ABBEOKOOTA, a large city of Central Africa, and capital of the Egba nation, is situated on the eastern bank of the river Ogoon, in lat 7°8'N. long. 8° 20'E.
It contains about 75,000 inhabitants, composed mainly of refugees from more than 100 small towns which were destroyed by war in the year 1817. The length of the city is four miles, and it is from two to three miles wide.
Egba, fifty years ago, contained nearly 300 towns and villages, some of them of large population, but now the village of Oko-obba, in the south-west of the kingdom, is the only one remaining, war having destroyed all of the others.
Abbeokoota then had no existence. Tradition has that anciently the Egba country was a province of the Yoruba kingdom, but a giant named Lishabbeh headed a rebellion against a cruel king, and the Egbas became an independent people, under a King of their own.
The giant is still worshipped by them, and his farm, which they believe it would be sacrilege to reclaim, is shown on the east side of the Ogoon, about twelve miles below Abbeokoota.
After a long time the Egbas abolished royalty, but, substituting no efficient general government in its stead, jealousies arose between the Chiefs and people of independent Egba towns, which led to civil war, and the Yorubas and Ijebus, by assisting one town after another, succeeded in depopulating the whole country.
Multitudes were sold to the slavers, and shipped to Cuba and Brazil, where many of them are still living.
Several thousands were recaptured on the high seas, and sent to Sierra Leone, many fled to adjacent countries, and some are still slaves to the Yorubas.
The New American Encyclopaedia : a popular dictionary of general knowledge edited by George Ripley and Charles A. Dana (1869)