Benin is a country that is in West Africa. It’s history is also very interesting. Here are some important events that have happened in Benin.
Gradually, the Obas won more land and built up an empire. They also started trading with merchants from Europe.
For 200 years Benin was very successful, but in the 1600s the Obas started to lose control of their people. By the 1800s Benin was no longer strong or united. The kingdom came to a sudden end in 1897, when a British army invaded and made it part of the British Empire.
The kingdom was called Igodomigodo. It was ruled by a series of kings, known as Ogisos, which means ‘rulers of the sky’.
In the 1100s there were struggles for power and the Ogisos lost control of their kingdom.
The Edo people feared that their country would fall into chaos, so they asked their neighbour, the King of Ife, for help. The king sent his son Prince Oranmiyan to restore peace to the Edo kingdom.
Oranmiyan chose his son Eweka to be the first Oba of Benin. Eweka was the first in a long line of Obas, who reached the peak of their power in the 1500s.
Around 1440, Ewuare became the new Oba of Benin. He built up an army and started winning land. He also rebuilt Benin City and the royal palace.
Oba Ewuare was the first of five great warrior kings. His son Oba Ozolua was believed to have won 200 battles. He was followed by Oba Esigie who expanded his kingdom eastwards to form an empire and won land from the Kingdom of Ife. Ozolua and Esigie both encouraged trade with the Portuguese. They used their wealth from trade to build up a vast army.
The fourth warrior king was Oba Orhogbua. During his reign, the empire reached its largest size. It stretched beyond the River Niger in the east and extended west as far as present-day Ghana.
Oba Ehengbuda was the last of the warrior kings. But he spent most of his reign stopping rebellions led by local chiefs. After his death in 1601, Benin’s empire gradually shrank in size.
That is how Benin came to become a kingdom and then an empire. I chose these events because I thought that they were quite important.