Yoruba History and Culture.ppt

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					Yoruba: History and Culture

           By M. Anderson 5/2006
       The Yoruba Monarchy

• Yoruba is very different from many other
• There are multiple kings which ruled Yoruba land
  at the same time
• There are about 700 modern-day Yoruba kings
        Political and Town Leadership
• The political and social systems vary
  greatly in different regions
• Title Associations play an important
  role in assigning and balancing power
  within the cities

• Each town has a leader called an Oba who can achieve his position by:
   –   Inheritance
   –   Title associations
   –   Being selected by Oba already in power
   –   Each Oba is considered descendant of the founding Oba in each city
            Ancient Yoruba Lore
• The Yoruba Claim to have 401    • They believe when they die
  deities                           they go to the realm of the
   – The high god Olorun            ancestors where they still have
   – The trickster Eshu             influence on earth.
   – The thunder god Shango       • Homage is paid to the grave
   – The god of Iron and Modern     sites of ones’ ancestors.
     Technology, Ogun             • Lineage heads are responsible
   – Etc…                           for honoring all deceased
                                    members of lineage through a
                                    yearly sacrifice.
                                  • Maskers appear at funerals
                                    and are believed to embody
                                    the spirit of the deceased
    Story of Creation
• The Yoruba believe that
  life began at Ife.
• The oral history of the
  Yoruba describes an origin
   – God lowers a chain to Ile-Ife
   – Which let down Oduduwa
   – Bringing with him a:
       • Chicken
       • Some earth
       • A palm kernel
   – The Earth was thrown into
     the water
   – The chicken scratched it to
     become land
   – The kernel grew into a tree
     with sixteen limbs
       • The limbs representing the
         original sixteen kingdoms
Early Yoruba History
• The earliest known date of Yoruba
  is at least 5000 years ago.
• The Yoruba language separated
  from the Igala about 2000 years
• The Yoruba were using tools
  as yearly as 2000 years ago
• They were primarily farmers
   – They grew coco and yams as
     cash crops
• The crops were planted in a
  three-year rotational system
   – Alternating with cassava and a
     year of diverse crops including:
       •   Maize
       •   Peanuts
       •   Cotton
       •   Beans
• At the end of this cycle the
  land was left fallow
   – Sometimes up to seven years
 Political Power
• The oldest political
  communities were
   – They eventually
     consolidated together to
     form states
• Yoruba kingship diffused
  throughout Yoruba
  country and into
  neighboring states
• Yoruba lore states that it
  was the sons of
  Oduduwa who dispersed
  and created kingdoms
• Artifacts from Ife have shown
  that it has been occupied
  since at least the 6th century
• From the 9th to 12th centuries
  it was a ―settlement of
  substantial size‖
• Ife terracotta pottery dates
  from the 12th to the 14th
• Bronze casting from the 14th
  to 15th centuries mark the
  culmination of an artistic
  tradition at Ife
• These bronze castings were
  composed of either brass or
• Among the many things
  traded between the Yoruba
  and their neighbors were:
   –   Copper
   –   Cloth
   –   Kola Nuts
   –   Palm Oil
   –   Fish
   –   Horses
• Oyo was founded by
  either Oranyan or Sango
• Trade was a crucial
  factor in the rise of Oyo
• Oyo already existed by
  1100 A.D.
• It developed into a small
  kingdom by the late 14th
• The empire of Oyo
  arose at the end of the
  15th century aided by
  Portuguese guns
• Oyo emerged as the
  dominant political power
  in Yoruba by the 17th
   Oyo (continued)
• Oyo traded various
  goods in return for
  horses and salt
• Oyo conquered much
  of Yoruba land by the
  17th century
• The Oyo empire
  enjoyed three centuries
  of military dominance
• The Oyo expanded
  their empire to its
  greatest extent
  between 1730 and
    The Development of Slavery
• Oyo expanded their
  trade to Europeans by
  taking control of the
  coast between Whydah
  and Badagry
• Oyo merchants sold
  slaves to the
  Europeans via the
• As slave exports from
  Oyo reached about
  20,000 per year
  between 1680 and
  1730 this portion
  became known as the
  ―slave coast‖

• Afonja started a slave revolt in 1823
• A 19th-century history of the Yoruba described the rebellion
  in this way:
   ―All the Hausa slaves in the adjacent towns hitherto employed as
      barbers, rope-makers and cowherds, now deserted their masters
      and flocked to Ilorin under the standard of Afonja and were protected
      against their masters‖
  The Fall of Oyo
• The empire of Oyo
  collapsed during the
  first two decades of the
• With the collapse of
  Oyo, Yoruba land
  plunged into warfare
• Approximately 500,000
  people migrated from
  the savannahs of the
  north to the forests and
  coastal areas of the
  The End of
Slavery and the
 beginning of
• Commodity trade replace
  slave trade by the 19th-
• Missionary schools and
  churches promoted
• The settlement of Abeokuta
  became the center of Yoruba
The British Incursion
• The British establishes a
  protectorate over the port
  of Lagos in 1861
• They then forced Ibadan
  to accept a resident
  administrator in 1893
• Yoruba land was officially
  colonized by the British in
   – A system of indirect rule
     was established that
     mimicked the structure of
     Yoruba governance
• Nigeria gained
  independence from the
  British in 1960
      Biafra War
• 1966 - Nigeria came under military
• The war began in Yorubaland in
  Western Nigeria with warring
  among political factions, so
  savage as to be called ―the Wild,
  Wild, West‖ of Nigeria, in mid
  1960’s, climaxing in 1965.
• The mainly Christian Igbo people
  tried to separate from Nigeria,
  after suffering a massacre at the
  hands of the Islamic Hausa and
  Fulani people who dominated the
• The Igbo formed the Republic of
  Biafra (1967-1970). This sparked
  off a civil war, and an estimated
  million people died in Biafra from
  starvation caused by food
             Crimes Against Humanity
• Igbo-Biafrans have been
  systematically murdered in
  Northern Nigeria by Hausa-
  Fulani in well-organized,
  State-sponsored genocidal
  pogroms since mid-1940’s.
• As of the time of this writing,
  this has continued, the most
  notorious being right after
  the September 11 2001
  terrorist attack against the
• The Muslim Hausa-Fulani in
  Northern Nigeria vented
  their anger over US
  retaliatory strike (against Al
  Qaeda and bin Laden in
  Afghanistan) on Igbo-
  Biafrans and other
  Christians living in Northern
      Crimes Continue
• Today, (2002) Obasanjo, the Military
  officer who then received the instrument
  of surrender from Biafra in 1970, and who
  is now the bumbling President of Nigeria,
  treats Biafra as his war booty.
• It was the combined forces of Britain,
  Russia, Egypt, Czechoslovakia—and we
  are not speaking of just mercenaries—
  that defeated Biafra. The US, by claiming
  neutrality, and not even raising a moral
  voice against this ganging-up against a
  nation struggling for its survival, played an
  enabling role.
• Meanwhile, even though the Federal
  Government of Nigeria steals all the oil
  money which by all accounts should
  make Nigeria a rich country, none of that
  trickles down to the people, with the result
  that Nigeria is listed as one of the poorest
  countries in the world.
               History of Lagos
• Lagos was once a Yoruba
  settlement called Ekor.
• Also ruled by the Kingdom
  of Benin. The original
  settlers of Lagos, or Eko
  were of Benin and Awori
  Eko heritage.
• Portuguese traders visited
  the area in 1472 naming the
  area around the city Lagos,
  meaning lakes.
• The city of Lagos began in
  the fifteenth century as a
  Portuguese trading post
  exporting ivory, peppers,
  and slaves.
        •It served as a major center of the slave
Lagos   trade until 1861, when the UK captured
        the city.
        •The capital of Nigeria from 1914 - 1976
        •After the Biafran war, migration by
        refugees and other African countries,
        produced a population boom that
        continues today.
• Lagos is one of the fastest-
  growing cities in the world.
• More than half of Nigeria's
  industrial capacity is located
  in Lagos's mainland suburbs.
• A wide range of
  manufactured goods are
  produced in the city, including
  machinery, motor vehicles,
  electronic equipment,
  chemicals, beer, processed
  food, textiles and petroleum.
• Oil and petroleum products
  provide 20% of GDP and
  95% of foreign exchange
  earnings in Nigeria.
          Lagos Island
•   The Economic Nerve Center of Nigeria
•   Connected to the mainland by three large bridges.
•   Ikoyi and Victoria islands are closely connected
•   The main docks are in Apapa directly opposite Lagos Island.
•   The Port of Lagos, Nigeria's leading port, is operated by the Nigerian
    Port Authority. It is split into 3 sections all located on the Gulf of Guinea.
•   The Lagos Mainland is home to most of the people that work on Lagos I.
•   Famous for its music and night life.
•   The National Stadium Complex and two Universities in Lagos.
•   The city also has two airports.
Yoruba Music
• Yoruba is famous
  throughout West
  Africa for its music
• Yoruba has given birth
  to a variety of music
  styles such as:
  –   Highlife
  –   Juju
  –   Fuji
  –   Afrobeat
  The Bata Drums
• The Bata Drums were
  developed in
  Yorubaland between
  500 and 800 years
• It is the central
  instrument used in
  Yoruba music
• It was introduced by
• The Bata Drums
  probably have roots in
  northeastern Africa or
  the Middle East or
  even India
The End!!!

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