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What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? - Culture (3) - Nairaland

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Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by tpia5: 3:56am On Aug 09, 2012
i think the subject matter has been discussed extensively enough on this thread.

you can also put a link to your blog on your profile.

i do not think the wheel is being reinvented.

let's try to stop this useless habit of bringing in all kinds of taboos, abominations and curses on your hometowns.
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by amor4ce(m): 8:45am On Aug 25, 2012
tpia@:
i think the subject matter has been discussed extensively enough on this thread.

you can also put a link to your blog on your profile.

i do not think the wheel is being reinvented.

let's try to stop this useless habit of bringing in all kinds of taboos, abominations and curses on your hometowns.

Why do you kick against the goads (Acts 26:14)?
Have I ever done anything bad against you? But you know what you've been doing.
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by PAGAN9JA(m): 8:16am On Aug 26, 2012
Before the 19th Century, Yoruba were caled Offemmanu.

1 Like

Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by anonymous6(f): 12:31pm On Aug 26, 2012
dblock: What were yorubas called before the 19th century (or what did Yorubas call themselves?)

I read in a book, recently that the term Yoruba was only began to be used in the 19th century, to indentify the major ethnic group in South Western Nigeria. Yorubas are called Lucumi in S. America but I still have no idea of what Yorubas called themselves before foriegn occupation, or did they always call themselves Yoruba.

Yorubas were initially refered to by Europeans as "Aku", but what were they refered to even before that?
The terms Nago, Anago and Nana were also used by Europeans to indentify yourubas, but this doesn;t answer my question. Then during the nineteenth century the terms Yoruba and Yoruba(This terms originated from Hausa words) came into usage

What were they called prior

Were they called awontowanisale-osi
Or awontogbesumosidahomey
Or simply yorubas
Or awonomo-oduduwa
Or ??


Surely Yorubas didn't identify themselevs by Hausa names prior to the 19th century undecided
I am so confused, I have being researching and I haven't found anything.

Interesting question, this should be researched, I always assumed Yoruba's called themselves yoruba's
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by AndreUweh(m): 12:34pm On Aug 26, 2012
PAGAN 9JA:
Before the 19th Century, Yoruba were caled Offemmanu.
You are wrong. Yoruba is a recent coinage. Though originated from the east but used by Nigerians to mock the large usage of oil their soup. But the Yorubas take it as an insult just like Hausas take Aboki for an insult.
Back to the topic, Bello used the word Yaraba to describe people south of the caliphate who are not muslims.
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by PAGAN9JA(m): 12:46pm On Aug 26, 2012
Andre Uweh:
You are wrong. Yoruba is a recent coinage. Though originated from the east but used by Nigerians to mock the large usage of oil their soup. But the Yorubas take it as an insult just like Hausas take Aboki for an insult.
Back to the topic, Bello used the word Yaraba to describe people south of the caliphate who are not muslims.

oh ok. cheesy
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by TerraCotta(m): 3:45pm On Aug 27, 2012
TerraCotta: Nay_Low is right--there was no common name for all Yorubas before the 19th century. As with most major ethnic groups in Nigeria, they would have considered themselves as belonging to a city-state or what we think of as sub-ethnicities today--Oyos, Ifes, Egbas, Ijebus and so on. There was no need to have a larger group name, since they were politically independent areas with their own identities. The term Yoruba originally referred only to the people of Oyo, but literate Yorubas (mostly returnees from Sierra Leone who were of Oyo ancestry) like Rev. Samuel Johnson started to use the term to refer to all the people who could understand each other's dialects. In Sierra Leone, they called themselves 'Aku' because the greeting 'Eku ishe" was common to all Yoruba-speakers, so it was a way to identify themselves as ethnically-related amongst all the other groups. Yorubas began to feel a need to identify themselves as a single ethnic nationality because of the 19th century wars against the Fulani, which forced many people into slavery or to take refuge with neighboring groups. After many of these enslaved people were able to make their way back to Nigeria, they wanted to promote the same type of group unity at home that they had abroad. Educated Yorubas like Bishop Ajayi Crowther and Rev. Samuel Johnson consulted with Hausa historians, who were literate in Arabic and had books by Muslim scholars like Ahmed Baba that mentioned Oyo/Yorubas etc. They popularized the word as a description of the whole group in books like "History of the Yorubas".

There has been speculation that the term Yoruba is originally Hausa, as you said. It's likely that it's a version of the name for a northern Yoruba-speaking groups (Yagba or Oyo) that was adopted by the Hausa, just as the term Nago/Nagot in French-speaking West Africa/Brazil/Haiti is used for all Yorubas and adapted for the group name from one Yoruba-speaking group, the Anago. These Anagos were (and still are) from modern-day Benin Republic, and they were among the first Yoruba-speaking people in Brazil, so their ethnic name was used to refer to all people that spoke the same language. However, people still specified where exactly they were from by adding their sub-group name; an Ijebu would call him or herself Nago-Jebu, while one from Ketu would be Nago-Ketu etc.

To give a parallel from another part of the world, Italians considered themselves as citizens of independent city-states--Venetians, Milanese, Romans and so on--until the 1800s, even though they acknowledged their cultural and linguistic ties. Groups of young Italians in the early 19th century started promoting Italian unification to get the country out of the grip of Austrians, Napoleonic France, and other larger nations that had come into their territory, which is how the modern country of Italy was born in the late 1800s after a series of wars. The same thing can be said for countries like Germany and Greece that were formerly independent provinces, cities etc. and went through the same process of unification and developing a group name in the 19th century.

I'd forgotten about this but it's an important point. There's an often-repeated claim that Sultan Bello or the Hausa "gave" the Yoruba their current ethnonym. If that were true, there should be some obvious Hausa inspiration or meaning for the term. There is none, as far as I'm aware. It's plain to see that some of the northern-most Yoruba-speaking people and their neighbors refer to themselves with names that are related to Yoruba though; Yagba is the most obvious, but Oyo is another (Yauri in northwest Nigeria may also represent a related group, since they were not originally Hausa-speakers). It's much more likely that the Hausa adapted this ethnic name for all the people who spoke that language, much like the Fon and later the French expanded the term "Anago" from a small group in the current Republic of Benin to all Yoruba speakers.
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by oturugo(m): 4:45pm On Aug 27, 2012
grin
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by PAGAN9JA(m): 10:49pm On Aug 27, 2012
TerraCotta:

I'd forgotten about this but it's an important point. There's an often-repeated claim that Sultan Bello or the Hausa "gave" the Yoruba their current ethnonym. If that were true, there should be some obvious Hausa inspiration or meaning for the term. There is none, as far as I'm aware. It's plain to see that some of the northern-most Yoruba-speaking people and their neighbors refer to themselves with names that are related to Yoruba though; Yagba is the most obvious, but Oyo is another (Yauri in northwest Nigeria may also represent a related group, since they were not originally Hausa-speakers). It's much more likely that the Hausa adapted this ethnic name for all the people who spoke that language, much like the Fon and later the French expanded the term "Anago" from a small group in the current Republic of Benin to all Yoruba speakers.

Sardauna Bello is Fulani.
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by akigbemaru: 12:22am On Feb 23, 2016
Yoruba history
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by Spazolas: 8:18am On Feb 15
folem:
Yoruba is claimed by some historians to be an Hausa word describing the Oyo people i.e a corrupted form of Oyo Eru Oba to describe the relationship between the people and the King.

Yoruba were a Migrating people and the question to ask next will be - Who are the Aborigines of the Yorubas .
It may possibly be the Igbos and Mitochodrial DNA research may actually be able to tell us that we are all related and then put a stop to ethnic bickerings.

The Masquerade that Moremi found the secret of is actually an Igbo Masquerade.

It’s not Igbo , it’s Ugbo and it was referring to Ilaje people
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by Spazolas: 8:33am On Feb 15
ogechi84:
the Yoruba's,s were called the babalawos.

Are you okay?
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by Spazolas: 8:37am On Feb 15
folem:
http://www.yorubanation.org/Yoruba.htm


Who are the Yoruba?


The first obvious answer to this question is the Yoruba are a nationality, numbering about 40 million, the majority of whom live in the South Western part of the state of Nigeria in West Africa. Obvious as this answer is, it is not wholly explanatory, and certainly, it is not without its own controversy. First, regarding its explanatory status. One has to add, that the Yoruba are a black people, of Negro stock; that they speak a common language, Yoruba, which belongs to the Kwa group of the Niger-Congo linguistic family, and it has about 12 dialects; that they are a well urbanized group with genius in arts as symbolized in the famous "Ife Bronzes"; that Yoruba people are also found in Togo, Benin Republic and in other parts of the world, including Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad, and the United States. Second, regarding its controversial status, one has to confront the question what makes the Yoruba a nationality, or a nation, not a tribe or clan, and how does one then mark a distinction between Yorubaland and Nigeria. To this last question, there is no better answer than the one provided by Obafemi Awolowo in 1947, to which a later section of this presentation will return. For now, it is necessary to answer the question: "Who are the Yoruba?" by focusing on some critical moments in Yoruba history and thought.

Address these and other issues by focusing on some critical moments in Yoruba
History.

1. The Oduduwa Dynasty and the Founding of the Nation.
Oduduwa is the legendary progenitor of the Yoruba. There are two variants of the story of how he achieved this feat. The first is cosmogonic, the second, political. The cosmogonic version also has two variants. According to the first variant of the cosmogonic myth, Orisanla (Obatala) was the arch-divinity who was chosen by Olodumare, the supreme deity to create a solid land out of the primordial water that constituted the earth and of populating the land with human beings. He descended from heaven on a chain, carrying a small snail shell full of earth, palm kernels and a five-toed chicken. He was to empty the content of the snail shell on the water after placing some pieces of iron on it, and then to place the chicken on the earth to spread it over the primordial water. According to the first version of the story, Obatala completed this task to the satisfaction of Olodumare. He was then given the task of making the physical body of human beings after which Olodumare would give them the breath of life. He also completed this task and this is why he has the title of "obarisa" the king of orisas. The other variant of the cosmogonic myth does not credit Obatala with the completion of the task. While it concedes that Obatala was given the task, it avers that Obatala got drunk even before he got to the earth and he was unable to do the job. Olodumare got worried when he did not return on time, and he had to send Oduduwa to find out what was going on. When Oduduwa found Obatala drunk, he simply took over the task and completed it. He created land. The spot on which he landed from heaven and which he redeemed from water to become land is called Ile-Ife and is now considered the sacred and spiritual home of the Yoruba. Obatala was embarrassed when he woke up and, due to this experience, he made it a taboo for any of his devotees to drink palm wine. Olodumare forgave him and gave him the responsibility of molding the physical bodies of human beings. The making of land is a symbolic reference to the founding of the Yoruba kingdoms, and this is why Oduduwa is credited with that achievement (Idowu, 1962).

According to the second version of the myth, there was a pre-existing civilization at Ile-Ife prior to its invasion by a group led by Oduduwa. This group came from the east, where Oduduwa and his group had been persecuted on the basis of religious differences. They came to Ile-Ife and fought and conquered the pre-existing Igbo (unrelated to the present Igbo) inhabitants led by Oreluere (Obatala). Obviously, there is a connection between the two versions of the story. The political one may be the authentic story of the founding of Ife kingdom through conquest. However, the myth of creation lends it a legitimacy that is denied by the conquest story; just as it appears that it is lent some credence by the fact that, as a result of the embarrassment it caused their deity, the followers of Obatala are forbidden from taking palm wine. Indeed the second version of the cosmogonic myth also appears to foreshadow the political variant. The claim that Obatala got drunk and the task of creation had to be performed by Oduduwa already has some political coloration which is now explicit in the political version of the tradition. What is crucial in both variants of the story is the role of Oduduwa as the founder of the Yoruba nation which is why the name cannot be forgotten. Oduduwa is the symbol of the nation, the rallying point for al those who subscribe to the Yoruba identity. The name Yoruba itself, according to historians Smith, Atanda and others, was fixed on us by our northern neighbors and later popularized by colonial publications. Before then, the "Anago" to which some Yoruba in the present Benin Republic and others in the new world still use to refer to themselves, was used to refer to most of the people called Yoruba today. A common origin and language, as well as common political and religious cultures made the Yoruba a nation long before any contact with Europeans and the advent of colonialism.

2. Moremi 's Patriotism and the Survival of the Nation Upon the death of Oduduwa, there was a dispersal of his children from Ife to found other kingdoms. These original founders of the Yoruba nation included Olowu of Owu (son of Oduduwa's daughter), Alaketu of Ketu (son of a princess), Oba of Benin, Oragun of Ila, Onisabe of Sabe, Olupopo of Popo, and Oranyan of Oyo. Each of them made a mark in the subsequent urbanization and consolidation of Yoruba confederacy of kingdoms, with each kingdom tracing its origin to Ile-Ife.

After the dispersal, the aborigines, the Igbo, became difficult, and constituted a serious threat to the survival of Ife. Thought to be survivors of the old occupants of the land before the arrival of Oduduwa, these people now turned themselves into marauders. They would come to town in costumes made of raffia with terrible and fearsome appearances, and the Ife people would flee. Then the Igbo would burn down houses and loot the markets. Then came Moremi on the scene-like Deborah of the Old Testament. When no man could dare the Igbos, Moremi asked the Esinminrin river for help and promised to give offerings if she could save her people. The orisa told her to allow herself to be captured and to understudy the Igbo people. She did, and discovered that these were not spirits; only people with raffia for dress. She escaped, and taught her people the trick. The next time that Igbo people came, they were roundly defeated. Moremi then had to go back to Esinminrin to thank the gods. Every offering she offered was refused. On divination, she was told she had to give Oluorogbo, her only son. She did. The lesson of Moremi is the lesson of patriotism and selflessness. The reward may not be reaped in one's life time. Moremi passed on and became a member of the Yoruba pantheon . The Edi festival celebrates the defeat of the Igbo and the sacrifice of Oluorogbo till today.

3. The Oranmiyan Adventures, Afonja Treachery, Internal Division, Enslavement and the Fall of the Nation. Oranmiyan was the last of the Oduduwa offsprings. But he was the most adventurous and the founder of Oyo Kingdom. On some accounts, he was the third ruler of Ife as successor to Oduduwa. But he later decided to avenge the expulsion of his father from the East, and so, he led an expedition. After many years on the road, and as a result of disagreement between him and his people, he could not go further. Feeling too ashamed to go back, he appealed to the King of Nupe for a land to found his kingdom. He was obliged, and that land became the nucleus of Old Oyo Kingdom. Oranmiyan, taking the title of Alafin, succeeded in raising a very strong military and effectively expanded his kingdom. His successors, including Sango, the mythical god of thunder, Aganju and Oluasho were also as strong. Peace and tranquility prevailed during the reign of Abiodun, though it also experienced the decline of the army. (SONG). Awole Arogangan was Abiodun' s successor and it was during his reign that trouble started for the kingdom. He was forced to commit suicide; but before his death he was said to have pronounced a curse on all Yoruba, that they will not unite and that they will be taken captives.

Afonja was the Kakanfo, the generalsimo of the Army, in the northern Yoruba town of Ilorin, during the reign of Awole and his successor. Afonja refused to recognize the new king, and invited the Fulani who were then leading a jihad to the south, to assist him against the king. They did, but he did not survive himself, because the Fulani, after helping him defeat the Alafin also turned against him. They fired numerous arrows at him and his dead body was stood erect on those arrows as they stuck into his body. The treachery of Afonja marked the beginning of the end of the Oyo empire and with it the decline of the Yoruba nation. Civil war erupted among the various Yoruba kingdoms: Oyo, Ijesa, Ekiti, Ijaiye, Abeokuta and Ibadan. As this was going on, Dahomey on the west and the Borgu on the north were also posing trouble for the Yoruba kingdoms until the intervention of the British and the imposition of colonial rule.

Those who argue that there was no consciousness of a common Yoruba identity until the 19th century may be referring to these civil war episodes in the life of the nation. But they forget that these people, in spite of the civil war, share a sense of common origin and common language. And it is to be noted that the so-called peace that was imposed by the British could not have lasted had there not been a sense of consciousness of coming from a common origin.


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My comment.


I disagree with (unrelated to the present Igbo) part. I think the aborigines of Yoruba were the Igbo. The Moremi "Masquerade" is said to be similar to Aguleri or some Igbo Masquerade.

They weren’t present Igbo people, they were known as Ugbo present day Ilaje people , and yes they were aboriginal to yorubaland
Re: What Were Yorubas Called Before The 19th Century? by goalernestman: 4:12pm On Feb 15
Spazolas:


They weren’t present Igbo people, they were known as Ugbo present day Ilaje people , and yes they were aboriginal to yorubaland

west Africa from 14 century to 18 century according to European stop saying Oyo empire that never existed

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