, leaving Ajaka to rule as regent at Oyo. Having stayed in Ile Ife longer than necessary, the king makers made Ajaka king in Oyo. On returning, Oramiyan heard the kakaaki at the border(The kakaaki is only played for the king). He immediately returned to Ile Ife, where he eventually died and was buried. An obelisk, called ‘Opa Oranmiyan’ was erected at the place where he was buried and is still there to this day. About four feet was broken off from the top of this obelisk
during a storm in the year 1884. The obelisk has since twice fallen down and inartistically re-erected.

2. Ajaka

Ajaka was a calm and gentle king. Unlike his father, he was of a peaceful disposition, loved animal husbandry and encouraged it. Being too mild to be warlike, and with the provincial kings encroaching on Oyo, he was deposed and replaced by his fearless and violent brother, Sango. He went to Igboho where he remained in retirement seven years. After the death of Sango, he returned to the throne.

3. Sango
He was the brother of Ajaka. Unlike his brother, he was of a wild and warlike disposition and he had a fiery temper. He had a habit of emitting fire and smoke out of his mouth, by which he greatly increased the dread his subjects had of him. His mother was the daughter of Elempe a Nupe king, who formed an alliance with Oranyan by giving him his daughter to wife. Sango defeated many of the other Yoruba kings and expanded the Oyo kingdom. His seven years of reign was marked by his restlessness. He fought many battles and was fond of making charms. He was said to have the knowledge of some preparation by which he could attract lightning. He eventually became tyrannical and was asked to abdicate by the king makers and the senior chiefs. Sango was said to have once slain 160 in a fit of rage. Rather than abdicating, went out of the town to end his own life ; and climbing on a shea butter tree, he hanged himself. His brother Ajaka was summoned to return to the throne.

4. Ajaka’s second reign
Ajaka was more warlike and assertive in his second reign than in the first. He is said to have led a successful expedition into the Nupe country in the early years of his reign. Afterwards, he had a long and peaceful reign.

The period of these first three kings is full of fables and myths, and is often referred to by historians as a prehistoric period. All the three kings became gods that people worship to this day.
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by petesunday: 3:13pm On Mar 19, 2015
Part 2: Before the Decline

5. Aganju
He was Ajaka’s son. He liked taming wild animals and is said to have kept a leopard. His reign was long and prosperous. He liked aesthetics and he greatly beautified the palace. Towards the end of his reign, he waged war on a king close by for refusing to give him his daughter as bride. The king and his allies were defeated and captured by Aganju and the bride, whose name was Iyayun, was forcibly taken. One of the messy scandals of his reign occurred when his son had intercourse with his wife and was summarily executed.

6. Kori
The son of Aganju, by his captured bride, Iyayun. When he was still a child, his mother ruled as regent. It was during Kori’s time that Timi was sent to Ede to fight the Ijeshas. Timi became too powerful for the king and made himself king at Ede(hence the title, Timi of Ede). Gbonka, was sent to Ede to capture Timi. After Timi was defeated, the king, fearing the rise of a more powerful enemy decided to kill Gbonka. After the failure of the assassination, the king committed suicide.

7. Oluaso
Oluaso, Kori’s son was a handsome prince. His reign was long and peaceful. He was wise and had many wives and children. He was said to have had up to 1, 460 children. He also built 54 palaces for the most influential princes.

8. Onigbogi
He was the son of an Ota woman. His mother tried to introduce Ifa(oracle) to the Oyo people. The Oyo people rejected her advice and she left the town. She eventually settled in a town called Ado, where the people accepted her ideas. During Onigbogi’s reign, a war broke out and the king of Nupe invaded Oyo and sacked the capital. The king fled to the land of the Ibariba and died there.

9. Ofinran
His mother was an Ibariba woman. The Ibaribas started ill treating the refugees and the king set out for Oyo. Ifa spread to the Oyo people at this time. The refugees camped at a place called Kusu. There the king died before they could move.
The next four kings ruled from a town called Igboho.


10. Erugunoju
He built Igboho, known as Oyo Igboho, and made it the new capital. Besides that, nothing remarkable happened in his reign.

11. Oromoto
He was erugunoju’s brother. He proved himself to be a skillful commander and a tactical leader. He was brave and won many battles. During his reign, Oyo regained its military prestige. He died at the battle of Ilayi.

12. Ajiboyede
He was a successful and brave king but he was a tyrant. During his reign the Tapas from Nupe invaded the country again but the king was victorious. The king’s favourite son, Osemolu died. Shortly after, king also died.

13. Abipa
He decided to carry the seat of government back to Oyo Ile, even though the nobles were against it. The was successful and the king buried charms in strategic places in the city, so that it may not be destroyed again.
Abipa was succeeded by a series of despotic, short-lived kings

14. Obalokun
His mother was the daughter of the Alake, king of the Egbas. Salt was introduced to the kingdom during his time. He is said to have been a friend to a European king (probably the king of Portugal). He sent 800 messengers to the European king but none of them came back.

15. Ajagbo
His reign was very long, up to 140 years. He had a friend at Iwoye called Kokoro-agan, whom he made the first Kankafo (Generalissimo). He was a warlike king and he conquered many people in the West, including the Popos and the Sabes(in Benin republic). He destroyed Iweme in Popo country. He is said to have sent four expeditions out at once; under the Basorun, Agbakin, Kankafo, and Asipa.

16. Odarawu
His reign was very short. He had a bad temper. He ordered for the destruction of a town called Ojosegi. He was eventually rejected by the noblemen and ended up commiting suicide.


17. Kanran
He was a tyrant. He was cruel and harsh. He tortured and killed many of his subjects for slight offences. He was so wicked that the proverb ‘as cruel as Kanran’ is being used by the Yoruba to describe anyone perceived of extreme cruelty. The people eventually rebelled against him. He was killed in a coup by the army, backed by the noble men. He fought fearlessly and perished in the inferno that engulfed the palace.

18. Jayin
Jayin was Kanran’s son and was made king after his father’s horrible death. He was of a gentler disposition than his father but he was effeminate and his son fell in love with one of his wives. In rage, he killed the boy. He was eventually deposed and tragically committed suicide. The Awujale was sent to the Ijebus during his reign.

19. Ayibi
He was the late king’s grandson and the son of the beloved prince whom the king killed. Unfortunately he proved unworthy of the honour and respect done him ; he greatly disappointed the hopes of the nation. He was a tyrant and took pleasure in shedding blood. Like his grandfather, he was deposed and he committed suicide.

20. Osinyago
Like his immediate predecessor, he was equally worthless. He was excessive in actions, amassing wealth that he did not live to enjoy. His children fought each other and his foster son, whom he had adopted as the Aremo(heir) was killed by his daughter. The king was eventually poisoned.
For a long time after Osinyago, the throne was vacant and the country was ruled by the Basoruns (Prime ministers)

21. Ojigi
He was elected to a vacant throne. He was warlike, extending his domain to Dahomean territory in present day Benin republic. He was nevertheless, a good king. He sent out a large expedition to bring all the Yoruba under his control. The expedition is said to have reached the Northern part of the River Niger. Despite the king’s stern disposition, he was too indulgent of his son. The Aremo’s cruelty and excesses eventually caused his father’s rejection. The king was deposed by the noble men and he committed suicide.

22. Gberu
He was a wicked king, who liked making charms. He fought a bitter conflict with his Basorun who was his friend and both of them were deposed. Just like his predecessors, Gberu committed suicide.

23. Amuniwaiye
He was a good king initially but soon became weak because of his low morals. He had a affair with the wife of his medicine man. He died while having intercourse with the woman.

24. Onisile
He was a great warrior and of great courage. He was brave and warlike, and he was also very artistic. His rashness was the cause of his death. He was struck by lightning and was incapacitated, before being deposed and allowed to die peacefully.

25. Labisi
This unfortunate king was elected to the throne but not allowed to be crowned. His Basorun, Gaa became very powerful, conspired against him and killed all his friends. Labisi eventually committed suicide when he could not rule. Gaa remained powerful, long after him; installing kings as he pleases.

26. Awonbioju
Installed by Gaa after Labisi, Awonbioju was killed by Gaa when he refused to prostrate for him. He reigned for only 130 days.

27. Agboluaje
He was a very handsome prince installed by Gaa. His reign was peaceful and long. His kingdom was big and prosperous. Basorun gaa made him fight the king of Popo who was his friend and destroy his kingdom. In frustration, the king committed suicide before the expedition arrived.

28. Majeogbe
He tried to defend himself against Gaa and his sons who were now too powerful. They collected all the tributes and were cruel. The king eventually died, but not before he caused Gaa to be paralyzed by poison.

29. Abiodun
He had a long and peaceful reign. He was handsome, wise and dignified. His reign was so significant that it has since passed into proverbs. The Yoruba believed that Oyo actually started declining after his death. He defeated Basorun Gaa and his children. Gaa eventually died. Abiodun fathered over 660 children. One of his sons killed him by poison.

30. Aole Arogangan
He was Abiodun’s cousin. Under him, the kingdom disintegrated as the provinces became tired of Oyo’s tyranny and slavery was rife. He was probably too mild and weak, and had an enemy in Afonja, the Kakanfo who was very powerful. Afonja was stationed at Ilorin with the major part of Oyo’s calvary. Afonja, the Basorun and the Onikoyi eventually led a rebellion against him. As their forces surrounded the city, Aole committed suicide, after cursing Afonja and his co-conspirators. The Oyo empire, and indeed the Yoruba nation, never recovered from this tragedy.
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by petesunday: 3:25pm On Mar 19, 2015
Part 3: Decline, Wars, British Colonialism, and Nigeria


31. Adebo
The next king after Aole ruled for only a year, between 1796 and 1797. He became king nominally, but never really had powers. The whole land rebelled during his reign and the chiefs clamoured for territories. Afonja declared independence first, and many provinces followed. Afonja won a great victory against the Oyo armies with the help of Alimi, a Fulani and Solagberu, a Yoruba Moslem. He fought several battles in which he subjugated and destroyed many Yoruba cities. Ilorin later became part of the Sokoto Caliphate when the Fulani took over.

32. Maku
His reign was short and tragic. He reigned for only 2 months in 1797. He led an expedition against Iworo and was defeated. He committed suicide in Oyo.
The period that followed was the Yoruba civil wars of the 19th century. Between 1800 and 1897, the Yoruba fought a series of wars that decimated huge portions of the country and caused a considerable amount of internal migration. Many large cities were destroyed completely, never to be rebuilt. New cities sprang up, from refugee camps or military bases.

33. Majotu
After a period when the throne was vacant, Majotu was elected to the throne. He reigned from 1802 to 1830. His reign was full of wars and rebellions. In 1823, Dahomey rebelled, defeated the Oyo army and gained complete independence. Ilorin became a formidable force and started a conquest of Yorubaland, destroying and looting cities in its campaign. The Owu war(1821-1826) also occurred in which the town of Owu was completely destroyed. The Owu are settled in Abeokuta and Ibadan today. Majotu died from a respiratory disease

34. Amodo
His reign lasted for three years. He was initially weak, but later proved himself to be a wise and decisive king, despite being unfortunate. He came to the throne at a time when the kingdom was distracted by anarchy and confusion. The Fulanis were having an eye on the capital of Yoruba-land. None of the provincial kings now paid tribute to Oyo or acknowledged the authority of the King. He was virtually King of the capital only. The Ilorin army plundered Oyo for the first time in his reign, but did not destroy the city. Amodo later united some of the Yoruba chiefs who had turned their backs on the empire. They raised an army and besieged Ilorin but they were betrayed by the Edun of Gbogan, who was the Kakanfo and the army dispersed. Gbongan was later besieged by Ilorin and the Edun defeated. After defeating both the Kankafo and the Onikoyi, and rendering the Alaafin powerless, the Ilorin cavalry easily captured most of the northern Yoruba towns. After that, they turned their conquest southwards, towards the Ijesha tribes, where they faced stiff resistance. At this time, the remnant of the Oyo and Egba armies began to attack the Ijebus, because of their participation in the Owu war. The whole Yorubaland again became embroiled in civil war.

35. Oluewu
He lasted for 2 years, between 1833 and 1835. During his reign, the Fulani empire had already captured Ilorin after an internal coup and transformed it into a Fulani emirate. Oluewu was then bound to Shita, the Emir of Ilorin. However, he refused to embrace the Islamic religion and sought help from Borgu to defeat the Fulanis. Initially, he recorded some success in battle, but a final putsch to recover the northern part of Yorubaland from the Fulanis led to his death and that of many of Oyo's leading nobles. Ilorin (under the Fulani) eventually destroyed Oyo.

36. Atiba Atobatele
He moved the capital from Oyo to Ago Oja(present Oyo). During his reign, the remnant of the Yoruba army moved South and camped in an area that belonged to the Egba of Gbagura clan. The war camp later became the city of Ibadan and it emerged as the new power centre in Yorubaland. Oba Atiba sought to preserve what remained of Oyo Empire by placing on Ibadan duty of protecting the capital from the Ilorin in the north. Atiba was a great leader but he came at a time of crises. Yoruba had lost Igbomina. Ijesha, Ekiti and Akoko at this time were under threat. Ogbomọṣọ, Ẹdẹ, Iwo, axis were under attack-even Oṣogbo had been defeated, occupied by Fulani. In fact, the entire Yoruba land was under Ilorin-Fulani siege. Ibadan would not allow the onslaught to continue, by 1840, Ibadan soldiers defeated and pushed Fulani warriors back to Ilọrin but could not take the city. Atiba died in 1859. He was the last really great king Oyo had. He tried to restore Oyo’s glory, but the decline was bound to happen as all the tribes were fighting one another.

37. Adelu
King Adelu was Atiba’s son. He became king in 1859. The Ijaye war(1860-?) was fought during his period. Kurunmi, the Are Ona Kankafo, who was the ruler of Ijaiye refused to recognize Adelu as the Alaafin. The war started with Ijaiye declaring war on Oyo in 1860. The Ibadan war machine under Ogunmọla came in support of Ọyọ, routed Kurunmi-Ijaiye/Egba alliance and killed all his sons. Kurunmi committed suicide and Ijaiye was destroyed. The Ijaiye war was one of the several wars Ibadan engaged in to assert supremacy in Yorubaland.

38. Adeyemi 1
He ruled from 1876 to 1905. After the emergence of Ibadan, the Fulani ceased to be a threat to Yoruba but bitter civil war among the tribes made peace impossible. Between 1860 and 1885 Ibadan engaged in five different wars simultaneously. In 1877, Ibadan went to war against Ẹgba/Ijẹbu for attacking Ibadan traders, when coming from Port-Novo. The Ijẹṣa/Ekiti seized the moment, in 1878, attacked despotic Ibadan Ajẹlẹs (viceroys) in their territories; Ibadan declared war on Ijẹṣa and Ekiti.
The conflict between Ibadan/Ijẹṣa & Ekiti went on for sixteen years, the worst war in Yorubaland.
Ogedengbe-the Seriki of Ijẹṣa army, Fabunmi of Oke-Imesi, and Aduloju of Ado-Ekiti held Ibadan down as Ibadan engaged in other wars with the Ẹgba, Ijẹbu, Ilọrin and the Ifẹ. The Ibadan/Ijesa & Ekiti parapọ war got to its peak at Kiriji, near Ikirun. The Egba were also being attacked by Dahomey. The Alaafin was helpless as his people decimated themselves. He therefore invited the British colonial Governor of Lagos to help settled the dispute. Through negotiations undertaken by the Church, which was spearheaded by Samuel Johnson, Charles Phillips, and Lagos Governor Maloney in 1886, peace gradually returned to Yorubaland as the warring groups sheathed their swords. The entire Yorubaland later came under the dominion of the British and the Alaafin became a Vassal of the colonial government.

39. Lawani Agogoja
He was a vassal of the British empire. He reigned from 1905 to 1911

40. Siyanbola Oladigbolu 1
He became king after Lawani. He ruled from 1911 to 1944. He was also a vassal king. The amalgamation of Nigeria happened during his time.
41. Adeyemi II(1945-1955)
42. Gbadegesin Oladigbolu II(1956-1968)
He was the Alaafin when Nigeria gained independence
43. Lamidi Adeyemi III(1970-present)
The current Alaafin
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by Samueldo(m): 4:29pm On Mar 19, 2015
Interesting. But Ilorin a painfull lost only God only God can retrieve there for us
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by petesunday: 5:40pm On Mar 19, 2015
Wow! I would expect this thread to have been on the front page by now. Am so disappointed that comments are not pouring in
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by Samueldo(m): 6:05pm On Mar 19, 2015
Don't worry comment will soon start pouring in soon
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by petesunday: 6:13pm On Mar 19, 2015
Samueldo:
Interesting. But Ilorin a painfull lost only God only God can retrieve there for us

In fact, most of the problems Yoruba had that led to the disintegration of the empire resulted from the loss of Ilorin
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by sureleads: 1:50am On Mar 20, 2015
petesunday:


In fact, most of the problems Yoruba had that led to the disintegration of the empire resulted from the loss of Ilorin
True
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by IjogzK(m): 9:47pm On Mar 25, 2015
Wow yoruba really have a turbulent history
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by petesunday: 1:06pm On Apr 06, 2015
This thread came up when people were focused on the election yet I believe a little attention could have been given to it, at least by the mods due to its historical significance
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by freakyamanda(f): 1:08pm On Apr 06, 2015
That is true. Mods I think this is a FrontPage material
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by akins56(m): 1:52pm On Apr 06, 2015
What a beautiful piece
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by Deltagiant: 2:00pm On Apr 06, 2015
Samueldo:
Interesting. But Ilorin a painfull lost only God only God can retrieve there for us
It's quite painful, and i don't see it being retrieved anytime in this generation especially with the kind of politics the yoruba is playing.
Conquest can only be countered with a similar action.
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by Volksfuhrer(m): 3:54pm On Apr 06, 2015
IjogzK:
Wow yoruba really have a turbulent history

I believe they've fought more wars than any other ethnic group in Nigeria. The British came in good time to stop the blood letting!
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by Volksfuhrer(m): 4:15pm On Apr 06, 2015
Deltagiant:

It's quite painful, and i don't see it being retrieved anytime in this generation especially with the kind of politics the yoruba is playing.
Conquest can only be countered with a similar action.

Conquest? Not really. Besides, it's more complicated than you think! You really have to hand it to the Fulanis for being politically savvy.

For you to embark on a war, you will need to hate the position of your adversary enough to do so. But the Fulanis know a lot about this war temperament and how to diffuse it! First, they established an Islamic emirate. And secondly, they blended well into the culture of their subjects.

The Hausas have not rebelled against the Fulanis, why do you think the Yorubas in Ilorin would?

2 Likes

Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by Randerl: 4:31pm On Apr 06, 2015
OP THANKS. Once more, Thanks for this piece.
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by tpiadotcom: 4:50pm On Apr 06, 2015
Culture or am I missing something.

Op are you nigerian?

Your info seems lifted from google.
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by Randerl: 4:52pm On Apr 06, 2015
They are not Cowards. They Are Warriors.

Peaceful Coexistence Brought The Needed Development To Them.

Volksfuhrer:


I believe they've fought more wars than any other ethnic group in Nigeria. The British came in good time to stop the blood letting!



Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by BlackTechnology: 4:58pm On Apr 06, 2015
Good

But

Check well if the empire extends to east of the Niger.


Please check very well wink
Re: Kings Of The Oyo Empire(1300-2015) by Volksfuhrer(m): 5:31pm On Apr 06, 2015
Randerl:
They are not Cowards. They Are Warriors.

Peaceful Coexistence Brought The Needed Development To Them.


Cowards? Far from it!

When you've fought too many civil wars to no particular advantage, you would subconsciously appreciate peace.

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