The Great Benin Empire and the Dynasty from 40BC to Present

oba dynasty

The Great Benin Empire

The Edo Kingdom of Benin was the greatest of all the West African Rainforest states. At the height of her power in the sixteenth century, Benin’s territories extended from the neighborhood of the trading city state of Bonny in the Niger Delta south-east, the domains of the Shasha of Oudah, a chiefdom in present day Benin Republic (Dahomey), to the Accra area of today’s Republic of Ghana to the west. Benin’s influence was felt from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the south to the Nupe and Igalla chiefdoms beyond the confluence of the River Niger and River Benue to the north.

The Gulf of Guinea was the seat of the Benin Empire and the great Oba of Benin controlled all trade in the Bight of Benin.  The names of both bodies of water were derived from the Ugbini which is the Itsekiri name for the Edo kingdom.

About the 4th century, Benin started using the carrot and stick strategy to coerce the other neighboring settlements into a confederation and within a life-time, Oredo which is the name of the original Edo settlement had grown from a small rainforest city-state into an emergent kingdom.

With the institution of the monarchy by the end of the 1st century AD, the ruling Oie’Iso dynasty had created  nascent empire that was then known as Igodo mi’igodo. Though Benin’s initial power and wealth came from the long Trans-Sahara trade of which the city-state was the southern terminus, the most singular factor responsible for her spectacular growth was the iron technology and weaponry that she developed and later used in subjugating the other “Edo” tribesmen.

With her incessant campaigns for territorial expansion brought many other ethnic nationalities on both sides of the River Niger under her sway. Several city- states in the Ibo heartland such as Onitsha and Oguta were founded by Benin warriors while some Igbo clans on the banks of the Cross River such as Ohafia, claim descent from Benin warriors.

The advent of the Europeans further enhanced Benin’s power and influence. Benin acquired firearm and she was able to maintain a monopoly of this most modern weapon of the times for well over a century. Armed with the gun, Benin blasted her way from one end of the forest to the other and in the process built the greatest rainforest kingdom in Africa.

For four hundred years, the Benin armies enforced the Pax Benin, ensured the security of her frontiers, made her vassal states pay their tributes promptly, kept the Empire’ economy most buoyant and made her overseas trade boom.

The great annul ceremonies were held with the usual pomp. During this period, vassal states of Nine renewed the oaths of allegiance while Emissaries and trade missions came into the great metropolis from the four cardinal points: Hausas, Nupes, Igalla, Igbiras, Idomas and Jukuns from the North. The Igbos, Efiks and Kalabaris from the East of great River Ohimwin (Niger). From the west the Olukumi (Yorubas) of Oyo-Ile came in with coral and agate beads while the Ijebus, Awori, Egun, Popo, Fon and Ewe brought gifts and tributes. From the Atlantic seaboard and the swamps of Benin came the Izon, Iwere (Itsekiri) and Ilaje with their tributes. From across the great waters of Okun (Atlantic Ocean) came the Dutch, French, Portuguese, English and Danes. Benin exchanged Ambassadors with European states and signed new Treaties as the Europeans established new trade links.

For centuries, the Oba of Benin reigned and ruled over a vast empire. Year in year out, the great ceremonies and propitiation rituals were observed. Each dry season, the Benin armies went to wars. The empire waxed and waned according to the strength and will of the reigning Oba in a circle that ended with the British invasion of February 1897 when all conquering Benin kingdom was conquered and incorporated as a part of the various British protectorates that metamorphosed into the nation state called Nigeria.

The Ogiso Dynasty

1.        

Igodo

40 BC – 16AD

2.        

Ere the Great

16 AD – 66 AD

3.        

Orire

66  AD – 100 AD

4.        

Odia

385 AD – 40  AD

5.        

Ighido

400 AD – 414 AD

6.        

Evbuobo

414 AD – 432 AD

7.        

Ogbeide

432 AD – 447 AD

8.        

Emehe

447 AD – 466 AD

9.        

Ekpigho

466 AD – 482 AD

10.    

Akhuankhuan

482 AD – 494 AD

11.    

Efeseke

492 AD – 508 AD

12.    

Irudia

508 AD – 522 AD

13.    

Orria

522 AD – 537 AD

14.    

Imarhan

537 AD – 548 AD

15.    

Etebowe

548 AD – 567 AD

16.    

Odion

567 AD – 584 AD

17.    

Emose

584 AD – 600 AD

18.    

Ororo

600 AD – 618 AD

19.    

Erebo

618 AD – 632 AD

20.    

Ogbomo

632 AD – 647 AD

21.    

Agbonzeke

647 AD – 665 AD

22.    

Ediae

665 AD – 685 AD

23.    

Orriagba Neghe

685 AD – 712 AD

24.    

Odoligie

712 AD – 812 AD

25.    

Uwa

767 AD – 821 AD

26.    

Eheneden

821 AD – 871 AD

27.    

Ohuede

871 AD – 917 AD

28.    

Oduwa

917 AD – 967 AD

29.    

Obioye

967 AD – 1012 AD

30.    

Arigho

1012 AD – 1059 AD

31.    

Owodo

1059 AD – 1100 AD

Last Ogiso before the Oba’s dynasty and father of Ekaladeran who was banished from Benin kingdom, found and settled at Uhe (Ife) where he assumed the name Izoduwa (Oduduwa) meaning, I have found a new lease of life.

The Oba Dynasty

1.        

Oba Odolorre (Oranmiyan)

1170 – 1200 ad

2.        

Eweka 1 (Grandson of Ekaladerhan)

1200 – 1235 ad

3.        

Uwakhuanhen

1235 – 1245 ad

4.        

Ehenmihen

1245  – 1255 ad

5.        

Ewedo

1255 – 1280 ad

6.        

Oguola

1280 – 1295 ad

7.        

Edoni

1295 – 1299 ad

8.        

Udagbedo

1299 – 1334 ad

9.        

Ohen

1334 – 1370 ad

10.    

Egbeka

1370 – 1400 ad

11.    

Orobiru

1400 – 1430 ad

12.    

Uwafiokun

1430 – 1440 ad

13.    

Eware the Great

1440 – 1473 ad

14.    

Ezoti (Reigned for 14 days)

1473 – 1473 ad

15.    

Olua

1473 – 1480 ad

16.    

Ozolua

1480 – 1504 ad

17.    

Esigie

1504 – 1550 ad

18.    

Orhogbua

1550 – 1570 ad

19.    

Ehengbuda

1570 – 1578 ad

20.    

Ohuan

1578 – 1606 ad

21.    

Ahenzae

1606 – 1641 ad

22.    

Ahenzae

1641 – 1661 ad

23.    

Akengboi

1661 – 1675 ad

24.    

Ahenkpaye

1675 – 1684 ad

25.    

Akengbedo

1684 – 1689 ad

26.    

Oreoghene

1689 – 1700 ad

27.    

Ewuakpe

1700 – 1712 ad

28.    

Ozuere

1712 – 1713 ad

29.    

Akenzua 1

1713 – 1735 ad

30.    

Eresoyen

1735 – 1750 ad

31.    

Akengbuda

1750 – 1804 ad

32.    

Obanosa

1804 – 1816 ad

33.    

Ogbebo (Reigned for 8 months)

1816 – 1816 ad

34.    

Osemwede

1816 – 1848 ad

35.    

Adolo

1848 – 1888 ad

36.    

Ovonramwen

1888 – 1914 ad

37.    

Eweka II

1914 – 1933 ad

38.    

Akenazua II

1933 – 1978 ad

39.    

Erediauwa

1979 – 2016 ad

40.    

Ewuare II

2016 – Present