Oba of Benin
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Oba of Benin
An Oba on horseback with attendants from 16th century
An Oba of Benin from the late 17th century

The Oba of Benin is the traditional ruler and the custodian of the culture of the Edo people and all Edoid people and head of the historic Eweka dynasty of the Benin kingdom.[1] The ancient Benin homeland (not to be confused with the modern-day and unrelated Republic of Benin, which was then known as Dahomey) has been and continues to be mostly populated by the Edo (also known as Benin ethnic group).[2]

The title of Oba was used after the Ogiso title and was created by Oranmiyan, Benin kingdom's first "Oba". Oba Oranmiyan son of Oduduwa, is said to have ascended to power at some time between 1280 and 1300. The Oba of Benin was the Head of State (king) of the Benin kingdom[3]

In 1897, a British military force under the command of Sir Harry Rawson mounted the Benin Expedition of 1897 against the Kingdom of Benin. The expedition captured the capital of the Kingdom of Benin, sacking and burning the city while forcing the Oba of Benin, Ovonramwen, into a six-month exile, and was mounted due to the ambush of a British party by a group of Benin soldiers acting without orders from the Oba that had lead to the deaths of all but two of the party.[4] The expeditionary force consisted of both indigenous soldiers and British officers based in colonial-era Nigeria. Numerous artworks (collectively known as the Benin Bronzes) looted from the city palace were sold off to defray the costs of the expedition.[5][6] Ovonramwen died in 1914, his throne never having been restored to him. His son, grandson and now his great-grandson, however, all preserved their title and status as traditional rulers in modern-day Nigeria.[7]


List of Obas of the Benin Empire

Pre-Imperial Obas of Benin (pre-1280-1440)[8]

  • Orunmiyan
  • Eweka I
  • Uwuakhuahen
  • Henmihen
  • Ewedo
  • Oguola
  • Edoni
  • Udagbedo
  • Ohen
  • Egbeka
  • Orobiru
  • Uwaifiokun

Obas of the Benin Empire (1440–1897)


There is some uncertainty in the dates of the reigns of some of the earlier warrior kings[9]

  • Ewuare I (1440–1473)
  • Ezoti (1473–1474)
  • Olua (1475–1480)
  • Ozolua (1480–1504)
  • Esigie (1504–1547)
  • Orhogbua (1547–1580)
  • Ehengbuda (1580–1602)
  • Ohuan (1602–1656)
  • Ohenzae (1656-1675)
  • Akenkpaye (1675–1684)
  • Akengbedo (1684–1689)
  • Ore-Oghene (1689–1701)
  • Ewuakpe (1701–1712)
  • Ozuere (1712–1713)
  • Akenzua I (1713–1740)
  • Eresoyen (1740–1750)
  • Akengbuda (1750–1804)
  • Obanosa (1804–1816)
  • Ogbebo (1816)
  • Osemwende (1816–1848)
  • Adolo (1848–1888)
  • Ovonramwen Nogbaisi (1888–1914) (exiled to Calabar by the British in 1897)

Post-Imperial Obas of Benin (1914–present)

See also


  1. ^ "New Oba of Benin, true symbol of Benin heritage, says Tinubu". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 2016-10-22. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "See Nigerians mixed reactions on twitter over suspected plans to remove Oba of Benin. - Opera News". ng.opera.news. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Who is the first Oba in Nigeria". photographsbytina.com. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Kingdom of Benin", Wikipedia, 2020-02-18, retrieved
  5. ^ "The kingdom of Benin was obliterated by the British, who still have the evidence on display". www.abc.net.au. 2020-11-29. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Benin Bronzes: Germany to return looted artefacts to Nigeria". BBC News. 2021-04-30. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Leopard's Head Ornament". The Hunt Museum. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Ben-Amos, Paula Girshick (1995). The Art of Benin Revised Edition. British Museum Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-7141-2520-2.
  9. ^ Ben-Amos (1995). The Art of Benin Revised Edition. p. 32.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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