The Nigeria Nostalgia Project - Pre Nigeria Discussion


Adebo succeeded his brother Arogangan.

He was chosen by the Elders of Oyo, in preference to Afunja; who might now have been placed on the throne of Yoruba on account of his greatness of mind, but was refused because of his treachery.

Adebo reigned only 120 days. It is supposed that he was poisoned.

Maku, one of the royal family, a favourite of Afunja, succeeded Adebo: but it appears that the majority of the inhabitants of Oyo were not well pleased with him.

There was war at Igboho : and Maku, accompanied by one of the King’s counsellors, took the command ; but being unsuccessful in the undertaking, through pride, shame,- and vexation, he chose rather to die than return home ; so he killed himself. He reigned only three months.

After Maku’s death, it appears there was an interregnum of five years, during which period the political affairs were conducted by one Ojo, who was Obbasorun (a privy-counsellor).

Majotu succeeded Maku, and reigned for some time well ; but his son, being a very wicked young man, did a great deal of mischief in the kingdom, chiefly by kidnapping. The people complained very bitterly against him ; and at last required him to be delivered up, that he might be dealt with accordirng to law.

Majotu felt very uneasy on account of his son’s behaviour, and life became such a misery to him, that he preferred death to life, and poisoned himself.

It is not certain how long he reigned.

It is not uncommon among the Yorubans, under some injury, vexation, or disappointment, to commit suicide, either by taking some poisonous draught, sticking themselves with a poisoned wrow, or cutting their throats or bellies with a sword or razor.

Such are generally looked upon as acts of bravery.


Amodo succeeded Majotu ; about which time the country of Yoruba was in great confusion.

Afunja, who was made chief warrior in the kingdom, took the opportunity of the unsettled state of affairs in the capital to ingratiate himself with the people of Ilorin.

He allowed them to make whatever use they liked of their plunder in battle ; taking nothing from them, either for himself or for the King ; and thus encouraged them to war.

By this means, such slaves as were not satisfied with their situation deserted their masters, and joined Afunja at Ilorin ; on doing which, they were declared free and independent.

The Felatas, who had hitherto contented themselves with a pastoral life, began now to distinguish themselves as great warriors; and as they gained a firm footing in the country, they introduced their religion — that is, Mahommedanism.

As Afunja could not get to the throne in any other way, he tried to make himself friendly with the people of the capital, and to get them into quarrel with some principal Headmen in Ilorin, who, as it appears, began to be too strong for him.

But they of Ilorin, being aware of his treacherous plans, caught him, and burnt him publicly in Ilorin, and exposed his ashes for many days.

After this, the people of Ilorin, being mostly Mahommedan, did not think it proper to be subject to a Pagan King, but became independent ; on this account the civil war broke out, which has almost desolated {he kingdom of Yoruba.

Since this time, Ilorin has become the rendezvous of the Mahommedan army.

The surviving princes, who have a right to the throne of Yoruba in succession, are Atiba, Telia, Afunja (younger), and Ajibekun.

Atiba is the present King of Yoruba. He removed the seat of government from Oyo to Aggo Oja, where he is now using every means in his power to subdue Ilorin.


Edward Wilmot Blyden, was born on August 3, 1832, in the Virgin Islands in the West Indies, a descendant of Ibo slaves from Nigeria. He was an extremely gifted student, and at age of eighteen, attempted to enroll at a theological college in the
United States. Upon realising that their potential student was a black man, the college in North America out rightly rejected him. According to reports, at this time, slavery was still lawful in the USA and his brazen attempt to try to fight the ‘system’ subjected him to many frightening experiences.

A few months after his attempt to enroll was rejected, one white man named Reverend Holden, who recognised the high intellect in Blyden, assisted Blyden to emigrate to Liberia. Blyden thus boarded a ship with the intention of building a new life for himself in Africa. This young man remained in Liberia for more than thirty years, rising gradually to the highest levels of Liberian society.

During his Liberian career, Blyden was a Presbyterian minister, a newspaper editor, a professor of classics, President of Liberia College, Ambassador to Great Britain, Minister of the Interior, and Secretary of State. In 1885, he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Presidency. It is reported that he lost the Liberian Presidential Elections by just a handful of votes. Fearing for his safety in light of his immense popularity which competed with the winner of the Presidential Elections, Blyden fled to Sierra Leone.

He was already well known in Sierra Leone, where he had earlier spent two years (1871-73) as Government Agent to the Interior, leading two official expeditions — one to Falaba and another to Futa Jallon. Thus, it was easy for Blyden to become based permanently in Freetown. Blyden was in many ways a greater intellectual force in Sierra Leone than in Liberia. In his later years, he was Director of Mohammedan Education in Sierra Leone. When Edward Wilmot Blyden died on February 7, 1912, his funeral was attended by many hundreds of people from throughout the Freetown community, including both Muslims, who bore the coffin, and his fellow Christians.



New York Times - January 5, 1906


The Eʻwe-speaking peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa by Major A.B. Ellis (1890)

While Captain Burton was at Agbomi preparations were being made for a new attack on Abeokuta, and on February 22nd, 1864, the army left the capital.

The force, about 12,000 strong, marched in four divisions, two of the right wing and two of the left.


It had with it three brass six-pounder guns.

Eleven days out it crossed the Yewa river, near Isume, and on March 13th encamped on the Owiwi river, about twelve miles from Abeokuta.

Nineteen days were thus occupied in traversing the distance between Agbomi and the Owiwi, about ninety miles by road ; but the army had spent ten days in halts and in foraging for food, with which it was scantily supplied.

According to subsequent reports, the soldiery were reduced to living on parched rice and palm-nuts, and many of them ate nothing but a little cassava for tweny-four hours before the attack.


A Methodist [Church] Leader at Ilesha, 1926

USC Digital Library


The Church Missionary Gleaner, April 1903

A Memorable Ordination by the Right Rev. Bishop Oluwole.

THE Right Rev. Bishop Phillips held a very interesting ordination at St. David’s Church, Ibadan, on Feb. 5th, 1899, when the Rev. Francis Lowestoft Akiele was ordained priest.

It was the second of the two ordination services ever held at Ibadan, the first having been held in 1890.

It was the first, and the only one as yet held, at St. David’s, built and dedicated in 1898 in memory of the late Rev. David Hinderer, the founder of the Ibadan Mission.

The candidate was a Native of Ibadan, a son of Olumloyo [Olunloyo], one of the warrior Chiefs of the town when Mr. Hinderer began his work.

Readers of Seventeen Years in the Yoruba Country will remember that Akiele was the first Ibadan boy whom Mr. Hinderer received into his house.

This was in 1803, when he was said to be about four years old.

With the exception of two years which he spent in the Training Institution in Abeokuta (1865—1867), he lived in his native town, where he was for many years schoolmaster and catechist, until his removal to Ogbomosho in the early nineties.

Naturally he is a great favourite at Ibadan with both Christians and Heathen.

  • illustration from Seventeen Years in the Yoruba Country: Memorials of Anna Hinderer (1877)


Seventeen Years in the Yoruba Country: Memorials of Anna Hinderer (1877)

The Last Years in Ibadan [1868]

“Nov. 30th . — On Advent Sunday eight adults were admitted, by baptism, into the visible church.

One was a very old man, one of the royal family now settled in Oyo, formerly Katunga, which Mungo Park and other travellers visited in its glory.

This old man saw all these travellers. He was an heir to the throne, and his name Adeyemi, signifies, ‘ a crown fits me ’ but the earthly crown had indeed failed him. Among the different wars, he has been taken captive by three different tribes, and has undergone many hardships.

Five years ago, being old, and nearly useless, he redeemed himself for a few bags of cowries, and reached Ibadan, where he practised his great medicine and charm knowledge.

He found a sister here, who gave him a room in her compound; but, when he was very ill, she put him out in the street to die, as it would be impossible for her to bury one who had been heir to a crown.

The poor old man dwelt under a tree, and struggled through his illness, and the passers by, knowing or learning who he was, gave him cowries, or a little food.

One of our young schoolmasters who, sixteen years ago, was one of the first African children we took into our house, became much interested in him, and, while administering to his bodily needs, would talk to him about his soul.

But the old man was greatly enraged, and heaped curses on the youth for daring to speak to him of a way better than his own, stoutly defending the worship of his idols, and only wishing to go to the heaven where they would take him.

To the surprise of all, he recovered. Another relation took him in, and our schoolmaster still visited him.

At last light broke in upon his [poor dark mind,] and he now seems to be rejoicing in his Saviour, and the prospect before him.


The Church Missionary Gleaner, January 1902

Slay Queens of the 19th Century


Voyage à Abéokouta par M. Holley (1881)

Ogudipe, a War Chief of Abeokuta


History of the Yorubas by Samuel Johnson (1921) - Ibadan at its Extremity

Contd from above

Now, with the Ibadans away from home, Oyedokun sent a similar message to Chief Ogundipe at Abeokuta to come and destroy the new [Ajadi] settlement.

Ogundipe responded to the call with alacrity and came with an Egba army, as he had been seeking occasion to go against Itabo , a small suburb town of Ile Bioku.

The alleged cause of offence to Ogundipe was that when the Egbas fled from Ijaye in March, 1862, one of his wives (then in delicate state) fell into the hands of an Itabo man.

Chief Ogundipe offered to redeem her, but the man refused to part with her.


After the child was born Ogundipe sent two slaves to the man in exchange for mother and child, but the man still declined the offer.

For this reason Ogundipe now embraced this opportunity of going against the settlement of Ile Bioku hoping to recover his wife and child at the suburb.

His route lay through Eruwa, he invited the Bale of this town to join him, but he declined.

But Ogundipe having gone forward, the Bale went with an army by a shorter route to assist the doomed town, their kith and kin.


The Egbas were actually repulsed by this handful of men of the new settlement, and were in full retreat when Omisina, Oyedokun’s brother sent to tell Ogundipe not to lose such a splendid chance of victory by retreating so hastily as the ammunition of his foes was all but exhausted and the Egbas had victory close at hand.

Ogundipe, hearing this, returned to the attack, and ammunition failing the men of the new settlement, the town was taken.

Of the Chiefs who escaped were : — Ajadi, Ladipo, Adewggba.

Omisina the traitor was hunted down by the remnant of the people and was discovered in a cave at Itabo, thence he was brought back, slain, and his family sold into slavery.


Street shrine to Oshu, Benin ca 1950s

Justine Cordwell Collection, Melville


Ancestral staf with wrought iron leaves, Benin ca 1950s

Justine Cordwell Collection, Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies of Northwestern University


Ancestral staf with corn and palm tree, Benin ca 1950s

Justine Cordwell Collection, Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies of Northwestern University


Orimolusi?, Ijebu ca 1950s

Justine Cordwell Collection, Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies of Northwestern University


Potters with children, Owo ca 1950s

Justine Cordwell Collection, Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies of Northwestern University


Alafin, seven wives and four children, Oyo ca 1950s

Justine Cordwell Collection, Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies of Northwestern University


Adeleye, Owo ca 1950s

Justine Cordwell Collection, Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies of Northwestern University