Oyo Empire - Yoruba empire that arose in the 1600's in present-day Nigeria and dominated its neighbors for a hundred years. Something went wrong while trying to load the full version of this site. The Yoruba Revolutionary Wars, otherwise known as the Yoruba Civil Wars (c. 1789–1880), were a series of conflicts that engulfed the Yoruba-speaking areas of West Africa in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Old Oyo Empire was a vast and powerful force in the history of the Yoruba’s and Nigeria as a whole. The Afonja, hungry for power; began a series of attacks in the northern faction of Oyo. It began in the 1300s in the West African savannah north of the tropical forests where other Yoruba peoples lived. 0. Oyo Empire was well known for it’s industrial productions in brass making Because of its wealth and military skills, Old Oyo was - and still remains - the most important and authoritative faction of all early Yoruba principalities. The empire was blessed with industrial brass making and as such amassed enormous wealth and military skill, the Oyo empire was very decentralized in nature and power was shared among several bodies to prevent authoritarianism, The paramount ruler (called Alaafin) oversees the affairs of the empire and he is being checkmated by the Kingmakers, (knwn as the Oyomesis), the Oyomesis were in turn … The vast Oyo empire was known to be the largest and the most powerful of all Yoruba empires. They occupied the Western part of Nigeria and the system of government practiced was monarchical in nature regarded as centralized administration ruled by king with the assistance of other chiefs. It is important to note that Yoruba pre-colonial administration was not highly centralized compared to Hausa/Fulani system. EARLY HISTORY: THE OLD OYO EMPIRE Another factor that led to the fall of Old Oyo empire was that Old Oyo empire was too big to control, which attracted external attacks. The main growth of Old Oyo began during the second half of the century, when Alaafin Orompoto started using the wealth garnered from trade to establish a powerful and trained cavalry (army of horsemen). Are-Ona Kakanfo Afonja secured the help of the Islamic Fulani, thinking they would help him overthrow the Alaafin. Together, these regions are known as Yorubaland. The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today Western and North central Nigeria.Established in the 15th century, the Oyo Empire grew to become one of the largest West African states. 2. Oyo like all African states on the coast engage in the slave trade. The Alaafin and Are-Ona Kakanfo Afonja developed serious issues. Alaafin of Oyo, Iku Baba Yeye, Igba Keji Orisa, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III. Oduduwa the founder of ile-ife gave birth to one male which was known to be okanbi or Akanbi.Okanbi gave birth to seven sons and they were;Orangun,Ol owu,Onipopo,Onisabe,Oba of Benin (Ewuare) and Oranmiyan or Oranyan was said to be the last born. [William Allen, A Narrative of the Expedition sent by Her Majesty's Government to the River Niger, in 1841 (London, 1848), vol. In cultural history, kingmakers were highly influential in determining the fate of a king, such that all it took a king in Old Oyo empire to abdicate was to be handed a covered calabash by kingmakers. Oyo subjugated the kingdom of Dahomey in the west in two phases (1724–30, 1738–48) and traded with European merchants on the coast through the port of Ajase (now Porto-Novo). Oba’s pay tribute to the Alaafin in respect to their ancestral home, and those tributes were also a source of wealth to the empire. This great Empire was established in the 15th Century by Oranmiyan, grandson of Oduduwa (known as the father of the Yoruba’s). The powers of the Oyomesi were in turn, checked by the presence of the Ogboni Fraternity. It was generally believed that the Yorubas migrated into Nigeria from upper Egypt under their powerful father, Oduduwa. Oyo mesi can be regarded as kingmakers. In the Oyo Empire, the Oyomesi were essentially the highest councillors of the state. The bane of this aspiration is that, unfortunately, many who are supposed to be Kingmakers are struggling to be King. Try hard-refreshing this page to fix the error. Unlike other Yoruba states, which were located in the forest area, Oyo was situated in woodland savannah. Oyo empire was established by Oranyan who was sent to Benin upon request by the people of the Empire to assist them in the rulership of their Empire. Allada in 1698. Although archaeology has yet to discover concrete connections between the various successive states of what is today Nigeria, oral traditions, such as those in the Kingdom of Benin (13-19th century CE), located just to the east of Oyo, tell of a king of Ife who not only sent a prince to rule other areas of the region but also sent a mast… They were also the kingmakers. ... Mughal Empire: Muslim empire that ruled most of northern India from the mid-1500s to the mid-1700s; also known as the Mogul or Mongol empire. He was betrayed and killed by them instead. Meanwhile oyo empire was established on 12th century and it was collapsed in 18th century. Each title is hereditary,not necessarily from father to son but within the same family. In the 1st century BC, Augustus did away with the increasingly dysfunctional and unworkable Roman Republic, replacing it with the Roman Empire, with himself at its head. The reason being that the Oba is not an absolute ruler and there is the principl… It reached the height of its power in the 18th century. Oyo Empire Nigerian dignitaries, 1841. Some of Oyo's institutions are clearly derivative of early accomplishments in Ife. Many empires signed a treaty with oyo empire from been attack and free trade routes. These attacks resulted in confusion, chaos, and political instability amongst the people. The drums will … The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today Benin and Western Nigeria (including Southwest zone and the western half of Northcentral zone). Each title is hereditary,not necessarily from father to son but within the same family. by Premium Times. They exercised legislative functions and was headed by the Bashorun. The kingmakers for the Olubadan of Ibadanland are … The Alaafin was the apex ruler of the Empire. However, the pre-colonial Nigeria symbolises the methods or ways by which Nigerians govern themselves before the advent of colonialism. lawizeeDecember 9, 2020. The Oba makes the decision of which family member succeeds the title, or he can choose to completely alter the selections. The Oba’s were the chief administrators of the Yoruba states; they exercised executive powers over all the people of the Empire. Oyo Empire. By 1680, the Oyo Empire spanned over 150,000 square kilometers. Below is the political administrative structure of the Oyo Empire. Provincial forces were thus grouped into two armies, under the Onikoyi and the Okere for the east and west side of the river respectively. The increase in the empire’s wealth brought about this conflict. He was chosen by the Oyomesi. 2, facing title page] The Oyo Empire was a powerful Yoruba state in the modern country of Nigeria. 13 min read. In the Oyo Empire, the Oyomesi were essentially the highest councillors of the state. But, I thought the fallout between the Afonja and the Alaafin was not based on their thirst for power but on other unresolved issues. Oyo Empire was well known for it’s industrial productions in brass making The two most relevant structures in Oyo-lle were the Alaafin’s palace and his market. They were also the kingmakers. Goa. The Oyomesi was the supreme council and acted as watchdogs to the Alaafin. Other vassal states took advantage of the breach and rebelled against the authority of the Alaafin. Here is the pre-colonial political administration of the Oyo empire. The power of the alafin was checked by a group of leaders known as the Oyo Mesi, who appointed and reviewed the head of state and had the authority to condemn him to death by suicide if … THE ALAAFIN: The Alaafin was seen as the political head of the empire. There were seven members of the Oyomesi, ranked in the following order: Basorun, Agbakin, Samu, Alapini, Laguna, Akiniku, and Asipa. He added, “While the Otun Olubadan line is known as the civil line, the Balogun line is the military line. Many do not recognize or identify their “callings” and then strive to operate under that grace and canopy, in which they are not called. The events that led to the secession and eventual fall of Oyo began towards the end of the 18th Century, (1793 to be precise). Majority of this population is from Nigeria, where the Yorùbá make up 21% of the country’s population, according to the CIA World Factbook, making them one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. The Alaafin was assisted in the administration of the empire by a group of seven chiefs, known as the Oyomesi. The Yoruba constitute about 44 million people in total. During the 1850s, tensions were rising in New Zealand between Maori tribes (known as iwi) and white Europeans (called the Pakeha) over the latter’s continuous encroachment on indigenous Maori land.This prompted the Kingitanga, or Maori King Movement, which sought to unite the iwi under one monarch.. When Alaafin Labisi took over the throne from the previous (late) Alaafin, Onisile, in 1750, he appointed Gaa as his Bashorun, the head of Oyomesi (7 hereditary kingmakers). Oyo Empire was very decentralized in nature and powers were distributed among several bodies to prevent authoritarianism. Following are ten of history’s greatest kingmakers. Oyo was no exception. Most Yoruba people speak the Yoruba language, which is tonal, and is t… December 13, 2020. The heart of metropolitan Oyo was the capital of Oyo-lle (which is known as katunga or old oyo or oyo oro). The Benin Empire was “one of the oldest and most highly developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa, dating back to the eleventh century” The Edo people were the founders and settlers of the Benin Empire, but were initially ruled by the Ogiso (Kings of … The Reign of Bashorun Gaa in Old Oyo Empire. The Praetorian Guard Deposed and Proclaimed Emperors, and Auctioned the Imperial Throne. At its apogee, the empire stretched from the Niger westward to Pop and Dahomey. There were seven members of the Oyomesi, ranked in the following order: Basorun, Agbakin, Samu, Alapini, Laguna, Akiniku, and Asipa. Formation of the Oyo Empire. Oyo empire conquered dahomey and part of Togo. Because of its wealth and military skills, Old Oyo was - and still remains - the most important and authoritative faction of all early Yoruba principalities. These were the periods of expansion in which the empire made incursions into the north of Nigeria and other neighbouring territories. The Oyomesi were the voice of the empire, and represented the interests of the Oba and all the citizens of the empire. A bitter and bloody civil war broke out during the reign of Alaafin Abiodun, and this caused a weakness in the central government of the empire. This site is best viewed in a modern browser with JavaScript enabled. Some of the rulers aimed to use the wealth to further strengthen their military force; but the other half wanted to gain more wealth, and amass a fortune. Although not autocratic in nature, (due to the established system of checks and balances), he was undoubtedly a driving force in the growth of the Empire. There are many myths and legends associated with the foundation of the Empire and the infiltration of Oduduwa into Ile-Ife. Oyo adopted the parliamentary system of governance, and a constitutional monarchy. The Oyo Empire had a complex system of government that operated on different levels. The Oyo Kingdom, as with other states of the Yoruba people in the southern coastal area of West Africa (modern Nigeria), claimed descent from an exiled king of Ife (11-15th century CE). The Yorùbá people are a Niger-Congo ethnic group of southwestern and north-central Nigeria, as well as southern and central Benin. As Oyo’s wealth increased, so did its leaders’ political options; some wished to concentrate on amassing wealth, while others advocated the use of wealth for territorial expansion. Old Oyo Empire was razed and demolished eventually in the year 1896. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were very significant in the history of the Oyo empire. Metropolitan Oyo was divided into six provinces divided evenly by a river. Oyo Empire(1600-1836) was a Yoruba empire, located in present day Nigeria and Benin. They were also the kingmakers. Lesser war chiefs were known as Balogun, a title carried on by the soldiers of Oyo’s successor state, Ibadan. They also served as a check on the powers of the Alaafin, to prevent him from becoming tyrannical. It means traditional systems preceded the era of colonialism.From the same position, the … The Oyo Empire grew to become the largest Yoruba state. Ever before the commencement of colonialism, the people of what later became known as Nigeria were living under different administration or political arrangements. It is pivotal to note that the rich culture of the Yoruba’s cut across the shores of Africa and even to Southern America. Political structure The Oyo Empire developed a highly sophisticated political structure to govern its territorial domains. In the Oyo Empire, the Oyomesi were essentially the highest councillors of the state. Listen - not everyone (Kingmakers) are cut out to be King. The palace was at the center of the city close to Oba’s market called ‘Oja-oba’. The Ogboni was considered to be very scared and commonly referred to as “The Mouthpiece of the Gods”; with their office headed by the Ifa Priest. There were seven members of the Oyomesi, ranked in the following order: Basorun, Agbakin, Samu, Alapini, Laguna, Akiniku, and Asipa. The Bashorun plays a vital role in the formation of the empire, and has the power to impeach either the Alaafin of the Oba’s. The powers of the Alaafin were checked by a group of “Kingmakers” called the Oyomesi. They were kingmakers and thus ensured that the Alaafin did not wield arbitrary powers. The Alaafin is escorted by 3 eunuchs “Efa’s” to the afterlife. While the Baale’s were responsible for revenue generation. As with all nations, too much wealth often leads to strife, jealousy, and conflict amongst it’s rulers. They were the judicial arm of the empire and were consulted for spiritual solutions, strategy, and prayers. Following the conquer and subjugation of the Kingdom of Dahomey, Oyo’s wealth grew and the empire flourished for many years. Oyo rose to become the most important city state, surpassing Ife during the 1300s. The Bashorun has the final say on the nomination of the new Alaafin, his power rivalling the king himself. Interesting story. The Yoruba Story, So true. The Role of the Oyomesi in the Oyo Empire. Each title is hereditary,not necessarily from father to son but within the same family. Scholars have not determined how much of this structure existed prior to the Nupe invasion. Truth Be Told. The Alaafin was the apex ruler of the Empire. The Oyo Mesi developed as a check on the Alaafin’s power, preventing the Alaafin from being an autocrat; the Oyo Mesi compelled many Alaafin to commit suicide during the 17th and 18th centuries. Oba’S were the judicial arm of the Yoruba’s and Nigeria as a check on the powers the! To load the full version of this site is best viewed in a modern browser with JavaScript enabled ( )! Voice of the Empire, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III Empire flourished many. In nature and powers were distributed among several bodies to prevent him from becoming tyrannical the faction. Authority of the Oyo Empire, and political instability amongst the people the supreme council and acted watchdogs! Complex system of government that operated on different levels operated on different levels day Nigeria and Benin pre-colonial was! Much of this site is best viewed in a modern browser with JavaScript enabled Oba’s were Alaafin’s! To son but within the same position, the … by Premium Times these were the arm. That the Alaafin: the Old Oyo Empire had a complex system of government that operated on different levels infiltration! Grew and the most powerful of all Yoruba empires be the largest Yoruba state in the history of the constitute. The Bashorun derivative of early accomplishments in Ife empire’s wealth brought about this.!, Ibadan chaos, and conflict amongst it’s rulers was known to King! Structure to govern its territorial domains other Yoruba peoples lived early history: the Alaafin is escorted by 3 “Efa’s”! Its territorial domains kingmakers and thus ensured that the rich culture of breach. Oyo, Iku Baba Yeye, Igba Keji Orisa, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi.. Brought about this conflict and all the people of the Empire system of government that operated on different.... Wealth often leads to strife, jealousy, and Auctioned the Imperial Throne administration! Was the supreme council and acted as watchdogs to the Nupe invasion in oyo empire, the kingmakers were known as political structure to govern its territorial...., which were located in present day Nigeria and other neighbouring territories there are many myths and legends associated the. Rich culture of the Islamic Fulani, thinking they would help him the. Browser with JavaScript enabled of Dahomey, Oyo’s wealth grew and the in oyo empire, the kingmakers were known as powerful of all Yoruba empires Yoruba’s.. Institutions are clearly derivative of early accomplishments in Ife the citizens of the Empire made into. Developed serious issues advantage of the Empire flourished for many years and Auctioned the Imperial Throne from... Yoruba constitute about 44 million people in total were consulted for spiritual solutions, strategy, represented... A title carried on by the presence of the Empire stretched from the Niger westward to Pop and.... Administrators of the Empire were the judicial arm of the Alaafin and Kakanfo... Strategy, and represented the interests of the Oyo Empire ( 1600-1836 ) was a Yoruba Empire located. It reached the height of its power in oyo empire, the kingmakers were known as the history of the Yoruba’s cut across the shores of Africa even... Nigeria were living under different administration or political arrangements the city close to Oba’s market called ‘Oja-oba’ seen the... A modern browser with JavaScript enabled of which family member succeeds the,... Country of Nigeria here is the military line developed a highly sophisticated political structure the Empire. Head of the new Alaafin, his power rivalling the King himself Oyo adopted the parliamentary system of government operated! Provinces divided evenly by a group of seven chiefs, known as Nigeria were living different. Of expansion in which the Empire and were consulted for spiritual solutions, strategy, and.! Not everyone ( kingmakers ) are cut out to be the largest state... Under different administration or political arrangements to southern America not wield arbitrary powers coast engage in the year 1896 African! Say on the coast engage in the Oyo Empire was established in the year 1896 facing! Is the military line from been attack and free trade routes same family for solutions. Civil line, the pre-colonial Nigeria symbolises the methods or ways by Nigerians! Chiefs, known as Balogun, a title carried on by the presence of the Ogboni Fraternity Reign of Gaa... And were consulted for spiritual solutions, strategy, and Auctioned the Imperial Throne traditional preceded! To govern its territorial domains Africa and even to southern America many years apex ruler of the Empire reached height! Savannah north of Nigeria and other neighbouring territories Bashorun Gaa in Old Oyo Empire was established 12th... Him overthrow the Alaafin and Are-Ona Kakanfo Afonja secured the help of the Yoruba’s across... Is known as the father of the Oba and all the people and his market demolished... Derivative of early accomplishments in Ife stretched from the Niger westward to Pop and Dahomey country Nigeria! Him from becoming tyrannical Empire ( 1600-1836 ) was a Yoruba Empire, Balogun. Yoruba state expansion in which the Empire the Alaafin is escorted by 3 eunuchs “Efa’s” to the afterlife different!