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THE GREAT BENIN KINGDOM

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the Oldest
Surviving Kingdom in the World is Great Benin Kingdom and is
2054 years Old? This piece reveals 30 amazing facts you never
knew about the Great Benin Kingdom The Great Benin Kingdom is
probably Nigeria’s greatest empire. The Ogiso dynasty lasted for
about 854 years plus an interregnum of 285 years between the
reign of Ogiso Orire and Ogiso Odia, there was an interregnum of
70 years between Ogiso Owodo and Oba Oranmiyan plus 845 years
of Oba ruler-ship till date. Below are 30 amazing facts about the
Great Benin Kingdom: Brought to you by Historian Jojoben 1.The
First Storey Building in Nigeria was built at Ughoton by the Dutch
in the year 1718, and it was called “The Factory”. The said
building was destroyed by the British during the war against the
Benins in 1897. The site of the building is still intact. 2. The
Oldest Church in West-Africa was established in Great Benin
Empire by the Earliest Portuguese missionaries in the 16th
Century which is today known as the Holy Aruosa (Benin National
Church). Pope Pius XII visited Benin and handed the church to the
Oba of Benin, Oba Oreoghene in 1692AD. 3. The first Known
Embassy Established in Nigeria was in Benin during the reign of
Oba Esigie in the 16th century. 4. The Oldest known letter written
in Nigeria was by Duarte Pires instructed by Oba Esigie which was
addressed to King John II, on the 20th October, 1516AD. The
second oldest letter was written by Anthonio Domingo (Great-
grand Son of Oba Olua) to the Pope to seek for missionary
assistance in other to spread Christianity in Benin Empire in
1652AD. 5. Oba Orhogbua founded Lagos and planted a dukedom,
the Obaship of Lagos (Eko). 6. Oldest ever recorded market in
Africa is Ogiso (Agbado) Market dated 60BCE. 7. The first ever
recorded bank (Owigho) in present day West-Africa was built in
Benin kingdom by Oba Eresoyen, construction started in the year
1740AD and was completed in the year 1743AD. 8. Queen Idia
(Oba Esigie mother) is the first Oba’s mother to be alive to see her
son becoming an Oba. That’s because traditionally previous Crown
prince mothers were killed before their Sons ascend the throne. 9.
Ga tribe of present day Ghana migrated from Benin during Oba
Udagbedo reign (1299-1334) 10. Oduduwa was the exiled crowned
prince from Benin known as Ekaladerhan, which is being purported
as the progenitor of the Yoruba race. 11. The monarch of Warri
kingdom is an off shoot of the royal house of Benin kingdom
founded by prince Iginuwa the Son of Oba Olua in the 15th
century. 12. The Osemawe of Ondo was corrupted from
Osemwughe, the Benin warrior who deserted Udo town, when there
was war between Benin City and Udo town. 13. The word Ondo
was corrupted from the town “Emwan N’Udo” (people of Udo
town) 14. The world most famous mask Queen Idia mask was the
face of FESTAC 77’ held in Lagos. 15. The word Benin was
corrupted from Ubini by the Portuguese explorer meaning “a place
of heavenly pageantry and prosperity” 16. Oba Esigie is the first
King in Africa to be baptized in the year 1504AD in Benin. 17. The
King of Benin can in a single day make 20,000 men ready for war,
and, if need be, 180, 000, and because of this he has great
influence among all the surrounding peoples’ … His authority
stretches over many cities, towns and villages. There is no King
thereabouts who, in the possession of so many beautiful cities and
towns, in his capital – Olfert Dapper, description of Africa, 1668.
18. According to the Guinness Book of Records (1974 edition)
described the walls of Benin City and its surrounding kingdom as
the world’s largest earthworks carried out prior to the mechanical
era. 19. According to estimates by the New Scientists Fred pearce,
Benin City’s walls were at one point “four times longer than the
great wall of China, and consumed a hundred times more material
than the Great Pyramid of Cheops” 20. Benin City is surrounded by
massive walls dug by Oba Oguola in 13th century and Oba Ewuare I
in the 15th century. 21. Great Wall of Benin extended for some
16,000km in all, in a mosaic of more than 500 interconnected
settlement boundaries. They covered 6, 500sq km and were all dug
by the Edo people. 22. The Great wall of Benin took an estimated
150million hours of digging to construct, and are perhaps the
largest single archaeological phenomenon on the planet. The
Great Wall of Benin 23. Benin City is the first City to have a
semblance of street lighting in the world. 24. The Portuguese were
the people who called our land “Great City of Benin” because they
were astonished with what they saw that the Edo people achieved
centuries before any major cities in the world. 25. 1n 1691, the
Portuguese ship captain Lourenco Pinto observed: “Great Benin,
where the king resides, is larger than Lisbon; all the streets run
straight and as far as the eyes can see. 26. The Binis are the best
bronze casters (Igun – eronmwon) in the world. 27. Two kings
were installed without a crown, Ogiso Igodo (40BC-16AD) and
Oba Oranmiyan (Odolorre) 1170-1200AD. 28. Great Benin is
known as the cradle of Black civilization and the centre of the
world (Edorisiagbon). 29. The Benin were the first to use
sophisticated weapons (guns) to fight war(Idah war) in the
present day Nigeria in about 501 years ago (August, 1516), the
war was led by Oba Esigie mother (Queen Idia). 30. All Oba’s in
Lagos(Eko) were all buried in their ancestral home (Benin City)
until late 19th century, to further lay credence to that Oba
Osemwende in 1834 instructed Idewu Ojulari, the Oba of Lagos to
zegbele(kill himself) the instruction was, expectedly, complied
with. The Lagos Oba complied by taking poison.

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